19 April 2015 by Esperanza Ng CM –
“Many of us misunderstand what unity is all about,” Ps. Phillip Mantofa said to over 10 Thousand FGA members who were gathered at the Bukit Jalil Putra Indoor Stadium last Sunday. “We often think that unity is an event, but it is deeper than that. The true bond of unity is God’s vision to reach the lost.”
In celebration of their 36th Anniversary, FGA themed their event, “Moving Forward As One.” Seeing how God has so richly blessed their church over the past three and a half decades, this theme sums up FGA’s hopes and dreams to continue making disciples for Jesus, together as one body in Christ.
In light of that, Ps. Phillip emphasized two things: evangelism together as a collective whole, and training up the younger generation so that God’s work does not die off with the older generation. “There is no better Scripture to refer to concerning this topic, than Psalm 133,” he said.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
The first thing we need to understand when we talk about unity in a church is that everyone must have the same goal and vision, and the one common denominator that holds all the individuals together is the gospel. “Evangelism does not belong to the evangelists,” Ps. Phillip said. “It belongs to the body of Christ; it belongs to Christians.”
It is difficult to unite the body of Christ when we do not know what we are trying to unite it for! If every department within the church is doing it’s own thing, the majority of the congregation will be left doing nothing. If everybody wants to be a somebody, at the end of the day, everybody will be a nobody.
Ps. Phillip then reminded everyone present that even though we see thousands of people coming to church, attending events, and giving their hearts to Christ, the greater population of people are still not in the church; they are out in the world.
This is because “Not all movement is forward.” The Israelites moved; a lot. However, they moved round and round in circles for 40 years in the desert, never actually getting anywhere.
In the same way, not all ministries accomplish God’s purpose—even when we attach God’s name to it! Therefore, it is imperative that individuals put aside our personal agendas and seek God’s desire. In order for a church to move forward as one, every wheel in this machine called “church” must work in tandem to preach the gospel to the lost. This is necessary because just as every soul that does not believe in the gospel is a lost soul, every church that does not preach the gospel is a lost church.
Psalm 133 says that unity is like precious oil that is poured on the head. How then, can we receive this precious oil? Ps. Phillip referred to the account of Elisha and the widow whose jar of oil never ran dry (2 Kings 4:1-7). What was so special about this widow that she received precious oil from heaven?
“It is because she goes to her neighbors!” Ps. Phillip exclaimed. When she told Elisha that she had only one jar of oil, Elisha told her to “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few.” And so she did.
What she did not realize was that when she went to her neighbors and probably had to explain why she needed empty jars, she was unintentionally being a witness to them. Without even knowing it, the widow stepped out of her comfort zone to testify about God’s goodness to her and her family. “God will send His precious oil to people who are willing,” Ps. Phillip said. “Precious oil is given and poured out when we reach out.
We then read in Psalm 133 that the precious oil flows down on Aarons beard. It flows down from Mount Hermon to Mount Zion. Similarly, as precious oil is given to us, it must flow down and be passed down through the generations. All over the world, the church is aging because the leaders are getting older, and the young ones are leaving the church, but we cannot let this continue. The church must not age! “Precious oil is kept in the church when the church regenerates and reaches out to the younger generation.”
Another reason the widow is blessed with precious oil is because she was trying to save the younger generation—she needed to pay off her late husband’s debts so that her two young sons would not be sold into slavery—her heart was for her children. “There will be a new and fresh revelation of Jesus when we believe and raise up the young ones!” Ps. Phillip said.
“Do you have new oil, or is all you have old oil? Has your movement become a monument? It’s not too late yet; the lampstand is still with you. Let us shake our faith once more and turn what is left of the previous movement into a new beginning for a new, greater movement!” David was young when he killed Goliath, but he did not stay young. Instead, he trained up younger warriors to defeat the goliaths of their time.
Finally, Ps. Phillip pointed out that in Israel, Mount Hermon, the highest peak, is also the water source of the entire nation. The snow from Mount Hermon melts and flows down to Mount Zion, then to the Jordan River, and finally settles in the lowest point of the earth: the Dead Sea. What starts out as fresh water in the mountains and flows down to the Jordan River becomes salty when it hits the Dead Sea. In the Dead Sea, everything floats.
Likewise, when the wheels unite and precious oil flows down into the beard, down from Mount Hermon, the anointing will be translated as a lifting power that will lift any burden. What starts out as a commitment in the church will be salty out there in the world and pain, suffering, and burdens will be lifted as in the Dead Sea.
Ps. Phillip closed by saying that the anointing will never be whole if there is even one member who thinks that evangelism is not his or her task. When the church unites with the same passion without a crack in the unity, wherever her members go, the anointing will go with them, lifting burdens up! Hundreds of youth responded to his message and committed to love and serve Jesus Christ with their lives.
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