Oh two words that can leave a bitter taste in people's mouths. Unity and Holiness. Unity means we might actually have to spend time together, discuss, and become united in focus. Holiness... ouch. This means some self-discipline, it means HUMBLED prayer, it means submission to His will and statutes. Our flesh will fight faithfully to defeat any thoughts of unity and holiness... Why? If you take some time to read John 17 there are two main things Jesus asked for God to do amongst the believers. UNITE THEM AND SANCTIFY THEM. Bring unity and holiness. His plea was that we would be one in unity with Him and with the Father. To be as one with them we must be "holy as He is holy" and we must be in one accord. Why would Jesus pray for unity and sanctification? Perhaps He knew that those were the two things that it would take for the church to impact the world.
Taking a job as a full time youth pastor has caused me to ask questions of the Lord that I never asked before. It's caused me to look at things from a new perspective. For the first time in my life I get to really focus on the things that have always mattered most to me. I focus on the Word, prayer, outreach, missions, building the body of Christ, souls. I get to ask questions like, What is it that you (Jesus) really want to see in this specific church body and in the global church. The more I have asked and prayed the more that I know that the answer is found right there in John 17, He wants to see us united and holy.
He asked that God would do this and look what occurs when we submit to it.
Look at these scriptures... Acts 1:14 "These all continued with ONE ACCORD in prayer and supplication" Acts 2:1 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with ONE ACCORD..."
After that the Holy Spirit came then look. Acts 2:42,43 "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowshipo, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" Remember fear of the Lord causes us to sin not (exodus 20:20)
Acts 2:46 "And they, continuing daily with ONE ACCORD in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart," AND HERE IT IS... Acts 2:47 "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily" Last one Acts 9:31 "So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied"
There are many more scriptures throughout acts that display the prayer that Jesus had for His church that we would be in unity and that we would be holy. I look out at the global body of Christ and not in judgement, but in brokenness I see that we are lacking in the very thing that Jesus asked for us to be. We have factions, denominational confrontations, debates, discord among our own, even discord inside of our own churches, people are out pursuing for selfish gain rather than coming together in unity of mind, purpose, and prayer. Prayer meetings are often empty, but I bet Christmas parties will be full. We've forsaken unity for selfish comfort. I don't think I need to share my thoughts on holiness, because we all see and know that carnality is rampant from the pews even into some pulpits. Shall we forget that Jesus said, "If you love me, you obey my commandments"? I believe in grace, mercy, and compassion, but I believe our tolerance for sin has led to the church falling miserably short of its potential in our nation and abroad.
Today I've made a decision to not only continue to pray the prayers that Paul prayed for the body of Christ, but to pray the prayers Christ prayed. We need to be united again, in one accord, asking for the things that Jesus Himself asked for. Pursuing the potential that the church has to impact lives, cities, and nations with the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe in His Bride. I believe in what we can accomplish with the Holy Spirit when we come into one accord as a body with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Will you join me for a few minutes each day in praying for the body of Christ, praying specifically for your church, and praying for saints worldwide? We may never stand next together in the same sanctuary, but we can fellowship through the Holy Spirit by praying in one accord.
Be Blessed, J. Tate