Living In Harmony





Senior Pastor, Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos.


Shakespir Edition

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Text: Psalm 133:1-3. “1. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. 3. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing-Life forevermore”. ( NKJV)


“Let there be love, shared among us, let there be love, in our hearts.

May now your love fill this nation, cause us Oh Lord, to arise.

Give us a fresh understanding, of brotherly love that is real.

Let there be love, shared among us.

Let there be love.”

INTRODUCTION We give all thanks to the Lord who has been faithful in the affairs of our lives individually and corporately especially our Nation, Nigeria. Many “prophets” of doom have prophesied doom concerning the last general elections, but God has shown us all that He is God. May His name be forever praised. Amen. The theme for this Bi- Annual Conference of the International Council of Community Churches (U.S.A.), Nigerian Chapter is “Gathered in Unity.” The topic for this lecture is “LIVING IN HARMONY.” I consider this topic not only relevant but very timely for if there is anything we all as Christians at the ecclesiastical level and Nigerians at the national level need to learn, it is how to truly live together in harmony. It must be noted today that there is so much division in the body of Christ and the enemy has always taken advantage of this to unleash terror on us. The popular saying is true, United we stand, divided we fall. Being so much concerned about the divisions in the body of Christ, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, “Are there any Presbyterians here?” The quick answer was, “Yes!” Then he asked, “Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?” The answer was Yes! each time. He was very disappointed. Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! “No?” To this, Wesley asked, “Who then is inside?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians here.”

There are so many passages in the Bible that calls our attention to the need to live together in harmony. The pericope selected for this lecture is one. Psalm 133 which is considered by theologians as one of the four songs of ascents (i.e. Psalms 122, 124, 131 & 133) began with the need to contemplate the blessedness of living in harmony. Ascents/Degrees in Hebrew language is “mahalah” which means elevation, journey to a higher place, superiority, progression or high degree. This song was often sung as a processional hymn to Jerusalem. Psalm 133 is indeed a sparkling sonnet sung by David who once tasted the bitterness of division in the family. He sang this song therefore, not to celebrate disunity, but the blessings of unity or harmony. The Hebrew word for harmony here is called “Yachad” and can also be interpreted unity, union or togetherness. The opposite is division or disunity. Harmony is a state of agreement, accord and concord.

p<>{color:#000;}. LIVING IN HARMONY: THE COMMENDATION. (vs1)

According to this passage, to dwell in harmony is commendable. It is proper. That simply means disunity is bad and improper. The Psalmist then went further to state that it is good. The next question is how good? I believe, very, very, very good. It is good because it goes along with man’s social constitution. It is what man’s social nature craves for. No doubt, man’s greatest hunger is for loving companionship. It is what man’s social nature needs. Each man needs the ministry of friendship from the cradle to the grave. Social unity is regarded by all peoples and nations as the perfection of society. It is also very good because it agrees with the teaching of the Bible. Christ inculcated this unity, and prayed for it, that “they all may be one.” (John 17:20-21) and the apostles everywhere exhort to it saying, “be of one mind one toward another.” (2 Cor. 13:11, 1 Peter 3:8)

In addition, living in harmony is not only good, but also pleasant or delightful. According to the Bible, it is delightful to witness/behold in the family, the Church and the nation. All jealousies, envies, rivalries, wars are banished from the scene, and utterly unknown when people dwell in harmony. “Peace like morning dew distils, and all the air is love.” It gives to the social atmosphere a delicious perfume.

p<>{color:#000;}. LIVING IN HARMONY: THE ILLUSTRATIONS. (2-3) The Psalmist illustrates the goodness and the pleasantness of living in harmony in two ways. These are,

p<>{color:#000;}. The Anointing Oil upon Aaron’s Head (Exo. 30:23-25), which shows that it was made of several different compounds, all precious in themselves. Various are the spices, all “principal” in themselves. The myrrh of love takes the precedence. Full measure of this must be found. With this, also, there must be the sweet cinnamon of gentleness, the sweet calamus of meekness, the cassia of longsuffering, and the olive oil of forgiveness. No wonder that the compound was most fragrant. Aaron was not qualified to minister until thus anointed in the Old Testament.

p<>{color:#000;}. The Dew of Hermon. This relates to the fact that this harmony comes from above as it cools the air and makes fruitfulness abound. Apart from this, the dew upon Mount Hermon in Israel is a beauty to behold. It does not mean that the dew falls alike upon the two mountains, but that the moisture that gathers on Mount Hermon is caught up by the sun, and falls in refreshing showers on the distant heights of Zion. Though it falls silently, it gives to the whole social sphere, a perpetual freshness and beauty.

p<>{color:#000;}. LEVELS OR BASIS FOR HARMONY: (vs.1)

According to our passage, those who are to live in harmony are described as brothers/brethren. This brotherhood can be figured in three ways namely,

p<>{color:#000;}. Those who are Brothers by Nature and Blood, and Carnal Generation. People who are born in the same family, related by blood are brothers. By virtue of the fact that we all are created by the same God, we are brothers. So whether such persons are black or white, we all are brothers. Unity is required of those who are brethren and there is nothing more unworthy when it is otherwise.

p<>{color:#000;}. Those who are Brothers in a Civil Sense, by Custom, Contract, or Employment, or Civil Association. Within Nigeria as a country, we all must live in harmony whether you are Yoruba, Ibo or Hausa. Since national boundary has joined us together, we must live together in harmony.

p<>{color:#000;}. Those who are Brothers in a Spiritual Sense. From the principles and considerations of piety and Christian religion, we are brothers for we profess the same faith worshipping the same God, having the same Head, expecting the same heaven and salvation and future inheritance. Surely, no group needs this title or appellation of brethren as believers in Christ and therefore peace and unity are more required of us in spite of our different denominational affiliations.

p<>{color:#000;}. HARMONY: WHAT IT IS NOT?

p<>{color:#000;}. It is not a leveling uniformity. Harmony does not mean that we all must think, feel, do things precisely the same way. The truth is that there is a large chance for individuality even in a real unity. Harmony is unity not necessarily uniformity. Unity is Divine while the acts of uniformity are the products of man. Uniformity we get in trees and hedges hacked, cut, and clipped, so as to reduce them to a common size and shape. “Unity” without uniformity we get in the trees of the forest, all growing according to the course of nature, of diverse shape, and size, and worth, but dependent for their wild strength and beauty on the same genial influences of nature, as they stretch out their thousand branches and myriad leaves to catch the light, and air, and dew, and showers of heaven. Uniformity we have in the classified assortment of flowers, arranged in pots or plots of ground according to their size and colour, no one sort allowed to mingle with another. “Unity” is the gathered bunch, worthy of the admiration of every beholder, whose difference of form, colour, and odour only adds to the loveliness of the flowers, which are all bound by one cord, enclosed in the one vessel, and made to drink of the same vital element. In the wide domain of material nature there are to be found no two things alike, not even two drops of water, or two flakes of snow. There are no two human faces/eyes that are alike? No two voices with precisely the same cadence? Is it, then, a thing of wonder that in the mental and moral world there should be differences of thought, and judgment and feelings? “One star differs from another star in glory,” but amid all the varied glories of the “heavens,” there is no want of harmony.

p<>{color:#000;}. It does not mean an outward and iron compulsion. A minister was once asked if his Church were united. “Yes; all the members of it are frozen stiff together.” That was not harmony.

Therefore, living in harmony does not mean theological unity, for religious dogmas divide and can never unite. It is not ecclesiastical unity; no laws made by any Church, though signed by all its members, can unite souls. Not mechanical unity, the unity of organizations either political, religious, or commercial.

p<>{color:#000;}. HARMONY: WHAT IS IT?

Harmony of soul implies unity in the supreme affection, the supreme aim and the supreme rule. Harmony therefore means,

p<>{color:#000;}. Association. In real Christian harmony, there is a holy tendency toward togetherness.

p<>{color:#000;}. It is a general and including similarity of aim and feeling.

p<>{color:#000;}. It is variety of gift and service, each ministering in its own way to the common end (1Cor. 12:12-26).

p<>{color:#000;}. It is mutual esteem.

p<>{color:#000;}. It is mutual forbearance.

p<>{color:#000;}. It is Co-operation for the best interests of the brotherhood.

p<>{color:#000;}. It is speaking with one voice, not with divided voices.


If we want to achieve and maintain harmony,

p<>{color:#000;}. Each of us is charged with the preservation of this harmony.

p<>{color:#000;}. Failure to keep it deprives our Lord of one of the evidences of the truthfulness of His mission.

p<>{color:#000;}. The harmony we most deeply need is deep personal unity with the one Lord and Brother, Jesus Christ with which we may really enter into the power and blessing of this great grace of unity with each other.

Therefore, to achieve harmony,

p<>{color:#000;}. We must avoid a spirit of evil surmising, and guard against hard and uncharitable thoughts in reference to our fellow-brothers, resolutely resisting every inclination to evil speaking and detraction. We must guard against enemies of harmony like jealousy, gossip, backbiting, censoriousness, selfishness and above all unforgiveness.

p<>{color:#000;}. As we regularly depend upon God for strength and support, it is of the utmost importance that we maintain constant communion with Him by fervent prayer; also that we uniformly regulate our conduct and conversation by the sacred Scriptures; steadily and conscientiously using every means which has a tendency to unite us more closely to our Christian brothers. All avenues to be united must be explored.

p<>{color:#000;}. LIVING IN HARMONY: THE BLESSINGS. ( vs3 )

The Blessings of living in harmony to any community cannot be overemphasized. According to our passage, on such a community the Lord commands His blessings and life forevermore. This means that though we can pray for blessings, but where there is harmony, the Lord already commands His blessings. God’s blessings are commanded not where anger and strife, discord and division abound. Actually, such have turned many gardens of the Lord into howling wildernesses. But where love and harmony reign, where the holy oil anoints both the Pastor and the people alike, the Lord commands His blessings. Some of the blessings of living in harmony therefore are,

p<>{color:#000;}. PEACE: In the Psalmist’s days brotherly unity brought peace. Benjamin ceased to “rave as a wolf,” and Ephraim no longer “vexed Judah.” The civil strife in the land ceased, and peace flowed like a river. It is so always when Christian harmony gains its holy power. Strife fails. Brotherhood hangs up the needless sword and shield and spear. Harmony forgets all jealousies, and ceases to practice the arts of war. Harmony makes mutual injury impossible. Brothers in Christ follow peace with all men, and holiness. Harmony always brings with it peace.

p<>{color:#000;}. PLEASANTNESS: Harmony puts graciousness and beauty upon any community or a church, so that men think it pleasant to look upon. Harmony is a bloom upon the fruit, sunshine upon the landscape, polish upon the diamond, health upon the face, morning glow upon the flowers, tone in the voice, and sweet music in the ear. Harmony tints a family, a church, a nation, an enterprise with pleasantness. How pleasant for brethren to dwell together in harmony!

It was said of the Duke of Wellington, that once when he remained to take the sacrament at his parish church, a very poor old man went up the opposite aisle, and, reaching the communion table, knelt down close by the side of the Duke. Someone (probably an usher) came and touched the poor man on the shoulder, and whispered to him to move far away, or to rise and wait until the Duke had received the bread and wine. But the eagle eye and quick ear of the Duke caught the meaning of that touch and that whisper. He clasped the old man’s hand, and held him, to prevent his rising, and in a reverential undertone, but most distinctly, said, “do not move; we are all equal here.” What a sight to behold!

p<>{color:#000;}. PROSPERITY: Divided, men ever fail, but united, they become more than conquerors. The strands of a rope will not hold even a child from falling. Knit them together, twine them about each other, and they will hold the great ship to her moorings. When we live in harmony, God gives prosperity. “It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.” ( Hos. 2:21-22) God withholds His blessing until the cry that rises to Him is the united cry of land and sky and crops and men.

Prosperity flow when we dwell together in unity.

During the siege of the legations in Peking, national lines and religious lines were forgotten. In the presence of the infuriated Boxers, all felt that they were one and that their salvation depended upon their standing together. Protestant and Catholic and Greek were one for the time. During the siege wherever the line was hard pressed there the defenders rallied, regardless of what nationality held the hard pressed point, because a failure at one point meant a failure at every point. One of the interesting incidents of the siege was connected with the international gun. This was an old English six-pounder. It was mounted on an Austrian carriage; it was loaded with German powder and Russian shells; it was fired by the trained hand and eye of an American gunner. Had it not been for the spirit of harmony that prevailed in that most critical period, all must have perished. Dwelling in harmony therefore is a major condition for prosperity and progress.

p<>{color:#000;}. POWER: Our Lord evidently had a profound idea of the value and power of harmony among His disciples. In His longest recorded prayer, Jesus prayed for His disciples: “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”( John 17: 21) As soon as the early church was gathered, the spirit of concord seemed to be a necessary feature, which appeared without being forced. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” They all continued “daily with one accord in the temple,” (Acts 1:14, 2:46, 4:24) In Acts 5:12, many signs and wonders were performed as the people were together in harmony. I believe this made the Apostles to command harmony and urge its preservation subsequently. “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” (2 Cor.13:11) “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” ( Phil. 4:2) “Let brotherly love continue.” (Heb. 13:1) “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”( 1 Thess. 4:9) “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” ( Eph. 4:3)

Have you ever wondered why the geese fly in a V- formation? Wildlife scientists have conducted extensive studies to determine why geese and other migratory birds always fly in a distinctive V-formation. Every fall, thousands of geese fly from Canada to the southern part of the United States to escape the harsh cold Canadian winter. As soon as a flock of geese take flight from Canadian waters, they quickly form a V-shape flying pattern, with one rotating goose in the center lead and all the other geese trailing behind in two close lines. Among the many discoveries of the scientist is that of power. When geese fly together, each goose provides additional lift and reduces air resistance for the goose flying behind it. Consequently, by flying together in a V-formation, scientists estimate that the whole flock can fly about 70% farther with the same amount of energy than if each goose flew alone. Geese have discovered that they can reach their destination more quickly and with less energy expended when they fly together in the formation. When we dwell together harmoniously, sharing common values and a common destination, we shall arrive at the destination quicker and easier, because we are lifted up by the energy and enthusiasm of one another.

When you take up a thread and untwist it, you shall find that it is made up of several threads, untwisting which, you shall find that they, also, are made up in the same way, and so on, and so on. This is the symbol of the true relationship of each member of any human family, or of the larger family of the Church, or the great Church of Churches, the Church of the living God or any nation. The various threads, so weak alone, become strong and mighty when twisted together; and, just as any cord is easiest broken where one or more of the threads are separated, so it is in the Church. There is an increase of strength in unity, while in disunity there is increased weakness

No mere coincidence of opinion or of practice in other directions can be compared in uniting power with devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. Even now, amidst all our outward schisms, and all our inward alienations from each other, it makes our hearts burn within us to speak together of Christ. At such moments of course where the love of Christ is seen to be genuine and single-hearted, the impatience of those miserable barriers which have erected themselves between us to defeat or to delay His purposes can’t but be seen.

CONCLUSION If we genuinely desire to dwell in harmony, the followings must be allowed to prevail among us.

p<>{color:#000;}. Association. We must come together; there can be no unity in solitariness. We are many members, but one body. ( 1 Cor. 12:21)

p<>{color:#000;}. Variety. There is no harmony in the mere repetition of the same things, as in a heap of sand, a flock of sheep. But unity requires harmonized varieties. Music is not a monotone, but a harmony. Acts of Uniformity cannot secure it. In a true Christian society, there must be variety of thought, feeling, and opinion, of age, position, character.

p<>{color:#000;}. Liberty. There is no harmony where there is no freedom. No real agreement exists where none is allowed to disagree. A lump of ice binds together a whole mass of most discordant things, but there is no unity in such a mass.

p<>{color:#000;}. Life. There is no strife in a graveyard; dead things do not quarrel. A dead Church is peaceful enough. A living Church will surely face challenges. Challenges are signs of growth and growth is a sign of life.

p<>{color:#000;}. Intelligence. The harmony that is produced by priest craft and superstition, where education and intelligence are lacking, will later be dissolved for that is not true unity. There is need for intelligence for harmonious relationship in any community.

Above all, the real source of unity is the Holy Spirit. Like as one life animates our bodies and makes them one, it is same when the Spirit of God comes into a community, then, as at Pentecost, there is one body, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:1-6.) We must all allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that we may dwell together in harmony.

In 1990 while I was attending a function in Kaduna, an old preacher narrated a story which I cannot forget. There was an old but energetic farmer in a local village who having returned from his daily work on the farm, had a delicious meal of pounded yam with egusi soup and bush meat. Immediately after his meal, he slept off. While sleeping, the various parts of his body began to hold a meeting as each part of his body claimed its unique importance and priority. Since they could not agree as touching which of them was the most important, they resolved to go on strike in that any of them the farmer feels its absence most will be declared the winner. They surely did and the final result was that the farmer died.

Rather than allowing the spirit of strife, jealousy, gossip, backbiting and unforgiveness to prevail, we must strive daily that we operate under the Spirit of the Almighty. Only then can we all be of the same mind. A single finger can be easily injured and conquered. But when all the five fingers are fused together, they become a weapon of war. May we all dwell together in harmony for the pleasantness, peace, prosperity, progress and empowerment of our Churches, communities, and our nation at large. Amen. Shalom.


Exell, Joseph S. Biblical Illustrator. Electronic Edition in e-Sword H.H., 2015 Edition.

Hastings, James. Great Texts of the Bible. Electronic Edition in e-Sword H.H., 2015 Edition.

McLean, Archibald. Where the Book Speaks, Nabu Press, 2010.

Millard Kent and Judith Cebula. Lead Like Butler: Six Principles For Values-Based Leaders. Nashvlle: Abingdon Press, 2012.

Nicoll, W. Robertson.(Ed.) Sermon Bible Commentary. Electronic Edition in e-Sword H.H. 2015 Edition.

Spence, H.D.M. and Joseph S.Exell. (Ed.) The Pulpit Commentary. Electronic Edition in e-Sword H.H., 2015 Edition.

Spurgeon, Charles H. The Treasury of Great Religion. Electronic Edition in e-Sword H.H., 2015 Edition.

Ten Thousand Sermon Illustrations by Biblical Studies Press, Electronic Edition in Mantis Bible Study, 2002.


Dr. Israel Oluwadamilare Kristilere is an ordained and anointed minister of God’s word and power. He gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1982 and received a special touch of the Holy Spirit in 1989. He responded to God’s call into the ministry in the year 1991 while studying Accountancy at the Polytechnic, Ibadan.


Israel Kristilere is a graduate of University of Ibadan and the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Bachelor of Theology respectively in 1995. He holds a Masters of Arts Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the same University specializing in the New Testament Languages and Literatures.


He was the Secretary of all Baptist Ministers in Lagos State (i.e. Lagos State Baptist Conference Minister’s Fellowship) and was a member of the Pastor’s Representative Council (P.R.C) of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. Currently, he is National Treasurer of the same Fellowship.


He is happily married to Toyin, a Chartered Accountant and the family is blessed with wonderful children: Heritage, Jedidiah and Lois. He has authored eight books namely, Lord, Increase Our Faith (2000), This Valley Shall Be Filled (2002), Marriage: A Mystery and A Ministry (2004), Seven Pillars of Wisdom (2014), Money: You Can Control It (2014), The Manifestation of the Sons of God(2014), Beware: Making Your Life Journey a Success (2014) and Your Pathways to Undeniable Blessings.(2014)


He was the pioneer full time Pastor of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Ilupeju, then the Senior Pastor of Ijero Baptist Church, Ebute Metta (West) (a.k.a. The Cathedral of Praise, Prayer, Power and Possibilities) and currently Senior Pastor, Shepherdhill Baptist Church (The Sanctuary of Grace and Glory), Obanikoro, all in Lagos State. He is also the Founding President, Friends of Israel, Nigeria (FOIN) He is the President of OASIS OF FAITH MINISTRIES through which he extends the Gospel of Christ to the World beyond the walls of his local Church by way of Sermons on tapes, audio CDs, DVDs, books, Holy Land Experience and JUST WORSHIP, a night of PURE SOAKING in the Holy Spirit through Just Worship. To the glory of God, he had conducted more than 15 pilgrimages to Israel in which he led pilgrims to a memorable and glorious experience in the Holy Land. He also organises successful PILGRIMAGES for groups, Churches and Christian Denominations. Oasis of Faith is a Nigerian Partner of International Travels and Congress (ITC), a major Ground Handler of Pilgrims in Israel. Shalom.

Living In Harmony

“LIVING IN HARMONY.” I consider this topic not only relevant but very timely for if there is anything we all as Christians at the ecclesiastical level , it is how to truly live together in harmony. It must be noted today that there is so much division in the body of Christ and the enemy has always taken advantage of this to unleash terror on us. The popular saying is true, United we stand, divided we fall. Being so much concerned about the divisions in the body of Christ, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, “Are there any Presbyterians here?” The quick answer was, “Yes!” Then he asked, “Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?” The answer was Yes! each time. He was very disappointed. Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! “No?” To this, Wesley asked, “Who then is inside?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians here.”

  • Author: Mongraphics Ltd
  • Published: 2016-01-19 10:50:07
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Living In Harmony Living In Harmony