Unity (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)May 22, 2022 | Brandon Cooper
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
All right, good morning. You can go ahead grab your Bibles open up to Ecclesiastes chapter four. Ecclesiastes in verses nine to 12 this
morning. As you’re turning there, I do hope you’re familiar with the work Pilgrims Progress. I think I say that a lot. One of those books I think everyone probably should have read. Even if you haven’t read it though, maybe you’re familiar with the story a little bit. So Pilgrim, the Pilgrim is name is Christian is traveling to the celestial city. And his whole journey there is meant to be an allegory of the Christian life, our walk with God, there are great many lessons to be learned in this wonderfully rich work. But one of the lessons that comes out clearest is the value of a traveling companion. The fact of the matter is that pilgrim progresses, when traveling with others, they help him along the way he would not have gotten through the dark valley, for example, without the presence of his friend faithful. And shortly after that, in his pride, he stumbles and faithful is there to help him stand up and get back on his way. And because Faithful is a bit more discerning, he’s able to keep Christian from falling in with the wrong crowd, guys like talkative, and others, faithful, eventually murdered in Vanity Fair. And after that he travels with hopeful, and it’s because he’s really hopeful that he escapes with him from the giant despair, for example. So just a good reminder for all of us, right that we are not meant to travel as Christians alone, spiritually speaking, we won’t finish our journey without other people community. And still more than that, even we can’t really do what we’re meant to do as Christians alone. We need others, we need the unity of the Spirit, to advance the kingdom to do the kingdom work that we’ve been called to do. So we’ve talked lots about the financial commitment piece of city new, but the reality is that there is a another commitment that is necessary for us. And that is the commitment to Unity. It is the spirit in which we carry out our mission, what we talked about last week. And so mission unity, by the way, if you weren’t here, or acronym for this series is mug, and mu g mission, unity, generosity. The whole idea here is that we’re joining the mug club. And just as a reminder, if you are new to the church, and you’ve never grabbed one of our city New mugs, there’s some out in the lobby, that is meant to be a prayer prompt for you, as you have your coffee every morning, you look at the mug and you go right I should be praying for mission, unity, generosity throughout this process. And that’s not something that goes away. Honestly, after the renovation is complete, or anything like that. These are things we need, in order to keep doing what God has called us to do. But Unity, that’s the spirit in which we carry out our mission, we are better together. Plain and simple, we’re better together, we can accomplish more for Christ and His Kingdom when we are united on a mission. And honestly, the renovation is just such a fine example of that, isn’t it? There is no one in this church, who could have taken care of that renovation. We’re wealthy church, we’ve got nobody who could just written that check. And that’s it all done. It took us collectively in order to do that. And that’s really a parable for what we’re talking about, in a much larger sense, as we’ll come back to throughout this sermon. What all of this is the point that the teacher makes, in his famous passage in Ecclesiastes that you no doubt have heard before, it’s often read at weddings, it doesn’t really have much to do with weddings, it has a much wider focus than that. Just a quick note on structure, by the way, you can see I got three main points then there Jesus in here now. And that is, that’s actually always my approach to preaching sermons. It’s just it’s really on the surface this time. And so I thought I would just put it behind before you and we just kind of doubled dividends like this is how we study the Bible. We have to understand what the text meant back then, in there in that context. And then before we jumped to the here, and now the application, what does this mean for my life today? We do need to funnel every passage of scripture through Jesus in the Gospel, especially when it’s the Old Testament. So you’ll get to see that process very clearly. This morning that has nothing to do with city New I’m just I’m a Bible teacher, and so it comes out I can’t help it and you’ll have to suffer through it. So let me read Ecclesiastes four nine to 12 and then we will dig into the then and there. Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also have to lie down together they will keep warm but how can One keep warm alone, though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
All right, then in there. what did this mean? Back then first a bit of context, of course need understand where this is coming from in Ecclesiastes and what Ecclesiastes is, as a whole, even Ecclesiastes is a fascinating book of the Bible, because it is written, this phrase shows up a lot in the book under the sun. The idea there being let’s just talk about this world and pretend that there is not another world. So Ecclesiastes is almost this thought experiment, what would happen if we stripped God out of the equation, and just tried to think through things here in this physical world, and what’s interesting is even in that and worldly wisdom, it’s easy to see the value of unity. In fact, just before our passage, the teacher is talking about a man who is toiling alone, and who, as a result has no rest, and then no one to share all the good that he’s earned as a result. And so he draws the famous conclusion, then Two are better than one. We are Better Together even from a worldly perspective. And we won’t leave it at the worldly perspective. Let’s start there. What lessons do we learn about unity in this passage? One lesson we learned is that there is real danger, real danger. So it seems quite clear that what’s being talked about here is a journey. It’s why I mentioned pilgrim and his progress at the start until the last line, things change in the last line, but otherwise, they’re on a journey. And one reason to travel together back in this time period is because of the dangers that you would face. Otherwise, like Christian, you could stumble and fall. And if all you did is scrape your knee, okay, you can probably get back up. But what if it’s worse, if you’ve ever been hiking, especially if that involve climbing or anything like that you know how dangerous a fall can be. I know this very well, this is three degrees of separation. It’s a family member of a friend of a family member who was hiking in Australia by himself and fell and broke both his ankles. And because he was by himself, he died because he couldn’t move he couldn’t get back to where there was shelter where there was water, and all of that so terribly tragic way to learn the simple lesson. It is not good to attempt dangerous journeys alone. You want to have someone there with you to help you up. And that’s true and physically, but spiritually, there’s no difference. There are plenty of ways to stumble spiritually speaking, and we often need help to get back up. In fact, we even use that word stumble as a euphemism for sin, don’t we? I stumbled yesterday means all messed up, I sinned, right? So someone slides down into sin or steps on unsteady ground tumbles to the ground all of that, and we need someone to help us up. It also happens with doubt, regularly when we saw this, even in a deconstruction series, to some extent, how important it is to have people around you who are going to help you in this moment. I remember hearing from a former student, someone when I was a teacher down in Colombia, who walked away. And one of the reasons she gave was that she didn’t have anyone to talk to, which I don’t think was true, honestly. But still, that was how she felt it was the fact of her being alone. That meant she stumbled all the way down. Even without pitfalls, though, and keep in mind, we do have an enemy who loves to dig holes, right? So they’re gonna be pitfalls, lots of pitfalls. But even without those circumstances can threaten to what the teacher talks about next, right, it’s going to be cold, even if you’d never trip even a little bit. Like the journey is dangerous enough without some catastrophe, because you’ve got to deal with exposure to the sun or cold or rabid squirrels, whatever it may be. All of those circumstances, the vicissitudes of life are, are such a fine metaphor for our spiritual journeys. We talk about our Christian life in seasonal sorts of terms, don’t we? I’m in a dry season right now, we’ll say or it is a dark valley, or it’s cold like we have here. I mean, even Bible speaks of it this way, like Psalm one, describing the person this is not about companionship, but about our engagement in the Word of God. The person who’s meditating on the Word of God is like a tree that puts down roots right by the stream, so that even in the dry season, its leaf does not wither and it bears its fruit in the right season. That’s
what we’re supposed to do. But what happens in the seasonal moments when you no longer Feel like you’re getting anything out of Scripture. When your times of prayer feel like you’re just shouting into a void. When you’re walking through a trial walking through a dark valley, there’s danger. And of course, then we also face just outright enemies. We don’t know who the enemies are in this text, we just know verse 12, one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. So probably brigands think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, right where the guy gets attacked on the road. That’s probably what we’re dealing with here, some sort of danger anywhere where you basically need to draw swords. And of course, we have a very real, very alive spiritual enemy. Good Christian. As this in Pilgrims Progress, he actually does battle with a demon at one point Apollyon. And in those situations, of course, we would prefer help. If you’re like me, you watch a lot of action movies, and there’s a stock moment in an action movie, where the guy who always wins, right knocks everybody out kind of thing is like taking on two or three like this. And you know, he’s about to just whip them right. And then there’s the lead pipe on the back of his head, and he’s knocked out. And in the next scene, he’s tied up in a chair. You’ve seen this scene, of course, right? That’s it right by yourself. You’re vulnerable to surprise attacks. And speaking spiritually. Of course, sometimes it can be really difficult to discern which way is even behind you, we don’t know where the attacks are coming from there. So many dangers, very real posing a very real threat to our finishing the journey. So what do we need? Second thing we see in the text? Good company, good company. This is implied more than stated, but I think it is their very definitely, we need not just company. But good companies specifically. The trouble of traveling with a caravan, of course, is that people are messy. So you keep falling into holes. Not everyone is going to bother to help you. Please ask he says we pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up is that because they’re traveling alone, or because the person they’re traveling with is sort of useless and selfish, too selfish to care. More than that, though, with good company, you’ve got fellow pilgrims traveling in the same direction. If you’ve got the same vision before you so that you can help stay on the same path, stay on the straight and narrow, we might say. But what happens if that’s not what you have Roberts 1320 For example, says walk with the wise and become wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. We need good company. It is possible to journey with those in other words, who will lead you astray? I think no shortcut. In fact, pilgrim does this couple times. Christian does this couple times in the story I got I know a shortcut, and it does not go so well. So they lead you astray to lead you into danger. So that hadn’t companion in that case is actually harmful, rather than helpful. I mean, this would be like take a real world example like to college girls heading off to a party and they’re thinking, Okay, we’re safe. Because we’re together, we’ve got each other’s back. But then the one immediately takes the first drink that she’s handed starts, you know, doing drugs with people the back room, and then is leaving with this group of guys that she just met right then, by the way she was your ride. So now you can either go with her with this group of guys you don’t know or you can stay at the party by yourself. You see how she led you into harm. Instead of being helpful we need good company for company to help. It must involve genuine partnership, a commitment to each other’s good. Coupled with shared objectives. We need this especially because selfishness just creeps in doesn’t it. Even on journeys like these we quickly adopt a me before us attitude, and become willing to sabotage the group for the sake of the individual. You can see this in history a lot of times here’s a famous example, if you like Roman history, as I do so Quintus are wiliness kpl was of noble birth, one of the patricians in Rome, and he was elected council at a time when Rome was under threat that was kind of outskirts the Roman Empire were under threat from the invading to Tom’s and so he is sent there to fight back this enemy. But Romans, they had two consoles at the same time. The top guy, the guy who was over him was NYAS Malleus Maximus, and he was not of noble birth.
He was not a patrician, he was just loaded. And that meant You got to be in the Senate and things like that. Well, chi po has got no patience for a guy like this because you know he’s noble and the other guy he’s nouveau riche. He’s go She’s all that kind of stuff. So even though they’re sent to fight together, because of his snobbery, so really a Skype you won’t listen, won’t submit builds a separate camp with his army divides his forces. In other words, what happens when you divide your forces as an army? generally bad things especially when you’re facing a larger foe and they get absolutely run over it’s the costliest victory the Romans ever lose, right. costliest defeat. Why all because me before us, he sabotages then at Rocio and 108, no, nothing like that. Whatever happened in the church that Right? Right. Nobody has ever sabotaged the mission of God, because of a little bit of disunity? Certainly not. Me even think about this, too. It’s like as a church capital. See, we agree on mission, don’t we? Like that’s given to us in the Bible. We know what the mission is, when we disagree. We’re just disagreeing about strategy. How do we do what God has called us new OB most effective here, but we can get really amped up about that strategy thing. And there can be that unwillingness to submit or maybe it’s just an unwillingness to reconcile with people in the church. I’ve heard things you’ve said things probably like, Well, I’m not going to work with her. I’m not serving in that ministry, if he’s leading it. We sabotage the mission of God because of just a unity in the midst of so much danger and need. Right at that moment, when we’re supposed to be you know, back to back defending each other, you get knifed in the back instead by somebody you thought was on your team. That’s such folly, because we are Better Together, we accomplish more for Christ and His Kingdom and we are united on mission. What is it that we accomplish? Well, that’s the better result, the next point here. So the better result, this is the opening thesis, verse nine, Two are better than one. Why? Because they have a good return for their labor, there’s a better result when we are together. So that’s the thesis. And the rest just serves as an illustration of that. Now, when he says that to get better return for their labor, that’s an economic term, there’s a reward for this partnership in the form of higher profits, most likely, of course, there’s also the intangible rewards of working together doing right by someone that’s all true to what you can see the reward right there, we’ve gone through most of it already. You have helped in times of crisis, that’s a good reward. For example, somebody can pick you up when you fall, you’ve got resistance to adverse circumstances. example there would be you know, warmth on a cold night you can sleep back to back and and not freeze to death. And, of course, much better defense if you’re threatened by enemies. Again, this is the opposite scene in the action movie that you see many times where now there are two of them, and they literally go back to back. And then they fight like 600 people in a row and they defeat them all because they just keep twirling around and the camera always goes around in a circle when it’s filming that scene, right? It’s just the way it happens. And you’re able to fend off the hordes overall, we are much stronger. In fact, to increase numbers, it’s not addition. It’s like multiplication, exponential increase in strength. And that’s exactly where this passage ends, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. We’re no longer to lying down together to fighting back the back. But now we’re three I understand that this is the one that’s often used in weddings, right? Because what’s the cord of three strands? The husband, the wife and Jesus? I love it. That’s very, very true. And I hope that is what your marriage is like, that is not the point here. Not in the slightest. Okay. That’s just important for us to know. This is just numerical parallelism. This is how especially Wisdom literature works. You’ve read Proverbs before, and it’ll say something like, there are six things the Lord detests, and seven that he hates. What do we have here? Two are good. Three is even better. So that’s what we’re, we’re talking about here. It’s entirely possible that this is actually a reference to a really well known proverb, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. So, you might not know the Epic of Gilgamesh well, but the important thing is there’s a cool dude named and kudu and kudu is about to give up his mission. And so Gilgamesh encourages him in one way that he encourages him by saying,
No man will cut the three ply cord. And that’s exactly the encouragement he needs. It’s exactly the encouragement that we need as well. The overall point is clear, we’re better together, we can accomplish more for Christ and His Kingdom when we’re in unity with others, and we don’t. We don’t need the forced allegorical interpretations. We don’t need to pretend that this is all of a sudden Jesus that shows up at this moment. Remember, this is Ecclesiastes, God is absent from the discussion during this little thought experiment. Where does all that stuff come from that we’re talking about Jesus are the three chords, our faith, hope and love or something like that? If you were in my church history class, and explore our which I hope you are, you know exactly where it comes from. Its origins fault, right? It’s always origins fault, the allegorical method of interpretation. That’s not what we have here. Okay. But that doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t in the passage. Of course he is. Let’s go there next. Okay. So Jesus and the Gospel, let’s talk about it. So even in these passages, where God is absent, and when the Old Testament, which means Jesus isn’t around yet anyway, not at least as we understand it, we still have a staunch commitment to interpreting every passage of scripture in light of Christ. Why? Because Jesus Himself said, all the passages point to me, the point is, is key though, right? We don’t want to read Jesus into the passages, read him into scripture, what we’re doing is tracing every thread until it reaches its culmination. In Christ. It’s a little bit like I got a lot of renovation analogies in my head right now, as I’m sure you can appreciate. So we had some wiring issues, old church and all that stuff. And so a couple of times, like we just had this box that was just wires and like a spaghetti bowl. And so what did the electricians have to do, they’d have to pull the wire until they figured out where it terminates. That’s what we’re doing. With scriptural threads. We’re figuring out where it terminates, we know it terminates in Christ, we just want to see how it gets there. So that’s true, even though Ecclesiastes is committed to this thought experiment, even though Jesus is not the third strand in this chord. And yet, whereas Jesus might not be the third strand in the core, but Jesus is without question, the true and better companion, the one who joined us on our journey. In fact, not only does Jesus journey with us, but he actually blazes the trail for us. That straight narrow path that we’re on is the one that he cleared for us is what Hebrews 12 says, He is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, may have learned an older translation where it says the author and perfecter of our faith, I don’t think author is quite right, because that makes us think like, you know, Shakespeare to Hamlet or something like that. No, no, he’s
on the ground. bushwhacking the trail that we then walk in the word is pioneer for sure. And interestingly, Jesus even identifies with us in our loneliness, who is the one who fell and had no one to help him up. Jesus. I mean, look at the end of his life, he is, of course, forsaken by Israel. John chapter one, He came to His own and His own would not receive Him, He is forsaken by his disciples. Right, they struck the shepherd. And just as Jesus predicted, the sheep scattered, and he has even in some mysterious sense, forsaken by his father, Jesus is the one who has to travel alone. He endures the trials, the dangers, the enemies, and of course, is defeated by them. And yet in the process, defeats them, the glory of the cross and the empty tomb. But then what happens next? Is he angry with us that we deserted him? You’re gonna hold this against the wall? I’m on my own now. So I know, everyone else abandons me. No, Surely not. Jesus was forsaken on his journey, so that we would never have to be, in fact, he promises never to leave or forsake us. And speaking to His disciples, the night before his death, he even says, look, it is better that I go away, which sure seems like he’s forsaking us, but he’s not. Because if he goes away, then he can send another helper advocate Comforter, the Spirit of God. So Jesus journeys with us in that the Spirit of Christ is within us, as we journey in the very heart of the gospel is our union with Christ. We talk about unity, we’re talking about complete unity, we are in Christ by faith. But as I’ve often said, If I’m in Christ, and you’re in Christ, and he’s in Christ, and she’s in Christ, then we’re all in this together. So we’re not alone on this journey, not just because Jesus is with us, but because the church goes with us as well. That takes us to the here and now what does this look like for us today? One of our strategies in the city New Vision is forming community. So we want to create spaces for community to form we talked about that. We’ve also talked with the fact that we want the community we form to be the type of community that forms us in the turn.
It’s such an important reminder, because when we talk about unity, we can sometimes reduce, reduce it to just resisting divisiveness. Like, you know, keep your divisive comments to yourself, if you don’t like the carpet or the furnishings or even the cost of the project, it is certainly not less than resisting divisiveness. But true unity is so much more than that. It has a positive vision as well. We want to experience this true unity in community, so that we can see the mission of this church unfold. So that we can be made to magnify Christ more and more. And so that we can be sent to serve and then send others to serve his kingdom, the cord of three strands is not easily broken. And we need that strength, the strength of community to persevere, and to grow, and to advance the Kingdom of God. So I’m gonna look at four areas from scripture where we need community to form us where we see that we are Better Together, we accomplish more of a Christ in His Kingdom, when we’re united on mission first area is correction. Correction. That is we need people to correct us when we stumble, when we sin. We want to be true companions who lift up those who fall spiritually. And even those who reached out into the pits and grabbed the people who are trying to make a home there. What does this look like Matthew 1815 and 16. Jesus gives it to us straightforwardly, if your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. They listen to you, you have won them over, they will not listen take one or two others along so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. There’s the community doing what pointing out pitfalls before you walk into them, of course, calling you back when you took the wrong fork on a road, picking you up when you are lying at the bottle bottom of a miry pit. You know it’s interesting Paul uses the phrase in Galatians chapter six, to gently rebuke those who are caught in sin and that word caught. It refers to being surprised by sin again, like you’re being ambushed by brigands on the road on the journey elsewhere. And in Hebrews, we read about sin entangling us that looks like a journey kind of thing, too, doesn’t it? Like even walking and you get caught in the Briars or some like that you need somebody to help untangle you. This is one reason why God saves us into community so that we have the help we need when we fall back into our old ways. Second, then, is very related, of course correction, but then also growth. Our maturity in Christ requires other people. Without community we will stumped or at least severely limit our growth. It’s kind of like the same way that one person’s business ideas are going to be a whole lot less helpful for the growth of a business than two, or three or four people putting their ideas together, we get a good return for our labor when it comes to our maturity in Christ because God has gifted us differently. And so we accomplish different purposes in the body of Christ. That’s Paul’s whole metaphor. And First Corinthians 12, we need each other if the whole body is going to grow, because you provide this and you provide this and you provide this. The passage has been up for a while. So I think we just got rid of it. But here it is, again. What does this look like from him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up as each part does its work. As each part does its work we need each other we need input from others to grow. may say it bluntly, if you’re not in community, true community which is different from sitting in this room on Sunday mornings only if you’re not in true community, you will not grow to the same extent. This is why we have opportunities like Journey groups by the way journey because that’s what this looks like. Okay, so this is Ecclesiastes four nine to 12 kind of group, right? So we got journey groups, we’ve
got community groups cleverly named because they’re about community, right? You’re not in those I guarantee like the growth is going to be very slow, stunted in many ways. strong encouragement, reach out, we will get you plugged in correction growth. Third area where we need community to form us is perseverance. perseverance, go, let’s not pretend like we don’t all want to quit from time to time, or haven’t ever wanted to quit this spiritual journey. Now God in His grace will ensure that people persevere to the end that his people persevere to the end. But his ordinary means of ensuring that we persevere to the end. Other people, other people have seen this lived out, of course. So when this was actually before we moved down there, as was the trip that got us to move to Columbia, we climbed a mountain. And so kind of out in Colombia with this group of students was a middle school retreat. And at one point, in this arduous journey, one member of our group just sat down on the side of the mountain. Done, I quit, I’m not going any farther. This was hard. We had ways to go still kind of thing. How did this person get up and start moving again? See encouragement to the rest of the group, of course, just came around. So no, no, no, we’re almost there. We can do this right, you know, lean on me kind of thing. We need the encouragement of others. That’s what we’re called to do. That’s the passage that Julie read for us earlier. In this is the vision of Christian community, let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, somewhere in the habit of doing, giving a community trying to go it alone, right, but encouraging one another. I love that too. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. The opposite of not meeting together is not just meeting together, showing up and being in the room, being an encouragement, which means you’re here to serve, you’re here to help you’re here to give. We are called to spur others on spurs as we use the jab into the side of a horse to get it moving. Again. It’s how we go with one another on, don’t give up community but we encourage. And what does this look like a few chapters later, same book right after we talked about Jesus who is our pioneer in the faith, we see the connection between our perseverance, community and the danger of divisiveness. Here’s Hebrews 1214 to 16. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone. That’s unity, right? To be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord this feels serious than right. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God. That’s us helping each other out that’s offering correction. And that no Bitter Root grows up. There’s the disunity threatening us to cause trouble and defile. Many see that no one is actually a moral or as godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold us inheritance rights is the oldest son, you see that all that happens in community, these are plural command, we see to it. But this is not happening among this people. Correction, growth, perseverance, and then last you knew I was gonna go this direction, right? Mission, of course mission. We need community to form us for mission, we are not on a journey for ourselves alone. No, we’re like those Roman generals, we’ve been sent out to push back the kingdom of darkness to advance the Kingdom of God. Jesus called a group. And when he sent them out, he sent them out. To buy two with someone else, we need each other to carry out the mission He’s given us, we need you. We need your oil costs, the group of people that God’s placed in your life to reach the gospel, we need your gifts, we need your passion, we need your experience that no one else has had. If the growth of the church depends on any one of us alone, we are in big trouble. Course, of course. And that’s it. And that’s what I said before and no one of us could have paid for this renovation could have made it happen on our own. That is a parable for the spiritual temple that we long to see built here is a living house in which God will dwell by His Spirit. No one of us can build it by ourselves. And that’s why we’re coming together to do what we’re about to do. The facility is the building, it’s building. The facility facilitates mission.
And the commitment that we make to that process is good for us. Did you notice that commitment and community start the same way? CLM you know, the prefix in Latin it means with, together with does not coincidence. Community is to be in unity with other people. What about commitment? It’s the column with prefix plus Mitko, which in Latin means to send a commitment is when you are sent together. In fact, it’s got the exact same route as commission like Mito is where we get mission from commitment commission like they’re the exact same word in so many ways. Of course, of course, we make a commitment to do the mission together, because we’re better together. Because we can accomplish more for Christ in His Kingdom, we are united in Mission mission, like our focus on mission in a spirit of unity. That’s going to lead to some serious Kingdom growth. Let’s pray. Father, we pray now that you would knit our hearts together, in true spirit formed unity. And then help us to make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit with the bonds of peace, to display the gospel and our love for and commitment to one another. Because as Kyle said earlier, we know that there are people in this room with him, we would not be friends, if it weren’t for Jesus, if it weren’t for you, that something greater than anything that would threaten to divide us But Lord, we see now, why that all matters so much. Because we are on this journey, we have this mission. And we know that we need each other in order to reach the destination to accomplish the task that you have given us. So help us even now to commit to one another in every possible sense of that word, for the sake of the mission you’ve given us for the sake of Your glory, and may you indeed be glorified in us, even in this moment of commitment. Because we want everything we do to magnify you to show the excellency and surpassing worth of Christ Jesus our Lord. It’s in his name we pray, Amen. Amen.