Party Spirit

Dear Brethren,

More than anything else, we all wish to be in the Kingdom of God.  However, too many brethren in God’s Church believe that loyalty and allegiance to the right group, the right man, or the right church organization is their ticket to salvation.  On the other hand, God teaches us that there is a behavioral mindset that will positively rule out and prevent one’s entry into the Kingdom of God.  Those who say that they will serve their group to the exclusion of other brethren fall into the carnal party spirit trap that will preclude them from reigning and ruling with Jesus Christ in the World Tomorrow.  Notice this partial list of divisive attitudes we are warned of, including one called seditions or party spirit:

“The works of the flesh are plain to see, which are these; …variance [discord that splits-up people], emulations [competition against others], wrath [anger against others], strife [lack of harmony with others], seditions [divisions, party spirit, schisms and factions, dissensions], … of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”  (Galatians 5:19-21)

We are each familiar with the divisive party spirit and animosity that separates political parties, but for the sake of spiritual understanding, let’s apply God's instructions with regard to a party spirit to those within the Church of God.

A party spirit is a devotion to a group, an organization, or a congregation that surpasses and supplants a right dedication to the principles of God.  A party spirit causes one to elevate their group above all others, even to the extent of looking down on church members.  The very fact that we have received this Scriptural warning should be cause for us to examine ourselves to see if we are guilty of this kind of division.

This “us and them” party spirit can exist among as few as three people, where it is two against one, or in large church congregations.  In families, this party spirit can sometimes manifest itself in the wrongful siding with a guilty family member against outsiders.  Their justification of this unjust practice is the clannish saying, “blood is thicker than water.”

This is God’s will in the matter:  “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.”  (1Corinthians 1:10)

As Jesus Christ looks down from His throne in heaven, He sees only one Church.  He does not recognize the corporate boundaries established by men.  The principles of Christ are universal and eternal – and they apply to all men.  Judgment is on those who are being called now, and who are led by God’s Holy Spirit (1Peter 4:17, Romans 8:14).  Our salvation is contingent on our love of all the brethren.  “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”  (1John 3:14)

The incredible thing in these Laodicean times is that leaders in church groups routinely prohibit contact with other converted brethren solely on the basis of, “They are not in our group.”  Church organizations censure those who would associate with those Christians of other fellowships.  How much clearer could Paul have condemned this practice than when he said, “…There are contentions among you.  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided?”  (1Corinthians 1:11-13)  No! Christ is not divided - His Body is not divided, and neither is His Church.

The party spirit complex prevents adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Loyalty to a man or an organization absolutely precludes dedication to Christ.  The apostles, including Paul, did not ask for or demand loyalty from those whom they served.  "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." (2Corinthians 4:5)

There are church officials and leaders in some of the church groups who only serve their own organizations.  They often have the power and expertise to lend a helping hand – but they will not.  They do not understand who their neighbor is.  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asked His disciples, “Which now of these three, think you, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.  Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do you likewise.”  (Luke 10:36-37)

If an innocent man were imprisoned for life, and a Christian had the opportunity to lend a helping hand, give encouragement, or possibly help to open the prison doors, what is his Godly obligation?  Jesus is quite serious about the brethren being concerned about those in prison.  "Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."   (Matthew 25:44-46)

Why does Jesus say that those who will not lend a helping hand will go into everlasting punishment?  It is because they refused to apply the doctrines and principles of Godliness in their day-to-day lives.  When a church official or church leader is willing to protect his church organization while turning a deaf ear to the other brethren, it is not putting Jesus Christ first, and therefore, tantamount to idolatry.  Officials and leaders, especially, must learn to hold the brethren in higher esteem - not merely giving lip service to these Godly commands.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  (Philippians 2:3)

Note these principles of God that each of us individually must be putting into action in our daily lives.  “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”  (Proverbs 3:27)  “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  (James 4:17)  “Why dost thou set at naught thy brother?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ?”  (Romans 14:10)


Sermon:  "Party Spirit"