Summary: Many congregations, as they worship, experience union but not unity. They lack a spirit of oneness. What does it take to experience unity in worship?
“More Words on Worship: Focus!”
Six people were marooned on a desert island. Two were Jewish, two were Catholic, and two were of Reformed background. The two Jews founded “Temple Immanuel.” The two Catholics organized “The Church of the Holy Name.” The two Reformers built 1st Reformed and 2nd Reformed Church. Unity in anything is hard to describe. But what Roger Williams said back in the 1600’s is accurate: “We find not in the Gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.” That sounds great, but how does unity come about? As someone wisely pointed out, you can take a dog and a cat, tie their tails together and hang them over a clothes line; you would have union but not unity! Unfortunately many congregations, as they worship, experience union but not unity. The people are together because they need to be together, but they do not have a spirit of oneness. What does it take to experience unity in worship? From the words of Jesus we learn that UNITY IN WORSHIP OCCURS WHEN WORSHIPERS SHARE A COMMON FOCUS IN JESUS CHRIST. So let’s take a look at His words.
The first thing we discover is that WE ARE TO WORSHIP IN CHRIST. Jesus sat by Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman came to get water 7-9). “Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’…The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” It was a double scandal in the milieu of that day – a man speaking to a woman in public, and a Galilean speaking to a Samaritan. Galileans and Samaritans were bitter enemies and avoided each other like the plague. Yet Jesus talked to this woman longer than he often talked to any of the disciples, any of the accusers, or anyone else in His family. And Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
WORSHIP IS NO LONGER AN ISSUE OF PEDIGREE BUT UNITY. Worship is not a matter of heritage, background, denomination, or race. Worship is not about that which makes us different, but that which unites us. It’s not about reputations or character or degrees of sinfulness or holiness, but about the Sinless Holy One. It’s not about our past life, but about our present and future lives. Worship is about encountering life in Jesus Christ.
WE COME TO ENCOUNTER JESUS. In the book, The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer gives this interesting illustration: "Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship." (1)