Weekly Insights about the Quarterly Lessons from the 1888 Message Study Committee.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
1888 Message Study : That They All May Be One
"THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE"
Our sun's energy comes from the process of fusion, the act of combining two or more distinct entities to make a new whole. In its plasma state, two hydrogen ions can fuse to make a helium ion and a neutron. The result is a release of a large amount of energy compared to the mass of the fuel. This is thought to be one of the most efficient sources of energy known to man. Since the 1950's physicists have been trying to reproduce this process. The challenges to replicating fusion as an energy source, are the extreme heat required to maintain the plasma state of hydrogen and the force required to create an environment to allow charged particles to come close enough to fuse. The sun provides this environment because of its extreme temperatures and gravitational forces.
With fusion, a bath tub full of water and two laptop batteries theoretically could produce all the electricity and energy one person would need for a lifetime. Scientists, from the European Union, Russia, Japan, Korea, United States, China and India have unified their efforts to create a feasible way to generate energy using fusion. They realize that if they can make this happen, the earth's energy problems would be solved. The entire world could be lightened with the product of fusion.
Jesus' prayer in John 17 was a prayer for fusion. It is the solution to disunity of every kind and the ultimate source of light to fill the world with His glory (Revelation 18:1). The Savior prayed, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:20-23.
Jesus spells out this fusion in His prayer, "as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us." and also "that they may be one just as We are one." When Jesus was here on earth, He was one with the Father. His prayer is for us to be one with Them in the same way.
To what degree was Jesus one with the Father? He told Phillip, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father." What Jesus said, how He acted, how He responded, and how He felt about people was exactly the same as if it were the Father Himself. Jesus was the Father personified and lived out in humanity. So, to what degree? To every degree.
How was Jesus able to do this? We might be tempted to quickly say, "because He was God". While it's true, His identity was still God, if we stopped there we would be ignoring what He became when becoming Immanuel, God with us. When Jesus stepped down to be one with humanity He chose to put Himself in a position of vulnerability where He would have to say, "I can of My own self do nothing".
In speaking of Jesus when He calmed the storm the servant of the Lord writes, "It was not as the "Master of earth and sea and sky" that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, "I can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith - faith in God's love and care-that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which still the storm was the power of God." DA 336
It was by faith that Jesus was one with the Father and the Father was one with Him. It was by yielding at every step His own will whenever He was tempted to deviate from His Father's will. And we know He was tempted in this way for "He was tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin" and in Gethsemane He prayed, "Never the less not My will but Yours be done."
It was this fusion that He experienced and lived out while on this earth that He prayed for His followers to experience. His prayer was that by a full and living faith, they would be one with Him and the Father in the same way and to the same degree. Paul expressed this same idea when he wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
As Christ and His followers become one in the same way as He and His Father are one, each follower will by necessity be one with each other. Oneness and unity with each other will only come as each is unified with Christ first. That is biblical new covenant unity and anything less is an imitation, an old covenant shadow, based on man's own resources and means. New covenant unity will lead to the manifestation of the body of Christ, united in heart and purpose, in word and doctrine, in worship, and in life.
Read how Waggoner puts it. "The church is the body of Christ. This does not mean that anything that calls itself the church is therefore necessarily the body of Christ, but that nothing is the church unless it is the body of Christ; and nothing is the body of Christ unless it is the living manifestation of the Spirit of Christ. Only those are Christ's who have His Spirit. Romans 8:9. The body of Christ is that which is directly connected with the Head, so that it "increaseth with the increase of God." Colossians 2:19. In short, it is "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." PTUK August 31, 1893, p.338
Think about it. We have a chance to answer Jesus' prayer by yielding to the Spirit of God and allowing this fusion to take place. Him in us and us in Him. The result will be the glory that God revealed in Jesus, will be revealed in us. As we do this as a church the world will be lightened by fusion as the energy that could only come from the Son is released. There is sufficient heat in the love of this Son and more than enough compelling force in His sacrifice. Let's answer His prayer with a resounding and immediate yes. The world is waiting.
More food for thought from E.J. Waggoner:
"But the Lord said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." John 10:16. Some people quote this text to justify the numerous divisions in the professed church of Christ; but they certainly do not read it thoughtfully. It is true that the Lord has other sheep - sheep that are wandering in the desert, and that are even in the jaws of a lion. But He will gather them, for His mission is to the lost, and then there will be "one fold, and one Shepherd." Unity is the perfection of God's plan. His desire for His people is "that they all may be one." John 17:21. It is only "in the unity of the faith" that they come "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13" PTUK March 12, 1896, p.162
"It is useless to attempt to unite the discordant fragments of Christendom into one harmonious body, through the methods that are commonly tried. No amount of argument or debating or summoning of councils or revising of creeds will ever secure the result. How then can it be obtained? The answer to this question has been given by Jesus Christ. "That they all may be one; as Thou, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us... I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." John 17:21-23. It is by the possession of the Spirit. There is but one Spirit; and when all are controlled and actuated by it, laying aside self, no other condition but that of Christian unity will be possible." PTUK August 31, 1893, p. 338