CAUSING DIVISIONS

by Kevin Rutherford

 

It is easy for one to look at the condition of the Lordís church (the church of Christ) and become discouraged by the division that exists within that church. We fully understand that God wants His church to be united (1 Corinthians 1:10).†† But, we also understand that God wants His church to be united upon the solid foundation of truth (John 17:17-21).Unfortunately there are plenty of men who have forsaken the truth.Many of these who have forsaken the truth have caused divisions in the Lordís church by their error.This is nothing new.Division plagued the church of the first century as well.Jude wrote a short, inspired letter to the church in the first century.In this letter Jude shows us how to deal with division.

First of all, we should remember that it is peace, and love that we want to see in the church (Jude 2).We want to have peace with our fellow Christians as much as is possible without compromising the truth (Romans 12:18).Peace, unity, love, and fellowship should be our desire (Romans 14:19).However, we need to recognize the fact that divisions will occur at times in order to separate the faithful from the unfaithful (1 Corinthians 11:19).We must always make sure we have peace, love, and unity among the faithful when division occurs even if we cannot have peace and unity with those in error.

The second thing to remember when dealing with those who cause division in the Lordís church is, that we must ďcontend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).ĒThe faith is that body of faith which makes up our standard of authority.It is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16).We are going to have to study our Bible and know the truth if we are going to stand against those who divide the church with their error (1 John 4:1).We are going to have to be like the people in the city of Berea who examined the scriptures in order to determine the truthfulness of Paulís preaching (Acts 17:11).When we do recognize error, we must make sure that we oppose that error.

Another thing we must do when the church is facing division is build ourselves up in the faith (Jude 20, 21).One way to build up our faith is through prayer.We must never forget to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).Never underestimate the power of prayer (James 5:16).When would there be a better time to bend the knee in prayer to God than when the church is facing divisions caused by false teachers?God will bless the prayerful with wisdom and patience (James 1:5; Philippians 4:6, 7).

A fourth thing to remember in times of turmoil within the church is to try and save some from error (Jude 22, 23).Not all who go into error can be convinced to repent.However, we can present the truth before them, plead with them, and then leave it with them to make their decision.

Division exists within the Lordís church in this country.It exists because men have made laws where God has not.Division exists because men have looked for ways around the laws which God has made.Satan loves division.He will use it to discourage the faithful if he can.Donít let him pull you away from the truth.Always, ď... contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).Ē