The Lord Jesus as Head of the Church is speaking to us and moving us from our comfort zone into the battle. We might not feel ready for the spiritual battle that has being thrust upon us. However, the Holy Spirit is equipping us to develop and mature us into all God has predestined us to be.
We read in (Romans 5:3-5 NKJV) “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
From what I see, in our Christian community, is a willingness to settle for far less than what Jesus has obtained for us through making His resurrection power available for us. The pandemic has revealed a greater need for the importance of sincere relationships with the Lord Jesus as well as a fellowship with one another that is authentic and genuine.
The masks that we are wearing today for health reasons we could say are in many ways, a picture of muffling our voices to communicate when and where necessary. However, the Holy Spirit, who is ever faithful, is calling us to a greater communication in the ministry of prayer and praise.
There has been a masking of our true needs and feelings that are now being revealed. The pressure has in many ways caused us to look afresh upon our relationships with God, so that this will become a living reality, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— (Ephesians 3: 17-18). This generation is looking for authentic loving and trustworthy support with godly guidance to fulfill their call, desires, and dreams of tomorrow.
We read in John 17:6-19 that although Jesus did not pray that His immediate disciples may be removed from the world, we see He does pray that they will be kept from the world’s evil through the Father’s name. He prays that they might be sanctified, that is ‘set apart’ for the ministry of truth (vv.17-19). In John 17, we see the real heart of Jesus reflected, as He is about to leave this world and His disciples.
Jesus prays for several different things, but my focus is on two things: Protection and Unity to continue in our calling.
We read here in John 17 verse eleven, in the last half of this verse (John 17: 11) “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of [Father, keep them faithful to] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
1) Protect them that You have given Me: That the Father would keep them secure in the knowledge of the truth of His Word and that the disciples would be rooted and grounded in the knowledge of His Love.
As his disciples we must remember God’s promise in His word for our protection – 3 “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Psalm 91: 3-6)
2) Unity that they may be one as we are One: Jesus prays that Christians would be united in the same way that He and the Father are united, that we might know this intimacy — and the ‘interconnectedness’ — that Jesus, Himself, enjoys in the Trinity.
In the book of Acts of the Apostles the early Church was a strong and powerful community of humble, ordinary like-minded people who loved God with all their hearts, giving us an example to follow, in the way of Jesus as we walk in our calling.
The early Church was anointed and full of the Holy Spirit and they preached the Word of God with boldness and miracles, signs followed the preaching of the Word with thousands were saved and added to the Church. The Church was so united they turned their known world upside down for Jesus Christ.
We read in (Acts 1:14) “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
UNITY AND HARMONY
“Being of One Accord” is a dominant quality of New Testament leadership. Whenever the early Church leaders gathered in Jerusalem, it is said they were in unity and harmony, with each other and with God (Acts 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 15: 25). Their agreement was spiritual and practical, not only theological, for they shared their lives and possessions.
Acts 2:42-47 gives a description of New Testament leadership; meeting together, and studying the Word together, and they shared their material possessions (Acts 2:45; 4:32-37; 6:1). They met often to pray, revealing not only relationship with each other but also their total reliance on God (Acts 2:42; 4:31; 12:5; 13:3). I believe there are many aspects of the early Church that contributed to its success. However, in this article today I want to highlight the importance of unity.
There is a vast misunderstanding concerning unity in the Church when we apply a Greek mindset to the Biblical concept of unity as opposed to the Hebrew mindset.
The Greek word for “unity” is “Henotes” it does mean “unity”, the distinction is different to the Hebrew word “Echad” for unity.
While the Hebrew word for unity is “Echad” it refers to ‘one-ness’ in reference to the nature and character of God and to man’s relationship to God. Given its inherent connection to God, this word can only correctly be related within a spiritual context, not a physical or earthly context. The Greek word for unity “Henotes” means unity more in the sense of unanimous agreement among others, rather than “one-ness” with God.
Importantly the Hebrew word for unity is “Echad” and has the idea of being organically connected to something (in this case God) and growing together in Him. The result is an intimate union that creates wholeness. The Biblical perseptive of holiness is wholeness and or completeness, without having any defects.
We need to know the Greek “Henotes” comes close, but it does not capture the revealed Hebrew word for unity as “Echad” does. In the New Testament, in every instance where unity is called for, it is referring to man’s relationship with Jesus (Yeshua), not with other men.
The Hebrew word concept for unity is “Echad” and is about each individual person’s union with Jesus christ (Yeshua). Unity flows from man to Yeshua, not from one Believer to another Believer. The Hebrew word gives insight for unity in “Echad” and is about coming into union with the mind and person of Jesus Christ as head of the Church. The ‘one-ness’ with the Father that Jesus prayed for in (John 17:11) “so that they may be one as we are one.”
The Greek mindset in this concept of unity causes confusion when compared with the Hebrew mindset that has led to much disagreement in the body of Christ. This disparity amongst congregational members is not Biblical disunity, but like most disagreements in the body can be a sign of a healthy congregation. We should never shut down a congregational member just because they express an alternative point of view.
There should be plenty of freedom in the Lord’s house for a variety of views, especially on the more vague and challenging parts we find in Scripture, of which there are plenty.
The early Church was in ‘one accord’, and I believe that unity was one of the reasons why the blessing and the power of God were upon the early Church. The believers had one mind, one purpose, and one heart for God, and this contributed to their spiritual growth and success. If we want to see the power of God manifested in our churches today, we need to be a people that is of ‘one accord’, a church based upon the unity that the Spirit of God brings.
We are in a spiritual battle for unity like no other time in history and Paul encourages us: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints “— (Ephesians 6:18)
The Bible says that the Lord commands His blessing on the Church and that God’s blessings come’s upon the people of God that are united in Him. People, who come from all walks of life, transformed by God’s power, living in unity, hallelujah that is powerful!
I believe that the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is emerging into the blessing of unity for today’s harvest. The Church while not yet fully recognized as the Bride, is being transformed into His Image to be the light in this lost World that we hardly recognise as our earthly home anymore.
There are three areas that will accelerate today’s Church into that kind of unity that was seen in the early Church. I see the shaking and moulding is what is needed for us to come into unity of the faith and into the fullness of Christ.
1) United in Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:1-29).
2) United in Vision and in Purpose for the Harvest (Acts 2:1).
3) United in Faith (Acts 5:12).
We read what Apostle Paul said: “Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Ephesians 4:13)
Leonard Buttner / Eagle Ascend Ministries / Eagle Ascend Ministries Website