The Heart of Jesus in this Unfinished Move of God
All over the world God is expressing his heart for the church to be unified.
Many of us are waiting for the harvest of souls coming into the kingdom. Many of us are believing beyond this for the transformation of nations, as unquestionably nations will be changed in a day (Isaiah 66:8). Both are awesome signs of the glorious return of Jesus. However, a sign that we may have forgotten is what flows out of the heart of Jesus before his coming; the transformation of the church as one body.
In Jesus’ heart there is a prayer cry for reconciliation and unity. This is a cry that the Father has heard and Holy Spirit will work out because Jesus is returning for his Bride, so “...that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27 NKJV).
"The same union that Jesus had with his heavenly Father has to be a reality here on Earth."
This was so important to Jesus that he found it worthy enough to pray for oneness just moments leading up to Golgotha - his most vulnerable hour. In John 17:20, part of the High Priestly Prayer (probably better described as Jesus’ Last Will Testament) Jesus prayed to the Father:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17:20-21 NIV my emphasis)
The same union that Jesus had with his heavenly Father has to be a reality here on Earth because Jesus’ desire is that his people, those “In Christ”, model that same relationship. It is not just a vertical relationship but it is also horizontal, loving each other as we would love our own flesh or our spouse, as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25) .
When we overlook the words of Jesus’ prayer and fail to carefully take it to heart, we could believe that Jesus is praying about a mere union in purpose. Or we may think that this is just a union of doctrine or beliefs (Sometimes dialoguing with others believers of different camps, as the Body of Christ has many different members 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, is a starting point to reconciliation that leads to unity). But when we study the prayer carefully in the whole counsel of Scripture and also understand the nature of God’s heart, humbling ourselves and agreeing that we desperately need a transformation of our own heart, healing the hurts, pains and disappointments, we are bound to change our view.
"Since the Revival broke out people have come together celebrating the move of his Spirit."
Holy Spirit is leading us to reconcile with the Father first, because without him there is no reconciliation, and then, to other believers In Christ so that we may experience the fullness of Psalm 133, where God commands the blessing. Reconciliation with the Father has been birthed within the DNA of Catch The Fire since 1994, as well as revival and refreshing to those that have visited. Since the Revival broke out people have come together (Baptists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, Methodists etc.) celebrating the move of his Spirit. A supernatural reconciliatory and unifying work continues to take place, breaking down barriers and possible divisions amongst Christians of almost every Christian background.
Recently, doors have opened and Roman Catholics that have been touched by the Spirit of God while in Toronto have taken initiative in coming back to Toronto for several years now to promote reconciliation and unity. John Arnott and myself have just come back from a series of meetings in Rome, as part of an initiative by Pro Centro Unione (Center for Unity). While we were there, we met with a small group of leaders praying together and discussing our unity in Christ. Two of our last meetings were with the Vatican Council. We met Christian leaders and Vatican members promoting our Christian unity. We also had guest passes to see the Pope at St. Peter’s square in the celebration of the 40th year of the Italian Catholic charismatic renewal.
"...many Christians no longer care what denomination they are from."
Out of these meetings we sensed a genuine hunger for more of God. We noticed that many Christians no longer care what denomination they are from. Be it Catholic or Baptist or any other denomination, Christians are crying out for more of God and are willing to embrace each other for this cause. Next year we plan to do two International Leaders Schools, one in Rome and another in Austria.
All over the world God is expressing his heart for the church to be ONE. There are many ways that the Holy Spirit is starting the unifying work. It is also helpful to know that Holy Spirit’s work is a “unity of the Spirit” that is not a compromise or finding of the lowest common denominator and then basing our unity on the little we agree on. Nor is it this idea of a one-world order coming out of Rome. Jesus’ death on the cross was for all and the church needs to announce that message fully. We need to deal with our pride and individualism because it is not only good for us to do this but it will also help us align ourselves with the new things the Holy Spirit is doing all over the world.
I believe the Holy Spirit is enabling us and encouraging us to “Be completely humble and gentle; patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV my emphasis). The byproduct of this last move has three distinctive workings:
1. To be more like Jesus. John 17: 23
2. To prepare the Bride, Worldwide, to meet the Bridegroom. Ephesians 5:27
3. To make disciples of all nations. John 13:34
As part of the Bride I want my church and I to give ourselves in surrender to the Bridegroom. On Friday nights at our church we have been buying oil (Matthew 25:1-13), intimately adoring the One, so that we can become fully one with our Bridegroom, Jesus. I noticed that in the process, a divine exchange is taking place. We, the Bride, are seeking community together and crying out for the Bridegroom’s continual love to be poured into our hearts.
The Father calls us into that same relationship (Romans 5:5). And as a willing Bride, Jesus will purify us, as by his word we uphold by our lives together. One day I believe the Toronto Skydome, if we cannot find a bigger venue, will be filled with Christians of all denominations worshipping in the Spirit together in total abandonment. This will be the great move all about him and him alone!