Looking to the Past to Gain a Sense of Unity for the Future

5 Mins read

Americans have been some of the most independent people, if the not the most independent people, for many years now. In some respects, this can be seen as a good thing. Americans, in general, learn to work hard and do not necessarily need to rely on others. America is a very prosperous nation, and this is, in part, owed to the tendency of having independent people. Another aspect of independence that can be seen as good is that an American may not feel the need to be around others all of the time. Even Jesus was very familiar with the need to pull away from the crowds and spend time alone with His Father.

However, there is a way in which independence is not good. Christians are not meant to be isolated. Nor are Christians meant to traverse the trials of life by themselves. In the garden, God made it very clear that, “…It is not good that the man should be alone…” (Gen. 2:18). In another portion of Scripture, the Bible says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb. 10:25). Scripture makes it very clear that the Christian is to join arms with the children of God and to not live independently from rest of the body.

The book of Acts is a wonderful place to look in order to gain a biblical perspective on how to live in community with other believers. Acts 1:12-14 is full of guidance on the matter.

The people walked together

In this short portion of Scripture, the Bible makes it evident that the people of God in the first century traveled together. Scripture says, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet…” (Acts 1:12). Here the disciples are pictured walking the roads near Jerusalem together.

When Jesus was on earth, He commissioned His disciples to go out two by two. Traveling together would have been a common practice for them in evangelism and witnessing. However, most of the time, they would have probably been in groups larger than two people as they followed their Lord.

Scripture tells of the benefit of togetherness: “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up” (Eccl. 4:10). In the Christian life, there will be times in which you may stumble on your journey. Do not attempt to walk it alone. If you fall along the way, it will be to your benefit to have someone there who can help you onto your feet.

The people entered together

As the disciples walked the path toward Jerusalem, the Bible also tells us that they entered Jerusalem together (Acts 1:13). The cohesiveness is clear in this short portion of Scripture. Luke seems to be strategic in his attempts to highlight the togetherness of the early church. Later, Luke tells us in the book of Acts that the early church shared their belongings, made it a priority to meet together, devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, and ate together. Then Luke says, “And all that believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). As they entered back into the city in which their Lord was killed, they did so together.

The disciples knew that they could be facing their death as well. They were meeting as followers of the crucified and resurrected Christ. In John chapter 11, Lazarus is said to have died. He was dead for four days before Jesus went to his tomb. Nevertheless Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. After this, Lazarus shared his testimony with the people. In John 12:9-11. John tells us that large crowds went to see Lazarus after he had been brought back to life. Since Lazarus was causing others to look toward Christ as the long-awaited Messiah, the Jews sought to kill Lazarus as well.

The disciples would not receive better treatment than Lazarus. They would have been targets in much the same way. Church history declares that all but John suffered martyrdom for spreading the Gospel. Nevertheless, these men entered back into Jerusalem with their arms united. They provided courage for one another as they knew they were not in this battle alone. They would live together, and they would ultimately die together.

The people lived together

Scripture says, “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both…” (Acts 1:13). Then Luke goes on to list all the apostles. The Bible says that they abode there, in this upper room. This means that they dwelt there or lived there. However, this was not their home. It may very well have been where they ate the Passover meal with Jesus prior to His death.

To say that these people gathered into an upper room is telling. The upper room was normally larger than the lower rooms. In other words, it would have held more people than the lower rooms. The walls of the downstairs would have generally been made very thick and strong to support the weight of the large room above.

The people united together

As these people walked together, entered Jerusalem together, and abode together, they also united together. The Bible says, “These all continued with one accord.” This word “accord” in the original language is “homothumadon.” This word has the meaning of something being done unanimously. It has to do with more than just outward conformity but also conformity in the secret chamber of the heart and mind. Therefore, these people who were meeting in the upper room would have been united both in behavior and in their thoughts. The word “accord” is used to represent “homothumadon” 11 times in the book of Acts.

Luke seems to want to make it a point once again to highlight the togetherness of the early church. However, he also uses the word “accord” in the following way: “…the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul…” (Acts 18:12). Here, Luke uses the word “accord” to depict the enemy assembling against Paul.

It is important to know that just as the people of God are to be in one accord, so will the enemy seek to assemble against God’s children. It is important not to fight this battle alone. Scripture says, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12). With greater numbers comes greater strength.

The people prayed together

These individuals did not just seek to spend time together. They made it a point to use their time wisely. They did not just want to engage in casual conversation. They wanted to seek the Lord together. Scripture says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:14). Luke goes on to tell of a number of other people who were present that were not previously mentioned. The place was packed, and the people prayed. They sought the Lord together in prayer and supplication.

The word used for “supplication” in the original language is “deesis.” It carries the meaning of prayer but is more pointed than general. General prayer could encompass thanksgiving, praise, adoration, sitting in silence and waiting upon the Lord, and requests. Supplication specifically refers to requests. It is in this portion of prayer that the one praying asks God for blessings in his own life and the lives of others. To say it a little differently, in times of supplication, the one praying brings to God various wants or needs for himself and others.

These people prayed together. But they did not just pray randomly or without a focus to their prayers. They desired to pray and plead with God for one another.

Final prayer

Father, I pray that You would help me to see the importance of uniting with other believers in my own life. Whatever is getting in the way of God-honored fellowship in my own life, I pray that You would remove it from me. Help me to live for You in this area and to seek out other believers. Thank You for the guidance from Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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