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Dwelling Together In Unity

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133. 1).

"The multitude of them that believed

were of one heart and soul " (Acts 4.32).

The believers who have been brought together by God in the churches of God, long that all other believers may know the truth, and enjoy the unity that is seen in the churches of God. It is true that those who are in the churches of God are only a tiny fraction of the great multitude who truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Yet this small number, united in the truth, is certainly dear to the Lord, who has gathered them in obedience to His will. It is right that in love, and with zeal, we should spread the truth which God has shown us from His word. His glory, and not our numbers, must be our chief aim.

There is also another aspect of unity which we ought to show and teach, that is a unity of heart in the churches of God. It is concerning this unity that this short article has been written.

It is good for us to dwell together, but, is better when we dwell together in unity! It is possible for us to hold the same doctrines, and attend the same meetings, and sing the same hymns, and yet be divided in heart! How good it is for us, and how pleasant it is to the Lord, when we are one in heart and soul! We can never know the blessing of the Lord, or the power of the Holy Spirit, if we are divided in heart.

What is it that binds disciples together with one heart and soul? It is love! Paul wrote about the disciples, whom he had not seen, but for whom he longed, "That their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love" (Colossians 2.2), and again-" Put on love which is the bond of perfectness " (Colossians 3.14).

Such love does not come by chance. It comes from God, but we must nurture it, so that it will grow and deepen. From love comes unity, and with unity comes the blessing of the Lord.

The blessing which comes from oneness of heart and soul among disciples is so great, that it becomes us all to seek for it, whatever it may cost us. To reach such unity will mean much humbling and breaking down. It will mean openness and frankness one with another, and maybe much confession of sin one to another. But whatever the cost, it is worth it, for without unity of heart, the Lord's blessing cannot be known.

There are many hindrances to unity, for sin has many forms! The publican and the Pharisee were both sinners, but whereas the sin of the publican was evident to all men, the sin of the Pharisee was hidden, and-much more difficult to deal with!

Let us be frank about it; we are more liable to fall into the sin of the Pharisee than into the sin of the publican! Drink and immorality do not catch many believers, but-pride, or a grudge in the heart causes many to fall. The prayer of the Psalmist should be ours-continually.

"Search me, 0 God, and know my heart:

Try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any way of wickedness (or grief) in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting"

(Psalm 139.23-24).

Our hearts are so deceitful, that the Lord alone knows them fully (Jeremiah 17. 9). We need Him to search them and discover them to us. If only we are honest, and in earnest, we shall soon learn from the Lord the things that hinder us from having true unity with all our brethren and sisters. It is a humbling experience, and yet a strangely refreshing one, to come from the Lord's presence, where we have had dealings with Him, concerning some sin or failure or uncleanness in our lives, which He has revealed to us. How much more compassionate and tenderhearted and humble we feel toward others!

Love cannot grow where sin remains unconfessed, and unity is impossible apart from love. The true cause of a lack of unity is unconfessed sin. We know that we do sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves " (1 John 1.8). What shall we do? "Walk in the light! " What does that mean? It involves discovering our sin and confessing it! What will happen then? "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1.7).

Continual fellowship calls for continual confession of sin. Herein lies the blessing of humility and the curse of pride. This must be first of all to God; read Daniel 9., Psalm 51., and Psalm 73. Sin, even in the form of trespass against men, is a sin against God. Confession Godward is of primary importance. Humility finds it easy to confess sin-and also to forgive it !-but pride finds it difficult.

We often find it easier to confess our sin to God, than to one another. But sin against another demands confession of sin to that person, and to God (Matthew .5. 23-24). There is no short-cut to cleansing from sin, and fellowship one with another. Confession of sin is essential. The confession of sin one to another, and prayer one for another, begets in us love one for another. When we discover how sweet these " waters of Marah" become afterwards, we are able to thank God even for the times of humbling and sorrow.

Will it be written of the disciples in the churches of God to-day, as it was of the church in Jerusalem,-" The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul" ?

Are we willing for the humbling, and searching of heart, and confession of sin, that this will involve ? If we are, then love will flow one to another, and from love will come unity, followed by the Lord's rich blessing.