July 23, 2021
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It was one of those rare mornings off for our Native American outreach team and someone had arranged for us to take a brief raft trip down the beautiful Snake River in Wyoming. Our guide pointed out these incredible sights along the way including a stand of tall Aspen trees along the bank. He told us that Aspens actually have a single root system. In other words, that stand of trees all came from the same root, just branching out a lot of different directions. That's amazing! And then our guide who I hope wasn't just putting on some dumb tourists said that the largest living thing in the world is in Colorado, a giant stand of Aspen trees. All the product of a single root. Many, many trees, one root. . .
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Largest Single Living Thing."
Now in a sense, you and I may be a part of what is the largest single living thing in the world. Ephesians 4:4-5 talks about the family of Jesus Christ on earth - His church. Here's what it says, "There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Realize what these verses have just told us. There are many people who have been to that same cross that you went to for forgiveness - one cross, same empty tomb - all for the same eternal life. They belong to the same Savior, and as different and even as difficult as some of them may be, every believer comes from that single root - Jesus Christ; same cross, same Savior, same Father, same indwelling Holy Spirit, going to the same heaven.
Now, our word for today, Ephesians 4:3, we've got to act like we are one. It says this, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Notice it says keep the unity of the Spirit. Apparently unity is the natural state of people in whom Christ lives. Christians working together, staying together is not something to be achieved, that's the way Jesus set it up. It's something to be preserved. And you'd better believe the enemy of Jesus is doing everything he can to put walls and hard feelings and categories and egos between us. Why? Well, first because it breaks the heart of our Savior when those He loves don't love each other. Secondly, because Satan knows the power of Christians standing together as opposed to standing separately. Philippians 1:27, "Stand firm in one spirit contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed." Now, does that verse describe the way Christians are working in your community, in one spirit, as one man, even in your own church? By the way, how many Christian churches are there in your town? If you ask Jesus, He'd probably say one - His church, meeting in different locations.
Keeping us one is hard work. It says, "Make every effort." You put a lot of energy into it because our egos tear us apart, our differences, our labels, our categories, our jealousies, and the enemy is always trying to get a wedge in. Where is he succeeding in your relationships, your church, your community? Well, don't let it stay that way! If there is any brother or sister you have a problem with, who has a problem with you, make every effort to bridge the gap. If there is any division in your church or your ministry, offer yourself to God as the peacemaker. If the churches in your area are operating as if they have separate roots, begin to pull people together to pray and work together. Maybe this reconciliation needs to start right in your own family? Put a lot of effort into keeping the unity that God expects from His children.
I'm not sure about that Aspen stand being the largest single living thing in the world. The church of Jesus Christ isn't a thing, but it should be the largest single living organism in the world with all our roots going back to an old rugged cross, an empty tomb, and a single Savior.