Friday, December 21, 2012

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Unity... the Devil is a Divider

In a recent discussion with a very bright man about a book written by a minister I know well in reputation as a divider of the brethren, I made the comment that his constant lambasting of every "heresy" he sees is not only over the top, but ungodly.  He is one of those heresy hunters that lurk on the fringes of Christianity who's only demonically driven purpose is to cause people to waver in faith and reject the fellowship of the saints for reasons conceived in hell. They are the devil's agents to divide and conquer. 

I know that those who are so intent on correcting others using Bible bullets and private interpretation of the word of God as a wedge believe they are doing the will of God.  Not really.  They are tools of the enemy.  Using intellect, reason and education to try to cast doubt where none existed before.

Disunity began at the tower of Babel when all those who at one time spoke one language, suddenly could not communicate.  It was God's purpose to stop a man worshipping spirit.  At Pentecost, suddenly man began to speak the oracles of God... in a language only understood in the Spirit of Unity.  A reversal of the babel experience.  Unity in the Holy Ghost became a reality.  Worship of the True and living God by the indwelling of the Spirit in UNITY 

When I hear or read someone who is hypercritical of other people's theology, I become impatient and question where that attitude came from.  I can give you many examples from scripture, Jesus telling the disciples that he who is not against us is with us.  Jesus telling the disciples not to call down fire on a town because they know not what spirit they are.  Paul admonishing the Corinthans that in all things LOVE must manifest first or it's nothing.

I'll bet with 5 minutes of thinking you could come up with a dozen more.  Here is the truth, if you believe Jesus is true God, Rose from the dead, Full propitiation for all our sins and rules and reights today then we are brothers and sisters.  I have no division with you.  EVEN if you are hyper Bible, wear a robe, pray rote prayers, offer communion 8 times a day.  I am an Apostle's creed guy. 

That includes a pretty wide spectrum of the body of Christ.  All of it...if it is the body.  Yes there are some that are very on the edge that I can't quite include... the Witnesses, the Mormons.  Yet... God treats them as He treated Cornelius.  They are sincere waiting for Peter to show up and offer them a better way.  Whenever I am visited by any one of them, I see myself in that role.

I have learned of this acceptance from Apostle John Eckhardt who has gone into places that I might not go.  He is a brave man.  No, he wouldn't allow just anyone to share his pulpit, but he does go to minister to people who are at the edge.

The division many in the scholarly evangelical and some denominational environments have outworn their usefulness.  It time to exorcise the demon of division from among us.  We must have truth with out the reason and intellectualism that becomes a stumbling block for many, even those outside the Body of Christ.  We must be a stepping stone and in that we can bring people to the cross and Christ crucified.   Read what Francis Franigipane says of all this.  He says it better than I did.  This was strong in my spirit this morning and I know I was to share what I heard.


The following is written by Francis Franigipane :    Reexamining Our Disunity 

I appreciate and defend the origins of our many denominations.  Most were born as godly men fought against the sin and spiritual apostasy of their times.  Their heroic stand preserved (or in some cases, restored) the truth of God in an otherwise dark world.  From my heart, I thank God for our denominational heritage.

Today, however, the need to remain divided from other evangelical congregations is unjustified.  We can remain unique churches with unique callings and people, yet be united spiritually, and even functionally, with other congregations in our communities.

Knowing Christ has called for unity in His church, many leaders today are reexamining the legitimacy of division in the church.   Today's heroes are not separating from other churches, they are working to restore the church to its one foundation and build unity upon Christ alone.

Yet, our traditions of division have taken on the garments of orthodoxy; they appear biblical, but they are not. The various divisions in the history of the church were stages in restoration meant to preserve truth, not isolate it.

Is Christ Divided?
Every true Christian believes the Bible is God's sacred, eternal word.  Indeed, heaven and earth will pass away, but God's word will endure forever.  What was relative and powerful in the first century ought to be just as powerful today. Listen, therefore, to what Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:
    "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, 'I am of Paul,' and 'I of Apollos,' and 'I of Cephas,' and 'I of Christ.' Has Christ been divided?" (1 Cor 1:10-13a).

How strange that we smugly look upon the divisions in the Corinthian church.  We boldly criticize their carnality.  But why was it wrong in the first century to say "I am of Paul (or Apollos)," but permissible in these last days to say, "I am of Luther or Wesley or of the Baptists or Pentecostals"?

Again, please remember, I am not suggesting we should strive for unity with churches that do not believe in Christ, or God's word, or the Holy Spirit, or the virgin birth, or the second coming.  However, I am saying that, within the sphere of the born again, living church of Jesus Christ, divisions are unbiblical and wrong.  The apostle later continued, "For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" (I Cor 3:3)

The credibility of the church is that we are not "mere men," creatures born of women without spiritual vision or destiny.  We have been born again of one Spirit from above.  Within our spirits is the actual spiritual substance of Christ Himself.
    "Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (I Cor 3:16)  We are the temple of God.  Our churches, like the stones of the temple, are to be laid side-by-side, building us together ". . . into a dwelling of God in the Spirit" (Eph 2:22).

Paul went on to issue a warning which every Christian should heed. He said,  "If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy..." (I Cor 3:17).

We have attempted to use this verse to condemn such things as cigarette smoking and sexual vices and, on an individual basis, there are obvious consequences to these sins.  However, Paul is speaking here of more than the sins of excess and immoral pleasure.  The apostle is warning against allowing division in the temple of God, the church.  He says, "if any man destroys the temple" (through jealousy and strife), "God will destroy him."  The context is plainly speaking in regard to divisions in the church! 

When pure Christianity degenerates into divided camps of ambitious people, it literally destroys the harmony, power and blessing of the "temple of God."  The individual who brings or supports such carnal divisions in the church has positioned himself in a very dangerous place before God.  The temple of God is holy.  Our unity together is holy.  Our love for one another is holy, for the Father Himself dwells in the resting place of caring attitudes and loving relationships. Collectively, we are the dwelling place of God on earth.

The warning is severe:
    "If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him."
The Living God is a God of order; He will not dwell in ruins!  Because He is a God of love, He will work with us to rebuild, but He will not sanction our fallen condition with power.  He will not lend His credibility to our disorder.

How Does Disunity Affect You?
When Nehemiah, living among the Jewish exiles, heard of the condition of Jerusalem and its temple, he "sat down and wept and mourned for days."  The fallen condition of the temple thrust him into an extended position of "fasting and praying before the God of heaven" (Neh 1:4).  The modern Jews also weep as they face the Wailing Wall, lamenting over the ruins of their temple. Paul mourned when he saw the ruined condition in Corinth.  He said, "For I am afraid...that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned" (II Cor 12:20-21). And Jesus Himself wept over the divisions of Jerusalem, lamenting, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling" (Matt 23:37).

This mourning concerning the disunified condition of the Father's house ought to be in our hearts as well.  Yet, for most of us, not only have we failed to mourn our situation, we have not even grasped that our disunity, jealousy and strife is a fallen state!  How far we have fallen and how little we know it!

While the redemption of man was always motivating Jesus, remember, His most ardent desire was His zeal for His Father's house; He was "consumed" with it (Jn 2:17).  Building the house of God, the born-again, praying, loving, citywide church is still Christ's highest priority. The world is His harvest, the church is His bride. His love for the church was the basis of His last recorded prayer: that we would be one (Jn 17:20-23). It is still His highest passion today. For, until we are united in Him, the world will not believe that God has sent Him (17:21,23).

Privileged To Become Christlike
There were many reasons why Jerusalem fell to Babylon during Jeremiah's day, but underlying them all was the spiritual apostasy of the religious leaders. God Himself would have defended a humble, praying city, but in Jerusalem the spiritual leaders were corrupt. Listen, therefore, to Jeremiah's fearful revelation:
"The adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem" because of "the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests" (see Lam 4:12-13).

Do we see this?  Israel's enemies entered Jerusalem because the spiritual leaders were unrepentantly full of sin.  Oh God, help us to see and accept that the future of our cities exists in the corporate relationship the spiritual leaders have with You and one another.  Jesus said that any city, any house "divided against itself" cannot stand (Mat 12:25). The place of spiritual protection of a community has its origins in the quality of life that exists in the spiritual leadership of that community: a vibrant, praying united church will move that city toward the blessing of God; a divided, sinful leadership will allow the adversary to enter the city's gates.

The path narrows for leadership, until our only privilege is to become Christlike in everything.  However,  Christlike leadership in the church can transform the world around it!  You see, our cities are in disorder because the church is in disorder.  James tells us that where there is jealousy and strife, "there is disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16).

Our selfish ambitions have taken our eyes off the will and purposes of God for our cities.  We have become jealous of one another.  Consequently, the "disorder," lawlessness and "every evil thing" we see in our society are, at least in part, rooted in the soil of a misdirected and distracted church community.

Because of this the church has lost a measure of its credibility.  How can we expect the world to hear our message of love when we, as Christ's body, fail to love each other? We have no right to condemn the world for its pride and arrogance when we, the body of Christ, still refuse to humble ourselves and work with the other churches in our neighborhoods.  Over the years the world has seen many incredible ministries. However, the time of the "incredible" has passed; the hour for the credible is being established. 


The Good Tale said...

The woman of Rev 12 is now here. She is not a church, she is not Israel, and she is not Mary. She is the prophet like unto Moses and Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17 delivering the true word John 1:1 from the wilderness Rev 12:6 to prepare a people for the Lord’s return. God our Father will not put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Turn your heart to the children of God. A gift is now delivered to the whole world as a witness Matt 24:14. A righteous judge gathers ALL evidence before making a judgment. If you are called to know the true word - Prove all things.

Fallout said...

Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.