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Blessed Unity of the people of God
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
Here, the NIBC says, the aspiration of the Psalm is almost too obvious to require comment. How disappointed would you be if I read the Psalm and sent you on your way today after reading you three verses? Don’t answer that…
Joseph Addison Alexander says This Psalm is an effusion (a fountain) of holy joy at the sight of the gathering of Israel as one great household at the yearly feasts…
Can you think of a time in our country when we were unified?
World War II.
Man on the moon?
8 months ago when they told us to buckle down for two weeks.
Seriously – everyone was on it. We shut down church for a week – giving us two weeks of shutdown. Then parking lot church, which we continue, but 8 months in and there is not so much agreement anymore.
Can you think of a time in the Bible people were unified?
When Jesus fed the 5,000 Scripture says they were all satisfied, which in itself is a miracle.
Acts is probably the most used example.
In the book of Acts, they were all in one accord in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then division came when Ananias and Sapphira were jealous at the attention that Barnabas was getting for being so generous. That led them to be unified in their lying. They wanted to APPEAR generous but their heart was not in it.
The Scripture says that it is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity. The Bible always sets the bar for us. And we need God’s help to attain any of it. So the Psalm begins “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for God’s people to dwell together in unity”. Lord, help us.
Verse 2 – It’s like the precious oil upon the head – anointing oil – pouring out so abundantly that it runs down the beard – the Psalm points to a familiar beard – Aaron’s beard – and running down to the edge of his robe. Spurgeon said this picture of the oil running even to the fringes of the robe is representative of the least of these in the kingdom of God. People living at the mission, whom society would see in a negative light – Spurgeon would say if they are in Christ – the oil poured out on the Lord’s anointed in Aaron – reaches the people at the mission when it gets to the fringes of his robe – the anointing brings unity and love with all of God’s children with nobody left out– from the most respected preacher to the least appreciated brother or sister (in Christ) living on the streets or at the mission. As I often quote Matt Chandler – nobody in the Kingdom of God should be walking with a swagger and nobody walks with a limp.
Then we get to verse 3 – I read this week that Mount Hermon rises to over 9,000 feet. At certain times of the year you could put up a tent and go to sleep leave your tent in such a way that it would direct water into containers and in the morning the dew would fill the buckets as if there had been a torrential rainfall. So when it says unity is like the dew from Mount Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion. We have the same picture as the anointing oil – nobody in the kingdom of God is left out of the community of unity. Did you ever realize there was unity in community?
A church united for years in earnest service of the Lord is a well of goodness and joy to all those who dwell round about it. ~ Charles Spurgeon
I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony……
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace….
Let there be peace on earth….
There is one place of perfect unity – the graveyard. ~ AW Tozer
Then Last night Diane and I were watching House. Dr. House got shot, and they used ketamine to basically put him in a coma. I’ve heard paramedics talk about it. Paramedics use it sparingly for special cases. They have to do the breathing for you. Sometimes they wish they could use it when someone is out of control, but I digress.
In House, this procedure of putting him out with ketamine was supposed to re-set his brain to rid him of chronic leg pain. It leaves him compliant to the arguments in their “think tank” medical sessions. He’s usually combative. And Dr. Cameron gets upset and tells him to quit agreeing with everything they say. It is not healthy if they are not right. I paused the show and hopped up to write down, “Be careful about unity”. Up until this point last night, I was lost in today’s sermon. I told Diane it used to be that I would worry, but God would come through with something. Here’s where we take a turn. What is the biggest risk to Christianity?
****Is it division – That we disagree on things and some people split and go to another church and start their own denomination
****is the biggest risk to Christianity that we who have convictions about things like
“one way to God is Jesus”
“One must repent, turn from their sin, pick up their cross and follow Christ”
“the sanctity of human life”
that we would compromise these beliefs for the sake of unity? That, as House did, we would just become compliant to things contrary to the Word of God? Psalm 133 in my NKJV is titled: Blessed Unity of the people of God.
There are other types of unity that are not blessed.
Babel – unified for the wrong purpose. People were in unity against God.
Reminds me of David Platt saying if everyone in the world got together and at the same time yelled at the skies, “God, you are wrong” – that unity is not beneficial.
Gotquestions.org says: The Tower of Babel is described in Genesis 11:1-9. After the Flood, God commanded humanity to “increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Humanity decided to do the exact opposite, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth’” (Genesis 11:4). Humanity decided to build a great city and all congregate there. They decided to build a gigantic tower as a symbol of their power, to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4). This tower is remembered as the Tower of Babel.
In response, God confused the languages of humanity so that they could no longer communicate with each other (Genesis 11:7). The result was that people congregated with other people who spoke the same language, and then went together and settled in other parts of the world (Genesis 11:8-9). God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel to enforce His command for humanity to spread throughout the entire world.
The NIBC says, “The problem of unity is really part of a greater problem, the problem of evil. We are forced to inquire why men fight and quarrel, even to their own destruction; and the answer is because of the sinfulness of the human heart. We are brought face to face not only with division and anti-social behavior, but with such common facts as pride and fear, cruelty and lust, selfishness and a desire to dominate. A piety that makes institutions more important than spiritual reality may even aggravate the evil. Men are likely to fall still further apart with poisoned minds…. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit, which may indeed, before anything else can happen, make new divisions; for it drives out deceit and malice and all evil; but only so that what remains may be knit more firmly together.”
There is danger in believing that people in the church who disagree with us are evil. Yet one cannot argue against the fact that the Bible is true when it says satan tries to tear churches apart from within. (See Acts 20:29 – savage wolves will rise up from among you not sparing the flock.)
Unity Comes from Union. Union Does Not Come from Unity.
November 8, 2020
John 17:24-26 (NIV)
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
CONSIDER THIS from JD Walt
Unity without union is like ice cream without cream. Unity does not mean mere togetherness. It does not mean getting along with everyone. It does not mean compromising conviction. It does not mean uniformity of thought. Unity is not something people achieve; rather it is a gift that can only be received. How do we receive it? Through UNION with God through Jesus Christ.
John 17:26 – “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Unity is the fruit of union with God. As I read it and see it, the New Testament is concerned about two primary matters: 1. Establishing the nature, scope, power, and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 2. Dealing with false teaching coming from the spirit of the age.
So what does this have to do with unity? It is the gospel of Jesus Christ which brings supernatural love into the world which manifests itself in a divine unity within human community, which convinces the world of the way and the truth and the life who is Jesus. The strategy of false teaching is to compromise the truth in the name of love (which is not love) in order to maintain a unity (which is not unity).
God’s Word is clear in that it instructs His followers to call people to turn from their sin and turn to God, and is just as clear that we are to love them whether they do it or not.
We seek to show unity in love by offering people Jesus, even if they do not see it as loving. And we remember that we will never be in unity with the world. And we have to be at peace with that.