I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My Voice; and they will become one flock with one Shepherd.
I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world....
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
With over 40,000 Christian denominations* today, was the final Prayer of Jesus on earth ignored? By God? Certainly not. By us? Hmm. Between opposing churches, judgmental words shoot back and forth like fiery darts. In the eyes of the world, we are a house divided.
In John 17:21, Jesus said our unity was essential for the world to believe in Him as Messiah. I guess that's why it doesn't... yet. But a new band of believers is rising. Their fingers do not point, because their hands are already engaged: joined to their Bridegroom and to their brethren. They only let go for applause and outreach: to broaden His circle.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: You lead this outreach to the nations. Your love, talent and refusal to condemn are remarkable calling cards for Christ. As God ordained, you enter into the labor of others: communication technology you didn't develop; scripts and shows you didn't write. On God's behalf, you reap where you did not sow.**
Consider The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. In It, a field-owner's servants discover tares among his wheat. They look alike, but one is food and the other, a fraud. He instructs them to let the tares and wheat grow together until the final harvest, where His angels will separate what is real from what pretends.***
As God's servants, we must do likewise. Within the field of Christendom, we must overlook denominational differences, humble ourselves, welcome outsiders and focus on our Mediator: Jesus. As for who goes up or down, let's leave the judging to God. Instead, let's love indiscriminately.
'For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time' (1 Timothy 2:5-6). It's due time now.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way: 'Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose' (Philippians 2:1-2):
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
To Be Continued...
* Previous AMTC Devotion on church denominations: http://amtcdevotions.org/the-church-part-7-denominations
** 'I reap where I did not sow' (Matthew 25:26, The Parable of the Talents): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+25%3A14-30&version=NKJV
*** The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (and Its explanation): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A24-30%2C36-43&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Becoming series.