Simple But Profound Truths
Fifty years ago, my wife Sandy and I surrendered our lives to Christ in the office of the Chief of OB/GYN Surgery at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. The last forty-five of those fifty years I have spent in vocational pastoral ministry. And with the passing years, I have become increasingly amazed at just how many profound truths there are in scripture, truths that are we often stumble over as we attempt to dig deep for the ore beneath the surface. Two of those simple truths radically changed the trajectory of my life and ministry.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus talked about two things that are the church’s most powerful and visible witness to a watching world, unity, and love. I have yet to write or to preach on these truths without someone trying to add to the plain and simple truth that Jesus spoke.
In John 17, Jesus prayed one request three times, “Father, may they be one as you and I are one” (John 17:11, 21, 22). He went on to say that the result of such unity would be a visible witness that would prove to the watching world that He indeed is its Savior.
In John 13, we find Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper, where Jesus strips to a loin cloth, takes up a basin of water and a towel and then washes His disciple’s feet. When once again dressed, He spoke the following words to His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
What is the church’s greatest witness to the watching world that Jesus is who He claimed to be? Unity. What is the greatest sign to the watching world that we indeed are His disciples? Love.
When the church refuses to walk together in unity and refuses to love one another just as Jesus has loved us, we send two signals to the watching world. First, that Jesus is a phony. Two, that we are not truly His disciples.
Of course, our greatest witness to the world and our chief obligation is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ far and wide (Matthew 28:19-20). But the greatest visible witness that He indeed is our Savior and Lord, is that we walk together as one and love one another just as He has loved us.
As I have already stated, these verses transformed my life and ministry, and then became the foundation of my book, The One Another Project, God’s chosen strategy for conforming His children to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.