by Eric S. Love
July 25, 2010
How Far Will You Go For Unity?
Over the last two weeks, Teri has shared a prophetic word about the sound of a cog coming into place, of one cycle ending and us moving into a new “gear.” Also, as a body, she and leadership have called us to fast because of an attack against relationships in our body: “our choices right now are crucial to our commitment and becoming one body...”
There is a marriage between the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives and the fellowship we live in with the rest of the Body.
First, I want to look at the fellowship.
Ephesians 4:1-4, 11-13 (Amplified)
I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (to lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called with complete lowliness of mind and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit in the binding power of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received.
Several things to see in this section.
First, being “one” - or being in unity - is how we live our lives in a way that is worthy of the calling in which we have been called. Our unity is more than a prophetic image of Jesus and the Father being one - it is the reality of Jesus and the Father being One completed in earth. (More on this later...)
Second, we know that this requires humility, meekness, patience and love. Keep reading, picking up in verse 11:
...And His gifts were varied, He Himself appointed some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints, [that they should do] the work of the ministry toward building up Christ’s body, [that it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and the completeness found in Him.
Now we are shown that the gifts of God and the positions of ministry (apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists and pastors) are for the purpose of fully equipping the saints so THEY can do the work of the ministry.
The purpose of what we call the “five fold ministry” is NOT to fulfill the ministry of the church. It is to equip the church to do the ministry in the world. (This revelation becomes critical when we begin to look at church position as the only viable form of ministry. If we see it that way, we have missed the whole point!)
A startling revelation in this passage is that when we begin to become, as a body, equipped to do the work of the ministry, we THE WHOLE BODY attain ONENESS (unity) and can COMPREHEND knowing Jesus. This is how we “mature... to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” and become complete in Him.
This equipping is crucial then, is it not?
In Romans, Paul gives us a glimpse of what it means to be in the Kingdom. Watch how often unity in the Body comes up in this context:
Romans 12:16, 18
Live in harmony with one another... if possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Unity doesn’t mean we will not have conflict or see things differently: it means we work through conflict to do more than function but to thrive. I read a quote recently: “if everyone is thinking the same way, then someone is wrong.” If we all saw things the same way, we’d all be wrong.
The Kingdom of God is not about trivial things like getting food and drink - but about righteousness, joy and peace in the Spirit -so let us definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding of one another.
Now may the God who gives the power of patient endurance and who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ, that together you may with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Unity requires deliberate action and it is an essential element to us walking in the Kingdom - walking in the Spirit. It is the key to us becoming “one heart and voice” in worship, and worship can change everything.
It’s the Father who gives the power for patience, endurance and encouragement. He first of all is our source to walk in Unity.
Let’s look at Jesus final prayer for us before entering the garden where He would be betrayed and arrested.
Vs 21: “That they all my be one just as You, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You sent me.”
Our unity is validation for Jesus’ purpose on Earth. Like I said: Our unity is more than a prophetic image of Jesus and the Father being one - it is the reality of Jesus and the Father being One completed in earth.
This isn’t an isolated concept, either:
John 13:34-35 (Amplified) The words of Jesus:
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Jesus is the standard for how we should love. And love is how we are known; it’s what sets us apart; according to Jesus, it is what marks us as being His. It’s the greatest spiritual reality we can have and walk in - 1 Corinthians 13:13 (love is the greatest spiritual gift of all). And we are told, “above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins” - 1 Peter 4:8. We are exceptional at uncovering other people’s sins, but love covers them up.
Galatians 6:1-2 actually says that by bearing each others burdens and “moral faults” will actually cause us to grown and become complete in areas of our own weakness. That’s why love covers a multitude of sin.
So far we see that unity, among everything else it is an does:
is how we KNOW Jesus and really mature in the Spirit
is a critical part of our being equipped to do the work of the ministry, in fact, it is a validation of Jesus ministry on earth
is foundational to living in the Kingdom
is foundational to living in the Spirit
is what marks us as belonging to Jesus
Look at this from an Old Testament point of view:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment poured on the head, that ran down on the beard, even the beard of Aaron (the first High Priest), that came down upon the collar and skirts of his garments [consecrating the whole body - Exod. 30:25,30]. It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion: for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.
The oneness in the faith that we should live in the Body is the way we are consecrated to the Lord (that was the purpose of the ointment poured over Aaron’s head, beard and garments).
We become fully His, holy - like Him, CONSECRATED when we live in unity.
Unity is NOT simply a state of being: it is a FORCE. It is an act of war against the chaos and death of disunity.
1 Peter 3:8, 4:8, 5:8
All of you should be of one and the same mind as brothers... above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins... be well balanced, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
Peter was most likely writing this letter while in Roam and the Christians were beginning to experience a great deal of persecution under Nero. Persecution is, in fact, a major theme in this letter. But Peter shows a link between our unity and our strength.
Ephesians 4:26-27 explains that staying in a place of anger actually gives room for the devil to act - it creates a foothold for him. Walking in unity is how we keep from getting picked off one at a time. It’s a defense.
So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess our acknowledgement of it, for He who promised is reliable and faithful to His word. And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.
First of all, this happens when we make a point (seize and hold fast) to deliberately live what we say we believe (the hope we cherish), and “watch over one another” studying how we can actually stimulate each other to love. I.e. we LOOK for ways and opportunities to bring out the best in each other.
Eric Love, 7/25/2010
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