Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Eccl. 4:12 π Mt. 4:19 π Mt. 7:13-14 π Mt. 7:21-23 π Mt. 13:38 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 13:41-43 π Mt. 13:47 π Mt. 13:52 π Mt. 16:18 π Mt. 18:20 π Mk. 7:13 π Jn. 17:20-23 π Acts 2:46 π Acts 7:48 π Acts 20:30; 2nd π Rom. 12:9 π 1 Cor. 3:9 π 2 Cor. 5:15 π Eph. 1:22 π Eph. 4:3; 2nd; 3rd π Eph. 4:13; 2nd π Eph. 4:16; 2nd π Col. 1:13 π 2 Ths. 3:11 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π 2 Tim. 3:16 π 1 Pet. 4:10-11 π 1 Pet. 5:3 π 3 Jn. 9 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15

Many spiritually mature people, having exited the false “church” long ago and having witnessed the reproductions of smaller “churches” in the house “church” movement and having experienced the fiasco of trying to build God’s kingdom or body for Him in the Dominion Now and the Apostles and Prophets movements, are finally content to sit back and stop trying to build anything for God. This is a time God has been waiting for and working His people toward.

But does this mean that Christ has stopped building His ekklesia, His body, His kingdom? Of course, the “church” and the other movements of men count the warm bodies inside their buildings and attending their seminars, lectures and conferences (never mind all those who’ve left!) and answer, “Of course He hasn’t stopped building – why, we got two new members just last month!” Even this right answer, though applied to the wrong thing, should show us that Christ has never been stopped or even been slowed down in the building up of His people. What men have not seen is that church history is mostly the stories of men building the wrong thing.

While men were building their buildings (in which God will never dwell – Acts 7:48 , etc.) and having their movements (in which the agendas of God, Satan and men were each being accomplished) Jesus was quietly and unobtrusively tying together (with knots of two or three strands, of course – Eccl. 4:12 - the knot itself always being Himself, of course – Mt. 18:20 , Eph. 4:16 ) His fishing net ( Mt. 13:47 ) whereby He uses those so tied together to catch the souls of men. ( Mt. 4:19 ) Jesus still says, I will build My ekklesia…” – and it will look nothing like the kingdoms that men and demons build – “…and the gates [schemes and devices] of darkness and death…” – all the buildings, kingdoms and movements into which men are diverted away from the true way that leads to life – “…shall not prevail over those who are truly Mine.” ( Mt. 16:18; top )

How will we know if God is doing something in our midst? It will begin when we forget about doing His “job” (tying and being the knot that holds His people together) and we focus on simply doing our “job” (loving those around us by allowing His life to flow forth from us in whatever gift the Holy Spirit has placed within us – 1 Pet. 4:10-11 , etc.) The body of Christ is built up in love when every part does its share of the work. ( Eph. 4:16 ) We don’t have to build the body – He does that – but we do have to love one another with sincere, divine, fervent, self-sacrificing love ( Rom. 12:9 ) in order to co-labor with Him in the building process. ( 1 Cor. 3:9; top )

God’s work in our midst will continue when we cease trying to be lords over our own little flocks. There has never been among the people of Christ a shortage of men like Diotrephes whose personal ambitions are more important than the spiritual needs of the people ( 3 Jn. 9 ) nor of busybodies with nothing better to do with their own lives than to try to run the lives of other people. ( 2 Ths. 3:11 ) Long ago, men rose up to draw followers after themselves ( Acts 20:30 ) and even though instruction was given to not be lords over the flock ( 1 Pet. 5:3; top ), men used that very passage to justify the clergy class who routinely lord over the flock! (See the Greek word kleros [2819] from which “church” fathers like Tertullian derived the term “clergy.”)

How do we safeguard any real work God is doing among us? First and foremost, we need to regain the idea of being in one accord and of practicing unanimity. This was the “method” practiced by the first believers ( Acts 2:46 , etc.; top) and it is the primary safeguard God gave us to keep all the little petty Diotrephes from taking the preeminence, to keep all the nosy, petty, tyrannical busybodies from fashioning the assembly after their own likeness, and to keep individuals from being forced to conform to any likeness but the likeness that Christ is instilling in that individual believer. Unanimity, by itself, cures a vast number of “church” ills all at once.

We find this notion of unanimity confirmed when Paul writes, “…being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond peace.” ( Eph. 4:3 ) The use of the word “unity” is perhaps an unfortunate word choice. The Greek word is henotes [1775] and is defined by Strongs as “oneness or unanimity.” A.T. Robertson, one of the most respected Greek scholars to date because he almost never let his “theology” define the Greek but rather allowed the Greek to define and even alter his “theology”), writes, “Late and rare word (from heis, one), in Aristotle and Plutarch, though in N.T. only here and verse 13 .” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV on Eph. 4:3; top )

Kenneth Wuest, another respectable Greek scholar, writes, “‘Unity’ is henotes, ‘unanimity, agreement.’ It is the unanimity or agreement among Christians that is the product of the Holy Spirit. Wuest then renders the passage as “…doing your best to safeguard the unanimity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol. 1 on Eph. 4:3; top )

It would seem to be a strategy of the Spirit of truth, who inspired the words of the New Testament ( 2 Tim. 3:16 ), to embed rare and unusual words in one or two places as “time capsules” wherein a very precise insight is held until the day when that illumination goes forth among men. At such a time when a new treasure is brought forth from the storehouse ( Mt. 13:52; top ), men will say things like, “See! It was written here all along!” Henotes, unanimity, is just such a “buried” but precise insight.

The spiritually aware disciple of Christ looks at Christ’s prayer for the oneness of the body of Christ ( Jn. 17:20-23 ) and, if he is unaware of the counterfeit nature of the “church,” wonders in bewildered, almost overwhelmed puzzlement at all the disunity that abounds among those who claim to follow Christ. Unanimity, unity, one accord-ness – all these are specially targeted characteristics. The demonic long ago enacted schemes among men – chief among them being the elevation of men into the place of headship that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ alone, the Nicolaitan “bishop” who arose from the ranks of the elders using a corrupted version of the true gospel so as to draw followers after themselves. ( Acts 20:30 , Rev. 2:6 , 15 , Eph. 1:22 , etc.) – so that these characteristics would be impeded, stifled, squelched, quenched and even eradicated from among the followers of Christ. The demonic’s strategies have been very successful to date. When the angels come to remove the devil’s children from the midst of the sons of the kingdom, this scenario will change and “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” ( Mt. 13:38 , 41-43; top ) One of the primary colors that will shine the brightest will be our unity and unanimity.

The critics of this idea (and they are many, especially in the ranks of the apostate “church”) scoff at the possibility that all Christians all over the world could possibly think the same things. There are two aspects to consider to answer this objection. First, all Christians all over the world don’t have to think exactly the same thing on all matters. Scholars of the Bible focus so intently on the global and trans-temporal nature of the gospel (that is, that faith is available to all men in all places at all times) that they forget that the Spirit works first and foremost in the local ekklesia, His people called out of the darkness of this world to attend to the affairs of Christ’s kingdom of light in their own particular place of existence and abode. ( Col. 1:13 , etc.) In practical terms, especially in this day of rampant division and lawlessness (most doing only what is right in their own eyes), the ekklesia can only be considered to be those whose “prime directive” in life is the will of God ( 2 Cor. 5:15 , etc.; top) Unanimity among such as these can be readily achieved on a local basis once they have purged all elements of the “church” paradigm from their thinking – a Herculean task in itself!

Second, it is not humanly possible to attain to unanimity. This is why unanimity or oneness is a primary proof of the active presence of God in our midst. But we must understand also that the unity of the Spirit is just that – the likemindedness that comes from spiritually and obediently coming into union with the mind of Christ. It is not the unity that is generated by finding an ear-scratching leader who gathers likeminded followers after himself or his sect (denomination) and away from the Spirit of truth. Thus the unity of the Spirit is to be maintained, kept and safeguared whereas the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Christ (the same word, henotes, is linked to both elements of the list – Eph. 4:13; top ) is to be attained to as one progresses onward and upward in spiritual maturity.

Unanimity must be and will be regained – even though it will first require the removal of all the false, second heads over the body (the “pastors” and all the other Nicolaitan elitists and self-appointed “superior” specimens of “spirituality” under whatever title they’ve taken upon themselves) by the angels. ( Mt. 13:41 ) Those who intend to, by God’s grace (power and mercy), be counted among the righteous who shine like the sun in the Father’s kingdom should take care now that the opinions they hold to so dearly are indeed truth and light and not merely the traditions of men or the teachings of demons. ( Mk. 7:13 , 1 Tim. 4:1 ) Truth and light will serve us well in our pilgrimage to find the path that leads to life everlasting whereas the traditions of men and the teachings of demons will darken our understanding and blind our eyes and perhaps even cause us to place our feet back on the path that leads the many to destruction. ( Mt. 7:13-14 , 21-23; top )

Let he who has ears hear.

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