A Part of Something Larger

Dear Brethren,

As we end the year, 2010, the state of the Church of God is not good.  The United Church of God is being split in two, and the brethren are once again being scattered.  The options for those brethren are not good at all.  The brethren are not being apprised of the fundamental cause of the break-up.  Other Church of God corporate groups looking on may think they are faring much better, but as a matter of fact, they are just as guilty of divisiveness, if not more so.

One by one, Pastors and Elders are leading their local congregations out of United.  One by one, other Pastors and Elders are asking their members to remain loyal to the Council of Elders in Cincinnati.   It is a strange phenomenon, but it was prophesied long ago by Jeremiah that the Church of God would continue to splinter into smaller and smaller pieces.  God says:

My people have been lost [straying] sheep: their shepherds [ministers] have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away [spiritual danger] on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill [ever smaller scattered flocks], they have forgotten their resting-place.”  (Jeremiah 50:6)  The ministry is not pointing the brethren to Jesus Christ, their proper resting-place, as they should.  Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”  (Psalm 37:7)

None of this would have happened if all were looking to God and loving all the brethren.  This split would not be taking place if either side was willing to lay down their lives for one another (1 John 3:16).  Doctrine that is not put into practice is no doctrine at all.  Here’s a red flag warning:   Instead of returning to the Lord – and His basic Christian principles – the confused members are being directed back into the same wrong mind-set that does not primarily look to God and His unifying way.  The scattered congregations may be sensing a feeling of freedom and euphoria, but in fact they are again vulnerable to exploitation and spiritual abuse.

There are men going from location to location saying to the scattered and separated brethren, Would you like to be a part of something larger?”  They are promoting a new corporate organization with winter weekends and summer camps.  Those are enticing words.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something bigger and better?  Brethren, beware.  If we would understand the words of Jesus Christ, we are already a part of something much, much greater – and something much better – the Body of Christ – and we cannot imagine what all that entails.  Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Please understand that all the members are already intricately interwoven into something much greater – we need to remember that.  We are fellow citizens with all of the saints; we are of the household of God; we are the temple of the living God, and our citizenship is in heaven.  That is what we want to be a part of – not something less (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 6:16).  We are not to consider ourselves a part of corporate organizations that exclude other spirit led brethren – that would be unscriptural.  We all know that Jesus would never be a part of a group that was not inclusive of all the saints.  Think about it.  "There is…One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesians 4:5)

We are by definition already a part of something larger.  We were called into one Body – that is Christ’s body, the Church of God.  (Colossians 3:15)  Where is the true Godly concern for all the others?  Do not lightly discard this Great Commandment to love our fellow man, that defines what a Christian is to be (Matthew 22:39).  These corporate organizations will not let brethren keep Passover together or keep the Feast together – is that God’s will and desire?  Certainly not!  Does Christ want the brethren to exclude some saints in favor of others?  Of course not!  God is not a respecter of persons – neither can we be.  Joining opposing corporate organizations, giving loyalty to one corporate organization over another is division, pure and simple.   Why aren’t the brethren being made to understand that our citizenship in heaven comes before participation in corporate organizations?

Jesus Christ is not divided.  Jesus hates division.  By definition, Jesus Christ has only one Church, one Body, and one Spirit.  …The Body of Christ… is the Church.”  (Colossians 1:24)   Therefore, there is only one True ChurchThere 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.”  (Ephesians 4:4-6) (Ephesians 5:30) (1Corinthians 12:12, 13, 20)  The fundamental cause of break-ups is this:  God is not first.  If God were first, the brethren would be taught to love one another – and all that necessitates – forgiveness, reconciliation, and humbly serving one another by laying down their lives (John 15:13).

Paul asked the question, Is Christ divided?”  (1 Corinthians 1:13)  We should know what the answer is to that rhetorical question.  No, Christ is not divided.”  But if we would honestly look at the divided condition of the Church today, we would be forced to come to one of two conclusions:  Either, Christ’s Body is divided, or, not all of us are of Christ.   Now, that is a scary scenario, no matter which one you choose.  And, Paul would agree.  He wrote that if we are not properly discerning the Lord's body, we are eating and drinking damnation to ourselves (Corinthians 11:29).  Brethren, this is a time for prayer, fasting, and reflection.


Sermon:  "A Part of Something Larger"