From the Pastor’s heart
Joh_10:30 I and My Father are one. Deu_6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Unity is a matter of the Spirit of God residing in us. In spite of the diversity of our natures in both spiritual and secular pursuits the common factor that links us when we believe is the Spirit of God. This unity is created in Christ and is displayed in the body of Christ through the diversity of its members and the linking of the Head (Jesus) with His body (the Church).
Individual pursuits in life of a believer does not disengage them from the body provided they are in the faith. This means they can work, do business and do ministry as pursuits by God’s will and design and still be a part of God’s unity in the body. This is freedom in Christ, to be what He calls us to be no matter where we find ourselves in the body. God is not conforming us to each other but to His Son Jesus. In Him, we have both diversity and unity. This is the world view we must have of the body of Christ known as the Church today. Yet that unity is a matter of righteousness and not one’s understanding of what unity is to look like. For example; if a brother in the Lord is of a different culture and does not conform to our culture or knowledge of the faith, we may think that they are not part of the body of Christ. Equally, social and financial standing of a brother may amount to the same rejection. James puts it this way; Jas 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. Jas 2:2For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; Jas 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Jas 2:4Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Jas 2:5Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Division in the Church over everything from doctrine to respectability has decimated the Church and depleted it of the power of unity which is to command the blessings of the Lord according to Psa 133:1A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psa 133:2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; Psa 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. More has been lost in the way of the presence of God amongst us and His blessings through disunity than any other way.
Imagine a household rife with strife and each member living a wayward life depleted of any consideration for one another’s well being or the common good. There can be no presence of joy or peace let alone any material or spiritual blessing. Likewise, when there is evil present in the body through division and disunity there comes all manner of depletion that is hard to explain at times because sometimes the division is subtle. By this I mean, disagreement. There is no disagreement in unity. Imagine of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit disagreed on matters no matter how tiny an issue they may be. We would have chaos. That is why the word of God is the keeper of unity in all cases. There is no other standard. We all must bow to the word and accept it universally just like the triune God does. He values His word above His name. The problems that arise come through the lack of understanding of the word of God.
When Jesus said; “My words are Spirit and life”; He meant that it is the source of all unification of The Godhead along with us as God’s creation. Without His words in us, there can be no unification between God and His people. It is the Holy Spirit that brings revelation of the words of God that produces life in us. Even as the Spirit is life, it is life to us by His word that lives in us. That word is Jesus. The Son is the unifier of all things in heaven and earth by bringing it all under the Lordship of Himself. Mar 13:31Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. The unifier therefore is the word as He remains and sustains all life and the universe itself. Heb 1:3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, Heb 1:11They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
Many denominations and local church bodies have sought unification or even unity but have scarcely succeeded. Suspicion and fear along with doctrinal differences keep them apart. Yet, it is the one God called Jesus we all purport to worship. Even within likeminded churches, I have found that unity is difficult to maintain as each one may have a different vision or viewpoint on how things are to be done. I have struggled to understand many who have pushed unity or the lack of unity in Churches using that bandwagon to say we are divided because of the lack of unity. Yet, we cannot seem to agree on the most basic of matters regarding the Church and the word of God.
Within Churches, we see much disunity causing disagreement on vision and direction that the local church should take. This has resulted in splits and a bad spirit residing in the church. I have discovered that the Lord has unity of the Spirit in mind based on agreement between brothers and between churches. This may last for a season or may last longer than that. It is the changing nature of life itself that decides what remains and what is removed. When Jesus came to the earth, He brought division with Him. He separated the old from the new and the Law from grace as His new doctrine. This brought division on earth resulting in death to many who had believed in a way of life that was not valid even though they worshiped God. This is scary. What must we learn from this as the Church?
I believe the warnings in the teachings of Jesus are very clear as to what one believes and practices in daily Christian living. Being born again does not exclude a person from the rigors of conformity to Christ and His ways. Jesus goes far as to say the following Rom 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. The reasoning here is, if we have the Spirit of Christ in us, we are united with Christ and thereby God. If not, we are not united with Him even if we claim to be one of His. This means, we have to ensure that the Spirit of Christ lives in us at all times. We cannot have a coming and going from the body as though it was a train station or a bus that we can hop on and off whenever we feel like. Samson used to have the Spirit come on him and leave regularly as he needed the Spirit. Though he was used by God, he lived a wayward life and paid a great penalty for his failure to understand righteousness and holiness before his God.
We, on the other hand have been given the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit so that we do not walk in and out of the Spirit. This means, if we pursue our own way with total disregard to the Spirit who lives in us, one day, he will exit permanently. If the Spirit of God can come in to reside, he can also choose to leave. Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Heb 6:5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
What does this all mean? How is one to achieve unity with God and his fellow believer? I believe the Spirit of God in us is the secret. He teaches us how to walk in unity with God and man. He uses the word bringing us into compliance so that we do not deviate from the truth. To love is the key to unity. Yet, it is an elusive pursuit in the faith because of its demands. To love the unloved, the unlovable or the one who does not want to be loved can be a very trying thing. I have seen marriages put back together and perfect harmony (unity) achieved on all matters through love. Love demands death to self.
Death to self is not compromise but unification of what is lost with what is life. This is what Jesus did for us on the cross. Let us never forget that. In order to bring us into oneness with Him and the Father, He used the Spirit and word but first He died to fulfil the wishes of His estranged Father. No compromise but submission to God’s will. When we submit to God’s will, we bring unity and it is sustained by love. Joh 17:21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Unity of the Spirit is achievable. It just won’t look like what we think it should be. When we learn what it means, we will accept what it looks like. The hand is not the toe or the eye the mouth. Let us understand that unity is about diversity moving in the one direction through the Spirit of God. Look for the Spirit of God.
Lots of love