SOLD, Graphite on Paper, Framed, 96cm x 30cm (39″ x 12″) | Print Code: JTBA12 | Print Sizes: A5, A4, A3, Oversize
“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 and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6)
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” (1 John 5:1)
As God quickened these Scriptures to me he also gave me the idea for this drawing about unity in the body of Christ. It features 12 representatives of different Christian denominations and organizations in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, working together to fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. All the representatives believe the foundational truths of the Christian faith:
–Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
–He died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins.
–He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
–Eternal Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace–not by works, given to those who repent of their sins and, by faith, receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord.
At the present time, unfortunately, we cannot hide the painful fact that there is a lot of division amongst those who share belief in these common truths. Doctrinal disputes and peripheral issues have become dividing walls of hostility within the body of Christ and have led to much bitterness, unforgiveness, self-righteousness and slander. Division grieves the heart of God…especially when we consider Jesus’ prayer for all of us the night before he died for us, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17:20-21)
When I read 1 John 5:1 (above), God quickened to my heart that all believers love the same Father, and if we love our Father, we will also love all his other children (in different denominations) as well. With God, there is no favoritism, he loves all his children just the same (Romans 2:11).
I hope we all come to the understanding that all of us Christians are in the same boat together, having their minds renewed to God’s one absolute truth…just in different areas. None of us are exempt from this, and we would do well to be humble, teachable and willing to be corrected. In my experience, I have found that the distinctives in each denomination are oftentimes (though not all the time) precious facets of God’s truth that we need to embrace rather than fear and fight against.
My hope and prayer in doing this drawing is that we would be humbled and brought to repentance over the self-righteousness, pride and divisions residing in our own hearts, and that we would begin to possess the true mark of a Christian according to Jesus, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35)
Ultimately, my hope is that our love for one another and our unity will bring about a miraculous catch of men’s souls.
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” (John 17:23-25)
There are two Scripture references about Christian unity featured on the side of the boat: Ephesians 4:2-6 and John 17:23-25.
From left to right:
1) Rev. Jacob Yung
Chinese Anglican Church of Hobart
2) Rev. David Jones
Cornerstone Presbyterian Church
Vision 100 (a network of church leaders working together to plant 100 churches in Tasmania)
3) Rev. Alex Kornaczewski
St. Thomas Anglican Church of Howrah
4) Ps. John Smith
CityGate Baptist Church, Mornington
5) Ps. Phil Constantine
(Apostolic) Northern Suburbs Family Church, Glenorchy
6) Carolyn Atkinson
Founder, Performing Arts Ministry, Energizer Life Church
7) Joanne Pang
President, Overseas Christian Fellowship, University of Tasmania, Hobart
8) Scott Haas
Program Director, Brekky Announcer, Ultra106Five Radio, Hobart
9) Anna Gregory
Tasmanian State Director for Australian Christian Women
10) Ps. Dirk Petrusma
Howrah Church of Christ
11) Helen Behrens
Teacher, Southern Christian College, Kingston
12) Rev. Reg Chopping