In John 17 Jesus offers up a magnificent prayer to the Father which tells us a lot about the witness of the church in the world. In verses 20-21, Jesus is saying that the invisible and unbreakable union that exists between the triune God and the church will be the visible means by which the unbelieving world will come to faith in Christ. The church will be an effective witness – will make Christ visible – in the world only to the extent that she is in communion with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit. What does that Communion look like? How will the church make visible what is invisible?
First, she has been instituted by God as His governmental body on earth. Jesus came to establish a Kingdom and the church is the appointed Ambassador of His rule and reign. Our communion with God becomes visible in Christ when the church submits and governs herself according to His rule.
Second, the church is the body of Christ gathered for public worship. Our unity with Christ is made visible to the world to the extend that our devotion is exclusively His. We eat at no other table and we bow down to no other idol.
Thirdly, Christ is made visible when we remain in Communion with Him as the people of God in community. We leave our public worship on the first day of the week in order to serve God through the transformation of culture during the rest of the week.
We ourselves are being transformed into His image so that we might become agents of transformation in the world. As we enter into our calling in the world each week, we show by our lifestyle that we are His friends and not His enemies.
Jesus prayed that we would all be one – so that – the world would believe. And since the Father always answers the petitions of the Son, the question, is not, “are we one?” or even, “how can we be one?”, but rather, “are we His people?” Are we the church that Jesus is praying for in John’s Gospel or a we something else? Jesus becomes visible, and the world enabled to believe:
- When His people, in Communion with Him lead a Holy (separate) life before the world.
- When, in submission to the Government of God, they are dedicated to transforming people and culture on earth.
- When they gather at His table and renew Covenant Communion with God through confession, consecration, prayer and praise.
Lessons for Little Saints…
- What did Jesus say would happen when we are one with Him ?
- What is the churches main job?
- What other groups has God created in the world?
- How can you show Jesus to others?