Psalms 133 Blessed Unity of the People of God June 2007am
A father had a family of quarreling sons. One day he called his sons before him and, picking out the strongest of them, handed him a stick. “Snap it,” he said. The son did so with a gesture of contempt. The man handed him two sticks. “Snap them,” he said. Again the son did so. The old man handed him ever increasing numbers of sticks. “Snap them,” he said - a bundle of four, five, six. Soon the young man was having to strain to snap the sticks and, finally he had to admit defeat.
“Unity is strength,” the old man cautioned his sons. “A house divided cannot stand. Anyone can overthrow you one by one. But stand together, in unity, and your united strength will give your enemies second thoughts.”
Psalm 133 is a psalm about true unity, the unity of the Spirit, a unity that gives strength and on which God pours His blessing.
1. The substance of unity - v. 1
A. The basis of Christian unity - “brothers”
The basis of Christian unity is our common relationship to the heavenly Father.
When man sinned against God in the beginning, the first disaster to befall him after being driven from Eden and from
fellowship with God was that one brother raised his hand against the other.
…When Cain slew Abel, not only was the first murder committed; but it showed that the brotherhood of man had also been put to death.
Many through-out history have tried to resurrect the notion of the brotherhood of man.
**But the brotherhood of man cannot come through the organizations of men.
**People can join lodges and clubs, they can found organizations and promote ecumenical movements;
****but that will never produce true brotherhood among men.
****There can be no universal brotherhood of man apart from a universal fatherhood of God;
>>and the Bible makes it clear that God is not the father of all.
*******He is the creator of all, but he is the father only of those who are born again, born from above, born of the Spirit of God.
***The world is looking for a practical demonstration of brotherhood; and the only place where they will ever be able to see true brotherhood in action is among those who know God as their father, those who are brothers and sisters in Christ.
- \\ B. The blessing of Christian unity –*
Ø “good and pleasant”
1) It is good and pleasant as far as the church is concerned.
Ø Unity is always good in the work and influence of the church.
Ø United, we can accomplish much for the kingdom of God.
Divided, we can bring much joy to the kingdom of Satan.
It would be good at this point to say that David must not be misunderstood to be speaking of uniformity here.
***There is a difference between unity and uniformity.
Dwelling together in unity does not mean that we are rubber-stamped into a similar form.
…The church is not to be involved in cookie cutter Christianity.
Christian unity is not brought about by mechanical restrictions and regulations. Christian unity is a heart union of believers ready to work together for the purpose of glorifying God and furthering the work of his kingdom.
In a musical production, there are a variety of singers and players. Yet, in spite of a great diversity of instruments and voices, they can play together in harmony. How? As they each look to and obey the direction of the conductor.
Even so, David speaks of a unity of diverse people, based upon their common relationship to God and their willingness to look to Him and obey Him.
2) It is good and pleasant as far as the world is concerned.
A church hopelessly divided finds it extremely difficult to reconcile a torn and broken world to God.
…On the other hand, unity among God’s children is always attractive, for such brotherly love cannot be found in the world. No wonder David declares Christian unity to be “good and pleasant.”
3) It is good and pleasant as far as the Lord is concerned.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:34-35 (NIV)
2. Two symbols of unity - vs. 2-3
From this illustration, we learn about the nature of Christian unity.
---Christian unity is built around a common response to God’s call.
---David likens Christian unity to the oil used to anoint Aaron as the high priest of Israel.
It was only as Aaron was willing to respond to God’s call that he was anointed; and it is only as God’s people respond to God’s call that they will be truly unified.
133:2 Unity is like the fragrant perfume that was used in anointing Aaron the priest (Ex. 30:22–30).
It was poured on his head, then ran down on his beard, and from there to the edge of his robe.
The pleasing scent was enjoyed not only by the priest himself but by everyone in the vicinity.
**The holy anointing oil pictures the ministry of the Holy Spirit, descending as a sweet-smelling savor on God’s people when they live happily together, and diffusing the aroma of their testimony to the surrounding areas.
Ephesians 5:2: “And walk in love, as christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to god for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
It is interesting to note that the phrase in this passage, “endeavoring,” “make every effort,” is a military term which literally refers to “striving like a warrior.”
** We need to make a determined effort to answer the call of God to dwell together in unified commitment to Him.
It is no small wonder that the two things that what the Devil fights most in our lives as Christians is our commitment to prayer and witnessing.
Why? Because he knows that a church that is committed to prayer and witnessing will be a church that is unified - and a threat to his work.
From this illustration, we learn about the necessity of Christian unity.
In a land of desert and drought, the dew meant marvelous fertility. Mount Hermon was the most prominent mountain to the north. Often capped with snow, it is in view from much of Galilee on a clear day. As the hills of Zion are over 100 miles from mount Hermon,
>>>it is apparent that David is speaking symbolically of the life-giving blessing of God falling upon the highest point of the land and running down to the lower points.
In other words, David is saying that when brothers in Christ are united by a common commitment to the Christ’s Lordship, come together in unity;
it is good and pleasant; and it has life-giving results.
That is why it is an absolute necessity for God’s people to dwell together in unity.
This world will only know about the life God gives as they see it
exemplified by a united people of God.
***God’s people dwelling in unity is the key, not only to the church walking under God’s anointing and experiencing abundant life; but it is the key to the world being awakened to the love of God and experiencing eternal life.
John 17:20-23 Unity in practice takes effort. So why bother?
To fulfill our mission to make disciples for our God, who sacrificed His Son to remove our sin and bring us into a personal relationship with Him, that’s why!
During Vacation Bible School a class was interrupted when a new student was brought in. The little boy had one arm missing, and the teacher was very nervous that one of the other children might comment on his handicap and embarrass him. As the class time came to a close, she asked the class to join her in their usual closing ceremony. "Let’s make our churches," she said. "Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and . . ." The awful truth of her own actions struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done.
As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and said, "Here, let’s make the church together."