Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
It seems like it would be easier to meditate on the Word of God if we disappeared into a quiet corner and stayed there, like a monk for the rest of our lives – but being “high minded” or being “intellectual” about the theology of Christ is not our goal. Our goal is to live a life of love and service unto one another.
And if everyone was perfect and had no faults, this would be an easy task and calling, but unfortunately, we are not surrounded by perfect people like Christ while we are still in this world. We are called to accept and love other Christians in spite of their faults, to find unity and to grow together in Christ.
It is sad to look at divisions and dissention within the world that calls buildings and denominations the church. Do we not know that the Lord does not dwell in temples made by the hands of men, but that He dwells in the bodies of the believers? Do we not know that those who follow their sinful nature of division and dissention will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
We who are the church are to stand upon what the Word of God says and not add to or subtract from what it says. In those areas where it gives clear instruction, we are supposed to give clear instruction and not take away from it. In those areas where it gives little instruction, we are not to add our own opinions to it.
I look at the warnings about not being a teacher, and I see that it is because if we are sharing the Word of God as it stands, we are a messenger of His Word. If we are sharing our testimony, we are a messenger of this Good News of the gospel of Christ. If this is what we are doing and no more or no less, we are a faithful student of the Word of God, a messenger, and a student. We are one who weighs with just scales the words of others against the Word of God and handles rightly the Word of God.
But when we add to it, when we create our own teachings to explain the things that are not explained explicitly by the Word of God, we become teachers. We have now stepped outside being a messenger and a student/disciple of the Word of God, and we have declared ourselves a teacher. And these different teachings (doctrines) that are in addition to the Word of God create division and dissention, not unity.
The warnings are rampant about teaching, but can you find a warning about being a messenger? The warnings are rampant about becoming loyal to men and accepting titles and honors amongst men and serving a master other than the Lord, but can you find a warning about standing in unity on what the Word of God says and nothing more and nothing less?
I look at the wise teachers in the book of Job and they are all reproved when God demonstrates how little they truly know of His ways. Doesn’t He tell us that His ways are higher than our own? Are we so afraid of admitting that we don’t have all the answers that we have to stand blindly upon a man made structure that we have built out of the sticks and mud of our own opinions or the interpretations of others – instead of standing firm on what is clear and leaving room to step out in faith, trust the Lord, and learn through faith and discipline?
Will not all of this denominational foolishness be burned away like chaff to reveal only what is faithful and true – the one Lord, one faith, one baptism that is shared by His believers who do not participate in dead religious practice, but who are alive in Christ.
My words are not meant to provoke you, friend. But if you are a friend of Christ, can you say that you long for division and dissention between the members of the church? If you are a friend of Christ, can you say that you stand firm on the Word of God, having neither added to or subtracted from the Word of God in your teaching others?
Yes, this is a difficult topic as we live in a world divided by the doctrines of men and the work of dark forces who take up strongholds within the hearts of men seeking honor and power and glory and titles for themselves. There are many hired hands in religious circles who look to be fattened by the people while they let the flock starve. Who speak words often and loudly, but who do little of action to lend a hand to others.
We need to examine ourselves, friends, and stand on the firm foundation. We need to build with the materials given, which will withstand the refining fires. We need to be more of a messenger of the Word of God and less of a teacher of our own opinion. Or, we need to not be surprised by the consequences of our actions.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Where is our fear?