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Last week we mentioned that one of the things the Holy Spirit did after the Day of Pentecost was to unite individual Christians into the Church. In a world divided by religious and political factions, the unity of the Christians set them apart. Is our culture any different? Of course not! So the unity that the Holy Spirit brings is just as vital today.
In Psalm 133, David longs for this unity among believers. This psalm is in the collection of “Songs of Ascent.” That means that pilgrims to Jerusalem sang these songs as they literally went up the hill to Jerusalem. Psalm 133 opens with David singing, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity” (v. 1).
Maybe David thought back to the time when people were joining him to give him support as king—David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come peaceably to me to help me, my heart shall be knit to you…” (1 Chronicles 12:17 AMP). In the next two verses of Psalm 133, David explains how this unity from being knit together is seen as a blessing.
Last week, we talked about the blessing of peace the priests pronounced on the people. That word for “peace” is shalom which could be defined as “nothing missing.” But couldn’t we also say that shalom is “no one missing”? Yes, because each and every part of the Body of Christ is vital and indispensable!
We see this same unity when the followers of Jesus were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1 says these Christians were “all together” (or some translations say “one accord”). This is one word in Greek (homothumadon) which describes the beauty of unity. One Greek dictionary defines this word, “The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.”
This picture of a majestic musical is further amplified in the next verses of Acts 2 where people from all over the world heard these Christians praising God in their own native tongues. Luke goes on to use homothumadon again and again throughout Acts to show what a powerful testimony their unity was to the watching world.
Paul emphasized the need for unity in the Church when he wrote—
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 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. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
How does the Holy Spirit help us handle our differences and keep this unity? We first need the Spirit’s help to distinguish whether it’s a biblical, unbiblical, or non-biblical issue.
- Biblical issues must send us back to the Bible to find the truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- Unbiblical issues—where a brother or sister is living in a way contrary to Scripture—call on us to speak the truth in love and correct in love only after allowing the Holy Spirit to examine our own lives (Ephesians 4:15; Matthew 7:1-5; James 5:19-20). Notice that we are to do this with fellow brothers and sisters, not with those outside the Church.
- Non-biblical issues are the trickiest. These are issues over which we should immediately stop fighting as we defer to the weakest brother or sister (Romans 12:10, 14:19-21).
(I wrote much more about biblical, unbiblical, and non-biblical issues here, and how to correctly apply the principle of confrontation here.)
The Church needs this unity today. We need to be in “one accord.” In a world divided by religious and political factions, our unity enhances our witness.
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series We Are: Pentecostal, you can check them all out by clicking here.
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