Community of God’s People

KEY VERSE: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” —John 17:20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 17:1-6, 20-26

THE title of our lesson implies a unified body of individuals. This is, in fact, what the Lord intended the footstep followers of Jesus to be. But what is there about true Christians that should unite them? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer: “There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”—Eph. 4:4-6

The apostle compares this unified group of individuals to the human body, which is an apt illustration. The human body has a head and all the members of the body are subservient and obedient to the head. So also are the members of Christ’s body. (I Cor. 12:12-14) The human body is illustrative of the body of Christ in additional ways. For example, the various parts of the human body are coordinated; they work together; there is unity of action, and purpose. This should also be true of the members of Christ’s body. In carrying this thought further the apostle states, “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary … that there should be no schism [division] in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”—vss. 21,22,25

The binding force of this figurative body of Christ is the Holy Spirit. When God calls one and invites him to walk in the footsteps of Jesus (John 6:44,45) and the one who is called responds, offering himself in consecration, the Heavenly Father justifies him by applying the merit of the ransom price on his behalf. This done, the Heavenly Father begets him with the Holy Spirit. This is the evidence of sonship and an earnest, or prepayment, of our promised inheritance.—Eph. 1:14

The Holy Spirit is the agency the Heavenly Father uses to enlighten the minds of the members of the body, revealing to them something of God’s wonderful character and attributes, as expressed in the Gospel message—his divine plan of the ages. The Apostle Paul expresses the matter thus: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. … Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”—I Cor. 2:9,10,12

This knowledge of God and his plans and purposes is a unifying force which binds the members of the body together. But in addition to this, the power of the Holy Spirit motivates the members of the body to enter into the work of this age with the prospect that, if faithful in this, they will have the privilege of participating in dispensing blessings to all the families of the earth in the next age and thereby glorifying God their Father.—II Tim. 2:12; Rev. 3:21; 20:6; Isa. 26:9

The force then that really unites the body is the Holy Spirit of God. There is just one Holy Spirit and during the Gospel Age it is doing just one work in each member of this body. To each it has revealed God’s eternal purpose and caused him to desire to cooperate in the implementation of that purpose by working with the Heavenly Father and the other members of the body who are also so motivated. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”—Rom. 8:16,17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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