Temple Baptist Church - 5-23-2012
A. “Here we go again!” Sometimes, I almost feel like I am “beating a dead horse” when I preach on certain subjects. In the Pauline Epistles, commonly called the Church Epistles, the subject of unity within the local church is mentioned many times. I feel that this is for several reasons:
1. The reality of disunity and division among God’s people.
2. The importance of the local church to both the believer and this lost world.
3. The emphasis God’s Word places upon personal responsibility in this area.
B. Division and disunity are two of the greatest enemies of the local church. This tactic is as old as the Garden of Eden in that Satan caused division between man and God as he questioned God’s motive in disallowing Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This first mention of division effectively wrought division as Adam and Eve hid from the presence of the Lord.
C. The church can withstand problems and persecutions as long as they remain outside the walls of the church but when a local church splits and splinters, it takes generations dying out to undo the damage if it gets better then.
D. I call internal problems in the church “The pastor’s nightmare!” I have preached and will continue to preach against division with the local church body because it is imperative that we remain united and strong as the work of the Lord is of the utmost importance.
1. I can stand the assault of the world as long as I can come home to my wife and a peaceful home! To fight the world on the outside and come home to bickering and fighting is a terrible thing.
2. I can stand the assault of the world as long as I can come home to Temple and find love and fellowship. To have Satan attacking on every hand outside of the church and come home to division within the church is disheartening!
E. Satan has pulled out all of the “stops” in his unending efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the local church. The most important unit on the face of the earth other than the family is the local church. Satan hates the local Church! We must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices and one of his best is that of division.
F. There are a multitude of Baptist churches at this time that are without a pastor with some of them having “run the pastor off” because of division. At times, wicked people get in the church and divide but, more often than not, saved people get their priorities wrong and strive, one with another.
1. Church 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.
2. Church 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.
3. Church 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.
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.
4. Church 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.
G. Division causes much damage to the local church by:
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.)
What Division Will Do
1. Division Damages The Believer.
a. It Will Divide You From The Pastor – Your Friend
b. It Will Divide You From The Pulpit – God’s Message
c. It Will Divide You From The People – Your Brethren
d. It Will Divide You From The Peace Of God – Your Joy
e. It Will Divide You From The Place – God’s House
f. It Will Divide You From The Purpose – God’s Harvest
2. Division Brings Reproach Upon The Name Of Christ
a. It Brings Division Into The Local Church
b. It Brings Confusion Of The Church’s Purpose
c. It Brings Reproach Upon The Testimony Of The Local Church
d. Ultimately, It Damns Sinners To A Devil’s Hell
How To Stop Division!
1. 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; (How often do believers receive an evil report about someone and then think the very worst. I have learned well over the past 3 years what can happen when one does not give another the benefit of the doubt.)
2. 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. (There are times when people will hurt you. Our Lord said to forgive those who repent 490 times! If you forgive someone 490 times, the 491st time will not be hard either. Where you have people, you have problems and where you have problems, you have hurt feelings. Learn to forgive as you would like to be forgiven!)
3. 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; (Keep the main thing the main thing! Our wants, likes, and dislikes are not really all that important. We need to become expendable! Willing to sacrifice our wants and desires for the betterment and advancement of the gospel. While we fume and fight, sinners perish!)
Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
4. Esteem Others Better Than Self - 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. (Place others before self. If your way works and their way works, then use their way. I learned a long time ago, in management, that if I have an idea and one who works for me has an idea, use his if they both will work. He will work a lot harder to make his idea to work than he will to make yours work! Learn to be considerate and kind.)
5. Stop Gossip Dead In Its Tracks - 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. (Never, never let your ears become garbage cans for the poison of others. If someone wants to talk about someone else, just say, “Hold on a minute! Let’s you and me go to talk with them and tell what you heard.” It will stop an amazing amount of gossip! Gossipers never want to be exposed because they do not know for a fact what they are repeating.)