Psalm. 133:1-3 “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained [commanded] his blessing…”
God has commanded a blessing to his church when it lives together in unity. He has given us His Spirit of unity so that we can live in unity. This means more than just being happy together. This means that we have the blessing of the power that flows from unity that has been built into creation. This puts us ahead of everyone else on the planet, but it is much better than that! Way beyond the power of synergy we have the blessing of Heaven on Earth. God’s divine power is given to us to experience Heaven on Earth! But it is conditional. This blessing can be thwarted by disunity.
Many years ago, God spoke to me when I was asking him about a verse I couldn’t understand. He has promised that we will do greater works than he did – more and better miracles! But we haven’t seen them yet, not like He promised. I asked him why and he told me “my prayer and my promise are both unfulfilled” I didn’t know what he was talking about and then he directed me to his deathbed prayer to his Father in John 17:20-21,
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, [that’s us!] that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
This is an amazing thing. Jesus is praying for us! This is his prayer today for us! And it has not been fulfilled. His church is not in unity. The most recent research puts the number of Christian denominations at 41,000! When I first started researching the number many years ago it was at about 25,000! He showed me that his promise for greater works and his prayer for greater unity are related! The more in unity we are the more of Heaven on Earth we experience!
Satan knows this and so his chief goal against Heaven on Earth is our disunity. Jesus knows he knows and so he prays for our protection.
John 17:15, “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one”. He is praying for our protection from Satan. And this is his prayer; John 17:11 “…Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one”.
There are so many good things Jesus could have prayed for us, but he prays only one thing – that we be in unity. The biggest impediment you have to more of Heaven on Earth is disunity between you and your brothers and sisters. So how do we protect our unity? Let’s answer this question by using our mission statement, “Loving Jesus, loving one another, loving the lost”.
Firstly, our unity comes from loving Jesus. He is the only reason we are together. He must remain the center of our lives. Not our theology, not our style, not even our common vision. Whenever Jesus is not the center of our fellowship disunity will eventually follow. Satan wants your focus off of Jesus and onto doctrinal disputes or issues of methodology, or style or your personal preferences. Love for Jesus must be above all those things.
Before we look at the second let’s look at the third; loving the lost. We are not just united in our love for Jesus we must be united in His purposes. He said, “As I was sent so send I you”. You cannot divorce Jesus from his mission. To love him is to join him and he’s on a mission! Nothing unites people together like a common task or purpose. When a church stops looking outward in order to bless the community it begins to look inward and self-focus and criticism arise. Disunity is just around the corner. We unite around a common person [Jesus] and a common purpose [reaching the lost].
I wish I could say that most disunity comes from lack of focus on Jesus or lack of a common outward focus, but that has not been my experience. The fact is Satan is most effective when he is attacking our love for one-another. It is in our relationships with one another that we lose our unity and end up with less Heaven on Earth. So, what is Satan’s best weapon against our love for one another? A very simple and common thing called, “taking offense”. The most important question you can ask yourself [and God] is; how are my relationships with my brothers and sisters? Is there anyone I have not forgiven? Is there anyone I need to ask to forgive me? How can I love more unselfishly? Who needs my love and attention right now? All practical and easy questions to answer.