Temple Baptist Church - 4-13-2011
A. The Pastor’s Nightmare! What recurring dream do you have that leaves you thanking God when you wake up and find that it is not real? Every has had one of those dreams? I remember, as a little boy, having a recurring dream that would awaken me screaming and crying. Mom would take me into the bathroom and wash my face. Then she would have me say my ABC’s to make sure that I was awake before letting me go back to bed. I could never quite remember what the dream was after I woke up. It finally went away when, after one of these screaming in the night episodes, I went back to bed and tried to dream it again. I guess that it went away because I faced my fear.
B. Now, as a pastor, I have another too often occurring nightmare: people in the church getting offended, mad at each other, leaving over petty differences, etc. I preach much on the subject of division within the church. In Genesis, Satan divided Eve from Adam in his deception concerning the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Sin did the rest as it separated Adam and Eve from the Lord who walked in the Garden with them. Satan has pulled out all of the “stops” in his unending efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the local church. The pastor’s nightmare is division! We must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices and one of his best is division.
C. There are many Baptist churches that are without a pastor with some of them having actually “run the pastor off.” Many churches have been hurt or rendered ineffective because of division or good people leaving the church.
1. Sometimes, wicked people get into the church and divide it.
2. More often, saved people get their priorities wrong and strive, one with another.
a) Through Carnality
b) Through Biblical Ignorance
c) Through Willful Immaturity
d) Through Satanic Influence
D. I have preached and will continue to preach against division within the local church body. It is imperative that we remain united and strong as the work of the Lord is of the utmost importance. This type of preaching is not a new thing nor can it be a sporadic one. It must be preached often with a no-nonsense approach. Look in Acts 20:28-31 with me.
Acts 20:28-31 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
E. The most important unit on the face of the earth (other than the family) is the local church. Satan hates the local Church!
F. Division causes much damage to the local church:
1. Division Destroys The Fellowship Of The Church. (People sit on the pews of the church with malice and unforgiveness in their hearts. They are Achans!)
2. Division Destroys The Commission Of The Church. (Missions has been damaged because of gaining a family and then loosing a family through spiritual nonsense!)
3. Division Destroys The Testimony Of The Church. (Church fights and splits have been detrimental to the prosperity of the church, both physically and financially.)
4. Division Destroys The Posterity Of The Church. (Children both see and hear the ungodliness of the parents. It affects their spirituality and, eventually, they are lost.)
5. Division Destroys The Worship Of The Church. (God and His Holy Spirit are grieved with this division and worship is neither holy nor acceptable.)
6. Division Destroys The Evangelism Of The Church. (Instead of keeping our eyes upon the harvest and doing all that we can to win souls, our time is spent in bitterness and souls are lost.)
7. Division Hinders The Prayers Of The Saints. (Malice and unforgiveness are sins and when we regard iniquity in our hearts, our prayers go unheard.)
G. Division damages the individual believer. Let’s look at what division will do to you personally.
1. Satanic Division Will Divide You From The Lord’s Pulpit - God’s Message - Satan will tell you that the preaching is opinionated! A man left the church years ago because he was tired of “independent Baptist mentality!” His problem was that he was not right with the Lord and still isn’t.
a) You Will Not Heed To God’s Message - Hebrews 5:11-12 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Zechariah 7:11-12 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
b) You Will Not Hear God’s Man - Ezekiel 33:30-33 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,)then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
2. Satanic Division Will Divide You From The Lord’s Place – God’s House - Satan will tell you that you can worship the Lord at home or wherever you are! God has both ordained and ordered worship in His house on a regular basis.
a) It Will Rob Your Joy - Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Psalms 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
b) It Will Bring You Judgment - Hebrews 10:25-27 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (You will disobey this direct command and blame others for your disobedience! Satan does not want you at church. He wants you isolated!)
3. Satanic Division Will Divide You From The Lord’s Pastor – Your Friend - Satan will tell you that people are following a man and not the Lord! The Lord has commanded that you follow His man.
a) You Will Forsake God’s Man - 1 Corinthians 4:16-21 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
b) You Will Withstand God’s Man - 2 Timothy 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: 15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
c) You Will Speak Evil Of God’s Man - 3 John 9-10 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
4. Satanic Division Will Divide You From The Lord’s People – Your Brethren - Satan has efficiently divided one believer from the other. The Bible teaches us to love one another. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
a) Divided Because Of Opinions - Acts 15:37-39 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.
b) Divided Because Of Offenses - Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
5. Satanic Division Will Divide You From The Lord’s Purpose – God’s Harvest - Satanic division has efficiently divided one church from the other. Satanic division has efficiently confused the purpose of the church. The definition for confusion is to be ashamed, to be disconcerted, or to delay. Where Satan cannot stop the Lord or take the eternal life of the saint, he simply tries to divide and delay. I believe in the autonomy of the local church, but Satan has turned one against another and divided our fellowship. Tanker trucks use baffles to confuse the forward motion of the liquid that they carry in order to more easily control the trucks and help with braking. Satan has baffled the churches to confuse their forward motion and bring them to a grinding halt!
a) Division Brings Reproach To The Name Of Christ - 1 Corinthians 1:10 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.
b) Division Brings Devastation To The Local Church - Matthew 12:25-26 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
c) Division Brings Confusion To The Cause Of Christ - 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
d) Division Brings About A Shortage Of Workers In The Harvest - John 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
HOW DIVISION COMES
1. Division Comes Through Carnality.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (God is never the author of confusion! God is the author of peace! The moment that you become divided in any of these areas that I spoke to you about, you are out of God’s will! Learn to keep your eye on God’s purpose: souls!)
2. Division Comes Through Biblical Ignorance.
Ephesians 4:2-7 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring 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. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (We are all on the same side and have a common enemy! Endeavouring = Making an effort or striving.)
1 John 1:2-4 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
3. Division Comes Through False Brethren.
3 John 9-11 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. (Follow that which is good! Stay away from complainers, criticizers, and carnal professors!)
4. Division Comes Through Satanic Influence.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (Learn to recognize that division is satanic and do not give Satan a toehold in your life.)
5. Division Comes Through Unforgiveness.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (No matter what someone does to you, says about you, your biblical responsibility is forgiveness and oneness! If you are mad, hurt, or divided, it is your problem! Get it right!)
How To Stop Division!
A. Always Give Others The Benefit Of The Doubt - 1 Corinthians 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
B. Learn To Forgive And To Forget - Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
C. Keep Your Eye Focused Upon The Purpose - Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
D. Esteem Others Better Than Self - Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
E. Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut When There Is A Problem - Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.