By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Boise, ID. January 23, 2000

There is
one body, and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

1. One God
Idolatry was the first and toughest elementary misconception that God had to get men past. Men worshiped anything that brought them pleasure, gain or anything they feared that had the mastery over them. The concept of there being only one God seemed to be foreign to men as they became more and more corrupt in the earth.
   There was a god for everything. There was a point where the enemies of Israel comforted themselves with losing a battle with the thought that Jehovah was a god of the mountains and not one of the plains and that is why Israel won the battle.

1Kings 20:23,28
And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, "Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we: but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they."
And a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, "Thus says Jehovah, Because the Syrians have said, 'Jehovah is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys;' therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am Jehovah."

   Israel was instructed by God to know the truth about his nature and being.

Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:

And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make unto you a graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down yourself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah your God am a jealous God..."

Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.
And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I established the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and that shall come to pass, let them declare. Do not fear, neither be afraid: have I not declared unto you of old, and showed it? and you are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no Rock; I know not any.

Remember this, and show yourselves men; bring it again to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me;

Even down to the first century in the fullness of time, men were still gripped in the ignorance and folly of idolatry. 

...knowing God, they did not glorify him as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.

   Even today after 2000+ years of knowing the truth, there are still doctrines being taught of many gods. In the East men bow down and worship monsters. Buddhism and Shintoism with their thousands of deities. And even in the West there are the Mormons who limit God by teaching that he was a man at one point like us, and that Adam was Jehovah; and that Mormons will become gods of creation in turn.
   But there is only one God; the eternal, ineffable, transcendent, holy, all powerful, all knowing creator of all. There is not any little man behind the curtain pulling levers. God is the foundation of reality and truth - and there can be only one.
   But what about other challenges to this elementary fact. Just suppose for a moment that the UFO phenomena was verified to be a fact, and that aliens came out openly to the world. Suppose now, that they can move in and out of the spiritual dimension at will, first becoming physical and then disappearing into another dimension again. And the message they have for mankind is that they were there at man's beginning, that man is a product of their bio-engineering, (which is not unlike the Star Trek episodes we are fed every night) that they are essentially our creators, our god. Who are you going to believe? There is only one God.
Jehovah has been telling us that for over 4,000 years. If it turns out there are such beings, then who created them? There is only one God, and he is above all and through all and in you all.

2. One Son (Lord)
   There is only one Lord, one, only begotten son. What does that mean? 

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten from a Father, full of grace and truth.

    Not just the glory of an only begotten son of a father, but it could be that these terms are treated as proper names. Only Begotten from Father. The Father in the absolute sense, the one from whom everyone who is called "father" in heaven and on earth derives his paternal character. 

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

   The Son also, the "only Son" is the only one, not just the sole son of a father, but the absolute model and prototype of everyone among the human race who bears the name, only Son.
   Jesus said, "All things that are mine are yours, and all things that are yours are mine." That is the quality of being an only Son. Only begotten means that there is no "other begotten". He is the only one.

   There has been in the world for a long time the idea of Avatars. I'll coin a word here and now: Avatarism.
That Jesus was just one in a long line of times that God was manifesting himself in the flesh. Mohamed of Islam also taught this, and the majority of religious people in the world right now believe him. (The Muslims) This idea is becoming more popular in the west now also. That Zororaster, Krishna, Buddha, and Maher Baba, etc., are all the manifestations of God in the flesh.
   What happens next? Suppose that a man appears on the earth saying great words and doing awesome miracles, and his claim is that he is and once was, Jesus. Who are you going to believe?
   Christianity does not leave any room for anyone else. Jesus is the only begotten. There is only one.

Acts 4:10-12 
" it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him does this man stand here before you whole. He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved."

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the evil one. And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and life eternal. My little children, guard yourselves from idols.

There is only one begotten of the father. There is only one Son given, just as there is only one father - the one true God.

3. One Spirit
There is only one Spirit. Just as there is only one God and only one "only begotten" it would follow that there is only one Spirit. This is the Spirit that reveals one truth and that, of necessity, since there is only one reality who's foundation is the only creator, the one true God. 

...receiving the end result of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, they ministered these things, which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven; which things angels desire to look into.

   Of course we know there are many spirits, even evil spirits. So what we are referring to is that there is only one Spirit sent from God to reveal truth.

1Jno.3:24-4:6  (cf. Jno.8:47) 
And he that keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he gave us. 
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know you the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  and every spirit that confesses not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof you have heard that it comes; and now it is in the world already.  You are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world hears them.  We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

   Since there is only one God, you have to be of him and know him, in order to recognize his Spirit and the glad tidings of truth he reveals. God calls him "My Spirit". Paul calls him the Spirit of Christ, since Jesus received him from the Father and sent him to us.
   God is not going to send the apostles Peter and John to you to convey any new truth, like Joseph Smith of the Mormons claimed. There is only one truth and one Spirit who revealed it to the apostles.

4. One Faith

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.

    There is not room for any other faith because there is no room for any other revelation or doctrine.

I marvel that you are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a another different gospel; which is not another of the same kind only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so I now say again, if any man preaches unto you any gospel other than that which you received, let him be anathema. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

   There is only one faith. Joseph Smith, if (let us suppose) he really did see an angel that gave him the much different doctrine that he taught - then Moroni was a demon, not an angel, and Smith, not having his heart grounded in the one faith, did not care what Paul said, and so believed a lie. Actually, I do not give him that much credit. I think he was just a bald faced liar and a gold digger who never saw an angel or a demon.
   There can be only one faith because there is only one truth. Jude 1-4 "the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." And since there is only one faith, there can be only one doctrine (teaching).

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he has borne witness concerning his Son. He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that does not believe God hath made him a liar; because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning his Son. And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which we have wrought, but that you receive a full reward. Whoever goes onward and remains not in the teaching of Christ, does not have God: he that remains in the teaching, the same has both the Father and the Son. If any one comes unto you, and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that gives him greeting partakes in his evil works.

5. One Body
    Now since there is only one doctrine there can be only one church - one body of Christ. This is so because the major thing that denominates churches is their teaching, the opinions they hold that make them distinct, i.e. heresies. 
   There can be only one body because there is only one head, Jesus Christ. 

...and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly realm, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one coming: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.

Jesus died so that there might be a unity of the spirit in one body.

As you sent me into the world, even so I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I consecrate myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in Truth. Not about these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you have given me I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.

 So, since there is only one God and one only begotten Son, and one Spirit revealing one truth which we believe in one faith, there has to be only one body, united to its one head, taking direction from him in one doctrine.

6. One Hope
   Since all of this is true, there can be only one hope, or expectation. It is not to attain to God consciousness and dissolve into Nirvana, nor is it to come back in the flesh over and over again until (like the movie Groundhog Day) we finally get it right.

And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this, judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopes for that which he sees? But if we hope for that which we do not see, then do we with patience wait for it. And in like manner the Spirit also helps our infirmity: for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

 The one hope is to be with God in glory by the resurrection from the dead at the last day or by your own passing in death.

Now if Christ is preached that he has been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised: and if Christ has not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised: and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. But now has Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death. For, "He put all things in subjection under his feet." But when he says, "All things are put in subjection", it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him. And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.

There is only one hope because there is only one reality in truth, so there can be only one after-life, one result of salvation to expect.

7. One Immersion
   Since there is only one hope, therefore that is the expectation for which we were saved. Rom.8:24 "in this hope we were saved." The prerequisite of the resurrection is to have spiritual life.

Jesus said to them. "I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall not hunger, and he that believes on me shall never thirst. But I said to you, that you have seen me, and yet do not believe. All that which the Father gives me shall come unto me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I am come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholds the Son, and believes on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

   To be raised at the last day, you must have spiritual life now. In order to have spiritual life now you must be born anew of the Spirit. 

Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus says to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound thereof, but do not know from where it comes, and to where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior, and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

   The washing of regeneration is the "bath of the new birth". There is only one washing of the new birth. It is not a Catholic thing or a Lutheran thing or a Baptist ritual. It is the one immersion that Christ commanded for anyone who wants to be saved.

And he said to them, "Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves shall be condemned.

   That is where our faith is exercised by believing what God is doing in our immersion.

...having been buried with him in immersion, wherein you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses;

 There is only one immersion - it is the real one that is for the remission of sins.

Acts 2:38 
And Peter said unto them, Repent you, and be immersed every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 True Christianity is exclusive. It has to be. Because there is only one God.

1Jno.5:19-21 (which will have more meaning now) 
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the evil one. And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and life eternal. My little children, guard yourselves from idols.

~ Invitation ~