Evening Reading for October 2

John 17:21-26
Suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

We can ask no stronger proof of the value of unity among Christians and the sinfulness of division than the great prominence which our Master assigns to the subject in this passage. How painfully true it is that in every age divisions have been the scandal of religion and the weakness of the church of Christ! How often Christians have wasted their strength in contending against their brethren, instead of contending against sin and the devil! How repeatedly they have given occasion to the world to say, `When you have settled your own internal differences we will believe!' All this, we need not doubt, the Lord Jesus foresaw with prophetic eye. It was the foresight of it which made him pray so earnestly that believers might be `one'.

Let the recollection of this part of Christ's prayer abide in our minds and exercise a constant influence on our behaviour as Christians. Let no man think lightly, as some men seem to do, of schism, or count it a small thing to multiply sects, parties and denominations. These very things, we may depend, only help the devil and damage the cause of Christ. `If it be possible, as much as lieth in us, let us live peaceably with all men' (Rom. 12:18). Let us bear much, concede much and put up with much, before we plunge into secessions and separations. They are movements in which there is often much false fire. Let rabid zealots who delight in sect-making and party-forming rail at us and denounce us if they please. We need not mind them. So long as we have Christ and a good conscience, let us patiently hold on our way, follow the things that make for peace and strive to promote unity. It was not for nothing that our Lord prayed so fervently that his people might be `one'.

For meditation: Let us make every effort to be in harmony with our fellow believers. Are we not members of one spiritual family?

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ