|Advancing the Kingdom - We Need Each other - Che Ahn|
"Advancing the Kingdom -
We Need Each Other"
by Che Ahn, Pasadena, CA
As many of you know, I recently had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis in Rome, along with a group of about 50 other Charismatic Christian leaders, including Kris Vallotton, Stacey Campbell and Mike Bickle. It was a truly surreal experience for me to meet this major world figure in such an intimate setting. Beyond that, it was a powerful demonstration of unity. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we gathered together to honor one another and dialogue on faith in Jesus.
I believe that unity between all authentic Believers in Jesus is key to seeing the Kingdom of God advance on this earth. And after all, isn't that what all authentic Believers in Christ desire? In the Lord's prayer, proclaimed by Christians in churches all over the world, we pray, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Jesus Himself taught us to desire the Kingdom on earth, and gave us the keys to seeing that desire become reality.
What Did Jesus Teach About Unity?
In Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John, Jesus unveils His longest recorded prayer in the Gospels and His last teaching recorded before He was arrested. Jesus knows this will be His last opportunity to speak at length to His disciples before they watch Him being crucified, and what does He pray for? Unity.
"Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are One." John 17:11
And again, He prays:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." John 17:20-21
Jesus was deeply concerned that His disciples remained unified after He was crucified, resurrected, and left this earth. According to these prayers, our relationships to one another are modeled in the relationship between the Father and the Son. Jesus desired that His followers would exist together in unity, love, and harmony in the same manner that He fellowships with the Father.
We know that the Father values unity, but how does our being unified affect the world around us?
What is the Fruit of Unity?
1. Unity Testifies to Jesus
Unity testifies to the fact that Jesus is Lord, and that we are His followers. In John 17, Jesus says:
"I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one, as We are One-I in them and You in Me-so that they be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me." John 17:22-23
Unity in the Body is proof that Jesus has been sent by God and that God loves the world. It is a supernatural bond of love, produced only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In John 13, Jesus gave His disciples a new command:
"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34
The love we have for one another is proof that we are followers of Jesus. Without love for one another, we cannot claim to love God (1 John 4:20).
2. Unity Precedes Revival
I wholeheartedly agree with the great revivalist Charles Finney, who said that if we want to see revival we must have unity, along with extraordinary prayer.
The Book of Acts gives us a powerful example of unity paired with prayer that resulted in an outpouring of the Spirit that continues to impact us today. On the day of Pentecost, many Believers gathered together in the upper room to pray, and, as we know, the result was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But it is important to note what happened before the day of Pentecost.
In 1 Corinthians 15:6, the apostle Paul states that Jesus appeared to over 500 of the brethren at one time after His resurrection. In Acts 1, Jesus appeared to His disciples, commanding them, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about" (Acts 1:4). The disciples obeyed and were joined by the women, His mother Mary, family members and others, totaling about 120 people. It is highly likely that some of these 120 were from the 500 brethren to whom Jesus had appeared earlier. These were the ones who decided to pay the price, gathering in prayer and waiting.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on a room that was unified, with the disciples in one accord and in one place. They had obeyed the command of Jesus in Acts 1, praying together in unity day after day (Acts 1:14). God saw their obedience to His Son, their hunger for the Spirit, and their unity with each other. And His glory descended on them, blessing them by filling them all with the Spirit.
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Acts 2:1-4
I believe that we have invested in the principle of unity in this past season of contending for revival in Los Angeles. An example of this was at this year's Revival Alliance Conference. Todd White invited a Catholic priest on stage and everyone at the conference was able to pray a blessing over him. And, this priest was able to pray a heartfelt blessing over all the attendees of the conference!
The act brought great breakthrough to the atmosphere, and the Holy Spirit moved in a powerful way for many. Reconciliation and forgiveness opens doors to allow the Lord to move in people's hearts.
Committed to Unity
Another powerful example of unity and reconciliation in the Body of Christ recently took place at AzusaNow. My covenant brother, Lou Engle of TheCall, had a vision for a massive gathering of Believers that would transcend denominational lines and intercede for our nation. Lou has prayed and proclaimed many times, "We must fly united. Only a unified Church can heal a divided nation." On April 9th of this year, tens of thousands of Believers came together at the Los Angeles Coliseum to intercede and worship in unity.
At AzusaNow, there were many acts of reconciliation, forgiveness, and humility between brothers and sisters in Christ that brought a tremendous amount of healing and restoration that I believe will have lasting impact on the Church. Believers in Christ contended together for the promises of God for our nation and the nations of the world.
Hebrews 10:25 says, "Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
We must commit to continue to gather and pray together if we want to see His Kingdom become reality on earth. Unity in the Body of Christ is a powerful force that will testify to the world the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit of God. Remember, the world will know we follow Christ by our love for one another (John 13:34).
Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.