UNITY, PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYERS
The Keys to Success
Unity, perseverance and prayers
are important factors contributing to the success and progress of the church in
every place and in every nation.
Unity is strength. What Satan
fears most is the unity and the oneness of the church. Right from the very
beginning up to the present time, Satan has been hindering the progress of the
divine plan and is determined to destroy the church.
The easiest way to achieve this is
causing divisions in the church so that there is no agreement of opinions. He
stirs up calumnies and malicious accusations which result in insoluble
dissensions between groups of believers so much so that the body of Christ (the
church) is divided.
But the Lord said, “Every kingdom
divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against
itself will stand” (Ml 12:25). To permit divisions in church is to fall into
the evil plot of the devil. If this is not promptly realised and peace is not
restored early, there may not be any remedy later. The members will soon be
consumed by one another (Gal 5:15). As such we must clearly recognise Satanic plans. In all things, let every member with all
lowliness and meekness with patience, forbear one another in love to maintain
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:2-3). Only in this way can
there be victory over Satan and can the church have “the God of love and peace”
working in her (2 Cor 13:11).
In the churches
In every church there are elders,
deacons and believers. They form the family of God (Phil 1:1). In the eyes of
the Heavenly Father, they are all brethren (Mt 23:8,9). God chooses elders and
deacons because he wants them to be overseers and servants, to look after His
household on His behalf (Acts 20:28; I Cor 4:1,2). Hence, every member of this
family should give the elders and deacons due respect and pay heed to their
guidance, advices and instructions as is written in Heb 13:17, “Obey your
leaders and submit to them, for they arc keeping watch over your souls, as men
who will have to give account.” Again, it is written in 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise,
you that are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you,
with humility toward one another.”
Those who are younger should treat
the elderly among the men as they would treat their fathers and to treat the
elderly among the women as they would treat their mothers (1 Tim 1:1.2; Phil
2:22). In return, those who are elderly should similarly treat the younger as
they would treat their own sons and daughters. They should have parental love
in guiding and nurturing them with the hope that these younger ones can soon
become useful vessels of God, reliable successors and faithful stewards. If
this “family love” can exist in the church, differences in opinions or other
unpleasant happenings will eventually succumb - to mutual forgiveness and
reconciliation amongst the brethren because the love of God prevails in the
church. Forbearance of one another, peace, unity and service to the Lord with
one mind will then be present (Col
Among the churches
During the days of Moses, when the
Israelites were journeying in the wilderness, the twelve tribes encamped facing
the tent of meeting. On the east side were encamped the tribes of Judah,
Issachar and Zebulun. On the south side were encamped the tribes of Reuben,
Simeon and Gad. On the west side were encamped the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh
and Benjamin. On the north side were encamped the tribes of Dan, Asher and
Naphtall. Only the tribe of the Levites were encamped at the centre surrounded
by the rest. All of them faced the tent of meeting having it as a centre point
and were encamped at places alloted to them. When they broke camp to start on
their march, they also moved off together in order according to prior arrangements
(Num 2). Evidently, they had an organisation with a coordinating centre. They
were also orderly and were not in confusion.
The Old Testament is the foreshadow of the New Testament. The incident above
portrays the present day church in the New Testament. Not only should there be
unity in the churches, there should also be coordination among the various
churches. In the church, there should also be a centre. The churches in the
Apostolic days were in close contact with one another (Col
4:15,16) with Jerusalem
as their headquarters. When Paul was in Antioch
and had differences in opinion over the question of circumcision with some
brethren, the church brought the matter to Jerusalem to be decided among the apostles
and the elders (Acts 15:1,2). They obeyed the
decisions of the aposties who were guided by the Holy Spirit. All the churches
also practised and followed the decisions of the apostles. The faith of the
believers were edified and their number increased from day to day (Acts
The church at that time was just
like the twelve tribes of Israel
which encamped facing the tent of meeting. Presently, in every nation there is
a General Assembly to coordinate all the TrueJesusChurches in that particular nation. This
type of organisation promotes the training of workers, the uniformity of
teachings, the exchange of evangelistic materials, the appointment of
caretakers of churches, the propagation of the Gospel, and also the tackling of
difficulties in the church. Hence, it is necessary for every church to support
and abide by the decisions of the General Assembly while the General Assembly
in each nation should support and respect the decisions of the International
Assembly. Of Christ, the Bible records, “Not a hone (inner part) of Him shall
he broken” (Jn 19:33-36). His garments (outer part) were also not torn (Jn
19:23,24). In the same way, our unity should not just
be within our hearts which is not visible but should also include unity in
organisation, which can be seen. If churches in every nation can be united,
then all the churches in the world can be of one body. In this way, through the
concerted effort of all the churches, the commission placed upon us in the last
days by our Lord can soon be accomplished.
Perseverance is an important
factor which contributes to success. Harmony between the government and the
people may ensure peace and political stability in a country but there is
always the danger that the people may soon become languid; slacking in their
responsibilities and insensitive towards the crying need for progress.
Consequently, the country will be paralysed and can easily be overcome by the
When Deborah was judging Israel, they were victorious in battle over
Sisera, the general of the army of Jabin, the king of Canaan. Besides receiving the grace of the Lord, the
victory could be attributed to the sacrifice, and efforts of the various
tribes. Hence, Deborah sang a song, “Among the clans of Reuben, there were
great searchings of hearts.... Zebulun is a people that jeopardised their lives
to the death; Naphtali too, on the heights of the field” (Judg 5:15, 16,l8).
David also had many brave men who
gave him strong support. (1 Chron 11:10). Had there not been this great
sacrifice from these mighty men of valour, there would not have existed the powerful kingdom of King David.
Today, if we wish to spread the
gospel of salvation of our Lord Jesus and to enlarge His spiritual kingdom, it
is all the more essential for every believer to become the soldier of Christ
and be ready to persevere in the work for him.
Of the Leaders
The preachers, elders and deacons
are the leaders of the flock and also the pillars of the church. Whether or not
they are sincere or faithful to the Lord, has great
influence on the fervency of the whole flock and the progress of the church.
When Moses grew up, he no longer
wanted to he reckoned as the Son of the Egyptian princess and was not willing
to enjoy the pleasures of sins. Neither did he long
for the wealth in Egypt
but instead chose to suffer with the chosen people of God. For the sake of the
Lord, he was abused and beaten. God, however, performed the great task of
saving His chosen people through Moses (Heb 11:23-27). The factors which
contribute towards Moses’ great achievements were his readiness to sacrifice
his status, pleasures and wealth for the Lord’s sake; and his willingness to
endure sufferings and dangers for the Lord and His people.
The workers today should possess
such an attitude. They must be ready to sacrifice themselves even though they
may have high status. He must not be desirous of fame, nor seek enjoyment, nor
be afraid of poverty, of toil or persecutions. Instead, he should be diligent,
faithful and be able to trust the Lord wholeheartedly. He has to strive to the
utmost by using the best methods to proclaim the gospel and to feed the flock
of Christ. If every servant in every place has this kind of attitude, the Lord
will work through him to accomplish the last day mission of the Church. (cf Ps
Of the Believers
The work of God is not only
confined to the elders or the deacons hut all the people of God (1 Pet 2:9).
Paul said, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we
live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether
we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:7,8). We are bought with
the precious blood of our Lord and He has been sustaining our life ever since.
Hence, should we not live for Christ?
We should study for the Lord, earn
for the Lord, marry for the Lord, have children for the Lord, and in
everything, we do for the Lord!
Although we may not be able to
offer ourselves fulltime to work for the Lord, the least we can do is to offer
as much as we can to God. We should also do our best to find time to help in
the work of the church so that we can be useful instruments of the church.
In the olden days. the people of God composed this Psalm, “If I forget you, O
Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!” (Ps 137:5,6). They swore never
to forget Jerusalem but to love Jerusalem above anything else. If for the
present times, the preachers, elders, deacons and believers have the same
determination never to neglect the church as the people in the olden days; and
to love the church above anything else, the Lord will surely accept their
sacrifices and grant their petitions that the borders of the heavenly Jerusalem
may he widened.
Unity and perseverance are things
within the reach of man. However, success in divine work is never possible
without blessings and help from above.
“Not by might, nor by power, but
by my Spirit.” says the Lord of hosts (Zech 4:6)
During the exodus from Egypt, the
Israelites, led by Moses came to Rephidim where they encountered resistance
from the Amalekites. The Israelites’ victory was not due to the might of Joshua
or his men, but it came as a result of the prayers of Moses (Ex 17:8-13).
Now Satan realises that he has not
too much time left so he plots to destroy and hinder the work of God. If it
were not for the fact that God opens the heart of men to the truth or that He
causes wonders and miracles to happen or that He gives men the Holy Spirit, mere
preaching would not have led anyone to Christ. So we should pray to God to work
through us. We have to pray to our Lord:
choose more workers to perform the work (Mt 9:37,38).
add to the ability of our preachers (Eph 6:19).
the door for preaching the word of God in every nation may be opened (Col 4:3,4).
add to the number worthy of the HeavenlyKingdom (Is 26:15).
manifest more in wonders and miracles (Acts 4:29-31).
motivate the believers and to stir up their fervency (2 Tim 1:6,7).
help the believers to be sanctified (1 Thess 5:23).
grant peace that the word of God may be proclaimed throughout the world (Jer
The great work of the Holy Spirit
on the day of Pentecost was the result of the united and earnest prayers of the
apostles and the believers (Acts 1:14; 2:1-47).
Hence, for the progress of the
church, it is necessary to have unity in the church, coupled with perseverance