John 17:22-23 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. 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.” NIV
There didn’t seem to be any shortage of cemeteries in Newfoundland. Every tiny wide place in the road hosted at least two, side-by-side, separated by whitewashed rail fences. Usually there were only a few buried on one side, with many more on the other, and sometimes there were as many as five or six cemeteries side by side! So what was the difference between each of these? Just one tiny thing: Over the gate of each cemetery was a sign, and each sign sported a different word. Some read “Anglican”, others read “United”, and still others “Pentecostal”. Some read Catholic or Baptist, Jehovah Witness, Salvation Army, or Seventh-Day Adventist.
Friends, can we, as Christians, not even be united in death?
Imagine the following:
An Anglican (no harm intended here. It could also be a Seventh-Day Adventist or a Pentecostal or any other denomination) dies and goes to heaven. While wondering where to locate his church friends who had died before him, he (let’s call him Jim) meets Frank who is Pentecostal.
“Frank? Is that you? What are you doing here?”
“Hi Jim. Well I died two years ago and now I am enjoying the company of angels.”
“But weren’t you Pentecostal?”
“Sure I was. But you know what, in heaven there are no denominations!”
“No denominations?” exclaims Jim, “but who are all these people walking the golden celestial streets then?”
“Those are the ones who have been redeemed from the earth through the blood of Jesus Christ.” (see Rev 14:3-4).
“But what about my friend Rob? He was a firm believer in my church. Is he here?”
“He believed that he could obtain salvation through his own works and consequently discredited believers from other denominations. As I said, there are NO denominations here. We are ALL followers of Jesus Christ, and we are so thankful for what Jesus did for us on the cross.”
“You mean there are no Anglicans in heaven?”
“Only the ones who believed in Jesus and not in their own works or church. The same goes for members of ANY denomination. Anyone who died believing that their church could save them learned, too late, that it is only the Blood of Jesus that can save, not a set of doctrinal beliefs.”
Sad, isn’t it? But oh, so true! There are NO denominations in heaven! Why? Because no one can be saved by denomination, by pastors, even by doctrine. Salvation is solely obtained through the Blood of the Lamb. Jesus is the only One who saved us. By ourselves we are nothing.
So, if there are no denominations in Heaven, why do we fight and bicker over doctrinal differences? Didn’t Jesus pray FOUR TIMES that we, as Christians would be one, just as He and His Heavenly Father are one? Why aren’t we? Is it because we don’t let Jesus be the head of our church? The apostle Paul is clear on this: Col 2:10 “You have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” NIV
Truth is not a set of rules, nor is it a church or a denomination. Truth is a person. Truth is Jesus Christ. John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” NIV
Inner peace and rest for the soul is not obtainable through your church. Only Jesus can give us that: Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” NIV
If Jesus is our salvation, why do we stress denominational differences so much? Why not fulfill Jesus’ prayer and be united as one, proclaiming the Good News message and not our denominational differences? Only then will the world know that Jesus was sent by God for the benefit of humanity. (See John 17:22-23)
Which denomination’s cemetery would you like to be buried in? Personally, I vote to be buried in Jesus Christ. What about you?