(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, night-vigil 10/20/95)
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." (Psa. 133:1-2).
I thank the Lord for the literatures we have placed on internet which have blessed many folks. We have received many acknowledgment from believers who have accessed and read some of the literatures.
I want to talk about unity. In the book of Acts, I was meditating upon how apostle Paul was going towards Jerusalem, but every where he went, the Holy Ghost was revealing through the brethren what was ahead of him. I thought about it and ask: what about in this generation? In some religious sects they have some spiritual gifts that may not be from the Holy Ghost, which they even use to divine and prophezy. But among the true believers in our generation, why is this gift not freely manifesting as we read in the book of acts? I meditated on this and said , "Lord, what could be some of our problems?" Of course sometimes we receive from the Lord, not that we don't manifest any gift. Sometimes we receive visions to warn. For example a couple of months ago when one of our sisters was to travel out of the country, the Lord showed a dream which I received which pointed to some danger which could happen where she was going, and we prayed against the evil. Similar evil happened to a known friend in the same country where the sister went, even while she was there.
When we also started the prayer meetings, the Lord gave us visions about Nigeria and which we prayed about . God shows some of those things so that we can pray against them. One thing I can point out is the fact that the Lord will show some of these things when there is unity among the believers who are gathered. If there is unity in the fellowship of believers, God will be in their midst to reveal things to them. To help them out. To show things which they can pray against. If that unity is broken, the Holy Ghost is hindered.
Consider how apostle Paul was constantly receiving prophecies about his trip to Jerusalem. (Acts 20: 22-23). "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me."
Also, when Paul and his company came to Tyre, "And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem." (Acts 21:4). Every where Paul went, amidst the disciples in those days, the Holy Ghost was freely speaking. The gift was freely in operation to give guidance. I began to ask the Lord: what about us in this generation?" What is going on? Just think about the case of one of our brethren who went to Nigeria with his family and could not return! What is wrong with our generation of believers? Such situation should have been revealed ahead of time if we walk indeed with the Lord. Then the Lord made me to notice something peculiar in the first church: "UNITY". That unity is already missing even among our brethren. How do we know there was unity in the first church among the disciples with whom Paul walked? Just see the statement in verse 4 of Acts 21: Paul and his group came into town, and simply asked if there were disciples of Christ in the town. "And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days". Doesn't that reveal unity among the disciples? The Holy Ghost will freely minister to the saints in such a united group of believers, "loving the brotherhood". Paul's team went again to Caesarea and prophet Agabus came there to meet them and also freely prophezied. "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him." (Acts 21:8)
"And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." (v.10-11).
Just see the unity among the brethren, and the reason why the Holy Ghost was freely speaking. You may say this man, Agabus, was a prophet and had a gift. What about the other brethren in the cities where Paul stopped? They were freely receiving from the Lord and warning about the situation. We know Paul went as he had said "he was bound to go". But at least his mind was already prepared for what was ahead. The freedom among brethren which made them easily be hospitable to one another is a sign of unity which I can see in these verses. That made the Holy Ghost to freely manifest among them.
What can break unity? What normally breaks unity in the household of God? Even in individual household between husband and wife and children, we have to make sure that there is no break in unity in the household. One time the Lord told us that if husband and wife can just agree together in what you want to happen: agree on what you are asking for!
The Lord will be there to make it happen. But if you don't agree, unity is broken right there. We have to work hard on it. It's a work sometime, to keep that unity in the household. What breaks unity? I can think of the causes of disunity, in the '70s when we were in early charismatic revival. What usually breaks unity is if somebody preached or wrote something in his literatures, and another read it, or heard it in a camp-meeting, and stood up publicly before the congregation to attack that message or doctrine. That confrontation which occurred in those days (in the '70s) normally breaks unity, because not everybody in the congregation agreed with the refutation of the message. There and then the congregation is divided. That is action and reaction issue. The reaction is always the problem. Reaction to what you hear must be watched.
Even in a household. Let's say the husband says something, if the wife reacted wrongly, there will be confrontation. One person preached something; if the other person wanted to react to it , he could have used a more biblical approach to discuss the issue privately first before bringing it to the congregation. If you disagree with the writing of someone in your midst, you and him alone should meet and discuss it, saying "brother, you know I don't agree with this message you gave or wrote". If you cannot convince him and he cannot convince you , and both of you cannot agree on the correct interpretation from the bible, I believe you should not bring the issue before the whole congregation, unless you intend to excommunicate those who disagree with you (because there will be many).
Action and reaction problem is what always cause disunity in the household of God. If that is in the church, the Lord cannot freely move among such group of believers.
(It was a similar thing, I suspect, must be responsible for not receiving any warning about the family that travelled to Nigeria from among us and could not return.) Sometimes we may pray and pray and resist some things to no avail if there is disunity in the congregation. It reminded me of a case in the '70s: a brother who had just named four brethren in his sermon and accused them of being "wolves in sheep's clothing", was also leading the congregation at the end of the sermon to pray for the healing of a woman who was in a critical situation health-wise. He had just broken the unity in the congregation, because some of the four brethren were in the congregation. The prayer for the sick would not succeed and did not, because the woman died the same week.
The main thing which characterizes the believers around apostle Paul is that there was a unity among them which we can sense when we read how they welcome Paul's company and showed hospitality to them. Even at Tyre the whole congregation escorted Paul's company to the ship, with wives and children:
"And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again." (Acts 20:5-6).
Just imagine that type of unity in their midst. With such unity, the Holy Ghost would be interested to reveal to them what was ahead.
How we need such freedom and unity among us in the body of Christ , a freedom which must not be abused! The Holy Ghost still prophezies in our midst, through one minister or through another minister. But we deserve close guidance from the Spirit, the type we see in the scriptures around Paul. Unity among the brethren is required for it to operate. We need such guidance. If I want to venture into a business, I want the Lord to tell me if it is a bad venture or not. The Holy Ghost desires to do this for us. We must put our house in order in the body of Christ. If unity is broken in the household of God, it needs to be fixed. If there is unity we will freely share prophecies, dreams and visions. When we called the prayer meeting and night vigil, that was what I had in mind: a forum where believers can relate their visions and dreams which they are given by the Lord, and let interpretation be given. Even if not immediately, we will pray about them and the Lord will give us the interpretations later.
Anywhere there are two or more people, there will always be disagreement one time or the other. But in a household, God has put order. "Wives, submit to your own husbands in all things." In a household, somebody should just say "okay, let's do it your way", to foster unity. That is why God has set up order by the word whch said "wives, submit to your own husbands". If that order is followed, the problem is resolved. What about in the household of God, everybody seems to be big. There is expected to be elders, pastors, and ministers. If those had been recognized, there would have been less problem among the believers. In our midst in the '70s there was no such recognition: everybody is an elder or everybody claimed to be an elder! That was the problem in that generation. We can look back at the errors of the past and try to learn from it. Even where they were all elders, if every elder will be humble, the problem would be diminished. Humility from the Spirit would take charge. Even in your household, children can agree together and resist sickness and it shall be so. A wive may say "my husband suggests this thing but he is wrong!" Well, why don't you be like a fool for Christ and simply follow the head of the house. Then let Jesus take charge! Say to yourself, "I know he is wrong, but I'm just going to submit; let's just do it his way." If that is done even though the husband is wrong, now that the order has been followed, the Lord Jesus, who is the true head of the christian family, will now step in to control the husband. (Think of a household as a locomotive with the husband as the engine. As long as the train is following the engine, the master only needs to guard the engine into the correct rail, at any juction. But if the engine wants to go right and the next wagon refuses to follow and wants to go left, the master now has more than one train to control. The one that refuses to follow the order is on her own. At the next crossroads, there will be no master's voice to guide her. Disunity is not healthy in a household. )
We should pray and ask the Lord to help the body of Christ to remove from us whatever is the hindrance that does not allow the Holy Ghost to operate fully in our midst.
Bro. Julius Adewumi,
Gospel Distribution Ministry