The Church is divided. On any one verse, doctrine, or command that Christ gave us there are hundreds of different viewpoints on that subject – all from people that say they are Christians and that think they are walking the Christian faith. In his book the “World Christian Encyclopedia”, published in 2001, David Barrett identified 33,830 different Christian denominations worldwide. Folks, God doesn’t have 33,830 different ways for us to get to Heaven. He hasn’t taught us 33,830 theologies that are different in some way from each other. Something is wrong. Dreadfully wrong. What is it?
Romans 12:16 “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
Philippians 2:2 “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”
We are commanded in all three passages to believe alike. Yet as we saw above it is one of the most disobeyed commands that Christ has given us. Why?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
Why is the Church divided? Because it is following this man’s teachings or that man’s teachings and saying “I’m a Lutheran”, “I’m a Baptist”, “I’m a Mennonite”, “I’m a Calvinist”, “I’m a Methodist”, “I’m a 21st century Anabaptist.” Why are we following the teachings of men? Luther didn’t die for us. We weren’t baptized in the name of Menno Simons. Christ is not two different things at once! There is only one truth!
If this is the case, then why do we tend to become followers of certain people or theological mindsets, and not just follow Christ whole-heartedly?
1 Corinthians 3:3-7 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
This gives us the key – it is because of carnality. A carnal person follows the person(s) that seem to him to have the correct theology – Jacob Amman, John Calvin, the “Early Anabaptists”, the preacher on the radio, the “Dr. Rev. So-and-So” at the local Church, or whoever.
1 Corinthians 3:1-2 says And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
A carnal Christian cannot understand the real meat of what God has to show us. He can only handle the milk of the word. Because he can only understand a little of what God is saying and he doesn’t know how to hear God speak, it leads to division. The devil just loves this. Division is one of his best tools.
Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
This passage shows us why the Church as a whole is in such a deteriorated state. What this carnal person thinks is correct “theology” may be totally different from what another carnal person thinks. This can lead to splits and is the reason why we have tens of thousands of differing groups of professing Christians world-wide.
We can also see in the above 1 Corinthians 3:3-7 passage that there are people that God has to help others down the narrow road – “preachers and teachers”. This is very important. We are to exhort each other.
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Striving together to follow Christ is a big part in becoming as one. None of us are perfect. We need one-another’s encouragement and exhortation. We just don’t want to get caught up in following another human rather then Christ.
So, we want to follow Christ, how do we do that?
John 14:21-24 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
We must keep Christ’s commands that He has given us to follow. If we say we love Christ but don’t do what He has told us to do then in reality we don’t truly love Him. Call it legalism or whatever you like, but God said it – not me.
Friend, are you fully, 100% committed to Christ? Is following Him and keeping His commandments the goal of your life? Do you want to do whatever He tells you to do, whatever the cost, and no matter what the world, the local church, friends, or family might think?
Philippians 3:13-15 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
This is the missing key to having unity of the Church. If our goal is to live for Christ, we really want to serve Him and keep His commands, and if He is the only one we are following, Christ will show us if we are not following him in some area. He says so. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to lead us in the way to go. But it is up to us to follow.
I want leave you with a thought – what if all the professing Christians in your town, in your state, in your country, and in the whole world believed the same thing, and were focused on serving and following Christ together? Can you imagine what the church would be like, and the witness it would be? Brothers and sisters, let’s press toward the mark together. Let’s pray that we may be united in belief, in love for one another, and that together we may all be “of one mind.”