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In Acts, all believers were in a near-perfect degree of unity. There was one single church spread out in various localities in the world. Just one church. Though partially united (because Paul said small schisms and divisions were starting in Corinth), they turned the world upside down. In Thessalonica, the complaint against the church was that, "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here." See that impact? What more if the unity was really complete? But church never pursued this unity. The unity dwindled and changed course, pursuing after its own ways and thoughts instead and separated into denominations.
Church has not fully realized the impact of this truth (complete unity) to this day. For decades churches have remained separated from each other because they finally brought themselves to believe that the "one body" that needs to be in "complete unity" is their own denominations. They understand this only as far as their respective denominations are concerned. But never as the real unity of all believers worldwide.
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They can't imagine this applying to them and other church denominations being in complete unity. They even say this is nonsense, it cannot be done. Some look at me like I was a heretic when I tell them this. So they rarely (if any) seriously think about this unity. They add that instead of wasting time about it, we should keep planting churches and be productive.
They see it as some kind of an idiomatic expression in the bible, not to be taken literally, and seeing other Christians as neighborhood brethren is enough unity for them, with some occasional joint fellowships or alliances or conferences where various denominational churches are involved. "As long as we all believe the bible and believe Jesus alone saves," they'd say. But we cannot see ourselves as being truly one body with each other. In reality, we see ourselves as many bodies in Christ, though we mindlessly babble or chant that we are one body in Him.
But Jesus talks about deep-down, dead serious unity, the kind that makes husband and wife one flesh in God's eyes. And that's what we really are---one flesh in Christ. For we are one body. When God says this in the bible, he isn't joking or speaking figuratively or just making an analogy. He really means we are all one body. One flesh. We are God's one body---God's flesh---on earth. And as one body, we are also one flesh with Christ. His flesh is our flesh.
See how God feels when we are completely united. It is likened to Aaron's priestly anointing that covered him head to body (uniting head and body as one) and the dew on Zion where the Lord commanded the blessing:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.[Psalm 133]
God created the human body with a purpose and it was not just accidental that the bible refers to believers as one human body. God created the human body as it is so we would understand what he means by us being one body.
Aside from the body having different parts which all belong to the one body, it has DNA cells which are really a mechanism or data-record that makes sure each organ, system and body part has one and the same identity. Your unique, individual identity that makes you YOU is all completely embodied in each DNA cell so that each cell is capable of reproducing another real you. A faithful reproduction.
Each DNA cell has huge records of your person (inside and out) intact---blood type, metabolism, body tissues and organs (they're all perfectly compatible with each other so that they don't reject each other), body features, eyes, hair, body process like thinking, etc. DNA cells make sure that each part of us is deep-down part of us---cell, tissue, organ and limbs.
The church should learn a lot from this. Seeing it this way, we begin to understand what Jesus meant by "complete unity," the same unity the Father and Son have. This is what I mean when I say believers have the Jesus DNA. And each one of us is, in fact, a DNA cell of Jesus. In each of us is the complete data and algorithm---right down to smallest details and processes---of Jesus because we are truly one flesh with him. Christ is in you so there's no way you cannot have the same DNA.
So, when the head (Jesus is the Head of the church) tells the body to move in a certain way, everything belonging to it---limbs, tissues, organs, body systems and processes and the DNA---all move as one. No one can lag or be left behind or veer off, or take another direction. The parts cannot have different directions or mindsets. They cannot have different doctrines.
Denominations have come to believe the myth they invented about agreeing to disagree on minor issues because at least they agree on the major ones. Complete unity is a minor issue? Church building design, local church names, what to wear on Sundays, worship styles, how long worship service should be and things like that are minor issues. But complete unity is not.
Jesus seriously prayed for it. It is God's will. Without it the world will never understand what Jesus did and does and what church is really doing. How can the world stand condemned if church does not make it understand what Jesus did?
The Toe as the Body
The Toe as the Body
Church still has a parochial view of the body of Christ. It always thinks that that body is their denomination. So when they talk about how the whole body hurts even if just one tiny part hurts, they take it to mean their church denomination. So narrow-minded. So short-sighted. They have not yet realized that what happens to any Christian church denomination DIRECTLY affects them. They don't feel hurt anymore because they have become calloused. In a sense, the toe has become the body.
When a local born-again church not belonging to their denomination dies, they talk about it like it's a totally separate entity. Like it's a limb from another separate body. Yeah, they know it's born-again like them and they may express some concern, but that's it. It's not like when you accidentally hit your little toe with a hammer. Your whole body reacts violently due to the pain. Your feet and legs jump or limp, your hands hold the affected toe, your mouth cries and your eyes may close tightly or widen in excruciating pain. Your ears may turn red (mine do) and your nose may suddenly turn a bit runny.
That's a real body reaction.
If a local church belonging to denomination "A" suffers financial woes and is about to go bankrupt, will a church in the same area belonging to denomination "B" or "C" offer financial help? Not likely (in fact, I haven't seen anything like that. Have you?). I've even seen churches of the same denomination withhold financial help from each other because their church manuals prohibit it. Their manuals go directly against Jesus' prayer of complete unity, and they don't mind.