ACTS 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: There is power in unity! If a church, a husband and wife, a family, can come together in agreement and unity – there is power! Jesus spoke of this power when He said – “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 ESV)
This newly born church had just been greatly tested. The apostles were being questioned by the Jewish leaders regarding the healing of the lame beggar, and warned not to speak anymore in the name of Jesus. The church rallied together in corporate prayer. There was truly a sense of community, unity, and faith as they lifted up their prayers with “one voice”. The result – the place where they were gathered was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. This was very significant because it indicated that the provision they had received on the day of Pentecost was not simply a one time event – it was meant to be an ongoing provision of “presence” and “power”.
The result is even more enlightening. They did not draw inward to hide from the opposition and threats – they thrust into the harvest field, newly empowered, newly filled, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. The result – many wonders and signs were done by the apostles and early church, and many more souls were added to the Kingdom of God!
When you consider this, is it any wonder that the enemy of our souls deplores “unity”? It is the one thing that he continually tries to destroy within a church. If you have ever been involved in a church that has split you can see the devastating effect that disunity leaves in its’ wake. Some lives are so hurt that they never again set foot over the threshold of a church. This is tragic, but not as tragic as the end result. In the wake of hurt lives, un-forgiveness, and disunity, the most devastating result of all is that – the Gospel is not being proclaimed in power and boldness. The enemy has placed another notch on his belt. This is serious and worth consideration.
Unity is not automatic. It flows out of surrendered hearts that are yielded to the Holy Spirit. Yet, even in surrendered hearts it must be protected and nurtured. Paul exhorts the church – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV) It takes humility, gentleness, patience, and most of all LOVE! Love covers a multitude of sins. Love does not insist on its’ own. Love always strives to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Love, humility, and forgiveness protect and release unity of the Spirit!
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3 ESV)
Lord, draw Your church together in the unity of the Spirit. May I do my part by walking in true humility, gentleness, forgiveness, patience, and love. Pour out the oil of your presence upon our hearts and “command the blessing”. As we unite our hearts together – shake the place where we stand and give us boldness to proclaim Your Word to all who will hear. In Jesus Name!