Again I say to you, 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 among them. Matthew 18:19-20 (ESV).
A poem from the 1770s, entitled AWAKE, by Lawrence Tribble, expresses his impression of how the flagship of all modern revivals, the Great Awakening, happened.
One man awake, awakens another.
The second awakens
His next door brother.
The three awake can rouse a town,
By turning the whole place
The many awake
Can make such a fuss,
It finally awakens the rest of us.
One man up with dawn in his eyes,
Do you ever dream that things could be different and better in your home church? If the Lord is present, it just takes one or two positive and purposeful Christians to make a difference for the Lord’s glory.
The positive and purposeful Christian is a person with a different spirit from the grumbling and fickle spirit of Christian unbelievers. Now that’s an irony. But when Christians become infected with the negative leaven of no vision, no confidence, little good will and lots of self-will; then they grumble, and growth grinds to a halt. This is a state of unbelief and evil; because in this state God’s people are harmed by those who destroy. They prevent the church from entering and enjoying the blessings of God’s rest (See Hebrews 3 and 4). This destructive state can be thwarted in the church by a few who choose to stand together with a different spirit. A few begins with one or two gathered in the name and presence of Jesus.
Caleb was a man with a different spirit. His story is in Numbers 13 and 14. Caleb was a chief of one of the tribes of Israel. Moses sent Caleb and eleven other chiefs, including Joshua who later replaced Moses, to spy out the land of Canaan. After 40 days when the spies returned they proclaimed that God’s promise land is just as God said: a fruitful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Ten of the spies spread a bad report that influenced Israel to grumble; fretting that the land had fortified cities and giants. This negative spirit against the Lord and his leaders was a leaven infecting and destroying the will of the people to trust and obey God’s word of promise.
God disciplined the nation of Israel as his son for the evil that resulted from their unbelief with forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Then God caused the ten chiefs who spread the bad report to die by a plague. The Lord instead commended Caleb and Joshua because they believed God’s promise and stood with Moses against all the grumbling of God’s people. The Lord especially commended Caleb for choosing to be a man with a different spirit. He publicly confronted the negative influences; fully following his Lord (Numbers 14:24).
See the potential for good in the Lord’s kingdom and work, if a Christian chooses to have a different spirit like Caleb. What a great difference one could make if he or she got together with one, two or a handful of others in order to inspire confidence and to encourage a positive attitude and speech that spurs others to love and good deeds (Hebrews 3:12-14 and 10:19-25).
You could be that one! What could two or three meeting in the name of Jesus do to make a difference?
First, instruct one another from God’s word and hold each other to the different spirit of faith, boldness, love and positive speech. Do not permit sharing and discussions to turn to grumbling. Guard against the pretense of those who think they are doing God’s will while they undermine respect for those who try to lead with a spirit of faith.
Second, pray together with the help and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. You may choose to fast and pray; but pray earnestly, entreating the Holy Spirit to interpret the groaning hope of your spirits according to God’s will. See Mark 11:20-26, Luke 5:33-34 and 11:1-13, Acts 13:1-3 and 14:21-23, Romans 8:18-39, James 5, Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-21 and 6:16-20. Prayer together is positive and promotes partnership with the Lord and his companions as fellow workers. It’s a great feeling!
Finally, approach Christ’s work as a mutual calling, not as an arena for boasting in fleshly comparisons. Judging and measuring have never been a spiritual work; but mutual edification and respect are a spiritual work (Ephesians 4-6 and 1 Corinthians 1-4). When we work together with an understanding of our partnership and stewardship, we will bring a new day into the Lord’s church that transcends self-will, cliques, and even personal or sectarian differences. It will be a day of practicing pure religion and genuine devotion to Christ (See the Epistles of James and Colossians).
Let your group of two, three or a handful, commit to several meetings in Jesus’ name, for at least the duration of a gospel or epistle. You may continue to meet with the same few or reach out to rouse others. Let me suggest that you discuss the Epistle of James and/or the Gospel of Mark. James will exhort you to guard your tongue and your judging; and to practice a pure religion of genuine faith in God. Mark will empower your faith in Jesus; and challenge you to move mountains to the glory of Jesus. Believe that God’s Word and His Holy Spirit will bless you with a different spirit so you can glorify His name.
Is this calling worth your time? Have you ever put this kind of devotion in practice regularly? The initiative begins with one; the work takes off with two or three; and restoration to God’s rest is realized when the whole place is turned upside down.
Buttram, Bryan. Two or Three Gathered in Jesus’ Name. Bryanbuttram.wordpress.com: 2008/02/19.