Saturday, November 28, 2009

Division in the Church

Why is the professing Body of Christ seemingly so divided, and who or what is causing it?

After all, we all claim to be following the Holy Spirit. That should give all sides something very serious to think about. We can’t all believe different things and still all be right.

According to the Scriptures, here are 3 things that cause division in the professing Church:

1) False teachers allowed to remain in the professing Church

Any time a teacher leaves the Truth, he is sowing division.

Romans 16:17-18 “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” It is very important to keep in the “teaching we have learned.” That is, the doctrine of Christ and His apostles found in the Bible (not the doctrine taught in a church building or seminary. This is an important distinction.) Those who leave the teaching of Christ and His apostles and teach some other wind of doctrine, or doctrine of demons, are serving themselves and dividing the Body of Christ. 2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” The “way of Truth” will fall into disrepute because of these false teachers whom “many will follow.” The phrase “denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” suggests that these teachers were walking in Truth at one time, but have left the right way and are now taking others with them. Those who follow these blind guides have stopped following Jesus, the only Way of salvation. Because they are deceived, they will claim they are still following God, to the shock and dismay of those who have remained faithful to Jesus. Now two opposing groups will claim to be serving Jesus and following the same Spirit. Thus division is created in the professing Body of Christ by false teachers and those who follow them. Jude 18-19 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 2) Siding with the Truth (or not)

Jesus, who is the Truth, said He came to bring division that would even tear families apart.

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Those who side with satan, “the god of this world,” will naturally despise those who side with Christ—the One who testifies that the world’s deeds are evil (John 7:7). A natural division occurs between light and darkness, Christ and Belial, righteousness and wickedness, and the temple of God and idols. (2 Cor. 6:14-16) John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Jesus is called the “Word made Flesh.” The Word of God is even said to divide. Heb.4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Those who subject themselves to the Word of God will become divided from those who do not. (John 7:43, John 9:16, John 10:19)

In the world (and professing church) as it presently stands, there are wheat and tares growing up together. (Matt. 13:24-30) The wheat CAN BE distinguished from the tares by the servants of God. But they are allowed to co-exist until the time of harvest, when the “reapers” will permanently separate them. The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19).

3) Testing

Believers are tested by heresies, to see if they will remain in the doctrine of Christ or not. This testing causes division between those who are approved by God, and those who are not.

I Cor. 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. It is also important to realize that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed because we rightly divide the Word of Truth! (2 Tim. 2:15) It is very important to abide in correct doctrine—so important that even salvation is at stake! I John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. Paul cursed those who taught any gospel other than what had already been taught. (Gal.1:6-9) Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 9-10) We will be tested by heresies, just as Eve was tempted in the garden of Eden. Eve fell because she believed the words of a deceiver (she believed false doctrine) that questioned WHAT GOD HAD ALREADY SAID. Satan promised Eve an experience that she couldn’t pass up. The Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict the Bible, which He authored. The Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and thoroughly equip us to live holy lives abounding in good works (2 Tim.3:15-17).

So what about unity?

Didn’t Jesus pray that His disciples would be one? (John 17:17) Yes, and His true disciples ARE ONE. They abide in His teaching, and His Word abides in them. They together abide in Christ, and they stand together against the false teachings that are threatening the flock. (Titus 1:9, Romans 16:17, Jude 3, 2 Cor. 6:17)

The disciples of Christ are denying themselves and carrying crosses, dying to this life and loving not this world nor the things in this world. Because their focus is on Jesus Christ alone, and they are not carried away by every wind of doctrine, they are united—even though they may not even know each other. They are satisfied with their daily bread, trusting that man shall indeed live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. They are not divided because of skin color or nationality. They are not divided due to wealth/poverty, or station in life. They are people of peace and they love one another. They do not take advantage of one another, or lord it over one another. They do not lie to one another, and they do not elevate themselves over one another—rather the greatest among them is the servant of all.

These love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and they love their neighbors as themselves. They help the weak and gullible by rescuing them from the mouths of wolves. They often do this by exposing false teaching and false teachers, which unfortunately earns them a reputation for being “divisive.” God bless you.


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