Posted by: glorifyhim1 | October 11, 2009

Together in Christ

 

The world today is marked by disagreement and controversy – between nations, governments, political parties, religious groups, people groups, and countless other groups and passions. There are innumerable things to divide us as a people. In fact, Jesus Himself warned us that this would be one of the signs of the end of this age. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  (Matthew 7a,10).

 

While divisiveness and hatred are definitely evident in our world today, what concerns me most is the division among professing Christians – in churches, denominations, and among people who argue over allegiances and practices. This type of contention does nothing to win a lost world for Christ, nor to represent Him to people who do not know Him.

 

The apostle Paul also encountered division among believers in his day. The early Corinthian church was an example of this kind of division. In 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks to this church. “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.” (1 Corinthians 10) Paul asked the Corinthians to consider three questions.

 

  • Is Christ divided?

 

  • Was Paul (or Cephas, or Apollos) crucified for you?

 

  • Were you baptized in the name of Paul (or Cephas, or Apollos)?

 

The early Corinthians essentially aligned themselves either with Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or Christ. Instead of identifying themselves with Christ alone, they were aligning themselves with the teachers they were following or who had performed their baptisms. Paul’s questions, however, pointed out that regardless of the different teachers, there was one Christ. It was He who was crucified and it was in His name that the people were baptized.

 

That seems like such a simple lesson, but all these years later, just look at the divisions in the Christian church. Moderates, conservatives, liberals debate the teachings of Scriptures and parishioners align with one teacher over another. But I ask, “Is Christ divided?” Are we not all in this together? Just because we may disagree on methods or approaches, does not mean that we should build walls to separate or try to attack and tear down what the other is building? One of my beloved former pastors used to tell us to keep the main thing, the main thing. Isn’t Christ the main thing, and Him crucified for us?

 

What about those times when the division is not over nonessentials, but over the main thing? Jesus taught in the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) that both genuine and counterfeit believers would remain together until He returned. Yet judgment belongs to Christ, not us. “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:12-13)

 

Working together, serving one another in love, modeling Christ to a lost world – these are the actions that will make others want what we have. I have many good Christian friends from many different denominations and organizations who love the Lord with all their hearts, who want nothing more than to live their lives totally and completely for Him. It is a privilege and pleasure to work for Christ alongside such people. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) 

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