Pleasant Unity

Psalm 133

Unity: something mankind has experienced in fullness and perfection… once…. for a few days. Have to go back to Beginning, what Adam and Eve experienced before sin. Don’t really need the explanation to know unity and fellowship between man and wife cruelly shattered – look at what they did! Took steps to hide, at least in part, from each other – Gen. 3:7 “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings”. Hard as mankind may try, no way for him to reverse damage that was done that day in Garden. And goes way beyond clothing; that simply outward evidence of many other changes profoundly affecting every area of life and person.

Not a topic that got much attention in OT, significant change when come to NT, starting with closing hours of Jesus’ ministry before his death. Previously seen bad behavior first-hand: Jesus told disciples how he would die, they began arguing, “who’s gonna be the greatest?” (Mark 9:34) No surprise was still concerned on night of his betrayal – prayed repeatedly, vehemently for their oneness:

John 17:11, 21-23 “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. …that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

Apostle Paul got in on the act as well: exhortation to three different churches and beyond:

Rom. 12:4-5; “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Rom. 15:6 “that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Cor. 12:20, 25 “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. …that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”

Eph. 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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.”

Unity is a big deal in God’s view of things; from our perspective, does not come naturally; in fact, apart from power of God actively at work in and among his people it will never happen. Problem is that people naturally have competing desires, ones that bring conflict between individuals. Is not environmental, situational, is internal at its root. For there to be true unity, must start with internal change… one that is impossible by human ability alone.

A. unity of the Spirit v.1

very first word of psalm should get our attention: Behold! – this and next are only psalms that begin with hinneh, “pay attention!”

what comes next is surprising, out of the ordinary, important – people living the way brothers should live is important to God, surprising and out of the ordinary to us

given position in this section of psalter, sense of urgency to it – these two the final pilgrim songs, last that would be sung before arriving at place of worship

important, then, that there be genuine unity in worship and in daily life – safe to say genuine unity in church will be evident at home and work also

7 times, 1st chapter Genesis – God saw it was good – same Hebrew word as here, same Greek word used both places in LXX

God’s creation: inherently valuable, well done, God evaluated and was satisfied with what he had made (Mounce)

same term is used in relation to God: God is good and does good; God is standard of good, knows what is good – truly beneficial and morally right – has communicated it to us in Bible

same things can apply to relationships between brethren – when they dwell in unity it is valuable, satisfying to God, beneficial and morally right

pleasant: delightful, agreeable, sweetly sounding if describing music – opposite of what accompanies quarreling, rivalry, division

when unity is absent: on edge, apt to be short-tempered, second-guessing others’ actions and motives, never fully transparent

true to some degree when unity only surface, based on either non-essentials or least common denominator (esp. theological)

so where do we begin to achieve kind of unity Jesus prayed for, Paul encouraged his readers and associates to practice

Jesus prayed “that they also may be one in Us”, “I in them, and You in Me” – something God initiates, not us

unlike what many people pray for, mental concept they have, Jesus does not live in our hearts: has a full-size human body!

how then can he be in us? how is the Father in the Son? this an aspect of ministry of Holy Spirit that doesn’t get much press!

Paul helps: Rom. 8:9-11 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

also 1 Cor. 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

unity with brethren begins with unity in the Spirit – when walk in the Spirit, led by the Spirit, demonstrating fruit of the Spirit, being transformed by the Spirit, ….the one Spirit who unites us in one body under one head, Jesus

B. equipping of the Spirit v.2

oil in scripture often symbolic of Holy Spirit – prophets, priests, kings anointed to signify not only selection, also equipping for office

Ex. 30:23-25 “Take choice spices: twelve and a half pounds of free-flowing myrrh, half that – about six and a quarter pounds – of sweet-smelling cinnamon, six and a quarter pounds of sweet-smelling cane,and twelve and a half pounds of cassia, all weighed according to the sanctuary shekel, and four quarts of olive oil.You are to make this into a sacred anointing oil, a perfumed compound, the work of a perfumer. It will be sacred anointing oil.”

Isa. 61:1–3 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

claimed for himself by Jesus at beginning of ministry – Luke 4:17–19; Peter further explained – Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

picture of Aaron being anointed: surplus of oil that not only drenched Aaron, ran down over breastplate of 12 stones, bringing unity to tribes, church, God’s people

all God’s people regardless of position or office just as dependent on equipping of Holy Spirit as any of the above including Jesus

since it is one Spirit equipping one body for one purpose, more active the Spirit is more unified his people should become

C. refreshing of the Spirit v.3a

Jesus to Nicodemus – John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

same with the dew: falls where it wishes, you feel the refreshing of it, but cannot tell where it comes from (unlike rain)

was dew/mist that refreshed and nourished original creation, brings and sustains life wherever it falls – essential to life

water also associated with God’s Word; Deut. 32:1-2 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb.”

here Moses speaking… as prophet, the mouthpiece of God – God’s words, God’s teaching that feed and sustain his people

Jesus contrasted water from Jacob’s well with water he would supply: John 4:13-14 “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

essential agent bringing that about: the Holy Spirit – communicating God’s word first to human authors; illuminating written word, shining light on truth so we see it; enlightening and applying to individual

as long as we give Spirit something to work with, will be continually refreshed – “dry spells” usually (not always) connected with distance from God’s word read, taught, meditated on

closer we are to “center” of Spirit’s leading, comprehending his teaching and application, closer/more unified with brethren we’ll be

D. blessing through the Spirit v.3b

important adverb, don’t rush over it: “For there the LORD commanded the blessing” — where is there? the mountains of Zion

God works together with God in relation to his people – clear in Ephesians 1 Father, Son and Spirit operate in concert, not competition, not separately

those whom the Father has elected, the Son redeemed, the Spirit regenerated and sealed receive blessing in the church from the Father, through the Son (the head) and applied by the Spirit

cannot expect to receive rich blessings from God outside functioning relationship with body of Christ – regular active, healthy participation in life of local church

not simply eternal existence that is promised – life forevermore: life characterized by blessing, joy, abundance, a future

is ongoing ministry of Holy Spirit to convey all that to us from head of the Church within framework of church family… brethren

remember nature of this psalm – a pilgrim psalm, sung on pilgrimage/journey to place of worship

should make our pilgrimage to worship each week expecting blessing from God, including unity with fellow worshipers

now let’s go to next level: if we are like Abraham, all of this life is pilgrimage – we live here as pilgrims, non-resident aliens, traveling to ultimate destination… the heavenly Zion

promise of blessings in unimaginable abundance and perfection… including perfect unity and fellowship without exception

confidence in that promise should keep us pressing hard toward the goal, not like Championship runner on Aug. 24, 2015

Molly Huddle lost to fellow American Emily Infeld in the 10,000 meter race at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing. She lost a bronze medal because she celebrated too early.

Like Paul, Phil. 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own….one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Must not take God’s blessings, especially unity for granted. Must perservere in doing right, seeking his help and good gifts. Yes we want the showers, plead for the rain – abundant rain that refreshes all who walk in continual dependence on the Spirit.

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