1 Corinthians 3:1-4 – “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?” NKJV
I do not desire to offend, but many if not most of us have known, been a part of, or encountered Christian groups who truly believe they are the “Select of the Elect”. If you do not align your beliefs with theirs they deem you either not saved or 2nd class citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Too often, groups will put particular identifiers in their declaration of who they are. We call ourselves “full gospel” as though we had a corner on the gospel and as mere mortals could somehow capture the fullness of the gospel. We call ourselves “holiness” and if I am not mistaken, the Bible calls for everyone to “Be Holy for He is Holy”. We call ourselves “Missionary, Primitive, Southern, Reformed, etc.” or some other descriptor in our name as a badge of honor. We call ourselves “The Church of…” whatever as though we are the ONLY ones who are. I realize that I’m treading on thin ice now but consider what Paul said to the Church at Corinth on this matter.
Paul told the listeners that he could not come to them with a spiritual diet because of their carnality. He went on to inform them that their carnality was directly connected to sectarianism. Our divisions, fighting over petty doctrines of men causes more harm than good in the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is not meat or drink and God shows no partiality nor does He have favorites. The strife and divisions where one says, “I’m Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Charismatic, Holiness, Pentecostal, etc.” usually provide more basis for division than unity in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I fully believe that on matters essential to salvation and the reality of God the Bible is clear. On many of the dividing matters, we tend to fight over and divide over are significantly unimportant to the overall objective of the Kingdom of God. I am sure some will disagree. For the most part, the identifiers in our names are to attract those who agree with us more than they are designed to advance the Kingdom of God and reach the world.
We are to be the Body of Christ not isolated unrelated parts. Can you imagine a human body trying to function where the feet said to the hands, “If you want that glass of water, then you find a way to the table…” Imagine the heart saying to the lungs, “If you want blood pump it yourself…” or vice versa the lungs telling the heart, “If you want oxygen learn to breathe…” NO! Each member of the human body is dependent upon and works in harmony with the other members of the body. All the members do not look the same, they do not function the same, they do not have the same individual objectives and if they could express ideology as to what is most important I am quite sure they would give us very differing opinions.
We must stand against the wiles of the devil. The enemy who desires to divide us and thereby conquer us or hinder our progress. If we do great exploits as isolated individual groups consider how much more could we do if we lost the sectarianism. How much more impactful would we be if we labored in the Harvest as a unit with a common objective of Proclaiming the Good News to the Entire World! Of course, the various groups have a benefit. They provide a means of fellowshipping with people who think alike and have the same primary objectives religiously or spiritually. That is not all bad but when we allow it to divide and cause division, strife, envy, and bickering it is. All I am saying is rather than view ourselves as THE let’s consider ourselves as A. We are not THE CHURCH we are part of THE CHURCH! The Church belongs to Him and we are living stones within that building He is assembling.
God bless you as you go through this day!