No Divisions 1 Corinthians 1:10 NASB Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. On what are we all supposed to agree? On what are we to be united? “… until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13 NASB). We are to be united in faith in Jesus Christ, and on the truths of His Word, the gospel of our salvation, and on holiness, righteousness, and purity. We are to agree with God on these subjects, and if we are in agreement with God, we will agree with one another. But, this is not just intellectual unity. We are united together by faith in Jesus Christ, as His body, when we believe in Him with God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives. We are united together via death to sin and living to righteousness, via our love for the Lord, and our desire to please him in every way. And, together we agree to walk in purity, and in his righteousness, according to the Spirit within us, and to no longer live to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh. Thus, we agree on our need to mature in Christ and to grow in him and to become like Him in all that we are and in all that we do. We unite together in love with one purpose which is to glorify our Lord in all that we do, to serve him with our lives, to make him truly Lord of our lives, and to live lives which are separate from (unlike) the world and separate unto God, for his will and his purposes for our lives. What causes divisions among us? How can we avoid divisions? “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:1-4 NASB). We are divided as the body of Christ when we are divided from our Lord in love, in truth, in walks of faith, in purpose and in obedience. When we love the world of sin more than we love God, or in place of our love and passion for our Lord, then we are adulterous against our Lord. Thus, we are living in hostility towards him and have made ourselves his enemies. Thus, we are also enemies of his bride, his church, which is living in purity with Him. So many people today, within the gatherings of the church, especially among the leadership, are stressing unity, but it is more often than not, these days, unity with humans and humanistic philosophies and human business marketing schemes, and not true unity with the Lord, and with his holiness, his will and his purposes for our lives. So, we must be very discerning about this, for many people are being pressured into uniting with the ungodly and the worldly out of fear that if they don’t that they are disobeying God in some way, and that they will be tagged “disunifiers.” We agree with other believers in Jesus, which is his church, his body, only as they agree with God. We don’t unite ourselves with the ungodly or with the world, even if it is within the confines of the gatherings of the church. For, if we do, then we, too, are adulterous, and we have made ourselves enemies of God. So, we are not to be on friendly terms with the world of sin, with lust, sensuality, worldliness, ungodly passions and desires, etc. But, we are to unite with our Lord in his holiness, in his purity and in his righteousness. If we are to have the same mind and judgment, whose mind is that? “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:1-5 NASB). The same mind and judgment we are to have is that of Jesus Christ. We, who are in Christ via faith in him, have the mind of Christ, scripture says, because Christ is living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We have the Spirit of God living within us counseling, teaching, guiding, leading, urging, encouraging, comforting, and exhorting us, etc. So, if we are bathing our minds on the Word of God, and if we are listening to the Lord, and if we are following his lead, and his counsel, we should be like-minded with him, and thus we should also be like-minded with those who are also like-minded with Christ. Jesus Christ is our example for what this looks like, for he had/has the mind of God, because he is God, but also because he was in continual fellowship with the Father, in submission to him, and walking in obedience to him. And, we will also be like-minded with Christ when we do likewise. The same love, spirit and purpose we are to have is the same as that of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We learn what that is when we study the Word of God, when we fellowship daily with our Lord, when we walk in obedience to him, and when we forsake our sins and our idols in order to walk in his purity and righteousness. Jesus Christ loved us so much that he was willing to suffer injustice, persecution, false accusations, taunts, people trying to trap him, insults, mockery, betrayal, denial, abandonment, rejection, beatings and death on our behalf so that we could be delivered from slavery (addiction) to sin and so we could walk in his righteousness. And, we need to be willing to do likewise in order to see others be free from sin and walk in purity, too. Quarrels Among You 1 Corinthians 1:11-17 NASB 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? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. Some of the biggest causes of division within the church are quarrels over disputable differences, religious practices, and denominational doctrines and theologies. Most of these are probably intellectual arguments, some of which get repeated over and over and over again, and some get very heated. But, what this all really boils down to is that division is caused when Christians become followers of man (of humans) over and above or in place of being followers of Jesus Christ, and of His Word. They are following a religion instead of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Or, they are ensconced in a particular theology or philosophy, and they won’t let go of it, even if the Word of God so many times clearly proves them wrong. There are things we should hold fast to, no doubt, such as our faith in Jesus Christ and in His gospel, and we should not bend on the essentials. But, we should not ever get into heated arguments with other believers or to where we insult them, falsely accuse them, and to where we judge them by ourselves or by human standards, especially just because we disagree with them, and especially if they are not in disagreement with God and his Word. Or, in becoming followers of humans, division is caused within the church when professing Christians are actually led astray from their purity of devotion to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, when they are following a false gospel of men instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which He taught, and which his NT apostles taught. They buy into feel good messages which coddle them in their sins, and they end up rejecting the true gospel because it demands death to sin and living to righteousness. But, we can’t make the cross of Christ void in our lives just because it doesn’t fit with our lifestyles. We can’t make up our own gospel to fit how we want to live our lives. If we veer off course, and we begin following the gospel of men, instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we become adulterous in our relationships with Jesus Christ, we become hostile towards God and towards his word, and we make ourselves his enemies. So, we need to hold on to the truth, and we need to teach the truth, and live the truth, even if it costs us our reputations and friends, and even if we are despised, rejected, falsely accused and mistreated in return. We have to keep blessing and praising our Lord by being of the same mind and judgment as him, and by teaching his gospel so that others can know Christ in his fullness, too, and become mature in Christ. So, keep singing! 10,000 Reasons Matt Redman Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I'll worship Your Holy name The sun comes up It's a new day dawning It's time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass And whatever lies before me Let me be singing When the evening comes… Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 5:20 p.m. – Amen to this song! Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Help us, Lord, to remain faithful to you always, no matter what tomorrow brings. Amen!