Unity: A sweet aroma that fosters life

 

Ps 133  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing —  life forever.  NASB

Vs 1 “GOOD” means beautiful, favorable, and is used 500 times in the OT, the first time in Gen 1:4 “And God saw that the light was good.” the light was beautiful, delightful.

How beautiful it is for brothers and sisters in Christ to dwell together in Unity.

Vs 1 “PLEASANT” is only used 13 times in the OT, means Sweet. Word Study dictionary writes, “It is used of person who are pleasing, a joy to be around.” It is used as a name of God,

Ps 135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is LOVELY. NASB

It is beautiful and lovely. It is delightful and inviting. What is? When brothers and sisters in Christ live together in UNITY.

Why is there beauty in unity?

Because we reflect the very nature of our God when we are unified. We were created in the image of God. We worship one God who is eternally God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Co-equal and Eternal. Three in One. The essence, the very nature of God is the doctrine of the Trinity. The most elementary take away is that God is RELATIONAL.

That is in our DNA. That is why God created a companion for Adam. But the fall damaged that image. Sin resulted in man’s separation from God and it wasn’t long before we see the separation between men in the case of Cain and Abel. The ugliness of sin is seen in Separation. Division in relationships.

God is relational as because he is relational he is reconciling the world to himself. Now we believe a Gospel that rooted in reconciliation. God never did anything to move away from us. We moved away from God and God moves toward us in reconciliation. It is a beautiful and wonderful gospel to share. One of the evidences of that Gospel is the UNITY of those who believe in the Gospel of Reconciliation.

Let’s talk about a few minutes about what unity is, the basis for our unity and the two beautiful pictures in this short, yet powerful psalm.

There is beauty in unity because we reflect the nature of God who is in us when we are unified. There is beauty in unity because it is the desire of the Lord Jesus. He prayed that we would be one. Why? So that the world would believe… many of you are very passionate about evangelism. We must remember that unity among believers is the way Jesus said we would reach the world.

There is strength in UNITY. Eccl 4:12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. NASB

Jesus prayed for our Unity that is evidence of our conversion.   John 17:20-21 “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. NASB

All will identify you with Jesus. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NASB

It is possible or Jesus wouldn’t pray for it!! Acts 4:32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them. NASB

1 Cor 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. NASB

Eph 4:2-6 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. NASB

Chuck Colson, “Harmony and oneness in spirit can be achieved only when Christians put aside their personal agendas and submit themselves to the authority of the Holy Spirit.” The Body.

Unity is not UNIFORMITY. We are not the same. We have different personalities. We have different preferences. I cannot understand how anyone can dislike chocolate. In particular, a Peanut Buster Parfait from DQ or Moose Tracks extreme ice cream. But do you know that there is more on the menu at DQ than a Peanut Buster Parfait. I don’t understand it. Well, you know I do!!! – why? Because we are all different. Just because you don’t like a Peanut Buster Parfait doesn’t mean you are a bad person, maybe not too smart J , but not a bad person.

Adrian Rogers said it this way, “Uniformity comes from pressure from without, unity comes from life within.”

Unity is rooted in our identity in Christ and His Word. Now, listen, most problems in church do not involve a moral or doctrinal issue. This year we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Some say that it was sinful that there was division in the church. I say that it would have been sinful for there not to be a division in the church. When unity of fellowship is a greater priority then doctrinal integrity, then we have no real basis for our unity other than seeking community. You can get that at a social club.

I found this article from the Church of England very interesting:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. (Which by the way is Oct 31, 2017)
“This year, churches around the world will be marking the great significance of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Europe, dated from Martin Luther’s 95 Theses protesting against the practice of indulgences, on 31 October 1517 at Wittenberg. … {Specifically the indulgences were sold by the priests to people to raise money. You could buy an indulgence which allowed you to indulge in a sin, the degree of the sinfulness of the sin was based on the price you paid for the indulgence. So you could buy an indulgence and be absolved from your sin. But that was the tip of the iceberg. The basic theological issues that Martin Luther had with the Church was rooted in salvation by GRACE alone Through CHRIST alone} Many will also remember the lasting damage done five centuries ago to the unity of the Church, in defiance of the clear command of Jesus Christ to unity in love. …. {That is Christ’s commandment but his commandment for unity does not preempt doctrinal integrity. The bible makes it clear many times that those who preach a different gospel are condemned, that those who continue in sin after reproved are to be separated, that those who are followers of false doctrine are to be rejected (Titus 3:10)

 Remembering the Reformation should also lead us to repent of our part in perpetuating divisions.We therefore call on all Christians to seek to be renewed and united in the truth of the gospel of Christ through our participation in the Reformation Anniversary, to repent of divisions, and, held together in Him, to be a blessing to the world in obedience to Jesus Christ.”

I celebrate the courage and loyalty of Martin Luther and the other reformers who would not submit to false teaching and immoral behavior.

There are two pictures in Ps 133 that presents the beauty of our Unity.

  1. OIL.

Psalm 133:2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

Oil is symbolic in the OT of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Aaron was the first High Priest. He represented the people to God. We, born again believers, are representing the Lord to people. You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the world. You are the Body of Christ. The bride of Christ.

Exodus 30

The Anointing begins with the head. The Holy Spirit moves from the head to the beard then to the very bottom of his garment. That means all was touched by the oil. It is symbolic that all parts of the body of Christ are to exude the aroma of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 12:12-13 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

It is impossible to become separated from the body and function as you ought to. It is only in the body that you see all of the Lord Jesus. The Body is to complement one another in our ministries, not compete against one another. The oil represents the fact that we have been set apart. All the furniture in the Temple was anointed with oil, symbolic of it being set apart for God’s purpose.

You are set apart for God’s purpose. You are his workmanship. You are predestined to perform the works of God…

Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What works? The works of God in us. Remember, he that began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.

When people walk into this place, when they are around us at the ballfield, soccer field, Starbucks, and yes, even DQ, they are to smell the aroma of Christ. The anointing of God is on you. This anointing is the HOLY SPIRIT who produces UNITY in the Bride of Christ. Now, how can I possibly say that I am walking in the HOLY SPIRIT and for the sake of unity go against that which He has inspired??? No my brothers and sisters. But how can I say that I am walking in the HOLY SPIRIT unless I am surrendering to that which he has inspired?

The aroma of Jesus is strong among the vessels that are broken. This aroma is spoken of in three passages in the NT

2 Cor 2:14-17 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. NASB

Eph 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. NASB

Phil 4:18 But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. NASB

You can smell division just as much as you can smell unity.

Now, we cannot say, “I want us to be unified.” Rather we are to say,

I surrender to the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Body of Christ, I surrender to His Word that is given as the foundation for the Body of Christ, I surrender to the Body of Christ in utilizing my gifts for the advancement of the Body as I work together with others. I surrender my rights and I take on the attitude of Jesus Christ who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be held onto but he emptied himself…. I surrender to the obligation to protect the unity of the Church.

I commit to give preference to one another.

I commit to protect the unity of the body.

The oil was poured out liberally.

  1. DEW

Psalm 133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing —  life forever.  NASB

Mount Hermon is a great mountain in the northern part of Israel. You can see for miles from Mt Hermon. It is actually a very popular ski resort now. It is from this mountain that dew would descend as far as the city of David.

Unity is like dew – dew brings life.

Dew is not stale.

Dew comes silently.

Dew is not forced.

So, we have the Dew that settles on all who are in the field. It brings life and refreshment. It is beautiful. You can’t force it but you know it when it’s there.

Unity is like dew – a sweet gift that brings life.

Conclusion.

The gospel is all about reconciliation. Jesus came reconciling the world unto himself. Before there can be unity in your marriage, in your home, in your life, there must first be unity with you and the Lord God. That is only possible through Jesus Christ. Our sin separates us from God so the Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin so that we can be reconciled with God and at peace with God.

You can experience that by trusting in Jesus. In a few moments, I will be standing here in the front along with my Staff and we would love the opportunity to share God’s gift of salvation with you.

 

 

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