"Private religion is in. Polls and surveys show that people are choosing to determine for themselves the content and the meaning of their faith", Roger C. Palms observed in an editorial in Decision magazine (May 1985). This is quite the opposite of the early church. In Acts we read,
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul..." (4:32).
The spirit of the world is crowding the Spirit of Christ our of our lives. We need to turn around. Palms concluded, "Society's trend toward individualism is not a pattern for the Body. The eye and the ear, the hand and the foot, need each other. When they don't function as part of a whole, we know there is sickness. Chaos produced by individualism can create sickness in the Church."
Every congregation and all believers everywhere need united agreement in prayer and faith. True, we can play privately, but we must also come together with the church expecting to find one accord in prayer. The church in Acts began in one accord in prayer (Acts 1:14; 2:1). United prayer was a top priority of the apostles and the people (Acts 6:4; 4:18-33; 12:1-25; 15:1-30). United agreement in prayer is necessary because of who we are.
We are related to Christ and each other like the members of our natural body are. Our head coordinates the life and action of all the parts of our body (I Corinthians 12). Christ is the head over all things to the church.
We are one family. We pray to "OUR Father." Andrew Murray said that it is unnatural for the children in a family to always meet with their father separately and never know a shared relationship with him.
Our lives together form one holy living temple for a dwelling place for God on earth (I Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:16-22). We are not lone rangers. We are one army under one commander facing a common foe of great power (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 6:10-20). United we stand. Divided we fall (Matthew 12:25).
The longest recorded prayer of Jesus focused on this. He prayed that believers might be one as He and the Father are (John 17:11). This is a supernatural oneness of spirit. We cannot achieve this by human wisdom. We must look up to God together in prayer and faith to experience this unity.
This oneness is crucial to our testimony to the world. Jesus prayed that we would exhibit this oneness "that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21-23).
This prayer was answered in the church in Acts. They had an amazing oneness with God and one another. The entire church was filled with the Spirit (2:4). They were all of one heart and one soul (2:42-47). God and the whole church were in the most intimate communion imaginable (4:31-35). With great boldness and power they witnessed to the world.
Can God do this again? We must answer boldly, "Yes!" Jesus won the right to give His church ALL the blessings of God (Ephesians 1:3). These include:
To possess these blessings and this kind of gracious life together we must:
By uniting in repentance and determined spiritual warfare we can become a God-filled church with God-filled families in a world dominated by Satan and sin.
Brethren, let us pray that the whole church will unite in repentance, prayer and spiritual warfare in the fulness of Christ! The early church did and so can we.
By Rev. Oliver W. Price 1987 All Rights Reserved
Use our convenient online form to begin a new subscription to our FREE e-Newsletter, "Revival Insights".
Experience the Bible online in 7 different translations. www.biblegateway.com