The Power of Oneness

As a Pastor, I have always ached in my heart when people, who use to attend our church, decided to come every once in a while or eventually they don’t come at all. I felt there was something wrong with me because my loveThe Power Of Oneness (WP) for them would get the better of me. Sometimes it consumed me because I knew they were missing out on what God was doing and I wanted them to be a part, also those who were faithful attenders really missed those who were not there too. “Did I do something wrong?” “Are my sermons boring or not having substance?” “Don’t they long to be in the presence of God?” “Is it because I am a woman?” These and more questions I would ask myself.

So many people have an independent spirit about them and believe they can come and go from church whenever they so choose, and they think it doesn’t effect anyone or anything. American Christians are notorious for this behavior.

God showed me the reasons why I was aching so much over these people. I found in the Book of Acts my answer and it has nothing to do with me, but it has to do with us.

Appearing to the Disciples after His death and resurrection, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem.

Luke 24:49 NKJV
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

In the beginning of Acts we see Jesus assembled together with them and He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (Acts 1:4 – 5)

Jesus knew they needed to receive power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Him. He also knew what was ahead of them, they didn’t. He was preparing them for more. More people to teach and disciple, more miracles, signs, and wonders, more power, and more of His Spirit.

It was important for all of them to be together and to stay together and wait together.

Acts 1:14 NKJV
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

The phrase, “one accord” is translated from the Greek: homothumadon (hom-oth-oo-mad-on’) and it means, unanimously: – with one accord (mind) [Adverb from a compound of the base of G3674 and G2372].

This is something we can learn and glean for our own lives and church in that phrase, “One Accord.” To all come together with one mind, unanimously expecting God to move in our midsts should be our mindset. Most people won’t tarry. Most people have other things on their mind instead of waiting for something they don’t even know what it is. It is easy to wait for something you know is coming… Holidays, package coming in the mail, a certain event, but to wait for an unknown promise, in todays instant culture, is hard and challenging.

Acts 2:1 NKJV
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

What a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on each of the one hundred and twenty in the upper room waiting together for the promise of the Father which Jesus told them about. There oneness kept them there together, and they all were seeking what God wanted for all of them.

As we read more about what happened after that powerful event, we see how their oneness produced great results for the Kingdom of God.

On the Day of Pentecost there were people from all nations under heaven and they heard them speaking in their own language the praises of God. They were all amazed and marveled and wondered what it could be. At the same time there were others who were seeing it all and they mocked the disciples saying, “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13).

I found it interesting that there were mockers who instantly criticized the power of God and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. We, as a church, need to be aware that critics will criticize what God will do and stay in oneness no matter what.

In spite of any mockery, there were those who gladly received Peter’s words and were baptized and 3000 souls were added to them that day (Acts 2:41)! I would say the Disciples oneness produced powerful results.

Acts 2:42 – 47 NKJV
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear (awe) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. []So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The phrase “continued steadfastly” means to continually devote themselves to one another. It means to be earnest towards one another, to persevere, constantly diligent, and attend assiduously. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions)

Continually means that they did these things consistently, while devoting means there was a strong focus on these things that deeply consumed them. They chose not to scatter their energy and investment of time into all kinds of other concerns and commitments.

I believe this is where the church, as a whole, has failed. We have not continually devoted ourselves to one another or there would not be church splits, or indifference in coming to church, or a lack of desire to be together. We all have to work on this. It is biblical. Oneness set the church of Acts on a solid foundation and I believe we need to do the same.

The more they were together, they realized how important each other was. They saw the value of being together because it knit their hearts as one. Never underestimate the power of fellowshipping together.

There is more to being in One Accord then being in one mind and purpose. It also is being one soul, or a covenant community. We make a covenant when we marry our spouse saying I will be with you always and there is no other. God established a new covenant with us by sending His Son to save the world from damnation and we no longer have to follow the law and rules of the old covenant. God’s new covenant will not change. It abides forever. But have you ever considered to make a covenant with the body of Christ you attend on Sunday? I challenge you to establish that covenant with one another and keep it at all costs! Not to be legalistic but to create a bond that will produce results! Amen!

Each week we come together to worship God and to learn from His Word. But there is so much more then that. We come together to see and fellowship with one another.

Fellowship means spending time together with other believers in a connected and vulnerable way, sharing lives and being accountable to people with whom you have chosen to share life. Even a quick reading of the books of Acts will show the people of the early church spent a lot of time just being together, everyday, often.

Acts 2:42 – 44 Amplified Bible
“And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers. And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers). And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;”

“Devoting themselves constantly to…” The first thing on the list to which the early church gave its devotion was the apostles’ teaching. In other words they devoted themselves to hearing and absorbing what would later become the New Testament. They were constantly getting fed and allowing the word of God to become a part of their soul. You could say they were absorbing or being saturated in good teaching of God’s Word.

The important thing here is that they were being taught the same thing. If one person left and received a teaching from another place, contrary to what the disciples were teaching, it wasn’t the same. Being taught the same thing brings unity and oneness. You are a part and you understand where your fellowship is going.

Then comes fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer which implies, and even requires consistent, deep, passionate covenant relationship between people inspired and filled by the Holy Spirit.

I talked about fellowshipping, now lets look at breaking of bread. It’s more then observing communion and/or eating together. In the Bible times, sharing a meal meant much more than our own casual invitation to “do lunch” together. For people in the Bible, sharing a meal constituted one of the most intimate forms of fellowship possible. You ate together only with people to whom you felt willing to commit in a covenant way. I think that’s why churches love potlucks. There were many jokes about potlucks at church in the past, but seeing how the early church came together often and broke bread and communed together, we should do the same. Enjoy days where the church has a potluck or lunch/dinner. Enjoy those you are eating with. Find out more about them. Truly care about them and have compassion for them. This is being biblical and it pleases God’s heart!

Finally, prayer seemed most often to be something they did together as a unified body. The time leading up to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost the apostles and a few others were praying together in the upper room and ended with 120 pouring out their hearts to God in one accord, or oneness. Just like it states in Acts 2, verse 1, that they were all with one accord in one place. This is a picture of unity! Prayer is vital for your breakthrough!

Just as soon as the Holy Spirit fell on that original one hundred and twenty a deep, passionate and strong sense of community resulted.

Acts 2:43
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Notice the sense of awe came before the signs and wonders. The awe was a direct result of their depth and power of the love and fellowship they experienced. The wonders and signs did not produce the awe. The passage only mentions wonders and signs only once, while the remainder of the passages focuses on all the things they did together in love, and on the sacrifices they made for one another as they lived out their faith in covenant relationship, consistently and deeply pursued.

God calls us to oneness in relationship powered by the heart and Spirit of Jesus. Oneness with God leads directly to oneness with each other. The effect is prophetic, producing the fruit that is beyond our needs so that the world may believe.

Our focused covenant community affects others in a great way. Your part is so vital in the scheme of things. All are needed, and all were filed with the Holy Spirit, and all fellowshipped and broke bread together.

What if I, the wife of my husband of almost 30 years, decide to live half of the time at another man’s home? What if I said to him, Honey, I love you. You are my husband and this is my home but I just need to live part-time at John’s house because he has something I need right now? How stable and effective would our household be? How would that impact our children? How would it impact my covenant with my husband?

Or what if I informed my husband, “You will always be my first husband, but I just feel I need to be married to this other one, too? We all know it wouldn’t work. Our marriage would resolve and it would effect my entire family, and possibly community.

Spiritual polygamy does not build the Kingdom of God. It only keeps us fragmented, ineffective and unproductive at making a prophetic impact on this world. Spiritual polygamy means you are not planted anywhere. You become a vagabond (wondering from place to place without a home).

Why do I say all of this? The majority of modern Christians attend and even commit themselves to more than one church in a year. I have heard that the average number of churches christians attend is six. This can never build stable and effective covenant community any more than the kind of living arrangements I described about my husband and I could create or sustain a stable home.

The kind of church life many Christians practice might be more aptly described as spiritual promiscuity, hopping from church bed to church bed seeking the next thrill or perhaps to have personal needs met without real concern for selfless sacrifice, depth of relationships or effective ministry for the sake of others. Personal trust, of others, so necessary to life changing ministry over time, can only be built in being consistent in oneness and covenant community.

God calls us to focused commitment that builds strong relationships in love. The sense of awe the early church experienced flowed not from the signs and wonders but from the love they practiced, the connection, the continual devotion to things that made for relationship in the power of the Holy Spirit. Prophetic community cannot develop without this kind of “continually devoting.”

I have been thinking why don’t we see miracles and healings? Why don’t we see amazing things; signs and wonders in today’s church? I believe it is in part because no one wants to commit to each other and to love one another deeply. We are so concerned with ourselves.

In Romans 12, the apostle Paul understood and taught the value, power and practice of community.

Romans 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

No longer can the Christian walk be built around “me,” feeding “me,” entertaining “me.” I must become the sacrifice given up to God for His use and His purposes.

The world practices a way of thinking which revolves around self and pushes away anything that has to do with commitment or covenant. We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). We must absorb God’s mind – which begins and ends in covenant.

Covenant love makes us a prophetic people, a people with something to say, a light house, or city of refuge of God’s healing grace, a people who will change our world. In covenant love we will make a difference. Very few members of the first church in Acts 2 could be said to be prophetic individually, but they functioned as part of a prophetic community. What they did together and how they lived out their bond of love made a statement to the world that changed things forever. Without the bonded community meeting regularly, fellowshipping, loving, and praying and breaking bread together, all the signs and wonders would have been meaningless. When real devotion to one another develops, a prophetic statement is made. This is Church, and we are one!

If you have been gifted as one of those few who are truly prophetic, but without a solid foundation in a covenant with God that bonds you to one specific local expression of the Body of Christ, you will fail to make whole and accurate prophetic statements. Trying to be committed in covenant to more than one body at once is like practicing polygamy. You end up being truly close to no one and hindered in your effectiveness to anyone.

Being a part of a local church is one of the great joys and responsibilities of every believer. However, it involves more than showing up on Sunday! How do you participate in the life of your church? While you experience different levels of involvement in a church during different seasons of your life, be sure to consistently avail yourself of opportunities to fellowship, worship, serve, and receive teaching of the Word of God.

Romans 15:5 – 7 NKJV
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

There is a song that was written back in the seventy’s that, as a little child, I remember singing in church. I think it is very appropriate to read the words of this song for the message.

They will know we are Christians by our love

1. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

2. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

3. We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

4. All praise to the Father, from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, his only Son,
And all praise to the Spirit, who makes us one.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Who will make a covenant with me, and with those who you fellowship with to continue steadfastly with each other in teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayer? Let this become who we are every time we come together to worship our Lord, Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

 

 

 

 

Resources: Pastor Kris Belfils, “The Prophetic Church” by Loren Sandford, and “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” Peter Scholtes

2 thoughts on “The Power of Oneness

  1. I very much appreciated and aligned with your message on ONENESS. It is the key of restoration for the Body of Christ! Everything in God’s whole creation without exception, is designed to function according to the principles of wholeness which forms the construct of oneness. Anything that should function outside of God’s all-encompassing oneness, violates the principles of individual wholeness … The result, MALFUNCTION – leading to eventual destruction.
    – Dr. David Homer (Kingdom Health – The Theology of Wholeness)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s