Tag Archives: division

Three Issues with the Church

 

stained glass 3

Consider yourself warned

“God never promised to save by miracles those that would not save themselves by means.”

This statement from the commentary of Matthew Henry set off an alarm inside my mind this morning. My third day of studying the book of Jude and I didn’t make it two verses without a “Wow!”

Verses 10-11

But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Yesterday’s blog was on strife in the church due to debating the sin of homosexuality. The sin was as much in the debate as the act, for it took the message away from the life and death of Jesus Christ and put it onto the depravity of man, which is why Jesus came – to save them.  A debate is only healthy so long as it points back to the cross and not on to the opinions of man which is where we go astray. There are always two sides to a debate, and if a public forum is taken you never know how many people you’ve allowed to be swayed by the other argument. That thought just ran a shiver down my spine, because there is always much debate.

But in verses 10-11 Jude reminds them of three Old Testament acts of treason in the church:

  1. Cain’s jealousy.
  2. Balaam’s greed
  3. Korah’s (Core’s) false teaching.

There are always those who think their way is better than God’s way, but when the matter is searched out there is always an underlying reason, a reward that they believe will be greater than the grace of God. For Cain, his Brother Abel’s obedience with an acceptable sacrifice made him look bad, so “Let’s just get rid of the brother, then I’ll be the favorite…problem solved.” No, the problems had only begun. Now Cain was exiled from family and friends. Judgment came, it always does. There’s always an easier sacrifice in the church, but never a better one than the one God requested.

Balaam’s greed caused him to go against God’s original Word. God’s first answer is His final answer. We need not take the same question back to the Lord when it was answered the first time in hopes of a different answer; nor do we need to “check it out” a little further. What that does is put you closer to rebellion and further away from God. Something King David noted of his own life in Psalm 73:1-3 ~ Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Korah’s rebellion against God in trying to attract Israel away from the leadership of Moses left him being swallowed up in death by the ground. God takes serious those who He has put into positions of authority. He has given them the anointed ability to lead His people and a rebellion against that will be costly.

Those are three very real issues in the church today in the spoiled nation of America. We want God’s blessing but without sacrifice. We want God’s advice, so long as it’s beneficial and we want church leaders, so long as they don’t actually have expectations that we should live right. Whew! That’ll preach! and Preachers, if you’re inclined to use it in your sermon this morning feel free to blame me. But I figure if you’re gutsy enough to preach it, you’ve got shoulders broad enough to bear the load of your congregations.

It appears that Jude was quite the meddler in church affairs, but he learned from the best – his Brother and Lord! God’s given us the Word, it’s up to us to follow it through.

They Know Who You Are

In the book of Romans, Chapter 16 there is Paul’s version of a Church Banquet, although there may or may not have been food involved; but he has a roll call of saints who have been used by God to bless Paul and the church of God. He mentions several men and women who were key players in his ministry, some seasoned saints and other new converts; and then in the middle of dinner he lays out a warning of the unnamed un-servers. I know, it’s not a word, but it’s certainly an idea.

Romans 16:16-20 ~ Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

And then he goes back to the roll call in verse 21. So why put a damper on the commendation service? Because it’s reality. In most every church there is a great work going on. There are saints of God who are dedicated to the service of Christ and seeing souls saved, they love serving God and have no desire to be caught up in the middle of church drama, but it can happen. And it’s detrimental to Kingdom. That is why Paul’s lays the charge to his people. He wants to protect them from what he’s experienced again and again as he traveled.

Mark them, avoid them, know them. Because they’ve done as much to you. Paul said that their obedience is come abroad unto all men. Meaning their reputation had proceeded them, and he was glad for it. But evil doesn’t change, it’s pretty simple actually. Thousands of years and Satan’s plan hasn’t changed, divide and conquer. It worked with Adam and Eve and it still works in the church today. If he can but twist the word of God “just a little,” not enough to hardly be noticed he can set an entire congregation at odds with one another. And there’s always weaker (simple) vessels ready and willing to fall for Satan’s lies. They’ve not studied the word of God and they’re apt to take it out of context. Although scripture makes a great Twitter post, it’s not been to be a sound bite. 2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Satan knows the key players in any church and it’s there he launches the attack. Christians aren’t the only church planters. Satan sows his seeds as well. In Proverbs 6 among the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord is he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:19. Old Testament or New, it hasn’t changed.

Stand guard Christian soldier, because if you’re serving God you’re in the cross hairs of Satan. Put on your armor this morning.

Ephesians 6:13-16 ~  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;