Posts Tagged ‘Unity’

(To those who might not know, I live in Costa Rica, yet at the present I am visiting in the States. As to why I am living primarily in Costa Rica, you can find an answer here However, when I am in the states, I always endeavor to attend a men’s fellowship, breakfast prayer meeting.The following is an admonition which was impressed upon my heart while in prayer midweek for my brothers.)

The Admonition

Brothers, this men’s breakfast prayer meeting, or for that matter, any corporate prayer meeting, will never be greater than the sum of the secret prayers of the individuals. For prayers, that is, public prayers, have no more merit with God than the ones spoken to Him in secret.

Please know, that I am assuming all the attendees here do in fact have true, personal, secret prayer time with the Lord.

But what I have learned, biblically and experientially, is that secret prayer, or private prayer, is often as James said, fervent prayer; which by definition of the original Greek means fiery prayer.

Thus, if one’s private prayer time is humdrum, passive, or tedious and weak, or little more than a religious duty being performed; from where then should that necessary honest desire and required sincerity come from which is to be the motivation of one’s public prayers?

Or what cause then is there, if our private prayers are not earnest, for any compulsion upon the holy God that He should acknowledge it?

Be not deceived, for the heart which truly desires to know God, and to please Him, will with earnest prayer be in persistent pursuit of God, and will labor to press into the holy of holies, and will then wait upon Him; seeking His face and His glory.

For when Jesus said for us to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” the word strive means “as if in agony pursue.” For is indeed a variant of the very same word which testifies to how Jesus prayed, when “being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Is this not an example for us of how we too ought to pray; of how we might rightly strive so as to enter in at the strait gate?

But too often public prayer is done in a spirit of religiosity, and that by people praying what they think might sound good or upright, as what they ought to pray.

But in truth their prayers are not honest ventings from a burdened heart, or true yearnings for God and for His kingdom to come, nor are they true cries from a travailing heart for the lost souls of men.

If one’s private prayer is fervent and holy, then their public prayer will be the same. But if one’s private prayer is weak and lacks the fire of the Lord in their hearts, then their public prayers will be weak as well.

Did not John the Baptist say Jesus would baptize His people with both the Holy Spirit and fire? For it matters not how intensely or well-spoken one’s prayer might be, if the fire of His spirit does not rest within he who prays, such prayer will never move the heart of God, even if other men are thereby moved.

In truth, it would be better for one not to pray at all before men, than to pray in such a manner before God and men. For such prayers are but pharisaical, or hypocritical, spoken more for the ears of men than for the ears of God.

Note; I said all this with no intention to discourage one who might have difficulty praying, but nevertheless truly yearns to know how to pray in harmony with the unction of the Spirit. For prayer, like fasting or studying the word of God, are spiritual disciplines that are only learned and perfected by purposefully exercising oneself in them; which purpose must be to know God and glorify His Son Jesus Christ.

May we all never forget what Jesus said in His day, that the time had come, and now is, when they who would worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth; for such who do are whom the Father truly seeks to worship Him.

Thus, perhaps the worst and most insincere form of prayer is that of prayer-preaching; when one misuses this blessed grace given to us that we might make our requests known before a holy God, as a thing for them to misuse.

For too often, many under the guise of prayer, are in truth preaching in their own wisdom to others around them. Such prayer is in truth nothing more than a gross display of false humility and is in reality an evil and dishonest abuse of the grace of prayer.

That does not mean that a fervent holy prayer would fail to preach volumes to other saints within ear shot, but what is spoken is still being directed to God and not towards men.

It is God’s own testimony that He dwells with those who are contrite and of a humble spirit. It is this sort that seek to pray as Jesus did, and thus in like agony will often cry out to Him with a sacrificial heart in secret prayer. Sincere prayers for the souls of men, that His kingdom would come and that His will be done; first in their own lives as well as in the lives of others, here on earth even as it is done in heaven.

And thus, it is in the strength and glory of His Spirit that they boldly and willingly stand up for Him in public, both in word and deed. For you need to know It is only the prayers of the righteous, the godly, His holy saints, whose prayers truly honor God and can move Him into action.

Brothers, we desperately need the glory of God in our lives. For Jesus prayed, “And the glory,” now get that, “the glory which You [Father] gave unto Me, I have given them…”

So I ask, do you truthfully know, and what I mean by “know” is experientially, do you experientially know that you have received this very glory from Jesus Christ, and are you persistently living in such a way so as to be cherishing and nurturing it by doing all you know you ought to do? Are you purposefully striving to perfect personal holiness in your life in the fear of God?

For if you are not, I must warn you then that I fear that perhaps you have received of His grace in vain, for His grace is given to us to enable us in our obedience to the Gospel and the law of faith.

Brothers, if you have truly received this glory, and are still daily receiving an increasing measure thereof, then indeed there is true holy communion and fellowship being had by you with your God and His Son Jesus Christ, as well as with your fellow saints.

Of course, we know there can be no such holy fellowship between the righteous and the unrighteous, between the obedient and the disobedient, or fellowship between light and darkness.

However, too many self-professing believers nowadays seem to be quite at home with both disobedient believers and worldly associates.

But this “glory” is given only to His own. It is given so that they might be an effectual witness of God to the lost who are hell bound in a corrupt and fallen world; as well as a testimony against those who profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and reprobate in all their good works.

So, as the Apostle Paul would say, I beseech you brethren to please do yourselves a favor and honestly ask yourselves, or rather, honestly ask God, what is the truth of your standing before God in all of this?

Do you ever ask, like I often do, “God, where is this oneness, this unity of the saints that Jesus earnestly prayed for?”

For I tell you, that Jesus having so prayed, He fully expects there to be a holy unity among His people. A unity which brings them into the same oneness which He shared with the Father. But now a oneness with all His people together, with the Father and Jesus in us, and we in them, dwelling in a blessed state of holy unity.

As the Psalmist said, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Because, again, it is the very glory which the Father gave Him that He has given to His own.

Too often I look at the churches and too many believers and am compelled to ask, “Where is this “glory” that Jesus Christ has given to His saints; that glory that is supposed to be brilliantly shining within and out from their lives?”

Can you detect it, or recognize its presence? Do you at least perceive its growth within you? For if by Jesus own words we understand that the world is supposed to undeniably see it, certainly then the enlightened children of God should be able to behold it.

For the Apostle Paul said, “But we all, [not some, but all], with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image,” that is Christ’s image, the image of the invisible God, and are being transformed “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What evidence then do you see, or might others see that persuades you it is a reality in your life, or in those you fellowship with, or those where you attend church? For Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them.” Not fruits of good deeds, but the fruit of holiness which has its end in eternal life.

This is enormously important, so please do not fail to grasp the gravity of this exhortation I believe the Lord has laid on my heart for you all. For it is this glory given to His saints that alone creates and serves to empower us as we endeavor to maintain a holy unity among the brethren.

I pray you understand the reality and truth of this matter, how the divine purpose of this glory is to enable each of us to mirror the very unity of Jesus Christ and the Father in unbroken and unhindered love; for that was His prayer to the Father.

This glory alone can be the believer’s shining light, and in truth it ought to be shining brightly in and through each of us who are called by His name in this dark and lost world. For once again, this glory is no less than that same glory which the Father gave to His only begotten Son, and His Son to His followers.

This “glory” of the love and holy unity of the Father and Son laboring sacrificially together for the redemption of the lost, this glory, alone can convince the world that God did indeed send His only begotten Son into the world. This is the Gospel and it must both shine in and through us.

Yet many preach the gospel, or perhaps a beggarly version of it, but only they who truly live in this glory can truly witness to and preach the gospel effectually under the power of the Spirit.

Do not fail to realize, that somebody has been, and they still are, actively proselytizing and making converts, many converts, in Jesus’s name. And these, by compromising the Gospel and removing the offense of the cross which all true saints must pick up daily,  they have filled the churches with such who will one day be saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works?”

But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you that worked iniquity.”

Hence, we both need and must have this glory, for this “Glory” reflects and brings into an undeniable light the holy love of God, which He has for His own Son, and reveals this very love through His saints to this lost world.

Without this love you are nothing, and that is a biblical truth and thus a spiritual reality.

Theology alone, even perfect theology, will not save anyone. Christianity without living in the Spirit is a false hope. You need this Glory in your life. Christ in you is the hope of glory. That is why it was the earnest prayer of Jesus Christ, and why it is therefore also the promise of the Father to those who would by faith lay hold of it.

John 17:22,23 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and has loved them, even as You loved Me.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Brothers, my prayer and desire for you is that you all would individually be earnest and press into God, and seek His grace whereby you might truly become His living sacrifices, burnt offerings who are indeed a sweet-smelling savor unto God. But remember, you cannot have a burnt sacrifice without fire.

Second, I pray you all would come into a holy fervency of prayer and unity of the spirit, that you might as one man together humble yourselves before God and pray as true watchmen and holy priests over this community and your families and friends.

As the Lord said to His servant Joel, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Have pity on Your people, O LORD, and give not Your inheritance to shame, for a proverb among those of the nations. Why should they say among the people, Where is their God?’ For then the LORD will be jealous for His land and pity His people.”

Moreover, I pray this so that Jesus, the Lamb of God, might receive His full reward, and that His name might be glorified in you all. For they who go forth weeping bearing precious seeds have a precious promise that they shall doubtless come again rejoicing bring in the sheaves with them.

Come forth you men of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, come forth.

(Sorry for the posting confusion over this post.) 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It 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. 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. (Psalm 133:1-3)

I am currently writing a series of articles now about unity which I hope to complete in the next couple of days. The subject is one that has been on my heart for a long time, years . . .  and to be honest, I am greatly sadden by the fact that biblical unity is something I have rarely experienced as a Christian. Certainly not to the degree it is displayed in Psalm above; which is actually the core text for the final article I am writing. Since it is one of the “Songs of Degrees” in Psalms, I will also post on just what that means and why the journey to Jerusalem was required of all male Jews three times a year.

But just think about it, unity as a precious ointment? On the head, bread and garment of the high priest? Certainly you can see the magnificent significance. Yet at best I have only encountered what seem to be brief moments of such unity before it was spoiled either by the rise religious egos or successfully battered spiritually with demonic assaults of false accusations and suspicions. I know there are many who may feel they’ve experience unity, but I would ask simply if it met the test of the verse 2 above, was it truthfully a godly unity (I pray so), or was it just another comfortable carnal/religious compromise saturated with warm humanistic love that was nonetheless failing to wholly embrace the offense of the cross to their flesh?


Many sincere Christians have been provoked into righteous indignation by those who reduce what Paul referred to as “the Power of God unto salvation,” the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to nothing more than mere theology. In doing so they rendered it a non-effectual redemption message, because it allows people to hear about God in the flesh dying on the cross for their sins without clarifying the necessities and biblical requirements for a personal willingness to change, obey, follow, and even die to self.

When for the sake of “unity” and “harmony,” true believers make concessions with others  who make a profession of Christ, they allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reduced to a mere theology. However, the end result can only be that people will most likely just become members of a congregation rather than maturing members of the Body of Christ. What a snare we fall into when men care about people’s feelings and how big, “successful” and “growing” the congregation is growing, if the precepts of righteousness are having to be cast aside, the Kingdom of God is neglected, and the righteousness of God is not being properly adorn by the body of Christ?

The answer is, carnal people care, people seeking acceptance by other people care, selfish and egotistical people care.

The purpose God has committed the Gospel into the hands of His people is that they might bring the glory due His name through its power to set captives free. However, it is the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH of the Gospel that sets men free. For if a person truly believes and obeys the Gospel, it places them in the “congregation of the righteous” and makes them members of the Body of Christ. Thus, true Christians are to be as the Apostle Paul said “faithful stewards” of the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 4:1 – Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Yet, today there are many liberal preachers who are growing mega churches by generating feel-good-about-yourself religious social centers. Such men, and women preachers too, are guilty of allowing the biblical requirements of true discipleship to become lost historical facts instead of present-day necessities for godly Christian lifestyles and fellowship with God.

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.33 They answered Him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: why do You say, You shall be made free?34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.35 And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever.36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

Luke 14:27 – And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.

Unless believers become true disciples of Christ, (or willingly come under the discipline and chastisement of Christ,) we are not children of God, but bastards (Heb. 12:5-8). Now this is not merely my personal commentary or opinion; this is what the Word of God says, and if we are not disciples, then we’re bastards which have no rightful inheritance to God or His Kingdom.

Hebrew 12:5 – And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him: 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives. 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chastens not? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards and not sons.

Now consider also these words –

Matthew 23:13 – But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

In Jesus’ statement, we can sense His disgust towards the hypocrisy of that the leaders of that present day religious system. It was a corrupt system whose leaders were failing as mediators and intercessors for people unto God, and that because its primary concern was to further their ministries at the expense of other people who were seeking God. Listen carefully to the certain fate of such hypocrites who keep back the truth – theirs is a greater damnation. And please, don’t be so naive as to think that the same hypocritical system isn’t flourishing today in the world’s present religious systems?

Servants of the Lord Jesus Christ who find themselves frustrated with this facade of Christianity being promoted by this pseudo religious system should find some relief in those words of Jesus that such shall receive the greater damnation.” Although God is indeed long-suffering with the misplaced sincerity of the ignorant, He is “angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be” (Psalm 37:9, 10).

While true believers will often be provoked to anger by these hypocrites who keep others from coming to a saving knowledge of the truth, God’s word tells us not to “fret” over these wicked, (Psalm 37:7).

Psalm 37:7 – Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

However, we must not “give place to the devil” in our frustrations.

Ephesians 4:26 – Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.

We give place to the devil is we engage in open slander or attack these hypocrites in a personal manner. That is not to say we shouldn’t mark these people as those “transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, [and therefore] have not God” (II John 9). But we need to be cautious because there is a point when flippant comments become nothing more than a person attack on others. At that point, such words not only cease to benefit the body of Christ, they can and often do cause damage to those who are young in the Lord.

Therefore, don’t neglect your responsibilities as a mature Christian to both God and His Church. As true believers and disciples of Christ we must both in wisdom and with restraint “mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). BUT careful not to do so with any form of self-gratifying, personal vengeance such as slander or even an abusive rebuttal — even though you are correct. Truth must never to be used as a means of personal vengeance for the enemies of the Gospel are actually opposed to Jesus, not us. Their seeming opposition to us is only because they in opposition to the true God – just as they should only receive you IF they truly receive Jesus.

Jesus said, “If the world hate you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me” (John 15:18-21).

We must hold the truth in love and only use it as a weapon “against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). We are never to use the truth to lash out at flesh and blood. Yes, many will discover the truth is in opposition to what they are doing, but we should never stand in physical opposition waving as it were the sword of truth at our neighbor. Remember, the truth is meant to be a lamp unto the feet of men and a light for their path. For it is given to be the power of God unto salvation for those that believe it. It is meant to bring life through redemption and deliverance.

Therefore, let’s earnestly, yet humbly, contend for the faith and expel the lies by presenting the truth in love for the King who has saved us, and in love for those who have yet to hear and believe.

Live for the King!