If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,…
We hear a great deal about the harmony of the spheres. That is poetry, but let us try and translate that poetry into practice. It is a painful thing to take up a newspaper now-a-days! Every one seems to be fighting, abroad and at home. There is too much bitter controversy. We want to realize that if there is a mutual work to be done and faith to do it, there must be mutual love to supply the fire.
I. The first way I want to approach this text is — along the line of VARIETY. "Being of one accord "does not always mean being of the same opinion. Of course, in the main there can be no good work done unless the great verities are believed in by us all. You have to live in harmony; your very nature is to be harmonious within you. You may be a very inharmonious man in yourself. You may be affectionate. Yes! but there is no courage in you. We have all got to contribute something to the harmony. I do not want, in a choir of musicians, all to play the violin; I should not like to listen to a band of flutes. To be all of one accord does not mean all doing the same thing or playing the same instrument. One man has his special gift. But in all this variety there is harmony; and is not that one of the most beautiful things in the world. The worst of it is that one bad musician can spoil a choir. One cantankerous person in the household can upset everything. One may injure many! Now variety is intended by God. There are men emphatically endowed by special gifts for mission work; some have tender sympathies and they can be friends to the fatherless and widow; some have gifts for calling out the energies of the young. But there must be harmony in all the variety — "being of one accord.
II. There must be in this one accord SUBORDINANCY OF ONE TO THE OTHER. Everything must be subservient to great ends. There must always be the Chorus Leader. What we want is the harmony of true, beautiful, religious charity. By subserviency I mean everything uniting for Christ's ends.
III. In this harmony there is HEALTH. If I have no pare in my hand or foot, but if I have a headache — what then? Where is the harmony within me? When the blood flows healthily, the eye is clear, the step elastic, the brain vigorous, the appetite sharp and good, and the sleep is restful — all is well! But if one of the members gets out of order, it is all misery. The head looks at the foot and says, "Why don't you get better?" but by-and-by the head is all right, and the foot suffers too. The members are not of one accord. You may lift that thought up into the highest regions of all, and you may realize that if there is to be accord and harmony amongst men in the Church we must all take care of one another, it will not do to neglect anybody. You must look out and take care of the humblest member as well as the highest. It is so in a nation. A nation is in harmony when the rich sympathize with and help the poor, and the wise help the ignorant. A prosperous Church or nation is where there is health in the body politic.
IV. WE SHALL THUS ENJOY INFLUENCE. The world likes harmony; it does not know how it is attuned; but it likes it. I have seen in a picture gallery a poor fellow who comes in a sort of semi-fustian; he is no connoisseur, but there was harmony he could detect, and he liked it.
V. It means HEAVEN! Rest in God. We have the mind of Christ. And that is heaven begun on earth. There is no harmony in a piano of itself. The mind makes the harmony. I cannot make harmony out of the piano; it is produced by the spirit that comes through the fingers. "Being of one accord." Yes! one mind. We must be moulded after the mind of Christ. You may have a violin, flute, piano, and harp, but you must have one chord. "Being of one accord." Oh, what a heaven it will be where we shall have our different mental calibre, for we shall not all be exactly alike. "One star differeth from another in glory," and, in proportion as you realize that idea, you realize the harmony of heaven.
(W. M. Statham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,