Why Agreement is So Important! Thoughts on Unity and Function of the Church
The other day I was reflecting on some of the posts that I have written, and the heart behind it all. I began to realize that to an outsider looking in, who does not know my heart, it may appear that I am a Church basher. As I re-read, I found myself saying that, “we do this wrong…” quite often. I’m not going to “take it back” because I am writing what I believe God is putting on my heart. However, I understand it can be depressing. That is why it is so important to me that each person would really understand how God wants to use us as part of His reconciliation process in bringing the Body closer to Him.
Consequently, I felt it was important to reflect on how important spiritual agreement is in the Church.
From the beginning of time God has always been in agreement with Himself. I know, it is a weird statement. However, it is true. Can you imagine if Jesus said to His Father, “Dad, I think it would be better that on the second day, instead of speaking you should sneeze to make the space between the waters.” And then God said, “No.” It is complicated for me to even think about; in the Trinity there is absolutely no conflict whatsoever. It simply does not exist. I can’t seem to mentally compute that.
If I were to look at every single one of my friends on Facebook, I could probably think of a time when we disagreed, or argued, or offended each other. It seems to be a natural part of our relationships. What makes that idea even more profound to me is that most of my friends are fellow followers-of-Christ. These are the people who I trust and ask to pray with me. These are the people who I ask to pray for me. Yet, do we have agreement? Are we on the same page?
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses multiple people, in one church or ekklesia. “In classical Greek, the term [Paul used] was used almost exclusively for political gatherings. In particular, in Athens the word signified the assembling of the citizens for the purpose of conducting the affairs of the polis. Moreover, ekklesia [ejkklhsiva] referred only to the actual meeting, not to the citizens themselves. When the people were not assembled, they were not considered to be the ekklesia [ejkklhsiva].” (BibleStudyTools) So the person that could read Greek would understand that they were being called out of something, into something, which would not exist if it was not formed. (Unlike today when we say we are still part of the Church, but we prefer to worship by ourselves). The Corinthians were being taught that they were only the Church, as long as they were formed together.
Then, as we consider some of the early principals taught by both Jesus and the disciples, we can begin to see how fellowship intertwined into this whole concept of ekklesia. As Mike Breen says, paraphrased, “If you take the mountains and the meals out of the Bible, you can’t see very much of the ministry of Jesus.” Jesus was all about fellowshipping with His Father, and fellowshipping with the people. Even in Acts, we can see where the early Church (as we describe it), was described by the author, (probably Luke), as “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) Church to them was continuous fellowship which the author expressed using the word “Koinonia,” which also held the meanings: community, association, joint participation and intercourse. Now, we can put our minds into the gutter for a minute, or we can use the word “intercourse” to understand that just like Trinity fellowships, the individual goes away and the parts do not predominate, rather the whole is what exists.
In the larger collective sense, Paul also talks to this same church and says we are one collective body (1 Cor 12:12). So there is even a more general reference to us to be in agreement as a whole. God is using Paul to explain to the Corinthian church, what fellowship is supposed to look like both as their personal Body, and the collective Body as a whole; and God chooses to start by dealing with the divisions in the Church by saying, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”(Acts 1:10-12)
I kept on asking myself, “why is there such an emphasis on togetherness?” “Why does God want the body to be so united?” Paul answers that with a question: “Is Christ divided?” I am still in the process of understanding how deep God’s answer is to those questions. However I can’t ignore one promise that He gives us to encourage us, and one example of what happens when we are ekklesia and koinonia.
This is the Promise and Encouragement I can’t get out of my head:
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. ‘For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.’ (Matt. 18:19-20)’”
Here is what happens when we are Ekklesia and Koinonia:
Pentecost. With “one mind” (Acts 1:14), “they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). The end result was the Holy Spirit took approximately 120 believers, and in one day, added approximately 3,000 baptized believers. Then as we learned earlier, they continued this fellowshipping, and agreement (Acts 2:42-47)
What would happen if we united, agreed, asked God to transform our communities and cities?
Do you think unity is possible?
What do you think is holding us back from unity and are there any communities that we should not unite with?
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