Resources for Discussion Class Hour on January 10, 2018

Resources for Discussion Class Hour on January 10, 2018

Sermon Title: Living in Unity and Peace

Text: Psalm 133:1-3

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Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)

David uses two analogies to describe why unity among brothers is both good and pleasant: (1) The anointing oil of the high priests; (2) The dew of Mount Hermon. He tells us that unity “is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard.” The word rendered “precious” here is actually “good.” This good ointment is a reminder of the scented oil used in anointing the high priests, represented by Aaron, the first high priest. This anointing, which followed a ritual bath, set Aaron apart as high priest. There is reason to believe from the anointing of David with oil and the immediate coming of the Holy Spirit upon him (1 Samuel 16:13), that the oil represented the blessing and presence of God’s Spirit. This represents God’s  blessings flowing down Aaron’s beard and “running down on the edge of his garments.” Thus the unity of the brothers brings God’s blessings. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity (Eph 4:3). It is the Spirit who makes us one, breaking down the walls that stand between us, as He brings about God’s new creation in us and anoints us with Himself (2 Cor 1:21-22).

In verse 3, unity is like the “dew of Hermon,” the dew that descends “upon the mountains of Zion.” Since Hermon is a high peak in Syria, its dew is heavy, and it is this heavy dew that also falls upon the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, situated on Mount Zion. Since the dew originates from heaven, it is an analogy for the blessing of God that creates unity. David tells us the blessing is upon Mt. Zion. Speaking of Mt. Zion, which represents Jerusalem, David says, “For there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” For Christians today, as citizens of spiritual Jerusalem, we are the beneficiaries of these blessing promised to those who dwell together in unity.

Our unity comes from the Spirit of God flowing over us like that sweet ointment that was poured over Aaron. It brings the heavenly refreshing upon us, bringing God’s blessing of life—eternal life. It is only God’s Spirit and His promise of eternal life that will break down the separation in our hearts, taking away our selfishness, making us one in the Lord. It is only through being one in Spirit that we can be the fulfillment of the ideal David described.

This sermon helps us reflect on the need for true unity—both in purpose and heart—in order to fulfill the theme for the Hoover Church of Christ in 2018. We show our love of God by demonstrating through our actions our love for people. When we live this brotherly love out in our lives, we can collectively make changes in the piece of the world we come into contact with.

How do I live out the implications of this text/sermon? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)

  1. In John 17:21 Jesus prayed, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” What does that mean? How do we live it?
  2. Unity doesn’t mean total agreement on everything, so how do churches maintain unity even when there are differences of opinion?
  3. When Christians demonstrate disunity and discord, what message does this send to the world?
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. What does this teach us about the importance of unity?
  5. In light of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” how should we see ourselves as members of the local congregation?
  6. The early church faced challenges to its unity: disagreement over how the widows were being cared for (Acts 6) and then an ongoing struggle with how the church could welcome both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15—the “Jerusalem Conference,” a discussion about circumcision). How did the early Christians maintain unity in the face of these difficulties?
  7. How does unity relate to our calling to share Christ with the world?

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