Brethren, I have been considering a serious issue before the Lord. One that has saddened me. A question is before us. That question is: Does God author division in the Body of Christ? For sure there is already much division for we have hundreds of thousands of so called Christian denominations. Do you think God even ordained that? One group splits from another and then another group splits from that one and so on. But what does Scripture say? I think what Paul wrote to the Corinthians sums it up.
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
(I Cor. 1:10-13)
Kind of makes it clear doesn’t it? But for a moment imagine if Paul was writing to those who have faith in Christ today. Wouldn’t he write kind of like this:
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of the Pope,” or “I am of Protestantism,” or “I am of the Baptists,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was the Pope crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of the Pope or Protestantism or the Baptists?
Wow. Think about that for a moment. So if we look at it like that, isn’t it a sin to be divided? Yes of course it is. But of course when we do come together is has to be in the way the Lord authored right? Do you think the Catholics and the Protestants and the Baptists and so on should all coming running together willy nilly in a sea of blind love for each other?
I think first we need to unlearn that which we learned in these churches and look to Scripture alone as our guide. For many of these groups are already trying to forge themselves together. But they are forsaking the Truth of Christ in Scripture to do it. Do you think it’s right to forsake the Lord’s commands to come together or is that sin too? We can look into God’s Word for that too.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:21-24)
These are Christ’s own words quoted from Scripture. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? If a soldier won’t follow the orders of his or her commander will they not be found in contempt? Even traitors? Of course. For Christ is looking for those who are loyal to Him. Those who will not compromise His truth. And the great promise of Jesus and Father making their home with those who are faithful! Thank you Jesus!
But now let’s take a slight turn and look at the relationships we might have with brothers and sisters in the faith. What if we have a disagreement between us? Again does God want there to be any disagreement between us? Let’s look to Scripture, our plumb line of Truth. Here’s just a quick data dump copy from the Bible website.
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
[ Sectarianism Is Sin ] Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
[ Be United, Joyful, and in Prayer ] I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
That should be abundantly clear shouldn’t it? For if we are walking together in God’s Truth then there will be no reason for disagreement. If any disagreements arise it is because the desires of the flesh have entered one or more in the assembly. The sins of pride, arrogance and everything self serving are in play.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Brothers and sisters, let us indeed keep ourselves unspotted from the world and learn the ways of Christ from Him in His word, the Holy Bible. We don’t necessarily need a pastor or “man of the cloth” to guide us. For again Scripture says:
24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Be encouraged brethren, the Lord will strengthen you and enable you as you continue in Truth and Spirit. If not, delusion and darkness await. And the way back is more difficult than struggling against this world. I have seen it with mine own eyes.
Excellent post, Al, and TIMELY. Thanks.
God Bless RJ, I saw this quote today.
“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
Sobering words. I suppose we could also insert pastor, priest, deacon, etc. While some of these folks in positions of authority mean well. Others do not. Ever more important for us to know Scripture and test all things.