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The Unity of the Spirit
Psalm 133:1-3 “A Song of Degrees of David” “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Herman, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”
Today there are SO MANY CHURCHES that cannot enjoy God’s blessings because of a loss of the Unity and Fellowship in the local church Body! Churches where people pick sides and split up. Diane and I came from a group of churches who really focused on the word of God, but they were so focused on the word that they did not “keep the unity of the Spirit” which was given them in salvation. Pride, self-will, ambition, different interpretations, all these worked together to result in division. I have often stated that the way they started new works was by splitting. It was so sad to see so many entwined in arguments and divisions when they could have focused on the word and the lost!
David, under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, tells us the wonderful blessing that is ours when we preserve and foster the Unity of the Holy Spirit that was given to us in Christ!
“BEHOLD, HOW GOOD AND PLEASANT IT IS WHEN BRETHREN DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY!”
David begins his song with a stated truth- it good and pleasant when brethren dwell together in unity! Three points of truth are contained in verse 1:
What else did David say about unity?
Psalm 133:2 “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
The ointment that Psalm 133 speaks of here is the ointment of consecration- that which was to be applied to the High Priest on his consecration into the ministry! If you do a trace through the books of Leviticus, the Psalms, and the Gospels concerning the spices that were used in this ointment you will find that THE OIL OF ANOINTING REPRESENTS THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST IN MINISTRY! David so clearly defines what is pleasant about spiritual unity- it is the FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST IN OUR MIDST when we dwell together in love and unity!
There is one other description that David gives- it is found in:
Psalm 133:3 it is “as the dew of Herman, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of
Each of us have experienced dew falling- a sensation of being covered by dew as we stand under the heavens. When brethren dwell together in unity- the fragrance of Christ falls upon the gathering and each is covered by that Holy Dew as we stand under God’s blessing in our midst!
The New Testament discusses this blessing of unity. The key verses are found in Ephesians 4 verses 1 & 2:
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
Paul wants us to know, he beseeches us- that is, he begs us- ENDEAVOR TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE! Paul gives us the TOOLS that we MUST USE if we are to KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE:
Paul says we will need the tool of LOWLINESS; Paul says we will need the tool of MEEKNESS; Paul says we will need the tool of LONGSUFFERING; Paul says we will need the tool of FORBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE!
LOWLINESS is the practical application of esteeming others better than ourselves! That tool is used according to the instructions found in Philippians 2:3. The instructions for LOWLINESS read as follows: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” When we use the tool of lowliness, we lift others higher than ourselves. Remember, in Christianity the “way up” is the “way down”. He that is greatest among you shall be your servant!
MEEKNESS is not WEAKNESS! Meekness is STRENGTH UNDER DIVINE CONTROL! It is best exemplified by our Lord Himself who said in Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I AM MEEK and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” If our LORD was MEEK and LOWLY, and I am HIS DISCIPLE, I will learn to put into place the art of using the tool of MEEKNESS! IT is only learned by practice!
LONGSUFFERING is not SHORT SUFFERING! LONGSUFFERING in the original Greek of the New Testament means FORTITUDE IN PATIENCE! If we are to keep the unity handed to us by the Blessed Spirit of God, we must have LONGSUFFERING available for our brothers and sisters who wound us and offend us without concern. Only longsuffering will oil the church to put up with some believers. Rather than letting their coarse self-will damage the church, let us use the tool of LONGSUFFERING with the gloves of love for Christ’s sake!
FOBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE is not practiced by open rebuke and bitter words of division! To FORBEAR means to HOLD UP UNDER DURESS! It is SO EASY to take damage by breaking in heart and caving in before the callousness and carnality and wounding of the brethren! You know- I’ve received far worse treatment by believers over the years than from unbelievers! FOBEARANCE OF THE BRETHREN is a SUPERNATURAL TOOL- it can only by wielded by the power of AGAPE LOVE- the Love of God! If we cave in, we are not drawing deep from the well of God’s amazing love that heals all the wounds the brethren inflict upon us!
These verses tell us that the unity of the Spirit of God is a blessing that God gives to each local church freely as a present possession! If don’t experience it, it is because we have tossed it aside and chosen a substitute that does not satisfy!
Well-----let’s now look at the hindrances to unity in the local body of Christ which is the church:
1 Corinthians 3:3 “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Here we see that to follow envy, division and strife is the WAY OF THE FLESH and comes naturally to the flesh. If we are controlled by the Spirit of God, we will not follow ENVY, STRIFE, and DIVISION!
Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” When you see a brother or sister follow THE PATH OF STIFE AND VAINGLORY you know that they will fall! Only by lowliness can we help them right themselves before the Lord and His people!
James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence even from your lusts that war in your members?” When the LUST FOR POWER, and the LUST FOR POSITION, and the LUST FOR PROMINENCE arrive, it is the result of untempered Christian lives being lived in the power and lust of the flesh!
Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Some of the brethren will use the word of God to divide the local church! Of all the tools for division- why would someone cause division by the word of God. They do this to get an advantage over others and make followers after themselves! Such divisions in the church are rooted in pride. Concerning Strife and division caused by differences of opinions about the word of God- listen to what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:14 “Put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
Strife is the result of untempered and undisciplined Christian lives. Remember Paul’s warning concerning strife in the church: 2 Timothy 2:24 & 25“…The servant of the Lord MUST NOT STRIVE; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”
So we have learned the mind of God concerning the Unity of the Spirit- that Unity He has already given to us- that Unity that we are to maintain.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Herman, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”