Summary: I am by no means a perfect man . . . and I know I make mistakes . . . but I do everything I can possibly do to make sure that when I am preaching to you on any given topic, that I have the Word of GOD to back me up . . . With that in mind, I want to s
Following Jesus without Denominationalism
Part 8: “Maintaining Unity in the Local Community”
You know you have to admit the fact that when a preacher gets on a topic such as this, he has to be most careful to word himself just as the LORD would have him do . . .
I know a lot of preachers will want to put ‘their two cents worth’ in, and thus possibly changing the entire idea of the message the LORD lays on his heart . . .
I am by no means a perfect man . . . and I know I make mistakes . . . but I do everything I can possibly do to make sure that when I am preaching to you on any given topic, that I have the Word of GOD to back me up . . .
With that in mind, I want to share with you how the challenge of this series to a great extent revolves around the problem of religious division that begins in the local church.
EVERY DENOMINATION TODAY BEGAN AS A RESULT OF RELIGIOUS DIVISION!!!
AND SADLY ENOUGH . . . RELIGIOUS DIVISION NORMALLY FINDS ITSELF ORIGIN WITH BRETHREN IN A LOCAL CONGREGATION UNABLE (OR NOT WILLING) TO RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERNCES!!!!
Earlier within the series, I mentioned that while having the same standard of authority is essential to unity in religious matters . . .
I also mentioned that is alone is insufficient, as suggested by Barton W. Stone:
“But should all the professors of Christianity reject all their various creeds and names, and agree to receive the Bible alone, and be called by no other name than Christian, will this unite them?
No, we are fully convinced that unless they all possess the spirit of that book and name they are far, very far, from Christian union.”
My friends . . . it is truly essential that those who seek to allow the Bible, and in particularly the New Testament, to be their standard of authority to possess the proper Christian attitudes and to apply those attitudes when handling the Word of GOD.
OTHERWISE, THE ‘SWORD OF THE SPIRIT’ (as written about in Ephesians 6:17) WILL BE ABUSED TO THE DETRIMENT OF ALL PARTIES INVOLVED!!!
Now let’s not jump the gun . . . for to appreciate what I mean here, in this message, I will attempt to share with you how Paul dealt with the problem of division in the early church, AND the solution he offered that we might “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
To start . . . let us all take a close look by first noticing what Paul described as:
(1) A major cause of division . . .
While doing my research, I believe I found two key areas that might help us out here . . .
ONE was where there was the situation at Corinth, where Paul found it necessary to write “that there be no divisions among you;” . . .
1st Corinthian 1: 10:
“Now 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.”
Paul, within his infinite and godly wisdom saw that there were contentions among them, manifested by breaking up into parties and calling themselves after different men . . .
Vs 11 – 12:
“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”
HMMMMM . . . SEEMS LIKE I HAVE SEEN THIS TODAY SOMEWHERE . . . HOW ABOUT YOU????
TWO is Paul’s evaluation of the problem of division, for as he wrote to them; he realized he was dealing with ‘babes in Christ’ who instead of being ‘spiritual’ were ‘carnal’ . . .
1st Corinthians 3: 1 – 3a:
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal:”
Indeed the root of their envy, strife, and divisions had everything to deal with their carnality . . .
“for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
What really breaks my heart is that even today; those same conditions are not that really much different where divisions exist, carnality (or spiritual immaturity) is often a major cause of the problem.