Dwelling Together In Unity
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psa.133:1)
So often when most Christians speak of unity they are thinking about a local church fellowship to the diverse opinions, doctrines, and creeds they hold. That is surely not what God is thinking. It is the SCRIPTURAL ORDER AND TRUTH UNIVERSAL THAT PLEASES HIM, and that which He gave us in the beginning to keep (Matt. 24:35). The question that the children of God ought to be asking themselves in this regard is: are they determined to hold their opinions, doctrines, creeds, rituals, innovations in the face of the Word of God; and are they satisfied with separation from their brethren and division in the "one body" of Christ (Rom.12;
I Cor. 12)? How will that determination stand at "the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom. 14: 10-12)? The saints need to lay aside our preference and be open to learn the Scripture.
One might meditate upon the heavenly scene above as the Host looks down, and seeks to find an expression of the "one body" in this world. What desire do they find in the saints of God to "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3) and honor the Lord? Do they see those "likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Phil.2:2) as the Word shows us? Do they see all the saints walking together in one testimony (Amos 3:3)? Do they see us gathered together (Matt.18:20)? Since we will be caught up together (I Thess. 4:17), is it too much to ask us to "dwell together in unity" (Psa.133:1)?
Amos said: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?", and what should they agree upon? Surely it should be nothing more or less than the full Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15); therein is our only authority for the faith.
THE GROUND OF UNITY
There is little profit in trying to reform the various systems and sects that man has organized (so-called "church of your choice"), for the errors are too numerous; and also there are cults that Satan has raised up, which are blasphemous and far off from the truth. We can only look at the revival which God raised up in the early 1800's, to recover that church truth lost after the apostolic period; and yet, one needs to discern the divisions even thereafter. Seekers can contact BIBLE TRUTH PUBLISHERS at the address below for information on that return to God's Word, and revival of Church order in 1827 AD out of the disorder and confusion, by man's copies of much of the heretical RC Religion from circa 1500 AD. Does the reader know about that continued heresy?
We must be concerned about the honor of God, the testimony, and the good of the saints. We must certainly hold the truth of the Trinity, the Person and redemptive work of Christ, and holy church truth if we would be faithful. We may have the most difficulty with the latter. This seems to include at least eight things, which one can search out from the noted way listed below:
a) Gathering to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone (Matt.18:20), not to personalities, sectarian systems, emotional experiences, programs, rituals, innovations, etc., which usurp the Lord;
b) Receiving "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Tim.2:15); not traditions, entertainment, creeds and pledges, religious ideas and unscriptural things which are for the flesh;
c) Expressing the oneness of the body of Christ in the world (I Cor.12:25), not independency, nor mergers and unions, organizational membership, etc., which is the deceit of Satan to divide the saints and compromise the truth; the worldwide fellowship is essential;
d) Acknowledging the priesthood of believers (I Pet.2:5,9), not titles, offices, hierarchy, dominion over the saints with selected ministers to lead, preach, and manage ("nicolaitanism", Rev.2:6), etc., which denies liberty and allows bias and various philosophies, etc..
e) Trusting the Lord and His Word as the only way ---authority and path for the Christian faith.
f) Worshipping collectively as is pleasing to God, rather than innovations for the flesh;
g) Appreciating the assembly and maintaining God's government, rather than the ideas of men;
h) Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit as in the early church (II Cor.3:17), not to ceremonies, schedules, arrangements quenching the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19), which dishonors God.
One may write to Bible Truth Publishers, P.O. Box 649, Addison, IL 60101 for ministry on these subjects; or at Bibletruthpublishers.com
God's testimony ought to be maintained, not division groups and traditional religious organizations. Every group has a history. Good friends and relatives --etc. should also not be the "ground of gathering". Believers must not go off independent of that universal testimony revived by God, which is going on in the world in the truth of the Word. Association with the "tables" of man and various religious organizations, is "schism" (I Cor.12:25). Believers are exhorted in the Word of God to be of "one accord", "likeminded", "together" in love and the Truth 'til He comes. - R. L. DeWitt: CA11; 11/00; add: 12/18.
One will hear teaching and diverse ministry along our pathway from many sources . One should always test it by the Word of God (see John 5:39; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15; II Tim.3:16; Titus 1:9). Whether it is profitable often depends, too, on our state of soul. This paper is prepared with much care and prayer to be a help and honor the Lord. Comments and questions are welcome. - RLD.