[CF Devotionals] 2010-08-20 - Divison in the Church

Part 2

Look with me at the words of Jesus Christ our Lord recorded in Mark 9:38-40.

Mark 9:38-40
  1. And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
  2. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
  3. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

The caption at the top of this page in one of my Bibles reads, "Jesus Forbids Sectarianism" If I may be allowed to retell this story in modern times...

John the elected spokesperson of the 1st Apostolic Church of twelve comes to Jesus whining. "Hey Jesus there's a guy who doesn't go to church with us. He's been doing some stuff in your name."

"Lord these people aren't one of us but they are doing works in your name"

"Jesus you better do something about them"

"Or tell us what you want us to do?"

"Maybe we should file a cease and desist order against them, Jesus. They don't go to our church so make them stop because they must be wrong"

Now notice very carefully here what Jesus says in v. 40 "Leave them alone. If they are not against me, they are for me."

If they believe in the Lordship and Deity of Christ leave them alone! If they believe Jesus died for their sins leave them, alone! I think we'll be surprised to see a lot of Baptists don't make it to heaven because church membership doesn't save you. If you think getting dunked in that pool back there saved you then, my friend, you are going to hell unless you realize that Christ alone cleanses you of sin. Some Baptists won't make it but I won't be surprised if in heaven we find there's some Methodists there, some Episcopalians, some Russian and Greek Orthodox, some Assembly of God, some Church of Christ, some Catholics, and some from the "Non-denominational" denomination. He who is not against the true message is for it. If they don't say that Jesus is not God but say that he is and that he came and died for us then they are for us not against us even if they're not in our little group.

Now we should lovingly correct them. But I thank God salvation has everything to do with His grace and mercy and nothing to do with my righteous deeds or right doctrine.

Let's look at three questions regarding division in the church. Why do we have division in the church? Why is this my problem? What do we do about it?

Why do we have division in the church?

The short answer is: because of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let's look at these in reverse order.

  1. The Ugly

    Let's start with the ugly - Satan. He may at times appear as an angel of light but he has an ugly black heart and wants to destroy us. He uses anything and everything he can to try to divide us. Many of us are afraid of change, we're afraid of anything that's different. After all we are "conservatives". Because we're afraid of change, Satan uses that fear to drive a wedge into the body of Christ. And what’s worse is that once he has it started, we take the hammer away and beat it into the body of Christ ourselves. We argue over which translation to use, what to wear, what music is appropriate, and so many other trivial silly things.

    I Corinthians 1:10-19
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
    5. I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
    6. Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
    7. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
    8. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
    9. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
    10. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

    In verse 10 Paul urges us to please get along. Paul asks us to lay aside our differences and find common ground. It's well and good to discuss the fine points with others but stick to core doctrine for what really matters. Salvation is by far the most important teaching of the church. If Paul wrote today to the church at Newnan, verse 12 might well read. "Are you of John Wesley? Of John Paul? Of John Smith?" In verse 13 Paul asks a rhetorical question. Is Christ divided? Duh NO! Jesus ain't divided so you get all of him or none of him. You have him or you don't. Jesus isn't divided so then his body isn't either. Paul adds, "I didn't die for you". No church leader died for you. Jesus did. Don't look at leaders but thru them to look at him. Then in verse 17 Paul says cunning words & eloquent thoughts don't matter simply the preaching of the cross. The message of the cross is this - Jesus the savior and son of God died for you and rose. Thinking you have to have all the right beliefs nullifies the work of the cross.

Satan may be ugly but we ourselves are bad.

Next time we will look at the bad. Until then...


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.