A House Divided

Dear Brethren,

"Reunify" means to cause a group to become unified again after being divided.  The leaders of God’s people made some gross errors with regard to the Church after Herbert W Armstrong died.  First, they failed to come together to prevent the heretical apostasy that ravaged the Church.  And secondly, they failed to come together to prevent the scattering of God’s people - in fact, much of the division can be laid squarely at the feet of those church leaders.

God says, "If they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings."  (Jeremiah 23:22)  The solution for these failed leaders:  Repent and bring about a reunification of God's people.  "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Saith the Lord."  (Jeremiah 23:1)

The unity of the brethren is seemingly out of reach until Jesus returns.  But, what is a Christian’s responsibility now, with regard to the unification of all the brethren?  How will reunification finally take place?  When will it occur?  Who will bring it about?  Where will it take place?  Did God know that there would be such division in His Church that families could not keep the Holy Days together?  There has been so much pain, discord, hurt, and upset.  We use words like branches, splinter groups and organizations, but God calls it heresy.  Notice what God says:

“There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”  (1Corinthians 11:19)  The Greek word here for heresy is hairesis, and it means disunion.  The word translated approved is dokimos, and it refers to those who are acceptable to God.  Which side of the equation are you on?

This Scripture tells us that the reason that disunity exists among the brethren, is for the express purpose of providing an opportunity for church brethren to work toward unity.  And, if they do, they will be made manifest among you  in other words, it will become obvious who it is that is approved.  We can draw from this verse that those who are the cause of the disunity are those who are not approved.  And, more importantly, we can draw from this verse that we, who wish to be approved, have an obligation to bring about the unity of the brethren.

We brethren are responsible for the unity of the Church of God.  We cannot sit around and wait for the ministry to say that it’s time to get together.  We cannot wait until corporate organizations are ready to yield to the Word of God.  We, the brethren, are the ones who must extend the right hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9) – if we desire to be among those who are acceptable to God.  This is a test for us!

If we wish to be approved and acceptable to God, we will be doing everything within our power to bring about the unity of the brethren.  Those who are maintaining division and disunity among the brethren for their own reasons and purposes, fall into the category of those who are not approved of God.  Keep in mind that many brethren will not be receptive to fellowshipping across organizational lines.  Many have been taught to be exclusive of all those outside their group.  “We ought to obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)  Sadly, those people will fall into line in order to curry favor with their leadership.  God says to those false ministers. "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost."  (Ezekiel 34:4)

In some cases, there exists a rivalry and competition over whose congregation is the best in some arbitrary category, like who has had the most media responses, or the most attendance, or who has been around the longest, you name it...  They forget that Jesus Christ has only one Church, and that He has a different way of judging.  Jesus says, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  (Matthew 23:11-12)

In many cases of separation between brethren, reconciliation is not even required because no offense has taken place.  It is a matter of the brethren having been separated into differing factions when the apostasy hit the Church.  All that God expects in that situation is that we reach out and demonstrate that we consider them brothers and sisters in Christ.  If they reciprocate, we have gained our brother.  That is God’s will.

It will be more difficult to reunify with brethren with whom offenses have taken place.  Sometimes, harsh and offensive words have been said.  Again, it is our Christian responsibility to make sure that no disunity exists because of our unwillingness or reluctance to reconcile.  “God…has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”  (2Corinthians 5:19) 

We have our work cut out for us, and this work of reconciliation comes before the "work" of being on television.  We cannot make the mistake of believing that membership growth for a particular church group comes before teaching the brethren to seek unity across organizational lines.  Those who follow a policy of looking to a particular man or organization as an alternative to the teachings of Christ, make the same mistake the Pharisees did.  Jesus said of them:  “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”  (Matthew 23:15) 

For example, one church leader teaches that organizational loyalty comes before God’s fifth commandment, “Honour thy father and thy mother.” (Exodus 20:12)  He will not allow his members to speak to their parents in another group.  Does that make that leader a false minister?  You decide.  “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies ['hairesis', disunion], even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.”  (2Peter 2:1-3)

Jesus is not as satisfied with the scattered condition of the brethren – as many of the various branches of the Church of God are separated from one another.  We are being given this short time – these remaining days to prepare the Bride for the return of Jesus Christ.  Many, obviously, do not yet know how to behave in the Church of God.  Paul reminds us that we ought to know how to behave ourselves in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  (1Timothy 3:15)

Paul asked the question, “Is Christ divided?”  (1 Corinthians 1:13)  We should know that the answer to that rhetorical question is, “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 with you.  He wrote that if we are not properly discerning the Lord's body, we are eating and drinking damnation to ourselves (1Corinthians 11:29).  

Perhaps it would motivate us a little more if we would stop and realize that Satan is the power behind division and splits - his motto of warfare: Divide and Conquer. 

Who is for unity and togetherness?  Brethren, we have our work cut out for us.


Sermon:  "A House Divided"