If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:19-20)
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name," Jesus says, "I am in the midst of them." The power of the church does not lie in the numbers that it can gather together. What a mistaken idea it is, that if we can get enough people together, we shall have enough power to correct the things that are wrong in the world and set them right again. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor is the power of the church the status which it occupies in a community. The power of the church does not rest in its numbers, its status, its wealth, its money, its position.
The power of the Church of Jesus Christ is stated clearly. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."
Rejoice in this! Jesus Christ lives and moves in our midst. We belong to him and his life is expressed through us. It is only through him that prayer makes its glorious impact.
It is only through his presence that prayer has world changing power, meaning and value.
It is only in the power of Jesus always present, that the humble church shares in "all the power in heaven and on earth" Jesus received at his exultation!
But don’t forget that diversity is as visible in the church as it is in society.
It requires all the humility Christ can give us through his Spirit, to pursue the dream of "One Jesus, and therefore we are united in one Church!"
The Bible teaches that we must pray, serve and love as one in his church, because we follow one Jesus. He is the Head of the Christian Church which is a single, universal Body with one purpose.
According to Acts 1: 14 – 15, the Christian Church was established when all the believers were together in one place and prayed in one accord. The result was that our Lord sent the Holy Spirit to fill the church and let the Spirit take charge of it. (Acts 2:1-4). This church was so strong in the power of the risen Christ, that they in one generation claimed the entire known ancient world for Jesus. (Acts 17:6).
Therefore we must always be careful that Jesus’ personal influence on us and as such on his church and work, never becomes less as a result of personal, denominational or cultural causes and passions, becoming more important than Christ.
It is Christ’s will to respond to our coming together as his one, holy Bride, by giving us spiritual growth, stronger faith, hope, love, inspiration and a sense of calling and obedience when we as his Body only focus on following Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit and agree in prayer as people who know that Jesus is present amongst them.
Real unity can only exist in the church, when we humbly focus on our Saviour alone. Then we can live up to a slogan that says: one Jesus, one Church! The purpose of unity is to effectively serve Christ and his work.
The Christian church began by being in one accord, in prayer. They experienced the fullness of the Spirit and as a result experienced a unity of love to the extent that many came to receive our Lord, because they were convinced by this unity in Christ that Jesus really is alive and is the almighty leader of his people that lives and reigns in his church. (Acts 2:4, 44-47; 4:23-37)
When we become more concerned about ourselves and our preferences than about the Body in which we find love, mercy and salvation, there will be a decline in our spiritual growth and passion for the Lord. Only a congregation that follows Jesus as one, can ever experience unity and in this unity live by the power of the risen Christ Jesus.
What does God require of us in order to be more like the first church?
We must be passionate in our pursuit for the honour and will of our Lord. We must give Jesus pre-eminence in all things. We must demonstrate our love for Jesus with humble, sacrificial lives of obedience, serving him only, because we are to do his work as one, in prayer. This is Christ’s purpose and intention for us!
When we unite in prayer and worship and in the experience of the powerful leadership of Jesus our King and our Head in everything we do, we can move ahead as his united Church, with the sole purpose to follow, love and obey God in Jesus Christ.