8/4/2018 UNITY Begins at Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAzBOGA2JPA (left click to listen/watch)
Being together is unity
When we think about unity, we think about 'oneness', like mindedness coming together for a single goal.
The word 'unity' pops up twice in the bible, once in Psalms 133 and the other in Ephesians 4. The Hebrew word is yachad (3162) which carries the connotation of together, likewise, all at once, unity. The Greek word is henotes (1775) with the meanings of oneness, unanimity (unanimous), unity.
Webster defines it as oneness, not divided, harmony, totality of related parts and solidarity, among some other like designations.
So we might say that unity is multiple single parts coming together for a single purpose or to function as a single unit.
When we talk about unity we have to start with God.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form, void and darkness was upon the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:1-2). Essentially there was nothing. Existence (outside of God) was empty and void. Interesting to note how this describes vanity as well. There was darkness because light was not yet brought into existence. Then God said “Let there be light” and there was light (Gen 1:3). The word waters (Strong’s 4325, mayim) implies that whatever was, was like a thick juice, even like waste material, like urine, or perhaps it was like the makings of life as in semen. Nonetheless, it was nothingness, it was a mass. It was one. It was in unity.
But in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2). All things were made by the Word and He was (is) life and that life is the light of men (John 1:3-4). The Word was made flesh and lived among us and is the only “begotten” of the Father (John 1:14). Everything that God, the Father is, dwelled in Jesus for it pleased the Father that the fullness of the Godhead dwell in Him (Col. 2:9). There is unity in the Godhead, three manifestations in the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, yet one God. Through our ‘salvation’ experience, He draws us into that unity so that we are conformed to the image of Jesus. Jesus becomes the firstborn of many brothers (Rom 8:29) and if we are His brothers, we are joint heirs in the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:16-17). Oh! By the way, think about it. Jesus is in unity with the Father, the Holy Ghost, who dwells within us, is in unity with the Father and the Son so this means that we are in unity with the Father, through Jesus, our Lord because the Holy Ghost dwells within us (John 14:26, John 17:20-21, John 20:22, Acts 1:4-5, Acts 2:1-4)! God does desire unity with man!
God is the ultimate of unity so we have to start with Him and as we abide in Christ as Jesus abides in the Father we conform to God in unity.
Let’s look at the “true vine” for a bit (John 15:1-10).
Jesus tells us that He is the true vine and God the Father is the husbandman (John 15:1). The husbandman takes care of the vine, feeds it, waters it, gives it everything it needs to survive. The husbandman trims, or cuts off, the dead branches that don’t bear fruit so that the remaining branches can become strong and bear even more fruit because they are no longer encumbered by the dead branches. The branches don’t exist on their own. They need to be connected to the vine in order to
live (John 15:2-4). They have to be in unity with the vine.
Jesus is our vine and we are His branches and because He is our life source, we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). Yet, PTL, we can do all things through Him (Phil. 4:13). Further confirmation of our need of unity with the Lord.
Jesus tells us that when we don’t ‘live’ in Him, that is yield our lives to Him, striving to be like Him, we become withered (dead) branches and are cast aside to be burned (eternal damnation) (John 15:6). However as we do yield ourselves to Him, His Word comes alive in our lives and our relationship grows closer to Him. As we grow closer to Him we discover that whatsoever we ask – He will give us (John 15:7). And as we yield ourselves to Jesus, we bear fruit, that is the love of God flows through us to those around us guiding new souls into the kingdom of God. And because we live and witness for Jesus, people will know that we follow Him and are His disciples (John 15:8). As His disciples, we are growing in to deeper unity with the Father through the Son.
Our Father has loved the Son. The Son has loved us so we need to discover and live in the love of Christ (God is love – 1 John 4:7-8). We do this by doing our best to keep His commandments which is “to love” (Matt. 22:36-40), because He keeps the Father’s commandments, which is to love. Ergo, we become a reflection of God’s love so the world can see that love in true operation (John 15:9-10).
As we abide in the love of God, we come into unity with the Father through the Son because the Holy Ghost resides in our hearts.
Being in unity with God, means that we do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21-25)
Pyrite is called ‘fool’s gold’ because, even though it looks like gold, it is not. It is a weak and worthless imitation of the real thing. And even though it glitters like gold, all that glitters is not gold.
We have to solidify our walk with Christ Jesus in order to have unity with anyone else (John 15:7-13)
Like pyrite, many will claim to be Christian. They may even prophecy in the name of Jesus. They may do some wonderful works, even cast out devils, in the name of Jesus. Yet Jesus will say “Only those who do the will of my Father shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. I never knew you, depart you who work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21-23)”. The Scribes and Pharisees and even the priests did the right things but Jesus blasted them because their hearts were far from Him (Matt. 15:7-9). They didn’t know Him. Those church leaders observed rituals and loved to be prominent before man but they never took the time to get to know Jesus. For had they followed Jesus, they would surely have been more concerned for the welfare of others than of themselves. They would have been in unity with the Father and God’s true love would have been prominent in their lives. Jesus tells us to love others as He has loved us remembering that He gave the greatest expression of love when He died on the cross cleansing us from our sins (John 15:7-13, Heb. 9:14) and, of course, rose from the dead (Rom. 10:9).
We come into unity with fellow Christians for there is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Corinth. 6:14-18)
Unity is enhanced as we ‘hang out’ with and fellowship with other believers (Heb. 10:25). Unity is formed as we remember who He is, that is imitate His love and fellowship with others who also remember. He has given each and every one who believes on Him the Holy Ghost as a comforter and enabling us to be witness for His love (John 15:14-27). And the Holy Ghost does confirm who we are and who are our brothers (1 John 1:1-13) in the Lord so we continue with those who have a similar heart, a heart expressing the love of God and that common bond implies that we are in unity.
Some evidences of being a child of God include the fruit of the Spirit being visible in our lives, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We have crucified (or are crucifying) the lusts of the flesh as we live in His Spirit (Gal. 5:24). We set aside trying to make ourselves look good (so we can feel good about ourselves). We don’t envy what others have and don’t provoke others (we are peacemakers (Matt. 5:9)). When Jesus shared the “Beatitudes” (Matt. 5:1-12) with His disciples, it was to help us with guidance in living our lives. Don’t get me wrong, we do continually try to improve ourselves But not at the expense of others as we put them before us (Rom. 12:10).
We need to always remember that the kingdom of God is not just food and drink but it is living in His righteousness and peace and having joy in the Holy Ghost. This is acceptable before God as well as giving us favor with man (Rom. 14:17-19).
We need to put on the breastplate of faith and love and know who we are in Christ Jesus. Through Jesus, we are destined for eternal life with the Father so we should live completely in Him, for Him and by Him. We need to endeavor to edify those around us and honor and respect those whom God has placed over us. If we can’t live peaceably among ourselves, how can we introduce souls to the Lord? If we can’t live peaceably, why would anyone want to associate with us? We need to be patient with those who are not at the same level of growth as we but in love, help those who are weaker to come into better alignment with God’s love. Jesus reminds us not to do evil towards anyone but treat all with respect. We should have a rejoicing spirit within us always having an attitude of prayer, seeking Father in all situations. Thank God for all that He does for us. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to operate, unencumbered, in our lives and receive prophecy. We should test all things by the Spirit and retain all that is good as we abstain from the appearance of evil. God will sanctify us and preserve us until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we can be assured that God will accomplish all that He has said (1 Thess. 5:8-24). Looking forward to being with our Lord in eternity should be enough to keep us motivated to live in unity with our brothers. We should always strive to be all that we can be (2 Peter 1:10) as we work towards the full operation of the whole body of Christ (Eph. 4:16). A unifity made up of individual parts, each fulfilling their own task.
Unity with Jesus and among ourselves is reflected by our living for the Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord. As we express our love towards God and those around us.
We know that God cast Satan and his angels out of heaven because of disobedience. So the devil is now upon this earth accusing us and trying to keep us or separate us from God’s love. Satan and his demons are in unity against us. However, we know that we have salvation and strength through the power of Jesus Christ and the blood of the Lamb has conquered the enemy (Rev. 12:10-11). Satan also knows that if the body of Christ is unified, set to one purpose, he is dead meat, his goose is cooked. God knows that when once man sets his mind to something, we can accomplish almost anything. Why did God break mankind up and give them different languages at Babel? God said “Behold, the people are one … and now they shall be able to accomplish anything they imagine” (Gen. 11:6). Unity is important!
So, as we have unity with the Father through Jesus as the Holy Ghost dwells within us, we also have victory over Satan and his demons. And we maintain that unity by yielding our lives over to Jesus as we live in the will of the Father, that is to be a true reflection and expression of His love to all around us but especially our brothers (and sisters) in Christ Jesus.
Our unity is living in, through and for God. Even though we may be different fellowships, different denominations we should all be working together for the edification and harmony of the body as we serve Jesus Christ, our Lord.