Friday, May 30, 2014

No Division

1Corinthians 1:10-13 - Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 

As I read these scriptures this morning I realized it was showing us what the Church should be. There are various denominations, but I think this points to not having them. It says we should not be divided. It's not about a religion, with man made doctrine or rules or rituals, but about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Paul is writing this and even he states it's not to be about him. It's about one Man, Jesus Christ. Denominations divide because of doctrine. Today we might say, I am of the Lutherans or I am of the Baptists or I am of the Catholics...or I am of Christ.

It's about the relationship between each of us and Christ, not what religion we are. Even as a new believer there was something stuck in my spirit about denominations, a thought that continues to come back to me today. I was raised Lutheran and then became nothing. When I received Christ and began attending church again, I was of a different denomination. I realized even then that at that church only certain men trained in a certain doctrine would be allowed to pastor there. But I had wondered once early on if there was someone better suited than those trained in that doctrine, wouldn't he be a better choice? Would our church allow it?

I never received an answer because the answer was, our church was this particular denomination. Can't stick a Baptist into a Pentecostal church just like you couldn't make a priest head of a Baptist church. Something would have to give.

But isn't the Church to be based on just the Word of God? Isn't Jesus alone the Word who became flesh? Isn't that what the scriptures above are saying, that we are not to follow Paul, Apollos or Cephas (Peter)? It is Christ we follow because it is His church...He is the foundation, not any man. I know many churches preach the truth of Jesus Christ so then why the denominations? These questions still go through my mind. I do not believe one denomination is the right one. It is Christ alone as what, or Who, is the right One. Not religion but that relationship.

Christ preaches one word, that of His own. He is the way, truth and life. No one else. The disciples were just disciples...of Jesus...not themselves. Seems the Corinthians were divided. It makes me believe they were listening more to their teacher than Who their teachers talked about. We can make the same mistake if we take the words of our preachers, pastors or priests and elevate them instead of Who they are to be teaching about. A church should be showing where we go to learn the truth...into His Word. Sit at His feet and learn...or just discuss His Word in church.

God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. He still desires that we speak the same thing, that we be perfectly joined together with the same mind in the same judgment. Yet we judge, sometimes righteously, sometimes not, that our church and its denomination is the best one. That should not be.

I am now in a nondenominational church. Our pastor preaches only from the Word. It is not about him.  If there are any divisions in the church they are discussed and worked out. We all, including our pastor, need to have teachable spirits. And because of this belief, he is willing to be wrong. We use no other book but the Word for our Bible studies or Sunday school. We do not preach another person's "gospel."

I'm so grateful that Jesus, not man, has all the right answers. Let me always have a teachable spirit, Lord.

2Corinthians 4:2-5 - But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 

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