"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
Unity In The Body of Christ; One God, One Christ and One Church
Why is there so much division in the Christian Church?
Let's look at the word Christian. The followers of Jesus were originally called disciples. The word Christian was first applied to the disciples of Jesus at Antioch, not by other disciples but by non-believers because the disciples claimed Jesus to be the Christ. It was originally ment as a put down or a kind of joke, like Oh here comes a bunch of them Christians. The disciples kind of liked it and the word Christian caught on and became the discription of Christs followers. This would be fine if we remember who we are supposed to be.
In the Nelsons Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the word disciple is "a student, learner or pupil. Used most often to refer to the followers of Jesus." Today the word Christian has come to mean Christlike and has been the cause of much descension among the church. It has caused us to cling to the Law and point fingers at each other.
It was not ment in the beginning that the church should be divided, though this is not new. Even in the days of Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth he says in Cor 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no division 11 but it hath been declared unto me that there are contensions among you." This was said because many followers were claiming fellowship with different teachers much like we have today with the different denominations. There is only one teacher and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. All others are disciples, sharing our beliefs that we may edify (or confirm) each others understanding.
For 2000 yrs the devil was allowed to teach us his ways without Gods influence, till even the thought of God was no longer a part of our lives. After this God destroyed all life in the earth save 8 people and 2 of every kind of animal to replenish the earth. Since these 8 people grew up in the old ways that were destroyed, much of that way was brought forward but in this time God gave His influence and established his perfect law but with the influence of the ways of the devil in us, even the Israelites that were given the Law could not follow the Law because they did not have understanding.
God sent his only son to the earth Why?
There are many scriptures in the books of the Prophets that tell about the comming of the Messiah and Jesus fulfilled them all. He was born into this world for one reason, to save the children of God. To save the people they must first be forgiven and according to the law of God there must be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. For the forgiveness of all sin of all mankind this sacrifice must be of great value and without blemish. Jesus was sent to this world predestined to be that sacrifice. He lived his life pure without sin that he would be worthy of the sacrifice set before him and so He is called the lamb of God. All Christians have accepted the sacrifice He made for the forgiveness of their sins but there is so much more.
Besides His birth and sacrifice Jesus established a New Covenant. This covenant was foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah, 400 yrs before the birth of Jesus. It is written in Jer 31:33 and says this: " I will take my people and I will put my word in their minds and in their hearts. They will be my people and I will be their God." It was fulfilled by Jesus in Mat 26:28 when he said "this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin." and that fulfillment is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Heb 8:6 saying "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant." and in Heb 8:10, he repeated the covenant foretold by Jeremiah. This New Covenant and the fulfillment of it is the Gospel that Paul preached and established in the 7 Churches. In this covenant God says he will put his word in our minds and in our hearts.
What does this mean?
The Son of God taught for three years , not after his death but before he was crucified and he was killed not because of who He was but because of what he taught. He started his preaching with "The Kingdom of God is at hand" meaning the Kingdom of God has come upon the earth and is attainable. Most of his teachings start out with "the kingdom of God is like". The teachings of Jesus is about the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God, like any other Kingdom is a way for people to live together. Not really a matter of law but a way to think that causes all people to care for one another. We make our choices in life according to the way we think caused by the experienses and lessons life has taught us and this is called the ways of the world. The way we think causes the choices we make. The choices we make cause our surroundings and our surroundings cause what happens to us.
In Matt 6:33 Jesus says "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." John 10:10 says "I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." The Kingdom of God is not just something to believe in but is something to find and when we find it we will have a better life. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 12:2 "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Jesus has brought this kingdom to the earth through the understanding of his teachings. Through these teachings is how God puts his word in our minds. John 15:26 says " the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you." He teaches us righteousness that changes us and makes us different. As we reflect on these teachings the Holy Spirit gives us understanding and that word becomes truth and is entered into our hearts as absolute belief. The more we understand the more righteous we become, literally losing the desire for sin as the Holy Spirit convicts us and gives us understanding. Many if not most Christians are satisfied with believing in and accepting his sacrifice and going to church trying to be as good as they can so that they might get into heaven. Very few have come into descipleship and studied his teachngs. I believe this is what is ment when the scriptures say; You honor me with your lips but you are far from me.
Most of us understand Matt 28:19 through Matt 28:20 to be the Great Commision which says: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." If we are all students then it would be conclusive that no one understands it all but that we all know in parts. Even the Apostles after three years of learning from Jesus himself, did not fully understand till after the resurrection and the coming upon them of the Holy Ghost.
If we read the book of Corinthians ch 12:3 through ch 12:25 and leave out the examples of what he is saying it says this:
"No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit and there are varieties of ministries and the same Lord and there are varieties of effects but the same God who works all things in all persons but to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good... One and the same Spirit works all things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills...By one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body and made to drink of one and the same Spirit... that there should be no division in the Body."
Division has not necessarily been a bad thing. If not for division, we could not learn the full understanding of the word. But God in his infinite wisdom gives each one of us the manifestation of the spirit as he wills for the common good. God and his Kingdom is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There are Apostles, and Prophets, and teachers of the word, and gifts of healing, and miracles, and messages from tongues of angels, today as in yesterday and I believe our separation keeps these from being common.The time of division has run its course and now is the time to come together and teach and prophecy and share the gifts that God has given us. Sharing each others burdens and rejoicing at each others triumphs so that we might be a more perfect example to the world.
How is this possible with so many different beliefs?
With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible. Rom 10:9 says If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. Rom 8:14 says "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." 15 "for ye have not recieved the spirit of bondage again to fear but have recieved the spirit of adoption." 16 "The spirit itself bearith witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." When one answers the call of salvation, he is immediately adopted into the family of God and from that point God is teaching him the way he should go. God calls people from many different lifestyles with different sin in their lives, each starting at a different place yet disciples just the same. Jesus tells us in Matt 7:1 "judge not that ye be not judged, for with what judgement ye judge ye shall be judged." As disciples we are all students of equal value covered under grace while we are going through this process of learning his ways. He gave us one commandment of which he said is equil to the first commandment of the Law. John 15:12 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." In love there is no condamnation but only helps and caring for one another.
It all boils down to this: When we accept Jesus as our Lord and saviour and become a disciple,we are enrolled in the school of righteousness that is Jesus Christ. We are to accept all who follow Jesus with love and with the understanding that we are all students of equal value and that no-one knows it all. We can conclude then that although different, everyone has sin in their life but are adopted into discipleship to become a work of the Lord and who are we to judge his work? With no judgement, there is no division and the body of Christ is fulfilled naturally. A good friend of mine was traveling in revivals with an elder preacher who was called to the unification of the church and he is quoted as saying this phrase which I now understand. "To those who understand there is no division in the church and if you think there is, then you are part of the cause."