"How many different religions are there, anyway?" was the question of the day for me a week or so ago. I was preparing a message about unity, and was curious how many different religions there actually were in the world; unfortunately, I was unable to find the answer. Maybe no one knows.
All I know is, that if you mention that you are a Christian, the very next question is always: "What church do you go to?" As if trying to figure out what "brand" or "variety" you identify with. As soon as that question is answered, the stage is set for the amount of conversation that will follow. If we agree with what we think they believe there can be some good conversation.
If, on the other hand, we don't agree with what we think they believe, the conversation can be strained at best or maybe non-existent. I find that to be a very sad statement on the condition of the Body of Christ. I was raised with a very narrow perception of what a "Christian" was; my "spiritual tunnel vision" has been greatly expanded since then.
Ephesians 4 speaks of the Body of Christ as being unified, one because of the Spirit that fills and animates it. Listen to the passage starting at verse 2: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 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 in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."
The Bible speaks of the Church being the "body of Christ" with each of us being an important member of that body. In the Ephesians 4 passage, we are told that as members of that body we fill certain needs, perform certain functions, such as: "... Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers ..." to mention just a few.
I Corinthians 12 speaks of the spiritual gifts, or abilities that God gives to each of His children to accomplish Kingdom work here on this earth. Then, in verse 12 of that chapter it says, "The body is a unit although it is made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free -- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
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