By rolandbray, Oct 3 2017 03:01PM
I have heard and read a lot about unity over the past few months. Before getting too far into this article, let's look at the word "unity".
The 1966 Random House Dictionary of the English Language (The Unabridged Edition) has nine definitions of the word "unity".
Here is are six of them:
1. the state of being one; oneness.
2. one single thing; something complete in itself, or regarded as such.
3. the oneness of a complex or organic whole or of an interconnected series; a whol3 or totality as combining all its parts into one.
4. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
5. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
6. oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement
(7-9 are related to math, literature or the Aristotelian aesthetics (what??)
Do you notice a theme running through them? In five of the six definitions you find the word "one" or its derivative.
Earlier this year I traveled to South Carolina to attend a Gathering of the Tribes event. The purpose was to gather as many motorcycle clubs and ministries together to hear messages on unity and working together. I cannot tell you how many times I heard a phrase similar to "It's not about the patch on your back, it's about Christ, His ministry, His message, and reaching the lost". "It's NOT about the patch..."
Certainly, each ministry has their mission and God can and will use you for that mission and in no way am I saying to put down your patch. Let me very clear: you have earned your patch, wear it and respect it. It says something about who you are or strive to be.
Throughout the summer we attended various churches, rallies and events and almost every time, we heard something about unity, unification or working together as Christians.
In July we performed at the first "Light Up The Hills Rally" in Sturgis, SD. The purpose of that rally? To encourage "UNITY" among biker minsistries.
On September 30, our band played at the Midwest Gathering of the Tribes, where once again we heard "It's not about the patch..." It's about "Unity."
Sunday, in worship, we heard a wonderful message from the book of 2 Chronicles – once again we heard about "unity". In Chapter 30, we read about God's message being proclaimed and the messengers being mocked. But in verses 11 and 12 we read that many came to Jerusalem (they believed the message) and "the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord." - Unity. "Unity of Purpose, Singleness of Heart". (Pastor Don)
A couple years ago, Miss Sallie had a burden to help a lady in need and suggested that we reach out to a ministry in her area to help make it happen. I contacted them and explained what we wanted them to help us with, they refused. Their response was, "if it's not a sanctioned (name omitted) we can't help you." I was dumfounded. I could not believe what I heard. This was a "Christian" organization, refusing to help because it was not sanctioned by their organization. Obviously, they had not gotten word that through "unity" is the way to get things done. It's not about your organization name, your patch, or the name over the church door.
Look around you – do you not see that we are in the end times? Now, more than ever in the history of mankind it is time to work together.
2 Timothy 3 1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Matthew 24:3-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
How does "UNITY" look?
Working together. Praying together. Worshiping together. "Sowing" together. Reaping" together.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1
Before you run to the rest of the verse, dwelling on the unity David talks about, stop at "Behold" and consider the opening word as a condition of fulfillment.
The word in Hebrew is hinneh.
It means "behold."
But it is closely related to another word, hinneni.
In fact, all that needs to be added to "behold" is the pronoun "I."
Then the word becomes "Here am I" or "Behold, Me."
Hinneni is the basic exclamation of willingness uttered by such men as Abraham and David.
It is the exclamation that "I"
stand ready to do the will of the Lord.
"Father, behold me! I am willing to serve at your request. I am ready to do anything you ask. Look at me, your humble servant."
Until there is hinneh and hinneni in your life, there will be no unity!
David’s desire is for us to see the power and pleasure in unity among us.
Yeshua expresses the same desire in his last prayer before the Father.
Paul considers unity one of the essential characteristics of the ekklesia (church).
But what I've seen as I travel the world are anything but echad (oneness) among believers.
We would rather fight than forgive.
We would rather remove than reconcile.
We can’t wait to emphasize our differences.
We know we are right and all others are wrong.
God is our God, not your God.
The proof is obvious.
Just look how successful we are!
The spirit of hinneni is quite the opposite of the religious world.
It is the spirit of humility, of the recognition that I am His only because of Him, not because of anything I have done or will do.
Hinneh (Behold) simply acknowledges that God is the one and only Sovereign of our fellowship and He alone chooses whom He will call.
Hinneni is my personal expression of complete obedience, not to a creed or a doctrine, bylaws or a dogma, but to a Master who has the supreme right to assign tasks according to His plans and purposes.
If we don’t start with utter humility and overwhelming gratitude, we will never reach unity.
Because it is not our unity that matters.
It is God’s unity.
We attempt to create unity on the basis of human compatibility.
Common goals, common values, common beliefs are just exactly that—common.
God is not interested in what is common.
He is interested in what is set apart—sacred—sacrificed.
Unity is not found in what you and I think is agreement.
It is found in the fact that you and I are sacrificed for Him and what is sacrificed no longer has a say in the methods of burning.
Before unity is "behold."
If you do not stand before the God of echad as hinneni, your unity is nothing more than human consensus—straw of compatibility.
And the flame of YHVH will consume the straw.
If you’re going to live out emotional theology, you better be prepared to live it out with others.
God might deal with you individually when it comes to redemption, but He will gently push you toward all His other children when it comes to growth.
That’s what we should expect but it’s not what we like.
How much nicer it would be if God would just let me live in isolation with Him, comfortably enjoying His presence without all those painful interactions with other less than perfect followers (just like me).
The Hebrew word yachad means "unity" in this translation, but it more likely means "all together".
It’s position in the sentence helps define its meaning and when it comes last, it means "completely together" (1 Samuel 11:11 and Isaiah 27:4).
But David isn’t satisfied with even this positional emphasis.
He really wants us to feel God’s thought here.
So he starts with......
"Behold" (hinneh) and he inserts another tiny word that we don’t see in English.
He attaches gam to yachad.
He makes a single new word that means "indeed all together" or "certainly all together".
It’s like having an exclamation point at the beginning and at the end.
Could it be any stronger?
Could God’s viewpoint on the absolute necessity of arm-in-arm walking in the Way be any clearer?
David does all that he can to fix our attention on the thought.
Now it’s up to you.
You have probably heard the expression, "This would be a great world if it weren’t for everyone else."
That’s not what God has in mind.
Even in the Garden He said, "It’s not good for one human being to be alone."
We are designed for spiritual, physical, emotional and mental togetherness.
If you think you can just snuggle up with God by yourself, you are really making a mistake.
All of those others annoying people are there because that is exactly where God shows up.
Now the question for you and me is this.....
What am I doing to push myself into community with those who are followers in the Way?
What am I doing to tear down my walls?
What am I doing to dig deep with others?
What am I doing to love my neighbor?
A new impulse would be given at once to the cause of religion if all the followers of the Lord Jesus acted in Unity!
If every Christian would properly recognize every other Christian as his brother!
If every true church would recognize every other church as a church!
If all ministers of the Gospel would recognize all other ministers as such!
Until this is done, all that is said about Christian unity is a subject of just derision to the world!
For how can there be unity when one class of ministers refuse to recognize the Christian standing, and the validity of the acts, of other ministers of the Lord Jesus?
When one part of the Christian body solemnly refuses to admit another portion to the privileges of the Lord‘s table?
When by their actions large portions of the professed followers of the Redeemer regard and treat others as having no claims to a recognition as belonging to the church of God, and as left for salvation to his “uncovenanted mercies.”