How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
- Psalm 133:1-3
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
- Acts 2:1
“God always works where His people meet His conditions, but only when and as they do. Any spiritual visitation will be limited or extensive, depending how well and how widely conditions are met.
“The ﬁrst condition is oneness of mind among the persons who are seeking the visitation. …
“Historically, revivals have been mainly the achieving of a oneness of mind among a number of Christian believers. In the second chapter of Acts it is recorded that they were ‘all with one accord in one place’ (2:1) when the Spirit came upon them. He did not come to bring them into oneness of accord; He came because they were already so. The Spirit never comes to give unity (though His presence certainly aids and perfects such unity as may exist). He comes to that company who have, through repentance and faith, brought their hearts into one accord. …
“Every church should strive for unity among its members, not languidly, but earnestly and optimistically. Every pastor should show his people the possibilities for power that lie in this fusion of many souls into one.”
- A. W. Tozer, Paths to Power
I was asked by a pastor when the PUP committee was meeting if PUP was possible. Everyone else in the group said that PUP was possible.
What is PUP? In whatever order, PUP is Peace, Unity, and Purity.
The pastor was surprised and disheartened when I claimed that it was impossible. I basically said that in the next life, it will not only be possible, it already is.
But for this life, there are those in the church who may not be in the next life that share a vote along with those who are true believers. We can have a tentative truce with those who claim to be Christians but they cling to earthly ideas, but we can never have true Peace. And the only way to have Unity and Purity together is that we believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Otherwise, these two terms are mutually exclusive. To have unity with those who want to change the Bible to what they want to hear is to sacrifice purity.
The pastor did not argue. He walked away disheartened.
But that is the problem that Rev. Tozer is addressing here. The Holy Spirit is not coming to a tremendous number of churches today because we are not on the same page. Ask everyone who attends church why they are there. You might get 20-30 percent that will say one thing and 20-30 percent that might say another thing. But the rest of them may have a unique answer that only applies to that one person. Few will say “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” – the catechism answer to the question of what is man’s chief end, or purpose.
If our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, what is our answer for our reason to be at church is that we like the music or the pastor or the fellowship or simply “It’s the place to be on Sunday morning.”
This argument may be oversimplifying it. Would not true believers know deep down that they are at church to glorify God? When that is not their answer to a very simple question, then is it their reason for being at church?
If we cannot have unity on the very basic questions, how can we have unity regarding the important things, as if that basic question were not important?
And there is a major fallacy in my premise that makes matters worse. Of the vast majority, in many and maybe most cases, of church members (outside of Christmas and Easter) who do not attend church, what is their reason for not attending?
Now you get so many answers that your head will swim. But maybe not. They don’t like the new pastor. They only joined because of the pastor who is now retired. It is the only time they could get a tee time at the golf course (but probably a lie). The fish bite best during the worship service (but probably not). They needed two straight days to do a house renovation project (but what about the other 250 plus weekends over the past five years?).
My wife was a deacon for several years and she tried to do her assignments. One was to call all the church members and try to schedule them for the photo directory. She got 30-40 abusive responses that they never wanted to hear from that <explicative deleted> church again and then the phone was disconnected. Another of her jobs was to visit the elderly church shut-ins, those people who were “shut in” their homes and had no means to get to church or they needed oxygen, etc. Half of her 20 shut-ins were impossible to visit with because they were driving all over the place all day long. They had a car. They had a driver’s license. They knew how to get to the church, but they claimed to be “shut-ins” so a deacon would leave a box of candy on their doorstep twice a year and they had a built-in excuse to never darken the door of the church until people would stand around them and say, “My, doesn’t he/she look natural.”
If Rev. Tozer is correct here, we may all have a long wait for the next revival.
Holy Spirit, come. Please let it be that we do not all need to be of one accord. Let it be that the remnant is waiting for You and that remnant is of one accord in desiring You to bring revival in our souls, in our churches, in our nations, and in the world. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.