On this, the first day of 2005, let's remember
that the most important number in the Bible is the number ONE!
Eph 4:1-6 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; ONE God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." NIV
Unity is always in the mind of God! In fact, one of the last prayer requests Jesus uttered before his crucifixion was: John 17:22-23 "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
Jesus was praying for unity among His disciples. He prayed for unity in the church! Why? "To let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me". It is the most powerful testimony to unbelievers. Unity does not exist in this world. If we just could let ourselves be led by God's Spirit in staying united, our testimony would be thousands of times more powerful!
What is the opposite of one? It's two. Isa 14:12-14 "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'" NIV
The devil here never attempted to be God. That would be impossible! He wanted to be "like" God. His attempt is to have TWO gods. Pride is disastrous and it's consequences are horrible!
However, where unity lives, there is a special blessing from God. Ps 133: "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore."
Read how God's presence was manifested among believers at Pentecost. Acts 2:1-3: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting." NIV
When we are one, God manifests Himself. He strives for unity!
Now how can we become one?
1. You are to be quick to forgive. Release forgiveness. If I have a problem looking someone in the eye, or if I have a twinge in the stomach when I receive an email from a certain person, I have a problem with offence.
Matt 5:44-46 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." NIV
If you can't forgive a certain person, you declare to that person that he/she is lord over your life. Whenever you think of that person, you gave harsh feelings inside and your stomach churns. You are in bondage! Ask God for help in this and you will be victorious!
P. S. Sending a gift to that person from the heart can help with forgiveness. Try it. It's worth it.
Notice the reason to be quick to forgive in our text: "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven". Like Father, like son.
2. We have to understand who our enemy is.
Eph 6:10-13 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." NIV
Our enemies are not our brothers and sisters in church. Our enemies are not our partners in our ministry. Our enemies are not even our subscribers. The real enemy is the devil! He does not want us to be successful in spreading the Good News around the world.
3. We need to be filled with God's Spirit! He is our guide. Without His guidance, we are nothing!
There is a truly amazing story recorded in Genesis, the story of the Tower of Babel. The people at Babel were one and had one language in common. God says that when people are united, nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Nothing is impossible to those who are united! God had to intervene as a united, ungodfearing civilization would be disastrous. He confused their language so that they had no unity of language any longer.
Notice that at Pentecost, just the opposite occurred. When God's Spirit fell on all the disciples, they all received a new tongue. They were united in purpose. They were united in love and they were united in language. Nothing to them was impossible!
Acts 2:4 "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." NIV
Notice what happened after Peter and John were released in Acts 4:23-24
"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God." NIV
Peter and John went back to the Christians, shared with them what had happened and in one accord they started to pray to God. What was the outcome?
Acts 4:31 "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." NIV
Wow! All were filled by God's Spirit and they all spoke the Word with boldness. How powerful it is to be one in the Spirit and one with one another. Boldness takes hold of us and nothing can stop us from sharing God's gospel. Hallelujah!
As we approach this new year, 2005, may that Spirit of unity glue us together as one in love, one in Spirit, and one in purpose. Let us all pray for one another constantly. Let us also continue to pray for God to open us doors to spread the gospel message where no one has gone before. United we stand under God's Spirit. Nothing is impossible to us as God is our guide! Phil 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." NIV Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!
In His love,
Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org