ONENESS: What is the True Meaning

    “11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” - John 17:11, 20-21           INTRODUCTIONIn recent years, months and weeks, a number of groups and organizations have been calling for a “one world” church.  Groups using slogans such as “co-exist” are attempting to promote a joining together of Christians, Jews, and Muslims , and in some cases it is reported that other religious sects, such as Hindus and Buddists are being recruited to join in “co-existence,” as the world moves toward a one world religion.  The current Pope, Francis, was on Time magazine’s cover and was declared to be the “new world Pope.”            It is reported that Francis has announced his determination to make “ecumenical outreach” a top priority.  In an article by Michael Snyder dated April 15, 2013, appearing on  “worldview weekend. com,” Pope Francis is reported to have announced that “he believes that Muslims worship and pray to the ‘One God’ that he also worships.” In looking at this concept of “all roads lead to God” which Pope Francis has recently opined about, we also find that this Roman Catholic Pope has recently stated that even “atheists who do good and live a good life will go to heaven!”  In an article appearing on World View, Erin Benziger raises the legitimate question of whether Pope Francis even knows God. It is reported there that at the mass delivered on Wednesday May 22, 2013, Pope Francis stated the following as reported by theCatholic News Agency;“Every human person despite his or her beliefs can do good, and a sharing in good works is the prime place for encounter among those who disagree, Pope Francis said at his mass today.  The Lord created us in his image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart; do good and avoid evil. All of us,” The Pope taught in his homily May 22ndat St. Martha’s residence in the Vatican. “We must meet one another doing good. ‘but I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good; we will meet one another there”Charisma News also reported on the same homily as follows:“Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis said on Wednesday in his latest urging that people of all religions – or no religion – work together. He told the story of a catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus. ‘Even them, everyone.’ The Pope answered, according to Vatican radio. ‘We all have the duty to do good,’ he said.            This ‘all roads lead to the same God’ philosophy is a hallmark of the one world religion that the global elite have been slowly building toward for decades.” Others are promoting a “form of religion” called “Chrislam,” and still others are involved in an “ecumenical” outreach called “Face to Faith.” ·         Current EventsIn recent weeks, we have seen reports of Islamic suicide bombers who have murdered many in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.  We have seen Muslim terrorists set off bombs in Boston, killing and injuring many, including children watching the Boston Marathon.  We have seen others caught on camera brutally and hatefully hacking and stabbing a British soldier to death in London.  We are under attack!  We are at war!  Whether we realize it or not, these were Muslims seeking solely to terrorize.  Are these the Muslims that the Pope of Rome “believes…worship and pray to the ‘One God’ that he also worships?”  “Take heed that no one deceives you,” said Jesus. (Matthew 24:4)·         Paul’s View of Current Events            The Apostle Paul in writing to his young protégé, Timothy, said this:“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led astray by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth:  men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra- what persecutions I endured.  And out of themall the Lord delivered me.  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Timothy 3:1-15) ·         The Contrast Between Christians and Non-ChristiansWe worship the one true God through His only begotten Son, Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners.  He gave Hislife a ransom for many that we might be holy and live as becomes the Gospel of Christ.  Muslims ask their followers to diefor their god.  Our God died for us that we may livefor Him.  There is NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT IN THE WORLD!            It does not matter what one “professes” if that person is Not “born again” by the Spirit and “redeemed by the precious blood” of Jesus! Any other belief does NOT change ANY one. Thus, being a “new creation” in Jesus is NOT the same as being Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, etc. Based on God’s Holy Word, we are NOT all “worshipping the same God.”            In taking a closer look at this growing push for a “one world church,” let us look specifically at what Jesus and the apostles said and compare it with the “one world church” movement.I.                   The Dire Warnings of JesusIn Matthew Chapter 5, we have Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount.  The sermon was preached primarily to the Disciples of Christ, but it applies equally to us. Appearing in the gospel according to Matthew in Chapters 5, 6 and 7, it is in its overall totality primarily an elaboration of what Jesus states to be the “new commandment” which He has given that you “love one another even also as I have loved you.” Although some theologians differ in their theological view with regard to their understanding of the Sermon on the Mount, it appears that the best view is that it is a sermon which is meant for all Christian people. It is the picture of the life of the Kingdom of God. In this sermon, Jesus is correcting wrong interpretation of God’s Holy law. The Jews had primarily thought of God’s law and the Kingdom of God in an “external sense,” but Jesus corrects that misinterpretation to show that the great purpose of this sermon is to give us an exposition that the Kingdom is something which is essentially spiritual, and primarily something that is “within you” now.  In other words, the Kingdom is that which governs and controls the heart, mind and outlook of each individual Christian. In its overall summary, what we see is NOT “live like this and you will become a Christian,” but, rather we are told “because you are a Christian, because you have been made alive by the precious blood of Christ, live like this.”  This then is how Christians ought to live and are meant to live. In Chapters 5 and 6 of Matthew’s gospel, we see these great principles presented by The Savior, first, in order to correct the great misinterpretations of the past, then in Chapter 7, particularly in versus 13 and 14, Jesus articulates the applicationof his own message prior to then.·         The Straight GateFirst, we note what Dr. Luke records.  In Luke 13:24, a parallel passage to Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus uses the term “strive” to describe how one is to enter into the Straight Gate. This word “strive” really means “in earnest” about entering in at the “straight gate.” Therefore, adding that word here, Jesus calls us to “strive” to enter in at the gate that is straight. He gives the reason. Only a few can enter in at the straight gate. “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few there be that find it.”·         The Prerequisites            The straight gate can be entered only as a “new creation”. That new creation is brought into being by the Lord God himself. In entering the “straight gate” and following the “narrow way” it is clear, first, that one enters the straight gate only through the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says in Romans Chapter 1 that “the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can enter in through the “straight gate”. Thus, it is important to note how this “straight gate” impacts the whole of evangelism. Clearly crowds cannot enter in. For “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destructionand manythere be that enter in thereat.” Thus, “the many,” “the crowds,” enter in at the wide gate. They follow “the broad way.” Only those who have heard the gospel of Christ and have surrendered their will to the Lord’s will (in true repentance) and received saving faith and eternal life through the sheer gift of God can enter in at the “straight gate”.One of the characteristics of entering in at the “wide gate” and following “the broad way” is that those who enter through the “wide gate” want to go where everyone else is going. That is the spirit of worldliness. Worldliness is following the crowd and the way of the world. That path, ultimately, leads to destruction. Therefore, in order to enter in at the “straight gate” one must leave behind worldliness. It is not popular to be a Christian. It has never been popular to be Christ’s man or woman. It is not popular today! Christians are “peculiar people” who are calledand createdunto a life of holiness - not a life of worldliness. Therefore, one cannot take the way of the world through the “straight gate,” neither can one take the worldly crowd through the “straight gate”.Second, not only does one have to leave the crowd (that is the world) outside the “straight gate,” but one also has to leave the way of the world outside. To enter the “straight gate” one must quit thinking like the world. This becomes even more clear in the epistles, where the apostle John tells us in I John, “love not the world neither the things of the world for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are not of the Father but are of the devil.” We must leave the way of the world and begin to love the things of God. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Colosse says in the third chapter, “If you then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the father. Set your affections on things above and not on the things of this world.” Thus, in order to enter in at the “straight gate” we have to leave the worldoutside, and we have to leave the wayof the world outside.            Finally, we have got to leave our old Adamic self outside. Jesus says, “if any man would come after me let him deny himself and pick up his cross daily and follow me.” Paul says we  have to “put off the old man,” that is, we have to leave the old man outside the gate and we must  put on the new man which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22,23). We remember that the apostle Paul, also, told the church at Galatia “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I that live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me”.  Thus, we see this culmination of the great spiritual principles which Jesus has outlined in Chapters 5 and 6 of Mathew’s gospel and this application in Matthew Chapter 7 and we remember that there are few who be that find this “straight gate”.II.                PersecutionJesus had already stated in the 5thchapter of Matthew that entering in at this “straight gate” and living the “narrow way” always involves suffering and persecution. Jesus told his disciples that which is recorded in the 5thchapter of Matthew’s gospel “blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” The world persecuted Jesus. He is our master. We are not greater than our master. Jesus himself says if they persecuted him they will also persecute us. That has always been the case. The world has always persecuted the man or woman who follows God. We see in the 37thPsalm that “the wicked plot against the just (righteous) and they gnash their teeth on him.” The apostle Paul also says that “all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” When everyone is speaking well of us, we need to ask the question, why?  In reality, it is part of our fallen human nature to like the factthat people speak well of us. However, Jesus himself has warned us that when we enter in at the “straight gate” and follow this “narrow way,” it is difficult and we willencounter suffering and persecution.  Everybody WILL NOT“speak well” of us.·         The Truth in EvangelismWe also realize that not only do we enter in at the “straight gate” at the beginning, but we must continue to follow “the narrow way.” It stays narrow from the beginning to the end.  In his letter to the Church of Ephesus, Paul tell us that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers against the rulers of the darkness of this age and against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This fight, this need to “have on the whole armor of God,” continues while we live in this flesh and in this world. It is what we encounter throughout life. Jesus tells us the truth of this straight gate and narrow way. When we seek to introduce others to Jesus, we, too, must tell them the truth. True evangelism involves presenting to men and woman who Jesus isand what he has doneand what we can expect as the result of surrendering our will to the Lord’s will in true repentance, and receiving saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.            Therefore, we can conclude from Christ’s preaching on the Sermon on the Mount that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and others are notworshiping and praying to the “one God” that Pope Francis says that he also worships. One cannot enter both the straight gate and follow the narrow way and at the same time enter in at the “wide gate” to follow the “broad way”. It is Christ alone who has given His life a ransom for many. It is Christ alone who has taken “our sin in His own body on the cross so that we should be dead unto sin and alive unto righteousness, and with His stripes we are healed.” It is Christ alone who tells us that He is “the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes unto the father but by me.” Christians and non-Christians CAN NOT “worship” together! Take heed!  See that no man deceive you. Do not be taken in by the false profits. Everybody DOES NOT worship the same God.            The apostle Peter in 2ndPeter says:“Beloved, I now write to you this 2ndEpistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us, the apostle of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days,…”            We must be mindful of what Jesus and the apostles have said. We must know that Jesus said that “deceivers” will come. We must be “Berean” Christians to “search the scriptures” to see if the things that are being said (by anyone) are true.·         The Narrow WayA brief look at the “narrow way” shows that it is compatible with “the straight gate” and is “narrow” all the way. It involves the surrender of my will to God’s will (that’s called repentance) and placing my trust in Christ alone for my salvation (that’s faith). The contrast, of course, is the “broad way.” The broad way involves “every man doing that which seemeth right in his own eyes.”  The broad way is full of many who find. It is the pursuit of worldliness, ungodliness, false Gods, paganism, or no Gods at all. The narrow way is the way of the “new creation” in Jesus.·         Biblical OnenessIn looking at Jesus’ command to “strive” to enter in at the “straight gate,” we see that the Word of God does not permit any interpretation that “we are all worshipping the same God.” Only those who have been “made alive” in Christ Jesus can enter the “straight gate.” Christ is NOT a “club” that one can make a decision to join. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man can come unto the Father (i.e. enter in at the “straight gate”) but by Me.” One may theorize that “we all worship the same God,” but it is NOT SCRIPTURAL!Jesus, speaking of those that the Father has given to the Son, in John chapter17 describes true oneness to be. “…Holy Father keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be ONE as we are,,,” I do not pray for these alone, but for those who will believe in me through their word; 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.” – John 17:11ffWe are made one in Christ and only in Christ. In Paul’s great epistle to the church at Ephesus God gave to Paul the following concerning “oneness:”“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” – Ephesians 2:14-16God alone produces “oneness” in and through His only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Before there can be “oneness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “Two things must occur.” First, “men must be reconciled to God,” and second, “men must be reconciled to one another.” (From an expository sermon on these verses circa 1958) Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones goes on to say that “The Lord Jesus Christ has broken down the enmity.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones says in substance, this is NOT just bringing a Jew “and doing something to him” and taking “a Gentile and just doing something to him,” no, “This is something entirely new.”“CREATION!” “The church MUST NOT be conceived of as a coalitionof a number of parties.” “…it is…the creationof something entirely new.” There can never be a “one world church.” It may be calleda one world church, but only God can createthe church – NOT MAN. In the passage above, which completely refutes the concept that Pope Francis is reported to have said, Jesus “…makes in Himself of twain (or twenty) one new man…” According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones the words mean “to create in Himself. A creation!” A verse from an old hymn says:The church’s one foundationIs Jesus Christ her Lord;She is His new creationBy water and the Word.[1] It is clear that “oneness” is NOT just “getting along,” or some kind of an amalgamation or syncretism, but it is produced by God himself. It is a resultof being “in Christ”! No other religion claims that! No group, nor amalgamation, however well intended, can produce such “oneness.” Only those that the Father “has given” to the Son have this “oneness,” and only those who have entered at the “straight gate” can love the “narrow way.” The way is difficult. Few there are who find it. Those who enter will suffer persecution. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for the reward is great! It is eternal life!·         The Golden Rule Burden After telling the disciples of the “straight gate” and the “narrow way,” Jesus speaks of the application further in what is often referred to as “the Golden Rule.” Jesus states in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Most of us have to deal with the fact that we do not live this way. That’s why we need a Savior. Most of us have had to deal with the fact that we have a tendency to want to deal with someone as they have dealt with us. It certainly is a burden to have to treat others as you would have them treat you. This, however, is the culmination of the application of our “oneness” with Christ.  An Indian Christian by the name of Sadhu Sundar Singh speaks of his personal “burden” in an article that appeared in the spring of 1977, in the Christian Medical society Journal called CrisisVolume V31, Number 2.  There it is reported as follows:      “Sadhu Sundar Singh, a Hindu convert to Christianity, became a missionary in India. One late afternoon, Sadhu was traveling on foot through foot through the Himalayas with a Buddhist Monk. It was bitter cold, and with night coming on, the monk warned Sadhu that they were in danger of freezing to death if they did not reach the Monastery before darkness fell.Just as they were traversing a narrow path above a steep precipice, they heard a cry for help. Down the cliff lay a man, fallen and badly hurt. The monk looked at Sadhu and said, “Do not stop, God has brought this man to his fate. He must work it out himself. Let us hurry on before we too, perish.” But Sadhu, the Christian, replied; “God has sent me here to help my brother. I cannot abandon him.”The monk made off through the whirling snow, while the missionary clamored down. The man’s leg was broken. He could not walk. So, Sadhu took his blanket, made a sling of it, and tied the man on his (Sadhu’s) back. Then, bending under his burden, he began a body-torturing climb. By the time he reached the narrow path again, he was drenched with perspiration.Doggedly, he made his way on through the deepening snow. It was dark now and it was all he could do to follow the path, but he persevered. Though faint with fatigue, and overheated from exertion, he finally saw ahead the lights of the Monastery.Then, for the first, Sadhu stumbled and nearly fell, but not from weakness. Slowly he bent down on one knee and brushed snow off the object. It was the body of the monk, frozen to death. Years later, a disciple of Sadhu’s asked him, ‘what is life’s most difficult task?’ Without hesitation Sadhu replied, ‘To have no burden to carry.’”[2]            We can see from the Holy Scriptures that the true biblical oneness of which Jesus speaks in the 17thChapter of the Gospel of John differs from the so-called ecumenical oneness which is being espoused by many and which is epitomized by the statements set forth herein by Pope Francis. “Please do take heed that you be not deceived.” This is not true oneness. In Paul’s epistle to the church at Colossae, he says:            “If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of the Father. Set your affection on things above and not on the things of this world.” As we see that it is worldliness that leads one to enter in at the wide gate and travel along the broad way, which leads to destruction and many there be that find it, let us strive to enter in at the straight gate and walk along the narrow way.”May you be “ONE” with Christ, and may you have a “burden” to carry. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that Great Shepherd of the Sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every way to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ our Lord to whom be glory forever and ever Amen.

1  D. Martin Lloyd-Jones exposition on Ephesians Chapter two p. 271.[2]From the Sermon of Frank M. Barker, Jr. December 11, 1977.

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