Christ IS the Focus
I have recently become so bogged down by the amount of legalistic perspectives offered throughout the church community that I find it difficult to focus on what is important. Everyone seems to have some divine opinion on the matters of corporate worship (the official meeting of the congregation) and the structural formation of the body. Have we become so distracted with proving our own ways that the most productive thing we can do with our study and time is devote ourselves to apologetic inputs attempting to prove others wrong? I would like to clearly state that I FIRMLY believe that you must know why you worship the way you do. I will also say that I believe one of the most simple, effective ruses the devil presents is distraction and division within God's church. How is it that the Bible, a gift intended to provide complete guidance in all things related to unity with God, has become a major source of division? Let's just STOP and THINK for a second!
The apostle Paul states what the most important thing about his ministry is in his first letter to the Corinthians. In I Corinthians 15, Paul says, (1)" Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand (2) and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (3) For I passed on to you AS MOST IMPORTANT what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." (I Corinthians 15:1-4, CSB, emphases mine).
When you read through those verses, at any point, did you see him say, "Figure out whom amongst you best interprets these words and make the others feel condemned for their understanding"? Did he say, "Create amongst yourselves trivial disputes and things that will separate you from other believers, that you may be the only righteous ones in the world"? No. Simply put, Paul believed that the single most important thing is preaching what is referenced above: that Christ died for our sins and that he was resurrected in order that we may have that same hope.
The words of our Lord come to mind when I think about the current situation of the churches. In Luke 11:14-23, Jesus is questioned as to what authority he is casting out demons. He clears up any discussion as to what authority he uses to perform these things by stating the following:
(17) "Knowing their thoughts, he told them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls" (Luke 11:17, CSB, emphases mine).
So, I suppose I am simply disappointed in the lack of love shown between the churches of today. I don't believe Jesus died so that everyone can be so focused on being right that they lose sight of what is truly the most important thing--Christ crucified, the resurrection, and the hope we have for eternity. The Scriptures should be used to edify one another. Our guidance from the inspired apostles should be what leads us in how we go about certain practices regarding the worship of our Lord. It is absolutely essential to have a backing for your worship practices that are rooted in the Scripture. I AM NOT SAYING TO DISREGARD THE WORD. I am saying that it's primary use is not to divide, but to promote unity, peace, love, joy, and guidance for living a righteous life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I sincerely hope that, if this message hits home for you, you take it and use it, not to promote any further divisions, but to establish a renewed love for your brothers and sisters. Certainty is important. Love for your brother and sister is more important. Never lose sight of the most important message for this world: Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, died for everyone's sin, He was raised from the dead, He reigns in heaven eternally, and is waiting to bring His faithful children home. Do not remain divisive. Otherwise, the house will fall in on itself.
I would like to extend an offer, as is my custom, to help you in any way I can. If there is anything I can do to help you in your walk with Christ, please, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Until next time...