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? (ICor. 1:10-13)
This morning the Lord was reminding me of the importance of unity in the body of Christ.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
Those who call upon Christ and claim discipleship are quite divided upon denominational lines. They have been for years. Some call themselves Baptists or Methodists. Some are Lutherans. But who is it that simply calls upon the name of Christ without all these distractions?
It is very few. For most will continue on the path of whatever denomination teaching they were taught without questioning it. But our Christ has called us away from such divisions as so clearly demonstrated by what Paul wrote to the Corinthians of his day.
For we cannot perfectly walk after the example and pattern that Christ has left us if we continue to blindly and proudly hang on to the teachings of our church fathers. For it is our church fathers who were led astray and then led us astray. History proclaims this truth, if we are willing to listen. And Christ proclaimed His way to all those who are willing to hear:
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)
22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” (John 10:25-30)
We can no longer lift up the example of Saints of bygone days. Or even lift up those of today. They are not Christ and cannot be the perfect example our Christ is. That is what the children of Israel did with Moses and Abraham. The lifted up man, but not God. So, all we can hope to do is point to Him who is perfect. The one who is the Captain of our Salvation. Christ Jesus. The One born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.
If you hear His voice today, I plead you not to ignore His call to repentance. For He calls us out of the world into His kingdom and His way.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Rev. 18:4-8)
There is only one way to come out of the world. We must humble ourselves and learn from the Lord Himself. We must follow the example and pattern that He left for us.
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.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:1-10)
Humility, the act of not thinking of yourself as more important than others. If we do that, then we will never take a stage, we will never take money for sharing the word of God. If we have to travel, we will never ask money from others to share God’s truth. And most importantly, when disagreements come about in our assemblies, we must seek God instead 0f lifting ourselves above the rest of the assembly. This can be difficult though at times. I have been among those who claim to know God, but they each have their own answer instead of clearly seeing the word of Truth. But we will be unified. There is no doubt. God will do it. But it will be a remnant and not a great awakening. That is God’s pattern. The path is narrow and few will find it. But for those of us who do. The rewards are great.
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
2 A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations.
3 A fire devours before them,
And behind them a flame burns;
The land is like the Garden of Eden before them,
And behind them a desolate wilderness;
Surely nothing shall escape them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like swift steeds, so they run.
5 With a noise like chariots
Over mountaintops they leap,
Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble,
Like a strong people set in battle array.
6 Before them the people writhe in pain;
All faces are drained of color.
7 They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like men of war;
Every one marches in formation,
And they do not break ranks.
8 They do not push one another;
Every one marches in his own column.
Though they lunge between the weapons,
They are not cut down.
9 They run to and fro in the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter at the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
The heavens tremble;
The sun and moon grow dark,
And the stars diminish their brightness.
11 The Lord gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-11)
Blessings to you as you seek His truth and His way. To learn to humble yourself. To not lift yourself above others. Even if we have the knowledge. God is able to save anyone. We are here to plant the seeds. He is the master gardener. We must be obedient. He will cut the tares and burn them. Even if we have to leave the company of the tares, He is faithful to draw out the few who are willing to listen.