Over the years I have had the wonderful privilege of traveling the world and working together with brothers and sisters in Christ of many nations, languages, cultures, denominations, and religious persuasions. The wonderful intangible that unified us was our common bond in Jesus Christ. We were of the same spiritual family. Was there always agreement on the finer points of doctrine? No. But we were still family. I have discovered that “Unity and diversity must work together or one will destroy the other.” (Warren Weirsbe)
Paul said, “There is one body, and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Eph. 4:4-7)
Only once in all my fifty plus years of ministry did I encounter such aggressive resistance from one person within the group, that a major outreach plan had to be scrapped. How heart-rending this must have been to the Father. Roughly seventy other people had to walk their own way because of one self-centered, disgruntled person of the cloth whose disagreement about money was so vehement, that a major crusade involving David Wilkerson had to be abandoned.
Jesus said, “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
The Greek word for “agree” in this verse is sumphoneo. It means to agree together, to make a bargain, to come to an agreement. It’s a derivative of the word “symphony.” A symphony orchestra combines many diverse instruments under the direction of a skilled conductor to produce a beautiful, musical masterpiece greater than could have ever happened with any one instrument. What a beautiful imagery of unity within the community of faith and the magnificent results it can bring.
So important was unity to the fulfillment of God’s plan, Jesus made it the focus of his last prayer to the Father. He prayed first for his disciples “that they may be one even as He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit were one” and acted in harmony with each other. (John 17:11) Then Jesus expanded his prayer to incorporate the full Body of Christ. “My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one.” (v:20-21)
Jesus’ prayer included you, me, and every child of God that would ever come to faith in Jesus. “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (v:23 NLT)
Both the Word and history give witness that where God’s people dwell together in unity – in symphony – “there God commands His blessing.” (Psalm 133:1, 3; II Chron. 30:12; 21-27)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
Ephesians 4:1-16; John 17:1-26; Colossians 3:12-15