Assembly Truth (11): Unanimity in a Local Assembly (4)

Hebrews: “Looking diligently lest … any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (12:15, KJV). Deciding something by majority vote, even something secular like where to build a new hall, can sometimes produce bitterness.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love which ye have shewed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (6:10, KJV). The writer of the Hebrew epistle is commending them for their love of the brethren, yet he writes “Let brotherly love continue” (13:1, KJV). He is implying that it will continue unless they dam it up some way.

James: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (3:17, KJV). We should note it is not first peaceable; this would encourage compromise. It is first pure, but, if we are acting with wisdom from above, we will be as peaceable as possible, consistent with the purity of the Word of God. The Lord Jesus has the same priority in the seventh beatitude. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9, KJV). Peacemakers will be manifestly the children of God. But the only peacemaking that is blessed is consistent with the previous verse. “Blessed are the pure in heart” (5:8, KJV). It will help us to come to unanimity if everyone in the assembly is acting with wisdom from God, because then, each child of God will have the same source for that wisdom.

“Speak not evil one of another, brethren” (4:11, KJV). “Grudge not one against another, brethren” (5:9, KJV). Appreciating the word “brethren” helps in obeying those two verses and we will find it easier to come to one mind.

1 Peter: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (3:8, KJV). “Seeing ye have purified your souls … see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1:22, KJV). The late Frank Knox illustrated this verse by speaking of a blacksmith using heat on steel rods. If a blacksmith heats a rod up to black heat, it burns his finger if he touches it, but he can’t bend it with black heat. If he wants to bend it, he must heat it up to red heat, then he can bend it any way he chooses. If he wants to weld it to another rod, he cannot do so with red heat. He has to heat it up to white heat. In order for us to be welded together, we must see to it that we love one another with a pure heart fervently!

2 Peter: The last two things which are to be added to faith are brotherly kindness and charity (or love). “Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (or “living”) and godliness” (3:11, KJV). “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3:18, KJV).

1 John: “But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected” (2:5, KJV). “We know that we have passed from death to life; because we love the brethren” (3:14, KJV). “But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him” (3:17, KJV)? “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and he that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (4:7, KJV). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments, for this is the love of God that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (5:2-3, KJV).

2 John: We have truth five times in the first four verses, and we have love four times in the first six verses. Walking in truth and love helps us in getting along with one another. “And this is love, that we walk after His commandments” (v6, KJV).

3 John: The assembly where Gaius was in fellowship was in a sad state because of Diotrephes who loved to have the preeminence and behaved badly. It is noteworthy that John did not write to Gaius to get together with Demetrius and other good brethren and start another assembly. It is desirable for every assembly to try earnestly for unanimity, but they are not duty-bound to hold off action or a decision forever because of one in fellowship. The assembly should give reasonable opportunity to arrive at the same judgment, but they are not required to wait forever. That would be minority rule with a vengeance!

Jude: “That ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (v3, KJV). Even in a day of apostasy, every saint has the resource of praying in the Spirit (v20, KJV). We also have the resource of “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (v21, KJV).

Revelation: In the letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, we see that the Lord Jesus always commended before He rebuked which is a good practice for us to follow when rebuke becomes necessary. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first (or ‘best’) love” (2:4, KJV). If we have our first love, or if we have the conditions pleasing to the Lord in the letter to Philadelphia (3:7-12), we will more easily come to unanimity.

G. H. Lang wrote, “It may be asked, Is this plan really possible? For the believer in Almighty God, there is but one question. Not “is it possible? – but “is it Scriptural?” If Scriptural, then it is also possible. It was humanly impossible for the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth , but when the Lord told him to do the impossible, it was at once done, for the question of power rested with Him Who gave the command. Thus it is with this question, and all other of His commandments.