One People, One Language
“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”Matthew 18:18-20 NKJV
And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.Genesis 11:6 ESV
There is great power in agreement. When Jesus used the term in Matthew 18:19, we found that it comes from a Greek word “Sumphoneo.” It literally mans to be harmonious. It can mean a business agreement or a general acknowledgment of some truth, “we agree that the sun rises in the east.” It can also mean that a group of individuals have come to an accord about some issue, “the homeowners association all agreed to a monthly fee of $100.” Our word “symphony” comes from this root. In a symphony, we’re all playing the same song, but each of us may be playing a different note or a different instrument, different parts but one beautiful whole. You might say that when we are in concert, there is power.
A survey of the Scriptures reveals a number of illustrations of this idea. In fact, I believe it’s obvious that you were never meant to live the Christian life alone. I would go so far as to say that it may be harmful to your health to try to live out your faith without a connection to the rest of the Church. Every illustration used in the New Testament to describe the Church demands the conclusion that we are in this together:
- We’re a body. Romans 12:4 says we are “individually members one of another (ESV).”
- We’re in an army. Paul tells us not to get entangled in civilian pursuits and to put on the entire armor necessary to pray for all believers, including him. (2 Timothy 2:3-4; Ephesians 6:11-19)
- We’re family. Those believers who have gone on before and all those who remain are brothers and sisters, part of the Father’s house. (Ephesians 3:14-15; Galatians 6:10)
When sickness or injury touches your body, all the other parts respond in concert to assist. Whether it’s the immune system sending antibodies to fight infection, or the left foot carrying more weight when the right foot is injured, the Body reacts in a God-given way to take care of the injured part, bearing their load, and working to restore the whole body to optimum function.
Armies in the field respond to the assault of the enemy in a coordinated way. It’s not “every man for himself.” Instead it’s “no man left behind.” Infantry rushes to recover and protect. Medics are sent to the scene to treat the injured. Command provides air cover. Intel reports on the schemes of the enemy. Artillery fire is temporarily re-directed to hold off the foe until rescue is affected. Leaders alter battle plans so the campaign can continue on its assignment.
In a close-knit family we see members coming to the aid of the one who is injured. Some bring food, some care for children or take care of household chores. Others provide transportation to doctors while others may provide financial assistance. You get the idea.
In every instance, there is agreement in purpose, we all pull together to provide the best opportunity for the damaged part to be repaired. In the meantime, we try to maintain the integrity and function of the system while the healing is taking place. The body still eats and sleeps and breathes. The army continues in its assignment. The family adjusts and takes care of its own. The overall purpose doesn’t change, but resources are diverted to cover and care for the injured member. In each instance, there is a sense that the attack is on the entire army, or body, or family. Each of these systems has some method of communication to let the other parts know the nature of the assault and what is needed to respond.
Jesus clearly indicates that there is great power in this kind of “symphonic” agreement. In fact when we gather in His Name, our petitions are answered in an unusual way. Matthew 18:20 implies that this is a result of His presence in our midst in some special way. There is power in the unified gathering of the saints. This isn’t supposed to be just a religious theory. We want it to be an experiential reality.
Our goal in these studies is two-fold. First, if you’re in need of healing, we want to help you access the power that’s available to you. Second, those of us whose passion it is to help others receive their healing want to learn how to provide an atmosphere where this “symphony” can be heard more effectively. Let the concert begin.
The first obvious instance of the power of agreement comes in Genesis 11:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. (2) And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. (3) And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. (4) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (5) And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. (6) And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (7) Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” Genesis 11:1-7 ESV
After the flood, God’s instructions were to multiply and fill the earth. Instead, this group found a good spot and collaborated to build a tower and make a name for themselves (11:4). This was a common practice of the pagan religions in the ancient world. Jehovah didn’t approve of this idea and visited the site to stop their progress (11:5). He intervened by confusing their language so they could no longer communicate (11:6). Two things seem clear:
- Agreement is very powerful. God said that their unity would enable them to do anything they decided to do, even if it was contrary to the will of God. We can see the power in agreement, even for the ungodly. How much more so when we agree concerning something that is in line with God’s purposes?
- Unity has two ingredients:
- They were one people. The word “people,” means a group that can be categorized as belonging together. They have things in common that mark them as citizens or members of an identifiable group. In this case, they shared a common ancestry, a common language, a common location, and a common purpose or goal.
- They had a common language. To stop their project, God eliminated their ability to communicate. The singular gift that makes human beings so special, that differentiates us from the rest of creation, is the ability to formulate ideas in words. Abstractions, visions for the future, the concept that tomorrow can be different than today are abilities unique to us. Using this gift effectively is key to bringing people into agreement.
What can we learn that will help us receive healing?
Lesson #1: Be a part of something. The New Testament says that we are part of a new people, separate from the world, but intimately joined together as believers in Jesus Christ. Learning to think this way requires that we re-program our thinking. Often, we see ourselves as individuals, or we like to think we do. If, however, we get honest, we all identify with groups. I’m an Okie. If you say nasty things about Oklahoma, I am reflexively incensed. If, however, you are also an Okie, you can make fun of Okies and we can laugh at ourselves because we are “a people.” This kind of identification as God’s people is integral to living out all that He provides in the New Covenant.
In redemption, God severed us from our earthly “people-hoods.” He translated us into a new place, the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). We are now the people of God. In order to fully enjoy the blessings of that status, this has to become more than theoretical. My identification as part of “the people of God” must be played out in real time by being part of a group, one whose members see themselves the same way. We are a special people, zealous for good works, inhabited by the Spirit of God Himself, and conscious of a standard of righteousness that transcends human thinking. (Titus 2:14; Hebrews 8:10; 2 Corinthians 6:16) I love Peter’s description of my new “People-hood.”
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV
Lesson #2: Communication is key to unity. Communication means to share or exchange information or ideas. It comes from the Latin word for “common.” The literal sense is “to make common.” We come to agreement by making things common, sharing ideas, beliefs, vision, passion, and purpose. We learn who we are as a people and find our individual part in the symphony. The capacity to talk to each other and understand ideas enables us to make connection with others who are part of our people. The bible calls this fellowship.
It is as we communicate with others in our “people,” that we are exposed to the power of words fitly spoken. There are so many bible references on this subject we can’t enumerate them all, but the power of words spoken in fellowship and friendship can’t be overestimated. In fact, coming together with other believers who share our faith is a way to tap into the wisdom and counsel of God. “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Proverbs 27:9 ESV)”
- We need input from others in order to succeed. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:22-23 ESV)”
- Pleasant or kind words bring healing. This applies both to the heart and the body. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24 ESV)”
- We need the input of others in order to adjust and grow. Our ability to see ourselves clearly is limited. “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)”
- Faith-filled words of other believers encourage faith and build hope in us. We are not designed to live this life alone. “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG)
Here’s the point: There is great power in unity and agreement with other believers. This agreement comes through recognition that we are part of a people set apart by God for Himself. We have a common faith, a common purpose, and a common future. The benefits of being part of this “people-hood” are found in fellowship, sharing with one another the faith we hold in common. We need each other for encouragement, correction, and direction. Each of us needs to hear the voice of others of like precious faith. We also need to recognize the importance of the words we speak into the lives of others: you can help someone heal today.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.Proverbs 25:11-12 ESV
Nest Steps: Take time to review the scripture passages in this lesson. Decide if you are willing to take the steps necessary to be a living, active part of the people of God. If you have a church, go there. If you don’t, look for one that believes in salvation by faith, the will of God to heal, and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. When you attend church, use your faith. Tell God you expect to hear from Him through other believers, then open your ears to hear. Godly wisdom sometimes comes through unexpected channels. Also, be on the lookout for opportunities to speak gracious words to other believers. This is how we were designed to live.
In our next lesson we will explore the power of unity and the power of His Presence. You don’t have to do this alone! Previous lessons on Healing Help along with video teachings are available at www.pastorvirgil.com. God wants you healed and so do I.
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