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“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” [Mark 12.29; Deuteronomy 6.4]

Oneness… unity for which the glory was given to us, His disciples, will continue to elude us when we fail to remember what oneness is.

From the beginning the Lord tried to show us that oneness is not sameness and not even harmonious agreement.  In the very beginning God planted a garden… meaning one garden.  It does not say that God planted gardens, but rather, the word is:  …a garden… [Genesis 2.8]

There was only one garden, but within that garden there was variety, and that variety worked together for the beauty of the garden.  There were many different types of trees bearing different fruits.  That in itself is a picture of the Kingdom of God – different people bearing different fruits for the one kingdom.

What matters the most for each individual of course is whether you are in the kingdom or not.  If you are not, whatever you are does not matter.   It is like any tree, if it is not in the garden, then it does not matter to the gardener.  So, it is important to realise that we are to belong to one kingdom.  As such, we have to choose between the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.  We cannot be in both.

The Lord gave us choices to be one… that is, from the beginning He gave man a choice as to where he wanted to be:  in the one garden or in the multitude of wildernesses.  To obey the one command or not at all… that is, to be one or not… to have one or not.  If you do not have one, you have either nothing or many, both of which is not one.  And without the one, there is no oneness.

Israel lost its oneness the moment they did not want to listen to the Lord directly, but asked Moses to have God speak to him and then he should speak to them.  They were no longer listening to the one voice of God, but to the voice of a man translating what he had heard to them.  As such, they were never really one nation, but rather, twelve tribes that had to live as one.  Their eventual split into the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah was inevitable.  The moment Israel stopped listening to the one voice of God and forced God to speak to them through prophets, the rise of many prophetic voices was birthed and the appearance of the false began.

God began everything for us with one.  One man in one garden with one command.  When Adam began to listen to more than one, he fell.  So when Jesus came, the restoration began… the sanctity of oneness was restored.  One man to  follow – Jesus.  One command to obey – listen to Him.  One kingdom to enter – the Kingdom of God.  Born again by the one Spirit through one faith through one baptism, that of the Holy Spirit.

It is to Israel that water baptism was given, but water baptism does not avail for the person the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of Heaven.  For John the Baptist’s message was, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” [Matthew 3.2] which is really no gospel, for to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, death was entailed, not a new birth.

It is the baptism by Jesus that avails the Holy Spirit for a person to be born again… born again from above that they may enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus offered one kingdom for those who believed Him, and another for those who repented but did not believe Him.

To this oneness, we can now add the one purpose for our lives – to fulfil the words of Jesus so that He can return.

This is how true oneness begins:  For all to be listening to the one Lord, practising His commands under the supervision of the one Spirit, for the one purpose of raising up the one kingdom He came to establish, the Kingdom of God, for the one purpose – His return to reign on the Earth.  Having established that oneness, then to display the beauty of the grandeur through the variety of the many who are one until the glory of the Lord that fills the Earth is seen by all.

So, let us go as one to where the Lord is waiting for the Lord to arrive with the full understanding of why the Lords our God is ONE.

Hr. Ed Kwan

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NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com

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