Since God is love and the manifestation of that love is Jesus, the essence of the new creation church is relationship. In Jesus we are loved. In Jesus we are joined to the heavenly family and in Jesus we are joined to each other. God and humanity are literally one in Jesus and we are together as one in the Son of Man.
Being in Jesus is not us working hard. It is Him working in us, and more to the point for church life, it is Jesus as us.
There is no unity outside the Son of Man. Unity does not come to us because we desire it, uphold it or meet together telling ourselves that we are in unity.' The lack of unity we experience will continue to occur until we accept that Christ produces unity and that unity does not produce Christ. Let's live in the new covenant.
The unity spoken of in Matt 17 comes about when we are in Christ and as a result in the Father. Because of our comfort in Him our love tanks are full and we are enjoying the unity of the sons and daughters of God. It's not more faith, more community or more unity people need. It's more Jesus. In Jesus all these things are ours in abundance.
Unity does not come from the flesh, from any form of apostolic government or notions of one church in the city. It comes when heaven is in us because Christ is in us. People are one despite their denominational orientation and location when they are in Christ and loving each other with His love. Should we think that 'government on His shoulders' is anything similar to the strength derived from notoriety or position in a hierarchy, we will have missed the new creation church entirely and overlooked what Jesus said about 'ruling over one another.' It would seem that some versions of fatherhood, sonship and apostleship while emphasizing 'fathers' have more of the flavour of the papacy about them than they do with submitting to each other in love.
A remarkable curiosity is the phenomenon of leaders who wax eloquent on the new creation yet run old creation church polities. God's unity is always relational and never a contrivance of the flesh. In a post entitled, A New Kind of Unity, Ron McGatlin writes of the church unity Jesus creates by drawing us into Himself so that we live in His life rather than in a life that is ours with Him added as a footnote.
'The oneness of love is producing a new kind of real unity in which some today are beginning to walk. The new unity is our becoming one Spirit with God and thereby one with those who are in Him. One love, one faith, one life of Christ who is alland in all. This is the reality of the potential of all the world becoming “in Christ.” The one King in heaven and on earth head of allthings in whom all thing consist. Love, God’s love, is the substance by which all things are brought under the feet of Christ.'
It's curious that many of us talk a lot about building the Kingdom, yet end up working to establish the same old, same old. The more things change the more they remain the same. This happens either because we do not know what Jesus meant by the new creation or because we are intent on attracting attention and making a name for ourselves as one of the boys or as a mover and shaker in what for us is a stage on which to strut. Fortunately such structures often come to nothing - which is fortunate because they are tares.
Stephen Crosby writes, 'City church is a concept/belief that only one church legitimately exists in a any city, and that it should be overseen by elders of the city, who then submit to regional apostles (overseers, bishops, superintendents–whatever your tradition calls the greater function.).
The idea and its variants are prevalent in many so-called apostolic and prophetic groups and communions today, though not confined to those groups. It’s proposed that God wants to restore governmental order to the church under geographic delineations so it can fulfill its destiny in unity. Some consider the concept as essential for the realization of John 17 unity. In this lengthier (apologies in advance) than normal blog, I present twelve considerations or challenges to this idea. I am endeavoring to explore the implications, motives, and pitfalls inherent with the idea. I hope to make the case that relationships, not geography, nor hierarchy, establish spiritual authority and spiritual jurisdictions.' The entire post is here.