5. The Factor of the Genuine One Accord
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Scripture Reading: Acts 1:14; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25; Rom. 15:6

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

Acts 4:24      And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Acts 5:12      And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders took place among the people; and they were all with one accord in the portico of Solomon.

Acts 15:25    It seemed good to us, having become of one accord, to choose men to send to you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

Rom. 15:6     That with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

I.     The genuine one accord in the church is the practice of the oneness of the Body, which is the oneness of the Spirit—Eph. 4:3-6:

Eph. 4:3        Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace:

Eph. 4:4        One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5        One Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Eph. 4:6        One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A.     From Ephesians 4:4-6 we can see that our practice of the oneness is based upon the attribute of the oneness of the church: one Spirit, one Lord, one God, one Body, one faith, one baptism, and one hope.

Eph. 4:4        One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5        One Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Eph. 4:6        One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

B.     The practice of the genuine one accord in the church is the application of the oneness—Acts 1:14; 2:46.

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

C.     The practice of the oneness is with the one accord; when the oneness is practiced, it becomes the one accord—15:25:

Acts 15:25    It seemed good to us, having become of one accord, to choose men to send to you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

1. In John the Lord emphasized oneness, but in Acts the one accord is emphasized—John 10:30; 17:11, 21-23; Acts 1:14; 2:46; 4:24; 15:25.

John 10:30    I and the Father are one.

John 17:11    And I am no longer in the world; yet they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given to Me, that they may be one even as We are.

John 17:21    That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.

John 17:22    And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one;

John 17:23    I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

Acts 4:24      And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Acts 15:25    It seemed good to us, having become of one accord, to choose men to send to you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

2. The landmark that divides the Gospels and the Acts is the one accord among the one hundred and twenty—1:14:

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

a. They had become one in the Body, and in that oneness they continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer—Eph. 4:3-6; Acts 1:14.

Eph. 4:3        Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace:

Eph. 4:4        One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5        One Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Eph. 4:6        One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

b. When the apostles and the believers practiced the church life, they practiced it in one accord—2:46; 4:24; 5:12.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

Acts 4:24      And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Acts 5:12      And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders took place among the people; and they were all with one accord in the portico of Solomon.

D.     The one accord is the heart, the kernel, the nucleus, of the oneness—Eph. 4:3; Acts 4:24; Rom. 15:6:

Eph. 4:3        Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace:

Acts 4:24      And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Rom. 15:6     That with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Oneness is like the physical body, and one accord is like the heart within the body.

2. Our spiritual sickness is like a sickness in the heart within the body; the sickness among us is that we do not have the one accord adequately, and thus we maintain oneness with a sick “heart.”

II.   The one accord refers to the harmony in our inner being, in our mind and will—Acts 1:14:

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

A.     In Acts 1:14 the Greek word homothumadon is used to signify the one accord:

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

1. The word comes from homo, “same,” and thumos, “mind, will, purpose (soul, heart)” and denotes a harmony of inward feeling in one’s entire being.

2. We should be in the same mind and the same will with the same purpose around and within our soul and heart; this means that our entire being is involved.

B.     In Matthew 18:19 the Greek word sumphoneo is used to signify the one accord:

Matt. 18:19   Again, truly I say to you that if two of you are in harmony on earth concerning any matter for which they ask, it will be done for them from My Father who is in the heavens.

1. The word means “to be in harmony, or accord” and refers to the harmonious sound of musical instruments or voices.

2. The one accord, or the harmony of inward feeling among the believers, is like a harmonious melody.

3. When we have the one accord, we become a melody to God; we become a poem not merely in writing but in sound, in voice, in melody.

III.  The holding factor of the one accord is the apostles’ teaching—Acts 2:42, 46:

Acts 2:42      And they continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

A.     The practice of the oneness—the one accord—is according to the apostles’ teaching—v. 42.

Acts 2:42      And they continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.

B.     Acts tells us that there was one accord among the believers and that all those who were in one accord continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.

C.     The apostles taught the same thing to all the saints in all the places and in all the churches—1 Cor. 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33b-34:

1 Cor. 4:17    Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church.

1 Cor. 7:17    However as the Lord has apportioned to each one, as God has called each one, so let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.

1 Cor. 11:16  But if anyone seems to be contentious, we do not have such a custom of being so, neither the churches of God.

1 Cor. 14:33b As in all the churches of the saints,

1 Cor. 14:34  The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they should be subject, even as the law also says.

1. We must also teach the same thing in all the churches in every country throughout the earth—Matt. 28:19-20.

Matt. 28:19   Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matt. 28:20   Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.

2. There is no thought in the New Testament that a teaching is good for one church but not for the other churches; rather, the New Testament reveals that all the churches were the same in receiving the teachings—Titus 1:9.

Titus 1:9        Holding to the faithful word, which is according to the teaching of the apostles, that he may be able both to exhort by the healthy teaching and to convict those who oppose.

IV.  When we practice the one accord, we must learn to be in one spirit with one soul—Phil. 1:27:

Phil. 1:27      Only, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, that whether coming and seeing you or being absent, I may hear of the things concerning you, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving together along with the faith of the gospel,

A.     We need to turn to our spirit and then enter into our soul with one spirit that we may be in one accord—2:2, 5; 4:2.

Phil. 2:2        Make my joy full, that you think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking the one thing,

Phil. 2:5        Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,

Phil. 4:2        I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same thing in the Lord.

B.     If we would have the factor of genuine one accord, we need to “be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion”—1 Cor. 1:10; 7:25, 40:

1 Cor. 1:10    Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.

1 Cor. 7:25    Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who has been shown mercy by the Lord to be faithful.

1 Cor. 7:40    But she is more blessed if she so remains, according to my opinion; but I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

1. The problem in the local church life that keeps us from realizing the one accord is our opinion—Matt. 16:22-25; Phil. 2:2; 4:2.

Matt. 16:22   And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, God be merciful to You, Lord! This shall by no means happen to You!

Matt. 16:23   But He turned and said to Peter, Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.

Matt. 16:24   Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

Matt. 16:25   For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it.

Phil. 2:2        Make my joy full, that you think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking the one thing,

Phil. 4:2        I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same thing in the Lord.

2. In the Lord’s work, in the church life, and in the spiritual life, the greatest damaging factor is our opinion—1 Cor. 1:10-13a.

1 Cor. 1:10    Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.

1 Cor. 1:11    For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of the household of Chloe, that there are strifes among you.

1 Cor. 1:12    Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.

1 Cor. 1:13    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?

3. Opinions are a sign of darkness (John 11:9-10); whenever we express an opinion that is contrary to the Lord’s will, that opinion signifies that we are walking in darkness.

John 11:9      Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

John 11:10    But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.

4. The Lord never acts on the basis of anyone’s opinion; He always acts according to His own will, and He will never be moved according to our opinion, including a prayer according to our opinion—1 John 5:14-15.

1 John 5:14   And this is the boldness which we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

1 John 5:15   And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

C.     To be in one accord is to be one in our whole being, and this results in our being one in our outward speaking—Rom. 15:5-6:

Rom. 15:5     Now the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind toward one another according to Christ Jesus,

Rom. 15:6     That with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. To have one mind and one mouth means that we have only one Head—Christ—because only the Head has a mind and a mouth; we should think with the mind of Christ and speak with the mouth of the Head—Col. 1:18a; Phil. 2:2, 5; 4:2.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Phil. 2:2        Make my joy full, that you think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking the one thing,

Phil. 2:5        Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,

Phil. 4:2        I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same thing in the Lord.

2. Whenever we are in one accord, we speak the same thing; we speak with one mouth.

3. The only way to be with one accord and one mouth is to allow Christ the room to be everything in our heart and in our mouth that God may be glorified—Eph. 3:17a, 21.

Eph. 3:17      That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

Eph. 3:21      To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.

V.   The one accord is the master key to every blessing in the New Testament—Acts 1:14; Eph. 1:3; Rom. 15:29:

Acts 1:14      These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Eph. 1:3        Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ,

Rom. 15:29   And I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

A.     We need to treasure God’s blessing and realize that in the church life everything depends on God’s blessing—Eph. 1:3.

Eph. 1:3        Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ,

B.     We all want to see the churches receive God’s commanded blessing—Psa. 133:3.

Psa. 133:3     Like the dew of Hermon / That came down upon the mountains of Zion. / For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: / Life forever.

 C.   In our practice of the church life, we need to know the way for the church to be under “the fullness of the blessing of Christ”—Rom. 15:29:

Rom. 15:29   And I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

1. It is crucial for us to realize that God’s blessing can come only upon a situation of one accord, for God will bless only the one accord—Acts 2:46.

Acts 2:46      And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart,

2. In order to receive God’s blessing, we must practice the oneness, and the way to practice the oneness is by the one accord—4:24; 15:25; Rom. 15:6.

Acts 4:24      And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Acts 15:25    It seemed good to us, having become of one accord, to choose men to send to you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

Rom. 15:6     That with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Excerpts from the Ministry:

 

THE PRACTICE OF ONENESS

The One Accord, Having the Same Mind, Speaking the Same Things

Now we will consider the practice of oneness. Oneness is practiced through the one accord. The Lord Jesus taught the disciples in Matthew 18:19, saying, “If two of you are in harmony on earth concerning any matter for which they ask, it will be done for them from My Father who is in the heavens.” The word harmony here, in the original language, means to be in a musical harmony; this is the practice of oneness. By the time of Acts 1, there were one hundred twenty people praying steadfastly in one accord (vv. 14-15a). All of them had one mind, which was to receive power from on high and to testify of the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord, whom they loved and followed. For this they were in one mind and were thus in one accord.

In the Epistles, through the conditions manifested in the various local churches, the Lord shows us further what the one accord is. First Corinthians 1:10 says that we have to speak the same thing and to be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion. How can we speak the same thing and have the same mind and the same opinion? The whole book of 1 Corinthians shows us that this same speaking is Christ, and the same mind and same opinion are also Christ. In our daily life, if we take Christ as our center and everything, what we speak, think, and understand will all be Christ. This is the one accord, which is the practice of oneness. Some among the Corinthian believers said they were of Paul. Others said they were of Apollos. Still others said that they were of Cephas. Then some were smart enough to say that they were of Christ. They were of four things. In other words, there were four minds and four speakings with four results, which end in division. The oneness is gone, the Body of Christ is lost, and the building is no more. Hence, 1 Corinthians 1:10 deals with this matter so that we would be captured by the Lord and that there would no longer be Paul or Apollos or Cephas but only Christ. Everyone would be thinking about Christ and speaking about Christ, having Christ as his view, Christ as his way of speaking, and Christ as his opinion and judgment. Everything would be Christ. This Christ has become the life-giving Spirit in His resurrection (15:45b) and has become our enjoyment within. The practice of our oneness depends on Him. When we speak Him, consider Him, enjoy Him, and express Him, we will be harmonious and one.

Thinking the Same and Having the Same Love

Furthermore, Philippians 2:2 says, “Think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking the one thing.” What is it to think the same thing? And what is it to think the one thing? After reading through the whole book of Philippians, and especially after reading through chapter 3, we can see that this refers to the subjective knowledge and experience of Christ. Only Christ is the centrality and universality of our whole being. Everything else makes our mind different and causes disunity. For this reason we should focus our thoughts on the precious knowledge and experience of Christ. Furthermore, we need to have the same love. Our love toward the saints should not be classified into categories. Otherwise, our love will create problems, and there will be no way to have the genuine one accord.

The Basis, Means, and Indication of the Practice of the Oneness

From Ephesians 4:4-6 we can see that our practice of oneness is based upon the attribute of the oneness of the church: one Spirit, one Lord, one God, one Body, one faith, one baptism, and one hope. By this we can see that oneness is the attribute of the church. Based upon this attribute of the oneness of the church, we can be in one accord and can practice the oneness. Moreover, the practice of this oneness is according to the apostles’ teaching (1 Cor. 4:17b; 7:17b; 11:16; 14:34a). The apostles taught the same thing to all the saints in all the places and in all the churches. At the same time, the practice of this oneness is also according to the same speaking of the Spirit to the churches (Rev. 2:7a, 11a, 17a, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). The seven epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are words spoken to all the churches. He who has an ear, let him hear. Each epistle was written to all the churches. All the churches have the same Bible, and everyone is practicing oneness according to the same speaking. Finally, the practice of oneness indicates that the seven churches as the seven lampstands are completely identical (1:20). The churches are God’s golden lampstands. Although they are distinct and self-contained, they are completely identical in nature, shape, function, and expression.

PRACTICING THE ONENESS TO BRING IN GOD’S BLESSING

All who are sitting here today are elders and co-workers. We must be in one accord to maintain the oneness Christ seeks. Since we are bearing the responsibility of the church, we should see the way for the church to receive grace and blessing. We must all realize that the blessing and grace of God can come only upon a situation of one accord. This situation is the practice of oneness. In the Old Testament, Psalm 133 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is / For brothers to dwell in unity! / It is like the fine oil upon the head / That ran down upon the beard, / Upon Aaron’s beard, / That ran down upon the hem of his garments; / Like the dew of Hermon / That came down upon the mountains of Zion. / For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: / Life forever.” God will only grace and bless the one accord, that is, the practice of oneness.

Finally, I would say that if we only listen to these words without practicing them, they are but doctrines. The practice of oneness touches our mind, our love, and our speaking. Unconsciously, we have all violated the practice of oneness. Many times our mind is like an unreined wild horse, free from any restraint. Our love is not regulated. Our words are light and loose. All of these damage the oneness of the believers and are factors for losing the Lord’s blessing. Today we are all living in the church and the Lord’s Body. We are also bearing the testimony for the Lord’s recovery. But it is very easy for our mind to be distracted and for our love to become unhealthy. Perhaps we do not speak evil words of reviling, but our speaking may be loose, and our opinions may be plentiful. Spontaneously, we bring many problems to the church and spread division among the saints.

Hence, we have to be on the alert. If we would first consider and think a little before we speak and would ask if it is Christ or not, there would be no problem. If we love the saints, we should ask ourselves if our love has different classes, degrees, or depths, and we should be adjusted by the Lord accordingly. The same is true with our speaking. We should speak only if our speaking is Christ; otherwise, we should not speak. I have a heavy burden within me. We all want the church here to receive grace and blessing. But do not forget Psalm 133. The commanded blessing of the Lord, which is life forever, is upon the brethren dwelling together in oneness. It is like the ointment that flows through the whole body and like the dew that descends on Zion. Now we have seen that the oneness of the believers prayed for by the Lord is neither a oneness like the world speaks of nor a oneness according to what we formerly understood. Rather, it is a perfected oneness by all of us being in the Father’s name and life, in His word of reality, and in His divinely expressed glory. Only by this is there the blessing of God. Of course, we should labor and work for the Lord, but if our situation is not in oneness and if we do not practice the one accord, I am afraid that our result will not be abundant. Therefore, in order for us to receive God’s blessing, we must practice the oneness, and the way to practice the oneness is by the one accord. (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1990, vol. 2, “The Oneness and the One Accord according to the Lord’s Aspiration and the Body Life and Service according to His Pleasure,” pp. 73-76)

THE ONE ACCORD BEING THE PRACTICE OF THE ONENESS

In this series of messages I have put the genuine oneness first and the proper one accord second. Strictly speaking, the genuine oneness is not of the church but of the Body; it is the Body’s own organic oneness. In Ephesians 4:4, after telling us to keep the oneness of the Spirit, Paul does not say, “One church and one Spirit”; rather, he says, “One Body and one Spirit.” The church may be plural as the churches in different localities, but the Body could never be plural. Whether it is viewed locally or universally, the Body is one. In contrast, the church is universally one but locally many.

In the Body we need oneness; in the churches and among the churches, we need the one accord. The one accord is for our practice; the oneness is primarily for the actuality, for the fact. In John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for such a fact, and on the day of Pentecost, by pouring out Himself as the consummated Spirit, He accomplished His prayer. That was the actuality of the oneness. After the accomplishment of the actuality of the oneness, there is the need for the practice of the oneness. When the oneness is practiced, it becomes the one accord. The one accord is the practice of the oneness.

If we have only the oneness as an actuality and do not have the present, practical one accord, the oneness that we have will be objective and abstract; it will not be real to us. If we would apply the oneness accomplished by the outpouring of the Spirit, we must practice the one accord. If among us there is no one accord, how could we say that there is oneness? If in a prayer meeting we each pray in our own way, without any accord among us, how could we say that we are practicing the oneness? As long as we have differences existing among us, the oneness is not applied. We must have the one accord to swallow up all the differences; then oneness will be present.

The practice of the proper one accord in the church is the application of the oneness. Although oneness and one accord seem to be synonymous, there is a difference between them. The Lord did not teach us concerning oneness. In John 17 He prayed for oneness, but in Matthew 18 He led us to practice the one accord. In Matthew 18:19 the Lord spoke of two praying together on earth in harmony, in one accord. That was His leading, His training, and His directing us to pray in one accord. As a test of whether we are practicing the oneness or not, we may check to see whether there is one accord in our prayer meeting. When certain ones pray, we may shake our head as an indication of our displeasure, and when others pray, we may nod our head as an expression of our agreement. Such a shaking and nodding of our head is strong evidence that we do not practice oneness, because we do not have the one accord.

To say Amen in response to others’ prayer is a practice taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians. In 14:16 Paul says that we need to pray in such a way that others can say Amen. If there are no Amens to indicate our one accord, we should not expect that our prayer will be heard.

If only two on earth pray in one accord, their prayer will be answered. The one accord is the practice, the application, of the oneness, and the oneness is the basis on which we practice the one accord. This is very meaningful.

In a church meeting there may be people of different races and colors. Our one accord could never be based on the different races and colors. We practice one accord based on the fact that we all have a common life. We may be different in race and in the color of our skin, but when we come together to pray, we must forget about the different races and colors. We do have a base for our oneness; thus, we can practice the one accord.

Not only so, if we do not have the same understanding, the same intention, the same purpose, the same goal, it will be impossible to pray together in one accord. There will be no base for such prayer. If we each have our own opinion, our own intention, and our own goal, there will be no base on which we can pray in one accord. But when we who are saved and who love the Lord and mean business for the Lord’s purpose come together, we surely have the base to pray in one accord.

In John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for the oneness of His believers. That oneness was only in His aspiration. A little more than fifty days later, on the day of Pentecost, the oneness in the Lord’s aspiration was accomplished. The oneness in the Lord’s aspiration became the oneness in actuality. This oneness is called “the oneness of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3), the Spirit here being the consummated Spirit, the all-inclusive Spirit, as the consummation of the entire Triune God. We, the saved ones, possess this oneness as our heritage. We possess this oneness, we enjoy it, and we apply it. To apply this oneness is to keep it, and to keep it is to practice one accord.

If in our Christian life and our church life we do not practice one accord, we conduct ourselves as if we are unlearned people who do not know that there is such a thing as the oneness of the Spirit. Suppose you have one billion dollars in your checking account. If you never write checks, it will seem as if you do not have a checking account at all or that your account has a zero balance. Your writing of checks is the practice of your realization that there is one billion dollars in your checking account. The one billion dollars in your checking account is your possession. We may liken the oneness of the Spirit to a one billion dollar deposit in our heavenly bank account. Therefore, every day and in every meeting we need to “write checks”; that is, we need to exercise to apply the oneness of the Spirit to the present situation.

The oneness that we possess in all the churches is not merely the oneness in the Lord’s aspiration and prayer. The oneness in John 17 may be likened to a promissory note. We do not have merely a promissory note; we possess a real bank deposit, for the promised “cash” has actually been “deposited into the bank” and has become our possession. We may consider this possession as our inheritance. The oneness that we have is the accomplished oneness, the oneness of the Spirit. We all have the Spirit in our “bank account,” that is, in our spirit (Rom. 8:9, 16). This Spirit who is in our spirit is the equivalent of the oneness. We have the oneness as a deposit in our account, but we may not write “checks of oneness,” because we may not remain in the spirit. Instead, we may remain in our mind. When a certain brother prays, we may be in our mind discerning whether that brother’s prayer is genuine or whether there is hidden intention in his prayer. Thus, we may not say Amen to his prayer. In such a situation there is no practice of oneness. The one accord actually is the using of the oneness, which is the using of our possession. We all need to realize and to learn that not to be one with the saints, not to have one accord with others in the church, is serious. This indicates that the oneness is not applied.

To keep the oneness, to apply the oneness, to use the oneness, to enjoy the oneness, to spend the oneness, we need to practice the one accord. However, we should practice the one accord not only among the saints in our particular locality; we must practice the one accord among all the churches universally. During the past two and a half years, the teaching of the absolute autonomy of the local churches was promoted among us. This teaching was based mainly on the book The Churches of God by G. H. Lang. This kind of teaching encourages and even promotes differences among the churches. It is serious to say that all the churches should be different. We are not for uniformity among the churches, but we are for oneness.

Uniformity and oneness are not the same thing. In a family there may be a grandfather and a grandmother who are over eighty years of age, a father and a mother who are about fifty years of age, and a number of children ranging from eighteen down to four years of age. They all are different in age, different in the degree of maturity. In such a family it would be impossible to make all the members uniformly the same age. However, although the members of a family can never be the same age, they can still be one. Likewise, in the church we do not practice uniformity, because in the household of God, a large household, there are many degrees of maturity among the children. To eliminate the degrees of maturity would be absolutely wrong and would be impossible. However, this does not mean that we do not need oneness. In the practicality of the church life, as in the family life, there is the need of oneness, but in the degree of the growth in life, it is impossible to have uniformity. To make all the children the same in the growth in life is not to practice oneness; it is to practice uniformity. To have a clear vision of the proper one accord as the practice of the genuine oneness also is a part of the scriptural remedy for the intrinsic problem in the present rebellion among us. (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1989, vol. 4, “Elders’ Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (2),” pp. 371-374)

 
 
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