Divided Are We
As I look at this nation, it is divided, on so many levels. The nations around us are mocking us because of the division and the lack of unity. And this is as God has prescribed would happen if we wandered away from seeking after Him and obeying His laws.
One of the easiest ways to defeat a group of people is to separate them, to cut them off and then pick them off one at a time. Satan knows this. And he is not afraid to use this method to take us out of the Church. Christ gave a strong warning in Luke 11:14-23, quoting the last verse: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
The New Testament is filled with instruction and correction that warn us to not be divided but rather to be seeking ways to build each other up.
We find in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, that there was a schism in the Church because some people “followed” one minister, while others preferred another one, and then boasted about it. But Paul’s caution was that it was all one building that was being built. They were all doing different parts of the Work which GOD had ordained. Of course, Paul was referring to true ministers who acted in a way that was pleasing to God; he was not addressing false ministers or those who did not have or manifest the Philadelphia spirit. Continuing this theme in chapter 12, he goes on to say that when we complain about other members of the Body, because we disagree or don’t like something that someone else is doing, even though what they are doing is not against God’s Will, we are pursuing discord. Instead, we should not allow, or participate in, division and talking behind people’s backs. Paul states in verse 25: “… that there may be NO SCHISM [or DIVISION] in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”
God has placed members in the Body as He sees fit. This includes the ministry. And an even greater responsibility and a higher standard and stricter judgement are placed upon ordained ministers (James 3:1).
A minister has to be careful in using the gifts that God has granted him (Romans 12:3-8). We also teach that when men are ordained to a higher rank within the ministry, they receive more of a portion of the Holy Spirit to enable them to accomplish the task before them.
Of course, one always has to look at the fruits. We know that there have been many in the ministry who have not held on to the Truth and have led people astray, because these ministers and members were following a person and not God. This then also leads to the responsibility of ministers and members to be diligently studying, praying and remaining close to God.
One of the Scriptures that makes the hair on my arms rise is Matthew 24:10-12: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” This is talking about those who are in the Body of Christ.
Let’s think about what offends us. Deception at this time is prophesied to become stronger and stronger. The only way we will be able to see clearly is to continually anoint our eyes with eye salve (Revelation 3:17-19). It is easy to get offended. It is easy to get sidetracked. It is easy to get off on pet peeves or things that we think the ministry should or should not say. But when we start passing such judgement, we think we know better and act against the Will of God.
If we find issues with the ministry (or with anyone for that matter), we are to try to get clarification if it bothers us that much. And we must do so with a humble non-judgmental attitude and a willingness to learn. Yet so many times it is easier to point fingers, play the blame game, or talk to others instead of going straight to the source. And what is to gain? Often times it has been the experience of the ministry that when being approached, one’s mind has already been made up and there is no talking, but rather accusation and fault finding (2 Timothy 3:1-8). Notice when this Scripture really comes into play: It refers to “…the last days”. We should pay particular note and attention to what has been written. We should take some time and meditate and we should make sure our hearts and our minds are NOT embracing any of these ways. We should perhaps also read a couple of different translations and notice the words that are used. Do any of those attitudes or ways apply to us? So much is said about not allowing our hearts to become hardened. Hebrews 3 shows us that the possibility to do so is VERY real. Rather than allowing this to happen, we are told to “exhort one another DAILY” (verse 13). Exhort means to “strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something.”
We find that the words of a friend can be useful (Proverbs 27:5-6) and needed. We are told that through honest communication, we can become stronger (Proverbs 27:17). We have to be of a different mindset than that of this world. Colossians 3:12-15 says: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Hebrews 10:23 encourages us to “hold fast.” We are to consider each other, NOT to stir up deception, arguments, anger, hate, resentment, fear, loathing. But rather, “to stir up LOVE and GOOD WORKS, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” This includes assembling in person, whenever possible, on the weekly Sabbaths and the annual Holy Days.
The ministry of the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates are asking you for your continued prayers that we may effectively continue to do the Work of preaching the Gospel and to continue watching and warning the world as we are commissioned to do (Romans 15:30-33; 2 Corinthians 1:10-11; Ephesians 6:19-20; Philippians 1:19-20; Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Philemon 22). And we in turn definitely keep you all in mind in our prayers, especially when we hear of problems and issues that arise.
We are all in this together until the return of Christ, and we must stick together, where God placed us, and uphold the Truth as given to us by our Savior Jesus Christ.