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Unity of The Spirit

When Jesus was alive he said  “I and my Father are one” and then later prayed in John 17: 20-21;

Neither pray I for these [apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 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.

Paul later taught in regards to the unity of the spirit of God:

Ephesians 3:4-6There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

In the first century, life was physically very different from the life we know today. Yet the major happening on the day of Pentecost right after the ascension of Jesus Christ brought the unity of the spirit of God into the lives of willing people. Peter was the first to speak about what had happened. He did not have the whole picture yet but what God showed him he shared. The people had gathered from all across the known world at that time to celebrate one of three yearly feasts.  Jerusalem had a huge population at this time of the year. Many of the people who responded to Peter’s magnificent sermon drastically changed their lives.

Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear [respect] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Our culture is different today, but the unity of the spirit is the same. We don’t travel to the temple in Jerusalem to the feasts. We now have a written record of the apostle’s doctrine. We have the seven church epistles by Paul explaining the gift of holy spirit and what we are to think and do about it. We too can praise God and share in God’s grace in one  with the thinking of the first century church!

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Lowliness

When one hears the word ‘lowliness’ a common picture flashes in most minds, that of the downtrodden Christian who is the doormat of the world. This view is not accurate.

The name ‘Christ’ refers to the Messiah. He was the risen one! Christ rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God.  In the corporate world, this would be equivalent to the ‘top of the ladder’ and the ‘cornerstone office with a view’. Seated in his elevated position he is the head of the body of Christ to which we belong. We have awesome rights because  of his position and he didn’t get there by clawing his way up, quite the contrary. He did it God’s way.

The Greek word for ‘lowliness’ is tapeinophrosune.  It is used 7 times in the NewTestament. In Colossians there are a couple of uses that are very interesting:

Colossans 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen , vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

 ‘Will worship’ comes from man when man decides that he can go far beyond what God expects  and  focuses on his own self-righteousness as a result. It is ultimately the source of man-made religions. It negates grace and refocuses on the works of man.

Our worship should come from a heart for God and respect for His son. We worship God by that which is spiritually true. We have his Word and we have holy spirit.  We are completely outfitted for all that we need to do. 

In Ephesians 4:3, ‘lowliness’ is the first and foremost step in keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.  It’ is really a humbleness of mind that is built on the integrity and accuracy of God’s Word.  Nothing worthwhile happens without it. 

Even in a worldly corporation where everyone is not jockeying for place but focused on doing their own part, the result is an organization that excels and exceeds expectations. Everyone is honored. Even more so in the body of Christ, accomplishing God’s business is beyond expectations because of God’s wonderful power. Everyone gets a great corner window view cause we’re seated in the heavenlies with the Head.

 

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