Posts Tagged ‘Division

05
Sep
17

Jesus’ Church

In 1 John 2:18, John talks about people who are antichrists. Who are these people about whom he is writing? He clarifies it a little bit in verse 19:

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. – 1 John 2:19 (NIV)

These are people who leave the Christian faith and start actively working against the church through false teaching and division. We see this in our day, too. People who were once part of the church who have now started working against it. When the Apostle Paul was persecuting the church as Saul, Jesus asked him, “Why do you persecute Me?” To work against and to persecute the church is to work against Christ, for the church is His body. Is the church perfect? Not this side of Heaven. But Jesus loves His church and He died for His church. Let’s work together to build His church instead of leaving her and working against what Christ loves so much.
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10
Mar
17

One In Christ

In the family of God, we believe that God has made us all in His image. He says:

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. – Colossians 3:11 (NIV)

Paul said something similar in Galatians 3:28 (NIV):

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The things that could divide us should instead remind us that we are all made in the image of God and are one in Christ. We could be divided along racial, social, financial or gender lines as much of the world is today. In the church, however, the One who unites us is much more powerful than that which could divide us. Let’s commit ourselves to unity in the church because it will speak volumes about the power of our uniting Savior to a very divided world.
16
Oct
16

You Think You’re So Wise

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This message is based on James 3:13-18 and is about division and unity in the church.

13
Aug
15

Favoritism Divides

James 2:1-4 (NIV)
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
We’re all equal in God’s eyes.  In the church of Jesus Christ, every believer is on the same level.  In the church, we will find people of every socioeconomic status as well as gender, race and age.  Playing favorites based on these differences must not be tolerated.
For example, the opinions of those who are wealthy should not be more highly valued than the opinions of those who are not as high on the economic ladder.  Someone of a different race or ethnicity must not be shunned because of the color of his or her skin.  A woman must not be disregarded because of her gender nor a man given preference because of his gender.  Paul said in Galatians 3:28 (NIV):

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are one in Christ!  Jesus died to remove the barriers that divide us.  He died to make us one in Him, just as He and the Father and the Spirit are one.
This does not mean that we can ignore our differences.   God made us different and unique.  We should celebrate our uniqueness and rely on one another’s strengths to accomplish our God-given mission to make disciples of all nations.  When we show favoritism to anyone, we deny the unifying power of the cross.  We create unnecessary hostility between classes, genders, races and generations.  Let us do away with favoritism that divides and instead, be united in Christ.
10
Jul
15

The Proof Of Our Faith

God is the Author of unity.  The Holy Spirit is not a Spirit of confusion, but of Truth.  There was both division and and confusion in the church at Galatia.  The church was divided over and confused about grace.  Did Gentile Christians need to obey the law and become like Jews (circumcised) before becoming Christians?  Did they need to submit to the law before finding grace?  Paul was adamant that they did not.  Grace is enough.  Grace is sufficient.
Someone was confusing and dividing the church at Galatia and Paul was tired of it.   Paul was so angry and frustrated that he took it to the extreme:

 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! – Galatians 5:12 (NIV)

They were doing so much damage to the church and to baby Christians that Paul wanted them to castrate themselves.  That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?  But that is how angry Paul was that these “agitators” were confusing people.  They were adding an unnecessary burden to the Gentile believers.  They were trying to take away from the power of the cross by trying to add something to it.  The cross of Christ is powerful enough to take away our sins by itself!  Jesus doesn’t need our help when it comes to forgiving sins.  We must simply trust Him for salvation by believing in Him, repenting from our sins, confessing our faith and being baptized.  When we trust in Christ and in the power of His cross, we are set free from the bondage of rule following.  We still obey Jesus for all authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18-20).  Our obedience is done out of love for Christ, not for the purpose of being saved or staying saved.  Our obedience is the evidence that we love the One who first loved us.  It is the proof of our faith, not a substitute for it.
Galatians 5:7-12
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
23
Jun
15

Walls

There are so many ways that we can be divided in the church of Jesus Christ.  We can build denominational walls.  We can build ethnic walls.  We can build gender walls.  We can build theological walls.  We can build economic walls.  I believe that Jesus came to tear down the walls that may divide us.  All born again believers are children of God.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.​ – Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)​

By God’s grace (free gift of salvation) through faith in Jesus Christ (expressed in baptism), we are made God’s children through adoption into His family.  We are made like Jesus when we are clothed with Him.  When God sees us, He does not see Tom or Mary or Jane or Bill.  No, when you are baptized into Christ, God sees Jesus, His Son.  He no longer sees you as an enemy or an outsider.  He sees you as His child.  We are all His children.  We are all family.
The walls that we build that divide us are destroyed by Jesus Christ.
  • He does not see denominations – He sees Christians.
  • He does not see red and yellow, black and white or brown – He sees Christians.
  • He does not see men and women – He sees Christians.
  • He does not see Calvinists and Arminians – He sees Christians.
  • He does not see wealthy or poor – He sees Christians.
Rather than allowing our human differences to divide us, we must look to Jesus to unite us.  The world will know that we follow Jesus by our love for one another.
This is so vitally important in the wake of the tragic massacre in a Charleston, SC church last week.  Our brothers and sisters were gunned down in a despicable act of racism and hatred.  That gunman killed 9 of our family members.  It doesn’t matter what color they were.  It doesn’t matter the church to which they belonged.  It doesn’t matter what Bible they used.  It doesn’t matter what their views on the millennium were.  It doesn’t matter if they were rich or poor.  It doesn’t matter how they worshiped.  They were our family.  Whatever your color or gender or denomination or economic status or theological persuasion, if you have been made a child of God by His grace through faith in His Son, you are my family.  When you hurt my family, you hurt me.  When you hurt God’s family, you hurt God.  When you hurt Jesus’ family, you hurt Jesus.
Christians must stand together and make our voices heard.  We must work together to overcome the walls that have been built up that are meant to divide.  We must drive a wrecking ball through those walls in order that we might be one.  Then the world will know that we belong to Jesus and that He is alive in His church today.  For while we may build many walls to divide us, we have a Savior who wants to unite us as His family.
Galatians 3:23-29

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

12
Feb
15

Ignoring Those Who Bring Division

I am convinced that God hates division.  Look at verses 4-5:

They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind​… -​ 1 Timothy 6:4-5a (NIV)

Paul was talking about false teachers to Timothy.  Paul told the young preacher that there were certain things he must teach and preach that have been found throughout this letter.  Paul says to Timothy that those who stir up division “understand nothing” (verse 4).  What they don’t understand is that God is one.  Father, Son and Spirit are all one and there is no division in the Trinity.  Therefore, there should be no division among God’s people.
Jesus prayed for unity among all believers in John 17.  Yet there is so much division in the church.  There is division with regard to race and ethnicity, gender, age, doctrinal beliefs and teachings and socio-economic status.  How we need to be united in the love of Christ!  Yet there are preachers and teachers who seemingly insist upon division based on their teachings.  They will argue, fight and quibble over the meanings of words as they stir up division with little regard for Jesus’ plea and prayer for unity.  Paul says that they are “conceited” (verse 4).  In other words, they’re full of themselves and not full of Christ.
So be very careful about to whom you listen.  If the preacher or teacher on TV, radio or in the pulpit causing division, have nothing to do with him!  The true Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to love one another in spite of our differences and to work through them that we may be one in Him.
1 Timothy 6:2-5 (NIV)
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.



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