I want to thank each one who had even the smallest part in last Sunday's service. We had the privilege of commissioning and licensing Eric to the Gospel ministry. It was a spiritually beautiful and challenging time. I trust the spiritual benefit will go far beyond the day. I would like to use some of the events of last Sunday as an illustration of a Biblical truth. I also want to challenge each of us to see this Biblical truth, and put this truth into our practical relationship here at MBF.


Last week's whole service could serve as a good illustration. However, setting up and serving the meal after the service was a classic illustration of Christ's prayer request for His Church in John 17, and the relationship that the church is commanded to have in the epistles. Let me remind you of what took place, and then let's allow this basic function of the Body of Christ to be highlighted by this transaction.

I won't take time to teach this basic Biblical church function, at this time. I simply want to bring this Biblical truth to your attention before the illustration fades from your memory. This basic function of the church, illustrated by last weeks service, is also one of the major tools and weapons available to Believers in the battle with Satan and his kingdom. The sin of not using this tool, provided by God, is a major factor in the failure of the church to accomplish Christ's Great Commission.

In this lesson, I would like to write this Biblical truth on the blackboard of remembrance in your minds. Now only would I like to write this truth on your memory blackboard, I would like to put a big red circle around it with a permanent marker. In that way, it will serve as a constant reminder of our obligation to the body of Christ, which in turn will go a long way in our victory over Satan.

The Biblical truth I want to highlight is the unity of Christ in mind, spirit and purpose. This truth is referred to in the Scriptures by many terms such as: unity, oneness, one accord, like minded, single mindness, etc. It is a Biblical truth declared to:

Look at the illustration and allow it to illuminate the Biblical truth found in the passages we will look at, and many, many more we don't have time to view.

Last week, from the time the commissioning service concluded until we sat down to eat was 22 minutes. This impossible task was accomplished because of unity or single-mindness. This being of one mind does not mean that everyone thinks alike, but everyone was motivated by a single purpose and a single plan to accomplish a single project. It is a concept that's foreign to, or forgotten by modern society. Because the church is so worldly minded, it is absent from the conduct of most churches, also.

This transformation of the church auditorium last week included the clearing of the auditorium, setting up of tables, putting on the table cloth, dishes, food, decorations, getting the chairs around the tables and people seated in those chairs. This happened because everyone involved had a single mind and purpose.

Not everyone did the same thing. As a matter of fact, very few people did the same thing. But each did their thing with single mindness and unity. If that same type of purpose and practice were applied to other tasks of the Church, including our spiritual growth, we would turn the world upside-down, as did the early church.

Biblical single-mindedness is.. unity through diversity

That is a subject far to extensive to teach in a short time. Paul does a good job in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere. Christ teaches this truth, recorded in John 17, Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 11 and many other places. This truth is taught all through the Bible, yet is one that is forgotten, never known or just plain ignored by many Christians.

Please look at a few of the passages that give us Biblical information on this matter. I will only read portions of these passages. Please write them down and carefully read them and their context, later.

Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there (in unity) the Lord commanded the blessing--Life forevermore.
2 Chronicles 30:12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to do the commandment of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

So much needs to be understood about this subject, because it is virtually non-existent in the church, today.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Philippians 2:1-5 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Philippians 1:27-28 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

We could spend the whole session just reading passages that deal with this subject of unity. If unity were mentioned every Sunday, we could not say too much about Biblical unity. As a matter of fact, if we dedicated every Sunday's lesson for a year to this subject of unity, we could not possible cover all the Biblical passages that deal with or command obedience in this subject of unity.

I know that you are waiting with unrestrained anticipation for the conclusion of my story concerning the young pastor and our conversation or discussion about the sovereignty of God. Try to contain yourselves, because I want to point out a couple of other passages on the subject of unity that deal with its power, and place of importance in the mind of God.

There is an account early in the Bible that gives us some real insight to the subject of unity. This account does not involve Believers, the Church or Israel. Once again, you will see a peripheral teaching, but when compared with all other Biblical information on the subject, we see that it is very important.

Genesis 11:1-6 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

Even apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, unity is a powerful tool for accomplishment in any area of life. The church keeps looking for that one program or emotional experience that will have the power to change the world or at least a few lives. Yet, we ignore a statement of fact by God, Himself that tells of a program that is more powerful than all that the ingenuity of mankind can conjure up.

This subject of unity is a fascinating study. God invented disunity to slow down the progress of Satan and sin. We see that fact in the account of the confusion of tongues in Genesis 11. This disunity has its roots in communication or language. This fact is seen again in Psalms 55:9, and elsewhere.

Psalms 55:9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Satan not only works hard to bring unity back to his kingdom, Satan works even harder to use God's own method against God's kingdom, by bringing disunity within the Body of Christ.

Spiritual unity is designed to bring about proper service to and worship of God. Satan became the god of this world. His coronation to the position of god of this world came first through Adam, and that fact was once again strengthened by these at the tower who also refused God and His way.

Unity in Satan's kingdom brings worship and service to the king or god of that kingdom, Satan. If disunity had not been brought to Satan's kingdom, God said... "nothing that they proposed to do would be withheld from them." Genesis 11:6

Those who have been called out of Satan's kingdom, through the new birth, must live in oneness of mind and spirit, so there will be unity in that called out body of the church. When there is unity in the Body of Christ, we can have proper service and worship of the God of all gods, and the King of all kings, and nothing that we purpose to do will be withheld from us according to God's own words:

Matthew 18:19-20 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. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

We often hear these verses used separately, but very seldom do we see them as two parts of a whole, as given by Christ. Christ said these things all in one breath (humanly speaking). They weren't given in two different lifetimes or even two different days. Often we hear some dear soul telling others that if they get together and are in perfect agreement they can get anything. If that is the case, how about a couple of you agreeing with me to win the lottery so we can build a new church?

Then we often hear v.20 to the tune of, "My it sure is a small crowd at church today, but isn't it nice to know that where two or three are gathered, Christ is right here with us?" Some have gone so far as to say that Christ is not in large groups. It is true that no matter how many Believers are gathered, Christ is with them. We are given that fact over and over again in the Word of God. Even though the fact of Christ being with Believers is true, that is not what this passage is talking about.

These statements, given by Christ in virtually the same breath, are speaking of the same thing as v.19. That big little word for is a key factor in understanding this passage. If two of you agree, it will be done. That was v.19. The continuation of that thought is carried into v.20 by the word For, or this is the reason it will be done.

Christ said that He was in the midst of those two who agreed, and they (the two and Christ) must all be of one mind on that subject, and then it would be done. This promise is given in the context of one person sinning against another, and that matter being brought before the church assembled or gathered. It will make a world of difference when this passage is put in context. For our study, please see that when in perfect unity with other Believers and Christ, whatever that agreement might be, will be done. When we are in agreement with Christ, often our wants will change.

Proper unity is powerful.

Ultimately God will do away with this disunity that had its roots in poor communication or different languages at the Tower.

Zephaniah 3:8 "Therefore wait for Me," says the Lord, "Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy."

By the way, this subject of unity does have a lot to do with the sovereignty of God. I'm not pointing out every little nuance that comes up in these passages, but I hope you have your spiritual discernment turn on. This passage in Zephaniah 3:8 is a reference to one aspect of the Day of the Lord. That Day of the Lord and this event are yet to come, and will take place just before Christ sets up His Earthly Kingdom.

Zephaniah 3:9 "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.

Isn't it wonderful how the whole Bible ties together perfectly in every detail? A fellow from outside the church asked me some time ago, How, for even one moment, can you think that the Bible is true? I told him that we didn't have time to see all the evidence. But I would be glad to take him step by step through the Word of God, and then he could see that every detail, even the smallest details fit perfectly, and each detail adds to or completes the others.

Any group of 66 books of such diverse subjects, penned by some 40 different writers over a span of 1600 years, that agrees perfectly and fits together in one complete presentation, could be nothing else than the very Word of God! I had better be careful, or I'll get to preaching and we'll all go away mad.

Not only does God tell us of the power of unity, God lets us know, in no uncertain terms, how important He thinks unity is within the fellowship of Believers. God shows us this importance in a manner He often uses. He shows us the importance by presenting the negative, so we can better understanding the positive.

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

When you look through the Bible at the things that are an abomination to God, you find that this bringing disunity or discord among the brethren is right in the midst of a list ranging from murder to homosexuality. Maybe we had better not run down this trail any further. Because if we did, it might get real nasty and personal. So, let's change gears and move back into the nice impersonal subject of the sovereignty of God.


We are attempting to establish a definition of sovereignty from the Bible. Bible study should be the discovery of what the Bible says. After the information is discovered, we are to gather that information. Most generally that gathered information will make quite a stack. We must take information gathered and categorize and harmonize it with all the rest of the "sure word of prophecy". Then we are to live according to the spiritual truths taught by the Holy Spirit from those Biblical facts.

After carefully harmonizing and categorizing this information, the Biblical information of the same or similar subject material can be considered a Doctrine. A doctrine should be a systematic teaching of the Word of God, not a systematic teaching based on the Word of God. Sad to say, doctrines held by most people were not established in such a careful manner. Webster in his definition describes what most doctrines are and how they were formed.

doctrine (Webster)
something that is taught, held, put forth as true and supported by a teacher, a school or a sect; a principle established through past decisions and interpretations that becomes the mode of activity or governing

Your eternal destiny, rewards or your daily Christian walk should not be based on what some teacher, school or sect teaches and supports from their past decisions and interpretations. That sounds like District Court. By the way, some of those decisions from the court are know as doctrines.

Your eternal destiny, rewards, and your daily Christian walk should be based and supported by the clear teaching of the entire Word of God in harmony. Anything less, and you could and probably will be wrong.

Remember, the revelation of God was given progressively and is fragmented. We cannot build a Biblical doctrine, or even a Biblical principle on one or a few of those fragments of Scripture. Nor can we pick and choose what information we use based on its appeal to our thinking, and consider that a Biblical doctrine. Our job is to harmonize all the information. If that means readjusting our likes and dislikes, so be it. Far better to make adjustments to our beliefs while on this earth, even if it hurts our pride, than to have our beliefs tried by fire and find that they cannot stand the test.

Picking a bit of information from one passage, and a bit from another, then stringing them together and calling them a doctrine is very dangerous. To illustrate that danger, I put up an overhead last lesson that was formatted in such a way that it could have been misleading. Let me put up that same information in a different format so as to remove any doubt.

The Scriptures say that, "Judas went and hanged himself." Jesus said, "Go thou and do likewise, and what you do, do quickly." - Jesus Christ

If it is proper to pick 'n choose facts from the information of Scripture to support my opinion, without making sure that all those facts agree with all other facts of the Word of God, then it would be proper for me to present to my hearers a hanging rope and show them the nearest tree, because the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the first facts, and Jesus Christ, God's son made the last statement. Those two statements are certainly from the Bible, and Jesus Christ spoke the last statement, but Jesus Christ never said that.

When we use a combination of true facts, out of their context, we no longer have truth. We need to take a little time and re-visit my young preacher friend who we left in a restaurant last lesson. When this young pastor and I started visiting that afternoon about the sovereignty of God, he started in the traditional manner of asking, "What about this verse?" and "What about this other verse?" and "What do you think about Dr. So-n-so's statement concerning?" etc.

I told him that I didn't think it would be profitable to play Bible ping pong. I asked him if it would be all right to looked at a whole bunch of Scriptures. Some that I would suggest, and some that he would suggest. Then instead of challenging the other to prove what we believe by those verses, I suggested that we write down what each of these passages said concerning God's sovereignty. Then after spending all the time we could looking at verses and jotting down facts about sovereignty, we would divide those findings into basic categories. This met with his approval.

Just before we had to stop that first afternoon's study session, I exposed him to my hidden artistic ability. I drew a picture on a used napkin. Don't laugh, I'm very humble about my artistic abilities. Let me show you just how humble I am about this matter. I never sign my drawings. I want to remain anonymous, because when I'm dead and gone and my drawing are hanging in some famous gallery, I don't want the critics to be exclaiming the virtues of my raw ability and thereby making my name a household term. Well, at least the part about drawing on a used napkin is true.

If God is sovereign, and He is, does He have the right to make the rules that govern our behavior? If God is sovereign, and He is, does He have the right to give mankind a choice as to whether they obey the rules that He made? If God is sovereign, and He is, does He have the right to declare the results of obeying or not obeying the rules that He made? I illustrated those questions with my drawing on the napkin, in a similar manner as you see on the overhead.

The obvious answer to all of those questions is, yes. Not just yes, but indisputably, yes! Those things being true, I would like you to take this little drawing home with you in your mind or even on a used napkin, and apply the principles of this drawing to each passage you know or look up concerning sovereignty.

Look at each passage and ask yourself, 
What is the rule that God made and recorded in this passage? Then write that rule down in your own words.

Caution. make sure what you are writing down is what you see in the Scripture, not what you read or heard from some speaker or even a friend.

Next ask yourself, 
Did God give mankind a choice as to obedience or disobedience of this rule? 
Then write, in your own words, the choice or choices given whether positive or negative. 

Caution, make sure what you are writing down is what you see in the Scripture, not what you read or heard from some speaker or even a friend.

Last, ask yourself,
Are there any results of obeying or not obeying this rule that God made? 
Then write, in your own words, what the results are of not obeying or of obeying the rule that God made. 

Caution, make sure what you are writing down is what you see in the Scripture, not what you read or heard from some speaker or even a friend.

If you will do that with every passage that involves God's sovereignty, you will be well on your way to establishing a Biblical definition or at least a Biblical description of God's sovereignty.

Don't stop there, extend this exercise to every passage you read in the Word of God. If you don't regularly read many Scripture passages., well, this would be a good time to start the process.

If Christians would read as much of the Bible as they do books written about the Bible, they would know a lot more of God's Word, and God would be far more personal and real to them. We will have leave my preacher friend, but at least we got him out of the Big Boy and back to the conference. The next exciting episode will take place in the Sitting Room of the church just before the last morning session of the conference.