A Letter To The Church At Large
'For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.' 2 Tim 1:7
'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' Eph 6:12
'But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.' Luke 11:17
'I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.' 1 Tim 2:1-6
The Divided Body Part II
Love Or Fear
God is Love, and in Him there is no fear. All things were made by Him, and nothing that was made by Him could do Him harm or overcome Him. He came into the world so that through the Cross of Jesus Christ, He might win a way into the temple of your heart. Once enthroned as LORD over all your heart, mind and life, He will lead and guide you into all Truth.
Here is a saying that is trustworthy and true: God is Love, and in Him you have nothing to fear. As you abide in Jesus, and allow Him to abide in you, love will banish fear.
Fear is the foundation, or root, of many sins, and you must give it no room. This would include the fear of losing control of any given situation when God should be trusted instead, or the fear of being seen as frail as you really are; not leaning on and trusting in the power of His might. Perhaps you harbor a disliking for a group or individual because you fear their influence may harm you or the world around you. Fear can in this way motivate pretense, pride and stubbornness. Fear would blind even the heart of the wise. Where fear is borne, hatred, anger and bitterness are not too far behind. Even a small root of bitterness will steal your fire and deliver you to lukewarmness.
Fear is one of the chief tools of the 'Enemy.' As with the 'Enemy,' it is not wise to attempt to fight fear 'face to face,' but rather submit your fear to the Lord God Almighty. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."(1) 'Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.'(2) 'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.'(3) God is Love, perfect Love.
With the God of Love as your guide, you need fear nothing. If you know Him and He knows you,(4) as you walk in obedience, you realize that every place you stand is Holy ground, His possession. Let Him be the God of every situation, of every conversation, of every word, and every thought.(5) He is always with you: know this.(6)
Fear Not The Creation(7)
If Christ Jesus is God of your complete life, then you have given Him charge over each and every aspect of your life. Is it possible that any situation, person, or thing can enter into your consecrated life apart from the Perfect Will of God Almighty? Think and pray about this! He is the Potter.(8) You have placed yourself in His Hands as the clay! Can you see His Loving Hands moving in your life, creating circumstances that will apply pressure in the exact areas where you need growth the most?
Jesus is LORD of Lords:(9) He has all power over heaven and earth,(10) and though for a little while longer He allows the sinful to deviate from His Perfect Will, He holds utter sway over everything truly consecrated and entrusted to Him. You need not fear death, nor life, man nor beast, government nor evil principalities. There is no philosophy, teaching, revelation, belief or thought that can remove Jesus Christ from His heavenly throne.
As previously stated, fear can lead to anger, anger to hatred, and hatred to bitterness. These are not the fruits of a child of Jesus Christ. It is written: 'as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.'(11) Whatever you set your mind on will become a part of you. This is why brother Paul declared to you: 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.'(12) You know the Word, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'(13) and, 'greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world'(14) and again, 'If God be for us, who can be against us?'(15)
Share the breaking of bread and the cup of His suffering in remembrance of what He gave that you could be free from fear. Your loving Heavenly Father desires that you would walk in love.
The Divided Body
In our minds, we need to differentiate between people and the organizations they belong to. One of our weaknesses is the desire to catagorize everyone and everything. It seems to be in our nature to want to size up everything around us. In the world of 'things,' this is ok, but in the world of people, we must fight the temptation to label. Jesus died to provide a way for any sincere, repentant seeker to find Him. He further called you and me to go into all the world to meet needs,(16) to remove stumbling blocks, and as God enables us, prepare the hearts around us for the coming of the Lord.
Everyone who trusts in Jesus and calls upon His name is our brother or sister. Some are strong and well founded in the Lord and His Word; others are weak and needy. Some may be great blessings of joy and peace, while others may seem rough and grating. Some may make you feel good, others may make you uncomfortable. You may find some to be powerhouses of stimulating intellect, and feel that others only spout cliches and sound bites. There are as many personalities as there are brothers and sisters, but each is a person for whom Jesus shed His blood. We need to take care that we show proper respect for each of His possessions. In the end of all things, Jesus will separate the 'sheep from the goats.'(17) If any stones need to be thrown, Jesus, Who lived a perfectly sinless life, is the only One who has the right.(18)
It should be pointed out that misunderstanding a portion of scripture is not a sin. Sharing your perspective with others is not a sin. Getting angry with a brother or sister and treating them poorly because you believe they misunderstand certain passages of scripture, however, is a sin. To react by wildly flailing against what you call 'false doctrine' is to behave like the group of unrepentant, unbelieving Jews of Paul's day, who lifted their voices in rage and threw dust into the air because they were loyal to their tradition rather than truth.(19) We must pattern our behavior after Scriptural guidelines of meekness, rather than responding from our flesh and its emotional reactions.
This again goes back to a root of fear. We fear that those with a difference will mislead some, we fear losing control, and we may even fear that someone other than ourselves will be regarded as a dispenser of the gems of blessed truth. We get angry that people struggle, or even wrestle with truths that seem so clear to us.
Fear is sin, anger prompted by fear is sin, and actions that are motivated by fear and anger are sin. As long as these things have a place in our hearts, we have no room for true love. As we spread the Gospel, people respond to love. Our hearts and actions must be saying 'I love you, I care about you, and I want what is best for you.' This is our calling, our ministry.
God is patient, kind and full of mercy.(20) We must behave as Jesus would.
What if someone comes into your group with doctrines that you believe are questionable or wrong? How do you behave? Do you judge their heart motive to be evil and accordingly move against them swiftly and decisively in order to protect the young and the weak? Or do you seek to open discussion about the points at which you believe they deviate from Holy writ?
Remember that 'secret' or 'hidden'(21) things are the strength of the 'Enemy.' God's way is to bring everything out into the light, as in an open and frank discussion, with a heart full of the love of God.
We are not called to close our eyes to the wrongs all around us. We must still 'preach the word,' lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ as the only cure for a selfish and sin sick people. We must continue to correct the errors we see: to 'reprove, rebuke, and exhort' false teaching and preaching, whether it be found in the Christian or secular world 'with all longsuffering and doctrine.'(22) We must vigorously defend our faith and 'give an answer to every man' who would question our faith,(23) but our heart attitudes and purpose must be right.
We will never be God, but we must become 'an imitator'(24) of God. We must adopt His desires and His purposes. God's attitude is Love, and His desire is that 'all should come to repentance.'(25) We too, should only correct, rebuke and reprove with a sincere love for those we face. We must have a strong desire to see them leave their error and sin and return to the Loving arms of the God Who created them.
Pray that God will open your eyes to the part you may play in causing the fractures in the body of Christ Jesus, as well as what you can do to heal them. Do not be quick to say 'I see,'(26) but pray earnestly. He has provided you with everything you need to ensure your victory.(27)
'I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.' (28)
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The following is a list of the references used in the writing above. All scriptures are taken from the King James Version.
- James 4:7, Jude 1:9
- I Peter 5:6-10
- 1 John 4:18
- Galatians 4:9-11, Matthew 7:21-24
- II Corinthians 10:2-5
- Matthew 28:20
- Luke 12:4-5
- Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18:4-6
- I Timothy 6:14-15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16
- Matthew 28:18
- Proverbs 23:7
- Philippians 4:8
- Philippians 4:13
- I John 4:2-4
- Romans 8:31
- I Corinthians 9:19-23
- Matthew 25:32-34
- John 8:7
- Acts 21:26-22:23
- I Corinthians 13:4-7, Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7
- Definition of the word, 'occult' is: '1. Deliberately kept hidden: not revealed to others: secret' ( from Latin 'occultus': 'to cover up') p. 1560 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, unabridged. Copyright 1986
- II Timothy 4:2
- I Peter 3:15
- Ephesians 5:1, Strongs Dictionary: 3402 mimetes (mim-ay-tace'); from 3401; an imitator: KJV-- follower.
- II Peter 3:9
- John 9:41
- Romans 8:31-39
- Ephesians 4:1-15 The Complete Passage should be read! Excellent!