Tag Archives: unity

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR PAINTS THE PICTURE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR PAINTS THE PICTURE

Some of the most beautiful word pictures fraught with deep meaning are found in the common denominator of term usage. Are you ready to think with me a minute for a blessing?
Please consider that the spokes of a wheel are essential to its existence and usefulness. Also, the fillets of a building are essential to its standing and usefulness. Similarly, the desire (attachment) of one’s heart as in a man for a woman as a potential mate is what makes marriage happen, and work. Truly, the love that one cultivates for a person, place or thing is what gives that person, place, or thing prominence and importance in the heart and mind.
Okay, okay, I am a little impatient. Where are you going with this? Well, hang on!
The spokes of a wheel are mentioned in I Kings 7:33. The ancient Hebrew word designating “spokes” is “Chashaq.”
Furthermore, the fillets of a building, especially a portable building such as the Old Testament Tabernacle, are referred to by the word, “Chashaq.”
Moreover, the strong desire for a life mate is expressed by the same word, “Chashaq.”
Then, there is that strongest of bindings referred to as “love,” and it is also referenced as “Chashaq.”
I know, I know, you are getting the picture, but it isn’t finished just yet. So, the climax of the picture drives home a reality that lives on shouting ground. It is Isaiah 38:17, “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Folks, the phrase “love to my soul,” is a translation of the Hebrew term “Chashaq.”
How important are spokes to a wheel; fillets to a building; desire to a life-mate? None of these work without them. That is just what exists in the love of God to the soul of a believer, and how important it is. An attachment has been made. God has reached out and united Himself with the soul of every believer in Christ Jesus, and one may be sure He will never let go, nor His arm be broken.
No wonder then that Jesus declared that the Father had given His people to Him, and no man could pluck them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:29. In Paul’s words, “. . . neither death, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God ,which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
Governmental officials have their secret service agents; Brinks has armored trucks, cities have police, but there is no security in all the universe close to equaling that of the believer in Christ Jesus, whom He has attached to Himself!

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APRIL 20 – The Blessedness of Unity


APRIL 20 – The Blessedness of Unity

Psalm 133:1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 

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; 

3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. 

Unity, often discussed, difficult to attain. Unity is so important in the work of the Lord. There are times where dis-unity causes the work of God to be hindered. Unity promotes and encourages the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We should be united in Sentiment. Sentiment is a tender feeling or emotion for others that are engaged in the work of the Lord. It is that part of mankind where joy is shared by all and death is mourned together and those that leave our union brings great sadness. This sentiment is coupled with a union of feeling. This feeling brings a confidence among those that are in union. When we are in union with sentiment and feeling, we will be united in effort. When we are united in effort, the Lord’s work will be accomplished.

Church union is very important. The Church must be united in the teachings of the Scriptures. We must agree on core doctrines that relate to God, Jesus, and the Church. Without this union on Scripture, there is division which hinders the work. Unity is strength. Where there is unity there is strength to do the work. Unity brings happiness. When all are pulling the yoke together we have a unity of purpose that brings us together to pursue a goal. Where there is unity, there is love. A love that overshadows the work that is done for the Lord. Through all of the discussions on God, Church, and Doctrine, we should have unity even in our disagreements.

May we unite for the sake of the work of the Lord.

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Unity or Purity?


June 6, 2015    Dose of Reality    by Joseph Harris       Number 318       

                                                            

Comments on Current Events in Government, Religion, Culture, and the Family, from a Conservative Biblical Perspective


  


Unity or Purity?

The leavening of America, God’s churches, the family and society has been underway for decades. In a sense, the leavening process has always been around as Satan has constantly tried to dilute and weaken the people of God and their influence in the world. Paul said in I Corinthians “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” The nature of leaven (yeast) is to permeate and spread throughout the entire lump of dough, causing it to rise. It only takes a small amount to change the entire lump.

What disturbs me does not always disturb others. In this fast paced age of change, I am disturbed by the shift in attitude and philosophy of the average person. I am increasingly finding myself in the minority on issues of Bible doctrine, politics, and ethics. Yet, I haven’t changed. I stand today where I stood 33 years ago when surrendering to God’s call to preach and teach his Word. I see the danger in a little leaven. The depraved nature of humanity leans toward sin and the path of least resistance and will exploit every inch given, hence the saying, “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” is an absolute. Maintaining purity requires effort.

In the religious, political and cultural battles of today, purity has taken a beating. However, purity is essential. Consider the following: when given a choice, would you rather drink pure water or filthy water? Would you prefer a virgin for a spouse or a promiscuous person? Would you choose dirty clothes over clean clothes for your body? Would you rather have a clean politician (an oxymoron, but bear with me) or a person of character as your representative? Any sane person would choose purity in these situations. But when the choice of purity may result in conflict, stress, and division, people will choose unity over purity 95% of the time.

Look first at purity in the local church. Concerning immorality in a church, it will usually be tolerated, especially when the other option is conflict through confrontation. It is not easy to confront sin and require purity from ungodly church members who may also be family members, or influential in the community or big givers in the offering plate. Yet, the small amount of leaven will spread throughout the lump, affecting the whole. When we are more concerned with the smile of man, then we will have the frown of God, and when purity goes out the window for the sake of unity, then God’s churches lose the power and blessing of God.

Consider purity in church doctrine. Baptism and the Lord’s table have taken a beating with pastors and churches caving in to the plea for unity rather than purity in the practicing of these ordinances. Only a scriptural New Testament church of the Lord Jesus has the authority to baptize new believers and administer the Lord’s Table to those who have prepared themselves through scriptural baptism and church membership. Paul said to refrain from eating with those who had not examined themselves, especially concerning immorality, I Cor. 5:11. These ordinances belong to the Lord, not the church, but He has given their care and stewardship to each local church for proper administration for His glorification. Rather than stand for purity and cause contention, many are satisfied to sacrifice purity for unity, forgetting that unity with God through purity is primary. When a church adopts a human driven philosophy, their main priority will be to please men and not God. Here is a novel idea: How about a God driven, Spirit sensitive church. It just might work.

Look also at purity in ecclesiastical associations. Ecumenism has taken hold and many are willing to turn loose of Bible doctrines that “divide” in order to fellowship with those who disagree in doctrine. After all, we are all children of God, and why can’t we just get along and love one another? True love often requires hard choices. Amos the prophet asked “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” They can walk, just not together, because those not of like faith will have different beliefs, different standards, different philosophies of ministry, different goals and different ways to achieve those goals. When pastors and churches refuse to cooperate with others who are not of like faith, they are accused of being hateful and having no love for the brethren. Loving the brethren is not the issue; purity is the issue. Besides, we are commanded to love God before we are commanded to love others and maintaining purity is loving God. We are never commanded to fellowship with those who show a contempt for God by disobeying his Word. As Dr. Curtis Hutson used to say, “There are some things that cannot be sacrificed on the altar of love.”

Purity of the Word of God is important. Concerning the Word of God, I believe in the purity of His Word. I believe the scriptures were divinely inspired and providentially preserved. God divinely inspired the writers in the original manuscripts and then over time, providentially preserved these writings in the original language texts of the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus. I use the 1769 edition of the 1611 King James version, not because of “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”, but because I believe it to be a faithful translation from these texts. The issue is about using the right the right English translation based upon the right original language texts. The purity of His Word is essential since doctrine and practice are based upon the authority of scripture. “The words of the Lord are pure words”. Psalm 12:6

Purity in the home. Purity must first be established in the heart, otherwise, the outward appearance is a sham. However, after inward purity is a reality, further instruction is still needed concerning outward conduct and appearance. Concerning standards of dress, entertainment choices and others issues in contemporary culture, most churches and parents opt for unity and peace in the congregation and the home rather than the unsettling, stressful conflict which comes from requiring standards of purity. Modern apparel is more important than modest apparel. A sloppy, unkempt appearance has replaced a dignified, neat and tidy appearance, yet what is on the outside, usually reflects the attitude of the inside. Degrading movies and videos de-sensitize values concerning right and wrong over issues of sexuality, ethics and the role of men and women in the home. Ultimately, standards or lack of standards, go back to the home and the example set by the parents. Godly parents face intense pressure in the world and often from their church, over disagreement of standards, and parents too often give in to the pressure of their children, their church and other family members, who accuse them of being too hard.

Consider purity in society. Homosexuality and immorality have become more and more accepted through gradual exposure. To address someone’s immoral sexual lifestyle is considered an attack on the individual. Homosexuality and immorality are both destructive to all who participate, ruining self esteem and respect, destroying families, and can end in death from disease. To warn of self destruction and promote sexual purity honors God and helps people experience full and more satisfying lives. Sexual immorality affects everyone in society as a whole through broken homes, wounded children and adults and increased financial costs, resulting from choices that damage health.

May God give us the resolve to stand and be more concerned about maintaining unity with God, as we preach and practice purity in a culture that has an ever growing contempt for truth.


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The Testimony of Unity  


 

John 17:20, 21

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me,” John 17:21.

 

A church’s testimony in the community in which it assembles is critical. It is critical to the spread of the gospel in the community, city, state, nation and around the world. It is critical to the acceptance of Jesus by the lost.

Every now and then, it would benefit a local church to evaluate how it looks to people outside its membership. You might be surprised. If a church has a reputation for arguing and splitting, you can be sure the evaluation will be negative. However, if the church body is involved, kind and caring to people outside its membership, then the evaluation will be positive.

Furthermore, unity in a body of believers always has a positive effect on the members as well as the guests (unbelievers and believers) who attend a service. Why? The way we treat each other is always visible. If we treat each other with respect and kindness, esteeming one another and showing brotherly love to one another, it will be a great testimony to our guests of our love for God and the precious sacrifice of Jesus. The opposite is true if we treat them badly.

 

 

REFLECTION

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it (1 Cor. 12:25, 26).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

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The Blessedness of Unity


 

Psalm 133:1-3

 

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1.

 

 

 

It is a gloomy, dark, rainy Sunday morning. There is not a parking space left in the parking lot of the church. As the thunder booms above it cannot be heard by the worshipers inside. Inside the building it is dry and warm, filled with souls singing to their Lord. They are singing songs that give Him praise, that glorify Him and that thank Him for His salvation, grace and love. The offering plates passed are overflowing with gifts and offerings, benefits of the blessings of God. These brothers and sisters are united in purpose, prayer and praise, listening intently to the personal message that God has for each hearer. When the time of decision comes, the altar is full of praying, confessing, repenting sinners. Here the business meetings are calm and orderly, conducted with kingdom expansion in mind. The members are gracious, long-suffering, gentle, good and faith-filled. This is the picture of a unified group of believers in the local body of Christ.

 

Unity is good and proper and promotes happiness in the body as a whole and in each believer. It is pleasant and sweet, refreshing and soothing to the malicious wounds of the world. You may think that this is an impossible task, but it is not. It does require a lot of self-denial in favor of promoting Jesus. It is putting brothers and sisters in Christ first.

 

REFLECTION

 

Now I beseech you, brethren, . . . be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

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