Tuesday May 8, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home in Christ giving us unity.
The individual believer at home with Christ results in unity in the body of Christ.
Every fallen man builds a house of isolation out of his life. He is in exile and lacks true brotherhood. Due to sin, pride, selfishness etc. man cannot have true fellowship with his fellow man no matter how hard he tries to erode the barriers around him.
Believers however have been given power and life. They walk in the perfection of the Father’s love. They actually consider others to be more important than themselves. They give and sacrifice for others. They lack the fear that separates people from one another. Perfect love casts out fear. They also have a common identity, being part of one body with Christ being the head.
One of Satan’s lies is that man can have fellowship under the right conditions, but the truth says that he cannot.
Something that may outwardly look like the real thing is not the real thing. Paul writes of an outward shell of godliness that lacks all power, i.e. it has nothing within.
Php 2:1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
Php 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Php 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Php 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Php 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus
What makes for true brotherly love and fellowship is unity of mind, love, spirit, and purpose, Php 2:2.
Unity of mind: share a common knowledge that is unchangeable and thus eternal.
Outside of the knowledge that comes from God, all other knowledge is changeable and destined to perish. It doesn’t make those things necessarily sinful of evil, though they can be used for that purpose, but they cannot make the bond of brotherly love as God, the Creator of it, would will it to be.
1CO 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1CO 1:11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.
The Corinthians had bought the lie that some men had a better knowledge than others.
1CO 1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."
1CO 1:13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Differences in teaching style, differences in background, for instance Peter spent three years with the Lord, differences of any kind all fade away when it is the truth being taught. Truth is truth and either you have it or you don’t. Pastors teaching truth are teaching the same thing. The Bible has it and each pastor is to teach it. No one has more of the Bible or less.
PSA 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
PSA 133:2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron's beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
PSA 133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing — life forever.
Mount Hermon is at the northern limit of Israel. It is covered with snow all year. It’s melt-water forms the Jordan River which runs the length of the country. The beautiful picture of Psa 133 is the unity of the people who worship Yavah Elohim. They are pictured as meeting in Jerusalem for the feast, the center of which is Aaron the high priest. The oil mixed with herbs and spices that anointed him could not be reproduced by anyone else and so Aaron would have a unique aroma and the pearls of oil clinging to his beard represented salvation and peace.
Hermon has a karst topography which gives it many ravines that are filled with snow. When the sun warms them, the evaporated water makes for an enormous amount of dew. The pristine and refreshing moisture is carried south by the wind to descend upon the mountains of Zion near Jerusalem.
Connected by the Jordan River, the dew of Hermon, the worship of the same God in the same city, ministered by the same high priest, all points to a unity and brotherhood, despite the fact that some lived in the north and others in the south.
Charles Van de Velde wrote of Hermon when he traveled there around 1850. "What we read in the 133rd Psalm of the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion is now become quite clear to me. Here, as I sat at the foot of Hermon, I understood how the water-drops which rose from its forest-mantled heights, and out of the highest ravines, which are filled the whole year round with snow, after the sun's rays have attenuated them and moistened the atmosphere with them, descend at evening-time as a heavy dew upon the lower mountains which lie round about as its spurs. One ought to have seen Hermon with its white-golden crown glistening aloft in the blue sky, in order to be able rightly to understand the figure. Nowhere in the whole country is so heavy a dew perceptible as in the districts near to Hermon."
Unity of love: share a common sacrifice for the benefit of one another based upon the death and resurrection of Christ; sharing total forgiveness.
The love that fallen man shares with his friends, spouses, and neighbors never goes this far or deep. He will love as long as it doesn’t cost too much. There are some who are willing to give of themselves to a greater degree compared to others, and those people are usually heralded in the world community, but it can never come close to matching the cross. The love of the believer is the cross. He will lay down his life for his brother and he is confident in the same from his brother.
Love is the linchpin in this. This is why Paul would single it out as the perfect bond of unity.
COL 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
COL 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
COL 3:14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Love removes all barriers just as the cross reconciled us to God. Barriers of race, social status, and wealth are all moved aside. Jesus would dine with sinners and tax-collectors. He would handle the lepers and even perform miracles for Gentiles.
Pride, however, judges and isolates.
Unity of spirit/soul: sharing a common soul or life in terms of what we honor, what we think is true, worthy of love, good, evil, pure, holy, excellent, worthy of praise, and worthy of approval.
The Greek word is sumpsuchos [the prefix “sum” (with or together) and psuchos which is soul]. He doesn’t use pneuma, spirit, but soul. Psuche is often used for life, as it is by our Lord when He instructs us to lose our lives that we might find it.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Php 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
Paul uses sumpsuchos in Php 2:2 and speaking of Timothy, he uses isopsuchos, the prefix iso meaning “the same” or like-souled.
Php 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.
Php 2:20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.
Php 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit (soul life), intent on one purpose (being of one mind).
Unity of purpose (think the one thing): share a common mind. Greek - to hen fronountes (Paul uses the same word as the first “mind”) = thinking the one thing, harmony of feeling. It is “same mind” in stronger terms.
The last of the four shows us that we are not to force any minute distinctions between them. “Fill full my joy by being of the same mind and thinking the one thing.” It is a statement of parallelism, much like Hebrew poetry so often uses, the second being the stronger term.
The four horsemen of unity are themselves one unit.
The royal family has been created by God to be of the same mind, the same sacrificial love, benefiting one another, completely forgiving one another, honoring the same things, fully agreed on what is true, worthy of love, good, evil, holiness, excellence, praiseworthy, approved, and … keep on thinking the one thing!
It is easy to see why Paul raised his letters to a fever pitch when addressing the strife, contention, and faction that occurred in Corinth. God has made this unity of brotherhood, one that man had been searching for and striving for since his fall, a reality and a gift to mankind for the first time in Christ.
For any Christian to be a cause of strife or jealousy is to contend directly against Christ and to attempt to destroy His work.
One may say that he has been wronged, that he is a victim, that he was hurt or treated unjustly, and Christ would ask that same one, “What have I forgiven you?”
EPH 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
EPH 4:32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Satan attacks each of us individually and simultaneously he attacks the unity that should exist amongst us. Christian marriage, Christian families, and of course churches are constantly watched for weaknesses that he can exploit.
What we are to consider from the parable of the sower is who we are to be. All the other parables flow from this one. The word of God must be met with faith. The word tells us of our home with Christ. It tells us that we are children of God, adopted, elected, and predestined. It tells us that we are to be made full, that we are complete, and that we are to have perfect peace as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and so we abide in Him.
Satan and the kingdom of darkness will relentlessly attack us with the objective that the word sown will not be met with faith and that we will not produce fruit by which our Father is glorified.