Unity of the Faith
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133)
The purpose of this article is to address the issue of unity in the church. While many today are able to see that the church is greatly divided and lacks unity, most do not yet see the underlying reason behind this lack of unity or the Apostolic Remedy that God has provided to bring unity to the church.
Before we look at these, we need to first identify what we mean when we talk, about unity as well as the operation and purpose of God through unity.
From the American Heritage Dictionary (4th Edition) we find the following definition of unity:
1. The state or quality of being one; singleness.
2. The state or quality of being in accord; harmony.
3 a. The combination or arrangement of parts into a whole; unification.
b. A combination or union thus formed.
4. Singleness or constancy of purpose or action; continuity.
5 a. An ordering of all elements in a work of art or literature so that each contributes to a unified aesthetic effect.
When looking at singleness we find:
1. Separate from others; individual and distinct.
Let’s look at those definitions and see what God is saying about the unity of the faith:
The state or quality of being one; singleness: When we speak of the unity of the faith we are looking at the quality of being one in purpose with God and one in purpose with our brethren. This oneness in purpose must follow the separation God has set as a stipulation for faith and must allow believers to recognize the distinctions God has set in Christ through His truth. This oneness and singleness speaks of the unity of the faith.
The state or quality of being in accord; harmony: When we speak of the unity of the faith we are looking at the coming into conformity or agreement with God concerning His plan of salvation and our participation. We come into harmony with God by coming into agreement with God concerning what is due Him and what is appropriate service. Jesus will then grant consent to mediate our faith because it is compatible or consistent with the original intent of God through Jesus Christ. This accord, this harmony speaks of the unity of the faith.
The combination or arrangement of parts into a whole: When we speak of the unity of the faith we are looking at truth as a key characteristic of God. God provided a form of knowledge through Jesus Christ that brings believers into harmony with Him. Truth speaks of the arrangement of the knowledge of Christ in such a way that appropriates God’s interests perfectly. He set the knowledge of Christ apart for a specific use. One part of truth is not useful; many conflicting truths are not useful. God provided truth as a whole to bring the unity of the faith.
An ordering of all elements in a work of art or literature so that each contributes to a unified aesthetic effect: When we speak of the unity of the faith we are looking at an ordering of truth and an ordering of the spiritual tools of the Second Covenant. This divine order is called ‘the Holy Knowledge’. Knowledge is holy when it is ordered by God, separated unto His purpose. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is profaned when it is ordered by intellectual reasoning or imagination to bring agreement or witness to the many truths people claim as suitable or appropriate, which separates faith unto the purposes of man. The ordered knowledge of Jesus Christ brings believers into one faith. This is unity.
Unity: Singleness of mind through the doctrine of Christ by which we are enabled by God to express one faith in harmony with His Holy Spirit.
We can see an example of this when we look at the average job. Our employers want us to come into unity with their purposes; they want us to come into agreement with the arrangement and order they established for their business. This is why they require us to separate ourselves from our own personal lives for a given period of time in order to focus our activity upon fulfilling the intended effect of our labor there.
Our employers would not find our activity acceptable if we came to work and began using their phones and their office equipment to begin dealing with our own personal purposes. This would show disorderly conduct. This is what we see in the church today, disorderly conduct. Believers are bringing into the church their own arrangement and order of truth and purposes that they established for their faith.
We see something else here too. In order for us to separate ourselves and become productive in advancing the interests of our employers, we must know what our employers expect from us. Because they are our employers, and we expect our labor to be rewarded by them, they are the ones who have the authority to set the standard operating procedures they expect us to follow in order for our participation to be useful in achieving the goal they have in mind. Without the knowledge of this standard or goal, we would not know how we should function, and our desire to be separate and focused would be unprofitable because we would lack direction.
In a business, it is the responsibility of management to clearly identify our function as employees so that we can receive direction for our activity to be productive and valued by them. As employees, it is our responsibility to show willingness to resource that knowledge in order to mold our activity into agreement with those standards in recognition of their authority.
In the church, it is the responsibility of called apostles of Christ to clearly identify for all believers the function of faith so that we are able to separate ourselves unto this activity to be one in purpose with God and one in purpose with our brethren. As Christians, it is our responsibility to show willingness to resource that holy knowledge in order to come into harmony with God, agreeing with God concerning what is due Him and what is appropriate service.
While the scriptures confirm this unity of the faith, we don’t see this when we look at the church today. Rather, we see evidences of many principles that have replaced the righteousness of Christ. We reviewed the evidences of those reigning principles in faith in the article “Apostolic Remedy: Restoring the Will and Purpose of God”. That article reviewed 5 key evidences that believers were not able to identify the holy and ordered knowledge that God has separated for their faith:
Revivals that don't last
Constant restructuring and reformation of the church
Always looking for a closer relationship with God
Always seeking the will of God
Always trying to hear the voice of God
These evidences help the church to move forward concerning the righteous judgments of the Lord. First, the Lord will pull the curtain back and reveal the seducing spirits that make believers feel comfortable in a lie through coming into agreement with their principle, thus forbidding, preventing, and precluding conformity to Christ. The principle that sympathizes with an individual’s thinking is the one with which they agree. This has caused believers not to be in harmony with God.
Second, God has restored the necessary elements the church was lacking. Let’s then look at the elements necessary for the church to come into the unity of the faith more closely:
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Much is spoken of apostles these days. That’s because God has planned a recrudesce of this calling. God has set this time for the apostle’s office to break out anew and come into renewed activity after a period in which that calling lay in a dormant state. The church has tried to function without this calling and therefore lacked direction for their faith.
Apostles are first in the church because God has chosen to dispense truth through them in the form of doctrine for the purpose of giving direction to our activity of faith for our function as priests in service to Him.
“Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:” (Acts 1:2)
This is the divine order of spiritual government, which God has authorized and sanctified. The faith of believers separated from the oversight of this calling is undeveloped, but is capable of normal growth that would be possible under the proper conditions. Believers know this to be true and therefore seek out those conditions that would inspire growth through many strategies, formulas, and keys. Nothing can replace the Headship of Christ through apostles, whom God has authorized and sanctified for the unity of the faith.
We see God used the same pattern in the First Covenant as He presently does in the Second Covenant. In the First Covenant God showed Moses the pattern (Heb 8:5) by which the tabernacle, along with its tools and articles, were to be built to give direction for the ordered service of God through the priesthood.
Apart from this knowledge, the desire of the people to serve God was not enough. They needed to know what God expected from them and how the priesthood was to function in order for their activity of faith to meet His expectations perfectly. (Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 18:13, 32:4; 1 Kings 8:61)
In the present covenant, the Second Covenant, God reveals this pattern of service to apostles whom He calls and prepares for the purpose of giving direction for the faith of the saints. This holy knowledge is necessary for the saints to be able to function acceptably as priests through the offering of their spiritual sacrifices of faith.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)
Just as the priests under the First Covenant could not function acceptably without this ONE pattern of holy knowledge revealed by God through His servant Moses, so also do we as priests in the Second Covenant require the ONE pattern of truth revealed by God through His servants, the apostles of Christ.
“And they [the saints] continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
“Furthermore then we [apostles] beseech you, brethren, and exhort you [the saints] by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2)
The commandments of the apostles are the ordered knowledge of Christ that follow the separation, which God has set for our service to Him as priests. The priesthood of the believer and the spiritual sacrifices of our faith made acceptable to God through the mediation of Jesus Christ have been lost to the church. Believers no longer know how to walk in their priesthood or how to please God with perfect faith because they are no longer following the commandments of the apostles.
We are now 2,000 years removed from the time when first apostles of Christ set in order the holy knowledge of God. Near the time of their deaths, they wrote letters to the church to encourage them to continue in the faith they had delivered. How did the church transition from that time to the condition we see it is presently in?
The apostles knew this time of darkness (spiritual ignorance) was at hand. This was why they were writing to the saints and keeping them in mind of the unity of the faith, which they had provided for them to please God and walk in righteousness, functioning as priests at the altar of Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:7, 1 Peter 2:5, Heb 13:10)
Let’s take a look at how Apostle Paul warned the church about this coming time of spiritual darkness:
“For I [Apostle Paul] know this, that after my departing [in the absence of spiritual government] shall grievous wolves enter in among you, [the church] not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things [setting a new pattern for faith], to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I [Apostle] ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace [holy ordered knowledge of His plan made known by apostles of Christ Jesus], which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:29-32)
“This know also, that in the last days [2,000 years] perilous times shall come. [we are at the end of those 2,000 years of the church in darkness now.] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, [Paul is writing about religious people who go to church on Sunday and are respected members of society] but denying the power thereof: [the power of God is in connection to the priesthood through which we are joined to God for service] from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the [ordered] knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)
Apostle John received revelation from Christ concerning the entire false church system that would arise and be known as the orthodox system for worship of God (Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots: Revelation 17:5) accepted by the world as the representative of Christ and how that system would spawn many children of like image (denominations) through her lying in bed with earthly spirits. This is Christianity today, and this is what believers must come out of. The apostle John also warned in his epistles concerning the spirit of antichrist that was already at work amongst the churches bringing believers into what Apostle Paul called ‘another gospel.’ (1 John 2:18; Gal 1:6)This is the ‘falling away’ that the original apostles warned would come in the last days (the 2 thousand years of spiritual darkness). Jesus spoke to seven of the churches of Asia through Apostle John (notice the divine order of spiritual government. Christ spoke to the church through an apostle) and warned them about their falling into darkness, as they had allowed false teachers/false apostles and false brethren in their midst.
Let’s look at these:
“[Apostle] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;” (Revelation 1:4)
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; [My commandments taught you by My apostles (Acts 1:2, 2:42)] or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:4-6)
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught [false doctrine] Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:14-16)
“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery [spiritual adultery] with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:20-23)
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard [by the lips of My apostles (Acts 1:2, 2:42)], and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Revelation 3:1-3)
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness [being without fruit in the heart] do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve [holy knowledge of the doctrine of Christ], that thou mayest see [My Spirit works with My holy knowledge to give you understanding]. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:15-19)
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith [through my servant the apostle John] unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)
All these churches eventually fell into apostasy; did not heed His warning. The Doctrine of the Nicolatians, the Doctrine of Balaam, and the Doctrine of Jezebel all contaminated the faith of believers then and still does until today being mixed into the constitution and creed of the present church system with its present doctrines and forms of worship. This is the Mystery of Iniquity the apostles wrote of that was active at their time and exists in the church until even now. (2 Thes 2:7)
All of these grace resisters despised government wanting to worship God their ‘own way’ outside of the stewardship of the apostles’ office (2 Peter 2:10). The epistles written by the original apostles are full of warnings that these things would take place after their deaths and were already taking place while they were alive. Believers cannot remove themselves from this system. This system must be removed from them. This is the purpose of apostles: to provide doctrinal cleansing which removes this system of false inspiration and false knowledge, which hinders the effectual working of the Holy Ghost in the heart of the believers.
Our unity is not to be with those who follow after fables and false doctrines in pursuit of an activity of false faith that frees them from responsibility to one whole truth. Apostle Paul warned those under his stewardship to TURN AWAY from them. We see here that the unity of the faith is NOT ecumenical unity, which we see many in the church embracing today. An ecumenical unity speaks of the compromise of truth. God has not put Himself into a position of compromise. God gave the church spiritual government to guard believers against Satan’s attempts to feign unity.
“And he gave [God provided] some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11)
Here we see the five offices of spiritual government. As we explained earlier, apostles are first (1 Cor 12:28) because truth is first needed in order for the separation and cleansing of the others to function in the spiritual priesthood through which we are prepared by God to function in the calling of His selection.
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12-13)
When Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, speaks of perfecting the saints, he is talking about the faith of the saints being brought to completion through sanctified contact with the Holy Spirit of God. In order for this to take place, the saints need to resource the ONE doctrine of Christ made known through the preaching of His apostles.
When our function as priests is directed by this holy knowledge, we see that all the saints are able to gather together in the assembly for the edifying of the body of Christ. This is not a forecast or a projection depicting how the Body could be someday, this is the common, daily experience of all those who have already submitted themselves to the Headship of Christ for separation and cleansing in order to serve God through the ordered activity of the spiritual priesthood.
Here we see that unity is in connection with truth, which comes through the office and calling of apostle, in the form of doctrine to give direction for faith so we can be separated and prepared for function as priests with acceptable faith in the sight of God. The witness of the Spirit enters into this faith in order to confirm Jesus Christ. This is the power denied by those who have a form of godliness, but have not the ordered knowledge of God in the form of whole truth, which comes through called apostles of Christ Jesus.
The apostles knew that there would be 2,000 years of spiritual darkness before the revival of the church in the Second 8th Week prophesied by Enoch the Righteous. They knew that people would begin mixing error with the holy knowledge of God, which would allow people to serve themselves while trying to serve God.
This is why Apostle Peter wrote:
“That [I’m writing to you for this purpose] ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days [2,000 years of darkness] scoffers, walking after their own lusts,” (2 Peter 3:2-3)
The commandments of the apostles (the doctrine of Christ) has again been set in order, and Jesus is again declaring the name of the Lord:
Jesus said, "I have declared unto them Your name and will declare it." (John 17:26) He was referring to the time of the 1st 8th Week, when the system of salvation God authorized in the name (framework) of Jesus would be preached and declared, and in the time of the 2nd 8th Week, it would need to be declared AGAIN. Why? Because the church would fall into darkness and need to be revived again to the correct system of righteousness. It would be declared the second time by Christ through the apostles of the 2nd 8th Week. There is refuge in government. Believers will no longer be food for the wolves. God is again bringing believers into His care through His spiritual government who will care for their souls and nurture them into the fullness of Jesus Christ so they can cease from expressing themselves and begin to express Christ to the Father.
This is why we must be put into remembrance of the commandments given us by apostles of Christ. This is why God is now restoring the office and calling of apostle today in preparation for the revival of the church that is now at hand.
This LACK of holy knowledge that was set in order by Jesus Christ through the office of apostles is the underlying reason for the LACK of unity in the church today. In the church today we see groups of people getting together with their own personal needs, goals, and purposes in mind, while trying to serve God at the same time. This was exactly what the first apostles said we should expect as we are now on the other end of that 2,000 years.
Just as a business cannot function without management providing clear knowledge to direct the activity of the people, so also is the church still in need of spiritual government, beginning with apostles who have been given the measure of grace by God to make known the mystery of Christ, which gives direction to our faith so we can function as priests with acceptable service in the sight of God. (Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:4)
Therefore, we are able to see that this same ordered knowledge of God is also the Apostolic Remedy provided by God to bring the church back into the unity of the faith and the unity of the Spirit.
The Spirit of God is moving at this time to restore this unity again through the restoration of truth. At this time we are seeing the Wheat being separated from the Tares through the restoration of truth, making clear distinction between the sacrifices of our faith that God accepts and the activity of faith that God abhors. When the church again submits to the Headship of Christ to receive this ONE faith (ONE doctrine), we will see the significance of the precious ointment poured upon Aaron’s head and garments, which is necessary for unity. (Psalm 133:1-2)
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133:1,2)
The ointment on Aaron’s head speaks of the holy knowledge of God, which brings separation for service as priests. (Aaron’s garments were the robes of the priesthood). The Lord now commands the blessing of life through Jesus Christ upon the Second Covenant and the Second Covenant priesthood. The Lord will command the blessing when the brethren come into the unity of the faith.
Are you ready to be of One Mind, One Spirit, and One Faith in order to be separated and prepared by God to worship Him in Spirit and in truth? If you are, called apostles working with Second 8th Week Ministries are qualified to help you learn how to walk and please God. Please contact Second 8th Week Ministries today to register for our on-line spiritual wellness program, provided free of charge to all those who want a unity that is unfeigned and faith that is perfect in the sight of God.
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Walking with God,
--John, Apostle of Jesus Christ
Second 8th Week Ministries
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
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