A plurality of elders (shepherds, bishops, overseers) is to shepherd the daily lives and activities of the single ecclesia in every city for the purpose of demonstrating and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
The beginning point in any recovery is where we are now. The first step is for the present senior leaders of the various expressions of the church to prayerfully and proactively make a highly prioritized and strategic effort to get to know one another.
Paul’s words to the believers in Ephesus remind us that we will never attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ unless or until we first are being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul prefaced these insightful expectations with some great counsel concerning essential attitude adjustments: I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Simply stated, Christ in you is the hope of glory. Affirm that you are fellows in the same ship! You have the same Father. You have been born of the same Spirit (who is in you, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure).
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The road forward into the fullness of God’s will and purpose is fraught with potholes. Low berms lead to ditches (extremes) on both sides of the road. For some of us, we must first climb out of a ditch and learn to gracefully and graciously affirm one another’s legitimacy as sons of the living God, called to and anointed for His service.
Trust takes time. But the first step only takes a moment—perhaps today! Let’s relax and enjoy one another. We will find it refreshing just to be together in the obedience of faith.
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