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Division: Breaking The Heart Of Jesus

 

Division: Breaking The Heart Of Jesus
By Andy Zoppelt

Division: the strategy of Satan

Jude 17-19, "But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.' These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." NIV

(I) The origin of division

From creation to the cross and from the cross to eternity, God's purpose in creating man is comprehended in unity and fellowship out of His image. man and woman were created in His image and they were one flesh. When Adam lost God's image through rebellion, he lost unity or oneness with God and all of creation came into conflict as a result. There is a common pattern from creation to today: from deception, to pride, to rebellion, to division and conflict .

The definition of sin is "to miss the mark" and the mark is Jesus. When Adam missed the mark in the garden and rebelled against God's commandment, he experienced death or separation from God. Adam's one act of rebellion led all of creation in conflict with God and each other. Adam no longer held a position of oneness with God when he permitted sin to enter his life and as a result separation or division existed between God and man and between man and nature.

This one thread and theme passes all through the scriptures, but its origin goes back even before the fall of Adam and Eve, it points back to the fall of Lucifer. In one point in time, Lucifer decided that he was not content with his position with God. He found fault in God's order and felt he should have a position above the throne of God, he wanted his own space, he wanted to be like God.

Satan made the same identical proposition subtly to Eve and Eve passed the deception down to Adam. That line of deception has passed down to us today. We all subtly want our own space, we all want to be the one that everybody recognizes. We want to be our own boss. Have our own ministry. Run our own church. We want to be in control, whether we feel we deserve it or think we are better and more qualified for it, it makes no difference, it is the origin of sin: separation and conflict. Lucifer's rebellion lead a number of God's angels with him and from then on, it has been his plan to repeat this action on God's family here on earth. Every time Satan causes a split in the body of Christ, it is a reenactment of that first original conflict that took place in heaven. His deception led to rebellion and through his rebellion he has caused myriads to fall with him.

The name Satan means "adversary," the opposer, he was originally called Lucifer, "Morning Star," He once played a chief rule in Heaven, he was truly the Morning Star. His disguise and deception, in the midst of heaven, convinced many of the angels to go along with his rebellion against God. What angel would have expected Lucifer, one in such high esteem and authority to make such a mistake? He possessed so many virtues and talents, God placed him in a position of authority. Rebellion was totally unheard of, no one knew what it was. Lucifer's action seemed innocent enough, it made sense, what difference does it make who gets the worship or who is in authority? Some angels might have even felt closer to Lucifer than to God, they were under his authority or principality. We will never know what was in the deceived hearts of those who went with Lucifer, nor how he so craftily convinced them to do so, we can only guess.

I am deeply suspicious that the splits we see in the church today are only the mirror reflection of what originally took place in heaven. All splits from Satan to Sunday school are the same, they have one plan, they serve one purpose, to separate and destroy the precious family of God. Satan's one ambition is to deprive God of His fellowship and union with us and to deprive our fellowship with one another.

There is only one person who wants to divide the body of Christ: Satan. He only needs to use one person to divide a church: it will be a leader. It takes a leader to betray a leader. If Satan, a being so powerful, so deceptive, so crafty, could deceive the angels in God's presence, how easy do you think it will be for him to deceive us. He comes as an angel of light, he spins his deceptive powers over us until we are convinced that our actions of leaving have the interest and blessing of God. We find no scripture to do so, no prophet, no apostle, and most of all, we have never heard it from the lips of the one who died for our unity.

In the place of unity, Satan has placed enmity and division. Paul in speaking to the Ephesians has shown that God gave the blood of his Son "that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body through the cross" (Eph. 2:15-16).

Reconciliation can never work as long as you have division, you must have restoration before you can have reconciliation. It was never God's purpose to have two brothers to remain in division, God's whole purpose was to reunite, restore and bring them back together again.

We cannot have true reconciliation until we are willing to tear down the walls that separates us and we are willing to restore the unity we first enjoyed.

Chuck Swindoll in speaking of division and its cause, commented on Philippians 2:3-4 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Selfishness and conceit and pride are the things that break down our fellowship and erode our unity. Everything you need to know about getting along well in a family, to say nothing of getting along well in a church, is right here in these verses. If you're on a church board and you're wondering what's going wrong, what's missing, what's happened to the unity you once had, I'll guarantee somebody isn't abiding by these verses."

"You want to pull together as the family of God? It's merely a matter of obeying Philippians 2:3-4."

pride and "self-ambition" remain as a prowling lion in wait…… What deception!

Truly the church has fallen asleep, we need a restoration of biblical principles.

Unity of the Spirit obligates us to be involved in each other's lives. What God has created through Christ is not to be torn apart lightly. No opinion or preference is worth destroying the body of Christ.

Paul made it clear that the elders of a locality had a responsibility to that area. He told the elders of Ephesus to "…. take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:28-31, NKJ)

--"Therefore watch," Paul reminded them of their obligation and responsibility as overseers. "for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."

--"purchased with His own blood" The church comes with a high price tag and those that oversee it should not take it lightly.

--"Salvage wolves," sounds strong in relating to a pseudo or deceived brother? If you have ever seen a wolf tear the carcass of its pray, you would know what Paul was talking about. A trained and domesticated wolf can be a beautiful animal, he has a handsome majestic appearance, but left to his lower hunting nature, he can be vicious and salvage. We must consider the "result" of what the wolf does to its victim in order to understand Paul's definition of a "salvage" wolf. When someone tears up the blood bought body of Christ, no matter how innocent the appearance and how soft the bark, he is a salvage wolf. It is a disgrace and an anathema to the love of God and His Body. He is vicious, ignorant and indifferent and it is an insult to Christ.

--"Speaking perverse things," the word perverse comes from the Greek word diastrepho, dia means "through," and strepho means to "distort or pervert. " The idea is that they take an idea or plan and distort it in relation to God's word and plan. They do it as though their actions warranted it. They use words that deceive the innocent saints that are not committed or familiar with scripture. These deceived saints are convinced that what they have done is Holy, godly and scriptural: that is diastrepho, that is perverse.

I am concerned that on the level of local church leaders, we are playing too passive of a role in matters dealing with division and its causes. No officer in the military would put up with such insubordination. No worldly company would put up with such inner conflict on the job. How is it, that we have been so lulled to sleep in matters of such grave significance to the body of Christ? We are not to be a passive force in our society, we are an army, we are a family, we are a kingdom, we are the blood bought body -- the church! If men of leadership do not take the responsibility of leading, we will by default surrender the power over to Satan to destroy us and scatter the sheep, That my brothers, was never the intention of Calvary, of the epistles, the Gospels and the intention of Christ Himself.

This is a very serious matter in a vary serious time, we should take it before God as such.

Warfare and armor have no meaning if we don't know where to fight. We need to have truth, it is only through truth that we will be free from the bondages of divisions that are ravaging the church today. The flesh colored bandage is not working and will never work. When something is permitted and accepted, it becomes the norm for all generation to follow. Division today is accepted and we have accommodated it.

"A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; He winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy." Prov 6:12-15

(II) Division Is A Sign Of The End Times

Jesus prophesied splits and conflict within the church in the last days. He said It would be a sign for us so that we could recognize the season of His return.

Matt 24:10-12 "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

Brothers will be offended with one another, false prophets will arise, the love of many growing cold, spells one thing – division and conflict in the church. You can call it betrayal, you can call it a pervading indifference, it makes no difference, it will ultimately lead to deeply rooted, well established division. Divisions are on the rise and increasing each year. Judgement shall begin at the house of the Lord.

In Thessalonians Paul warns the church, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first…." (II Th 2:3)

The writer of Hebrews also alluded to this end time phenomenon in Hebrews 12:26-28. A time when things that are not founded in truth or reality will not be able to withstand the shaking. Wheat will be separated from the tares. We will lack a love for the truth and henceforth be led by "strong delusions" and "believe a lie." Satan will work twice as hard because he knows he has a "short season." He will come as innocence, an "angel of light," he will delude leadership, he will compromise truth, but he will use every effort to divide us and remove us from the grace of God. Forgiveness, mercy and love will be out the door. Faultfinding and criticism will be in.

God's chastening will be so severe that many will not be able to stand, regardless, God will find a remnant, a few who will stand on the unshakable truth of His word. They will love and want the truth at any cost. They will have trust and faith in every trial. They will love and forgive and unite with all their brothers. This is God's plan for the end: a glorious church without wrinkle or spot.

(III) Judging The Source By Its Fruit

Matt 7:15-16 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

This scripture uses the nature of the wolf also, but adds the words "in sheep's clothing." It is hard to detect a wolf in sheep's clothing from the outside. By all appearances he is one of us.

How would you perceive a false prophet? By his appearance? No! He is wearing sheep's clothing. Would it be by his heart? No again. You have no idea of the thoughts he has formulated in his heart. Well then how? Purely and simply by his actions. One cannot bring forth grapes and figs from the source of a thornbush and thistle farm, can he? I can conclude who is a false prophet by his fruit or actions. One cannot gather good fruit "from" thornbushes and thistles. Nothing good will come from the man whose source is in the carnal nature. In Galatians five, we are given a list of the fruit derived from the flesh and the fruit derived from the Spirit.

false prophetic attire makes it difficult to identify them, they will only be known by the fruit they bear and not the package they send it in. We are often mislead by apparel of mannerism and smooth sincere sounding talk. People tell me, "You just don't know the brothers heart, I've seen it and I know you are mistaken." That is true, I don't know his heart, but neither does any of us. We are commanded not to judge one another's heart, but we are to unbiasedly examine the action or fruit. It is the fruit that identifies the source of their decisions. One who causes division is not one drawing from the source of the Holy Spirit, I can scripturally guarantee it. A man who gathers his fruit from thornbushes and thistles, will not be able to offer grapes and figs to the church. Division is clearly not the fruit from the vine and fig tree.

A true prophet is one who speak from God and for God and is in harmony with His word. If what a person is saying, God is not giving the Amen to, he is misrepresenting Him. Now if what he is "saying" leads to others falling into error also, then he is a false prophet by the definition of the scriptures. That person is misrepresenting God and thwarting His plan and purpose. God must be our source or we are in serious danger of further deception. If we are not fellowshipping with the son, we will not have the source to fellowship with one another and "maintain the unity."

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that you also may have fellowship with us: and our fellowship is with the Father, and with the Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).

God creates fellowship between us by bringing us into fellowship with himself. When the work of God through the Cross is ignored or forsaken, no fellowship is possible, for there is no power to create it. Remove God as our source of fellowship and we have opened a Pandora's box that can lead to further deception and division. We have advocated and maintained a deceptive seed that will some day bear its fruit and destroy us.

(IV) The source of those causing division

fruit indicates source. The fruit tells the tale.

Let us ask ourselves this question: "Is the person we are listening to scattering or gathering the flock?" the answer to that question will indicate the source: God or Satan? The true shepherd will not scatter the flock, since his source is the Holy Spirit. Listen to what Jeremiah had to say to the backslidden shepherds of his time: "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture! declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds, declares the LORD." (Jer 23:1-2)

How can those tending His flock destroy and scatter His sheep? There is only one response to that question: They are drinking from the wrong source and God Himself will "attend" to their evil ways. Scattering is an unauthorized decision and bears fruit from another source, it is on that basis you can judge the source. It has nothing to do with personalities or right or wrong, those are only smoke screens by Satan to do his destructive work to Christ and His flock.

(V) The position of those causing division

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." (Matt 12:30)

Your position is important, it is the "where" you stand and with "whom" you stand that is important. When the children of Israel built a golden calf and God was about to send His judgment on them, Moses cried out, "Whoever is on the LORD'S side, come to me." (Exod 32:26)

The person we choose to stand with often indicates the belief we embrace. "With" and "against" show not just source, but position in relationship to Jesus. Men often will stand with a friend and without realizing it, will find themselves standing "against" God and His word. Deception and division has its source, but it is also revealed in our stand. We need to respect God more than man.

We are given this promise: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31)

When the Lord stopped Saul on the road to Damascus and said "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Saul had unknowingly set himself in a position against the Lord by persecuting God's flock.

Men who scatter the flock of Jesus are clearly "against Him," whether they chose to believe it or not. In most cases they are caught in a spiritual storm that takes them by surprise. They focus on issues and lose sight of the source behind those issues. They often permit themselves to become confused and frustrated and unconsciously permit themselves to accommodate their deep seated desires of revenge and follow their selfish ambitions. Others can not deal with the surrounding war and so they try to escape the battle by running…. they scatter. They deceive themselves and in turn deceive others, gossip replaces the gospel. It eats on a fellowship like a devouring cancer. The only answer is to eradicate it.

It is often said, "The man wants to go and start his own ministry and take some of the sheep with him." Or he may say, "He doesn't want to start his own church, but then later on does it anyhow." We are dealing with motive and actions here. What is the reason for doing such a thing? What will it accomplish? What is the source? It becomes a question of the source that is motivating him, whether he sees it or not, it is a question of the plan and purpose of the source. His leaving and scattering the sheep reveals both the source and the position of his decision. We may have to give it some time before you can judge the source, but when an individual makes a decision on his own without the counsel of outside pastors, he is bound to get caught in the reasoning process that "saves his own life." Again: source, position and scripture will indicate the fruit.

If a man feels he is being compelled or led to leave the congregation and refuses to hear otherwise, it would be better for him and the unity of the fellowship, for him to move out of the area and go to another place. But his best option would be to calmly and discretely, through the Holy Spirit, spend much time in reconciliation rather than division…. that would be pleasing to the Lord.

Let us now look in John's gospel and here we are dealing more with the accountability and responsibility of the shepherd, or in this case the "hired hand."

"The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it." (John 10:12)

We are still dealing with scattering the sheep, but this time, we are dealing with the one who is more concerned with preserving his life than laying his life down for the sheep.

Money is not the only pay that men receive for their action, sometimes it is prestige, sometimes it is power, sometimes it is ego, and sometimes it is position. The hireling is identified by his behavior, when the Accuser of the brethren comes in to attack the flock and starts by throwing accusation about, the hireling flees rather than defend the best interest of God's flock. He is a self-center, self-preserving, self-serving shepherd.

"Then, the wolf comes in and devours the sheep." The purpose of the wolf in this analogy is to cause the hired hand to flee, once he is removed, "then" the wolf is free to devour and scatter the flock. Scattered sheep are vulnerable as they are scattered throughout the terrain, many do not find a shepherd to protect them. We need solid men of the word that will no leave the sheep. It is true that division exists all around us, however you will find no division among those who truly know God and where you have shepherds who remain with the flock. Those who know God grow in unity of mind, spirit and heart everyday. This happens because they have surrendered their minds, spirit and heart to Jesus and for His sake.

(VI) The method of those Causing Division

Matthew at this point deals with the method employed by the devil in scattering the sheep. "strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." (Matt 26:31)

"Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."( 1 Chr 16:22 KJV)

David knew that if he touched the Lord's anointed (Saul) he would scatter the flock. It is true that we are all the Lord's anointed, but there is one that God appoints over the flock that is vulnerable to the attack of Satan and attacking him will scatter the flock. The anointed and prophets are established to maintain God's government and God's word. Satan wants to divide and scatter the sheep. Satan's kingdom is united for that purpose and he must find leaders in the church that he can use to bring down the shepherd to scatter and divide the flock. Satan goes for the shepherd, that is his method and strategy. Jesus stated this principle in another way:

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house (or church) is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man (the pastor or anointed one). And then he will plunder his house (Christ's church)." (Mark 3:24-27)

Paul warned of the Devil's strategies: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (Strategies or methods) of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (it is not with each other), but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. " (Rom 6:11-12)

We have discussed the source, the position and now we are looking at the method. to scatter the sheep, one must first "smite" the shepherd or bind the "strong man." This usually happens when men transfer the warfare to flesh and blood and by discrediting and finding fault in the shepherd. They often rob a man of his God given ministry and they build on his work.

In the normal pattern, it starts with a discontented leader. Many factors can come into play at this point, jealously, pride, a superior attitude, etc.. His discontent makes fertile ground for Satan to come in and deceive him. He then becomes hardened in his determination and his discontent spills out to others. Others take up his stand and they then are left with a class "A" war. Those with deep seated animosity and jealously come virtually out of the walls. His success is based on his credibility and a measure of his believability. It is on this basis that the enemy is able to come in and do his destructive work. Accusations, judging and confusion arising from this situation. Fault are held up as evidence and unforgiveness follows. Everyone joins the crusade to oust the integrity of their leader. No one at this point is able to really hear the other. Even knowing that Satan is the "accuser of the brethren" alarms no one. Knowing that people are being led to gossip is of no concern. Confusion and fighting is totally ignored. No on stops for a moment to check the source, the position, the method, the scripture, and most of all the heart of Jesus. All of that is unimportant to those driven by unseen demonic forces to finish what they started in heaven. They are driven by an unseen compulsion, everything is out of control, and no one can hear. It is like a nightmare that no one can wake up from. It moves calculatingly and forward to divide and no one seems to take the time to judge the fruit.

Issues and not scriptures are brought to the forefront. The sheep are thrown in the middle of this conflict later and they too get caught up in personalities rather than source, position and method. Discontent spreads like wild fire and before long everyone is focused on the fire and not the one holding the match….Satan. He laughs as the church cries.

The one leading the swarm can at this point back off and let the fire do its work, but the damage has already been done. The seeds of discontent are passed from him to others and it works well for him at this point. All of this is employed to "smite" the shepherd and scatter flock. No one is able to see beyond the veil of deception. Satan knows that no matter what advantages "appear" to be gained through the division, they will ultimately end in compromise and defeat.

The wisdom, the purpose and the counsel of God at this time are shunned by God's own people. We have war, where there should have been peace. No wonder we do not have power and "many are sick and sleep among us." Every time they take communion it is a curse on them, it is blaspheme against the unity of the body of Christ. They drink in the curse of division by destroying His Body. David said, "But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days (sick and sleep)." (Ps 55:23, NKJV)

So far at this point we have looked at the scriptures foretelling of these events to come, we have looked at the false prophet and his source, his position and methods employed. On the other side of the coin, we as sheep, have been able to discern the difference between the false and true prophet based on their action or fruit. Now let us turn our attention to Jesus' heart, continuing to use his Word, since he is the final Word on this subject of unity.

(VII) The Heart Of Jesus

Jesus is about to be crucified by His on people and nation, He prays this crucial and most significant prayer to the father:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21)

When Jesus prayed, His desire was to bring us to the same unity He had with the Father. Jesus prayed that we "…may be one even as We are."

Reflect for a moment with me if you will, there is Jesus over there, He is on His knees praying, He is about to give His life on the cross of Calvary. He has one last and final prayer for His Church, you draw closer and closer to Him and you begin to hear the cry of His heart as He pleads to the Father, listen to His prayer:

"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." (John 17:18-23, NKJ)

You stop and interrupt Jesus for a moment, tapping Him on the shoulder, "Jesus, excuse me. I feel that I would like to talk with you for a moment. Is that OK? I am struggling with a shepherd you called and feel I should leave and take part of the flock with me, is that OK with you? The people I will be taking see me as their shepherd anyway. You won't have a problem with that will you? I want to please you and do your will. I know my new church will bring Glory to your name because I will run it better than the last shepherd. Will this be OK?"

Those words come as a sting and a stench spoken to a man who is about to die for our sins and knows the strategy of His foe Satan, how dare you even harbor such a thought and think such a thing? How can one claim to be a Christian? Certainly "if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we will have fellowship with one another," not division. The Holy Spirit makes us one, not two.

Yet today we have apostles, prophets and shepherds supporting such an absurdity. we are mesmerized by the craftiness of men supported by Satan and his kingdom. The enemy has come into our camp. We have relinquished our responsibility that we have to Christ and His word. We are out of harmony, we are out of sync with every old testament and every new testament prophet of God. If Jesus would not tolerate it, why should we? Jesus rebuked Peter when he tried to discourage Him from His suffer and death. Jesus went right to the source of the problem and addressed the powers of Satan to get behind Him. What do you think Jesus would say to such a deceived saint? How could such a selfish and damaging proposal be made, especially knowing one of His main purpose for dying on the cross was to make us one?

At this point it is easy to understand the motivation of Paul's exhortation to the Ephesians when he writes:

"being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph 4:3)

That means that unity is not an elective for Christians. Instead, it is part of the responsibility which the Lord has assigned to all his people. We are to put forth every effort to maintain the unity which he has created. In another place, Paul indicates that whoever destroys it, "him shall God destroy" (1 Cor. 3:17). What then are the obligations of unity? Unity obligates us to display the kind of an attitude which promotes fellowship and peace. This calls for "all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing on another in love" (vs. 2). There is no place for treachery and betrayal among brothers. "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?" (Mal. 2:10).

Brothers are commanded to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, unselfishly submitting to one another (Eph. 4:32; 5:21). Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, railing and malice are to be put away. Unity and fellowship is too valuable to be disrupted by sour attitudes. These action must be stopped!

God's blessing are limited to those in unity, His curse is upon division and strife. David was quite vivid concerning the significance of unity:

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing-- life forevermore." (Ps 133:1-3)

Think for a moment, it was the oil that made the five wise virgins unique, they had an anointing that came from the Father, poured on the Head of Christ and then to the church. It is unity that makes us one body through Christ's redemption. The body of Christ is exactly what it says it is: the Body of Christ. It is not for men to jostle over or play with. There is a curse upon those who divide "HIS" body.

Paul stated: "…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." (Rom 12:5)

There is no anointing or Holy Spirit that would approve of division.

The heart of Jesus is broken every time His body is thrown in division and disarray. Paul went on further to speak of Jesus' body,

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Cor 12:12-13)

The oneness of the body has been the whole bases for Paul's formation and building of the church, without it we have nothing but competition and a worldly organization.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make us one, it is the work of the Satan to divide us. Without unity we are discouraged and plagued with enemies we cannot discern. Everyone is not equipped to deal with these subtle foes.

Joy is the fundamental blessing to us all. Joy and gladness fills the halls of the united. Listen again to Paul :"fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil 2:2-4)

How does one fulfill Paul's and the Lord's joy? Paul list six positive things and two abstention that are absolutely essential for unity.

The positives first are:

  • Like minded

  • Have the same love

  • Be of one accord

  • One mind

  • In humility esteem others better than yourself

  • Look out for the interest of others

The two abstentions are:

Let nothing be done through

  • selfish ambition

  • conceit

(VIII) Aim For Perfection

Our next verse calls for us to "aim for perfection" in being of "one mind."

"Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of' love and peace will be with you." (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Let us "aim for perfection" and we shall find men willing to surrender their opinions, they will be willing to let go of their pride and church dogma. God desires to pour out afresh His Holy Spirit on such a church? In fact, this unity is the oil that smoothes over the coarse, rough spots in a fellowship. Only when we "aim for perfection" in the area of unity, can we claim that God "bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." Psalms 133

When words are bitter and biting with each other, others can smell the disagreement. What glorious anointing awaits those who "aim for perfection" when it comes to this issue called unity.

There will never be complete unity of thought and mind among all who "claim" to be Christians, because most are not true Christians. This is why John says, the test of whether someone is a Christian or not is their fellowship with others.

(IX) Dealing With The Divisive Brother.

Let's turn and see how the Word of God teaches us to deal with a divisive person. What does God's word tell us to do with those who cause division.

"Now I beseech (urge) you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ (source), but their own belly; and (now for the method) by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom 16:17,18)

Marking them so that others would avoid them. Notice also the word "cause divisions" mentioned here. It is the result of their behavior and words that "cause" offences and division. Division is "contrary to the doctrine which you have learned." Paul goes on and further instructs his brother Titus that he should, "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned." (Titus 3:10-11)

This is not the kind of advice given much today in dealing with a divisive brother. In today's church there seems to be a dispensational immunity for those who cause division. Yet this particular sin, that goes unchallenged, sends the wrong message to all the sheep and leadership. It permits an unholy atmosphere to exist in the church throughout our country. In fact, if a pastor is against a brother in doing so to the local body, he is consider legalistic, unloving or insensitive. He is often accused of "being lords over God's heritage" (1 Pet 5:3) He is accused of "marking" the divisive "brother."

We have been intimidated by this sin. We feel a necessity to accommodate this sin in order to have reconciliation. Division is not a one time sin and then everything gets healed or goes away. It leaves deep scars that last many years, it creates distrust in many cases that are never healed. Many walk away from God in discouragement only to find hell at the end of their path. Jesus cares deeply about these souls that others cast off through their division. How can they think they can escape God's judgement? What convinces them that there is no consequence for such deep rooted rebellion? Surely Satan must have thought the same thing in his rebellion to God in heaven. Hell awaits those who cause division.

This is the reason we find Paul dealing so strongly with this sin, because of its present and eternal consequences. It is better that we give these brothers the truth than for them to continue thinking everything is alright. I would rather a brother give me the truth than a false pat on the back.

A divisive person in fact stirs up much conflict and controversy. So what should be our biblical response to such a one? follow him? Reconcile with him? Blessing him? The congregation would suffer less discouragement if they saw their leaders standing for truth and marking, rejecting, etc., such a one. In fact, as they watch us pat the brother on the back and shake his hand, they are left with confusion and unhealed wounds.

"Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down, says the LORD." (Jer 6:13-15)

Paul in speaking of the divisive person says he is (present tense) sinning and warped. Warped means subversive, he subverts and undermines the biblical truth and causes division. It is on the basis of his being subversive or warped that he causes the division and for that he is to be rejected.

The divisive person is rarely confronted with the truth and asked to repent of his sin. Never does he go before the congregation and admit that he has violated his call. I guess my question now is, "Why would an apostle like Paul tell Titus to reject a divisive brother? Would Paul use the same language today? Is there a reason why we take a different stand or position today? Might something like that wake up the deceived brother to the truth and his folly? A divisive man brings condemnation upon himself by dividing Christ flock. God holds him responsible. His sin of dividing the flock is obvious to all. Division is an openly scandalous rejection of clear scripture. Paul in expressing his distaste for these kinds of action did not hesitate in expressing his intention to the Corinthians also. Truth and love go hand and hand. Love without truth is like a building without a foundation. To not reject a divisive man is only placating and covering an infectious wound. Paul knew the wounds of a friend giving truth had redemptive qualities.

"For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions (division), slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder" (2 Cor 12:20)

"you may not find me as you want me to be," His mannerism, his disdain and his willingness to deal strongly with them, would be out of the ordinary and not customary for these Corinthians. Yet issues had to be faced and dealt with and not just covered over. Especially when issues are threatening and damaging. Paul is willing to take a strong and responsible position as an Apostle.

The statements that follow are what we normally find in a disruptive divided body: "quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions (division), slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder."

Paul was involved in personal disputes that had the threat of division, in Philippi Paul exhorts: "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." (Philippians 4:2)

"I beseech," we have little of that today. God commands unity and we should settle for nothing less. We need to rise up and take a stand against it. We need to beseech and urge a brother against such destruction. Most have no problem with taking a stand against carnal sins as we call them, we are ready to come against a guy and girl living together in sin. We rebuke them, threaten them and expose their sin, but the sin of division far exceeds that isolated sin of fornication.

"I wrote unto you not to keep company; if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat...Put away the wicked man from among yourselves." (1 Cor. 5:11,13)

We think it extreme to take the same stand against a disorderly brother. Yet we hurt him by not challenging him. We send him the wrong signal.

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us… If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." (II Th 3:5, 14-15)

We are command in the name of Jesus to do these things:

  • Withdraw ourselves

  • Take special note of him

  • Do not associate with him

  • Do not regard him as an enemy

  • Warn him as a brother.

...and if any man obeys not our word by this epistle, note that man, that you have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed" (2 Thess. 3:14, KJV).

Disobedience to Paul's instructions or epistle, commands disfellowship to shame the brother. If these principles were put into practice today, there would be far less damage done to the body of Christ. The unity of the Spirit is not possible where the individual denies the work of the Spirit in his personal behavior and thinking. The elders that are responsible to themselves and the flock have fallen asleep.

Let me labor this point and of the significance of Paul's "instructions" and our obedience to them. Let's take a quick look at the second letter to the Thessalonians in order to get the gravity of his strong exhortation. Paul talks early in the first chapter about the Lord Jesus being "revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

We immediately see through the negative, two positive inseparable qualities that Christians must posses. They must know God and they must obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now if we can fit "division" as part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I would like to see it. The reason that one has a false belief on the subject of division is simple, they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. When we "really" know some one, we will know what it takes to please them and if we love them, we will do those things that please them. We cannot separate the two. Knowing and obeying are intrinsically linked together.

Paul goes on to say in chapter two, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." we are now told that a falling away must proceed the son of perdition, "the antichrist."

This is analogous to Jesus' reference to the last days: brothers that are offend will betray one another and their love will grow cold etc.. Following this we have the lawless one coming according to the working of Satan, bringing about a deception among the perishing because they "did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." And he goes on to say "for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie."

When a person gets hardened on a path, it is very difficult to change him. The "strong delusion" makes sense and his pride will not except or love the truth. One cannot be saved without loving the truth. A stubborn heart refuses to change and be corrected. Paul then exhorts them on that basis to "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."

If you are not sailing on the Gospel ship, you are on the wrong ship and headed in the wrong direction.

In chapter three he commands the "brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us." This is an eternal war being fought over the eternal souls of men. This is serious. We are too easily thrown off course by issues of church growth, church government, doctrine, personalities, success, money, you name it, we're being deceived by it.

We are forbidden to tamper with the Word of God and His Gospel (Rev 22:18, 19). John makes this point clear:

"Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have (position) God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds." (II Jn 1:8-11)

If a person "does not abide in the doctrine of Christ," We are told not to receive them into our "house." The reason for that is "… he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." (1 Th 4:8)

In the early church they were marking them, keeping them out of their houses, rejecting them, urging them etc. I realize this is strange for us. We are non-confrontational and asleep. Maybe we need some of the Bereans blood in our veins. It is said of the people of Berea, they "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

Our refusal to receive the truth and obey His word is an anathema to the world and the Lord. If we don't see this, we will be foolish virgins without oil waiting for the coming of the Lord. Dry wicks have no anointing. We cannot live under this false belief that when tribulation comes, then we will get serious. By putting off our pain to some relegated 7 yrs. and think we will be anointed to resist the onslaughts of the enemy is foolish.

"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, 'I am of Paul ,' and 'I of Apollos,' and 'I of Cephas,' and 'I of Christ.' Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor 1:10-13)

This is the strongest exhortation one can give: ''in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." In that way if you reject the admonition given here you are rejecting Christ's and his authority and His word through the Apostle Paul.. Paul went on to say to the Corinthians, "that there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Cor. 12:25-26.)

(X) Heresy

It is clear by source, by position, by method, by scripture and by Jesus, that the person who creates division is in heresy. Let us now look at the word heresy.

Heresy is "an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects." (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

Let's look at what peter has to say about this, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." (2 Pet 2:1-3)

Peter uses the word "destructive heresies," and through these heresies they will bring destruction on themselves. It is a reaping-what-you-sow kind of a thing. Paul connects division and heresies together in his letter to the Corinthians: "For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, (Why?) that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Cor 11:18-19)

They "deny the Lord" when they fail to keep His commandments and keep the unity He prayed for. Paul states that there is division among them and then moves onto the subject of heresies. He is not changing the subject, he is only asserting that division and heresies are one and the same.

A heresy that leads to division is physical evidence of God's disapproval. The ones who stand by each other in unity are obviously following Jesus' teaching: loving each other, forgiving each other, are approved of God and "made manifest." Some who stay may not be approved, but those who leave are definitely disapproved. Very similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares, it isn't until harvest that the tares are exposed. According to Vine's, it is when their "opinion" is substituted for the truth that the heresy is manifested.

The spirit of antichrist as it is used 1 John 4:3, is a spirit that works against the Spirit of Christ.

Remember heresy and division are linked together, now with that in mind I ask you to stay keyed to the word "made manifest" that we just got from Paul's letter to the Corinthians and let us take at look now at John's epistle, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth." ( 1 Jn 2:18-21)

John first makes a point of "the" antichrist and then refers to what he calls "many antichrist.' The "many antichrist" operate within the church, operating against Christ. Other examples in scripture use terms like "false prophet," "Wolf in sheep's clothing" and "hireling " etc.. John elevates the sin of division to the level of antichrist. Christ is for unity, the antichrist is against unity. Those within the body do not want to be for Satan and against Christ. The drug addict is not consciously for Satan and against Christ, but his action make it so. Maybe if Lucifer would have known the consequence of his action he might not have rebelled against God. Speculation of course. I guess there is strong belief in that scenario though, what I read in scripture, what I see in life. How often have we heard it said, "If I knew then what I know now, I would never have done it."

Just as "the Antichrist" is not of us, but will try to divide us, so the "many antichrist" are not of us and will divide us. It is not a question of whether or not I like that verse, it is a question of whether or not it means what it says.

John says "but they were not of us," The question now is, who is "of us?" Since "us" is a first person plural pronoun in the objective case, it therefore includes John, the rest of the "us" must therefore include those true believers of like mind, purpose and position with "Christ." There leaving "manifest" there position. They leave because they denied His word, rebelled against His authority and the call to unity. They deny the gospel: forgiveness, mercy, love, honor, loyalty, unity, etc..

Revival happens when we allow God to place within each of us a loathing of our own selfish opinions, thoughts, personal likes and dislikes.

"All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ." (Philippians 3:15-18)

"many live as enemies of the cross of Christ." There lives are against Christ, they are enemies of the cross. With words they justify themselves, but nothing can justify what they have done….dividing Christ body. The action of the fact cannot be denied, reasoning only tries to justify the action. All who divide the church and cause splits feel that it doesn't apply to them, they are convinced that what they did is right. Division is treacherous and traitorous to the Glory of God and the establishing of His kingdom.

(XI) God's judgment

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. 18:6)

"Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy. (Prov 6:14-15, NKJV)

"You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds, declares the LORD." (Jer 23:1-2)

"If anyone defiles the temple of God (church), God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1 Cor 3:17)

"….He is self condemned." (Titus 3:11)

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: …discord…. selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (divisions)… and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-2)

Francis Frangipane, stated concerning the first division in heaven lead by Satan, "Was this division the first great pain in the heart of God? Beloved, consider also with trembling fear: Until this ancient split, to our knowledge, hell did not exist. Hell became a reality as a consequence to division.

Bruce Terry, stated it this way concerning those causing a church split, they "simply do not realize the seriousness of their actions: it will send them to hell!"

These verses should bring fear to the ones that causes division, but guaranteed, it won't. Delusion and deception has covered his heart and he cannot see. If you are a divisive brother and you are reading this article, you think it innocent to what you have done or are doing. You are comfortable in your justification… you feel you are right and it will be ok. But "brother," God Himself is against you, because you are against Him, His word and His purposes. You are destroying the image of His church, the love of the saints and the unity of His Body. There is no stand or justification in division. Its fruit, its position, its method, is clearly heretical and antichrist. You destroy God's temple, God will destroy you. Scripture makes it clear that hell awaits those who divide His body.

Such men will put a curse on their lives which will never be assuaged until they repent, return and restore. Some people think, "why do we have to return?" God's church will one day be one, and without returning we are maintaining the heart of division. We can start our own group without God's calling, and even make gestures of friendship with those whom we have caused the division, but arrogance is rooted in pride. They believe, "I don't have to restore what I destroyed." Jesus made it clear, that will not happen until we made it right with our brother first…. Unity. Until we own it, we will be under the curse of rebellion toward God. We often want to meet with others in hopes of not returning, maybe we can make it easy on ourselves. Maybe we can confess unity without being united. There can never be unity until the heart that caused the division is dealt with, broken and humbled. As long as the we maintain the separation we have not fully repentant for our actions. Pride, which caused the division in the first place, is the cause of the person not wanting to return and be restored. We do not want to admit we were wrong.

Now I believe some separations are necesarry. I believe when people our leaving the institutional church so they can "be" the church and function together, I believe this is a legitimate reason. If the pastor refuses to permit the people from obeying God's word and the privilege of body ministry given to themby the word of God, it is the pastor who is wrong in trying to unjustly maintain absolute control… he then is not a true pastor. But I believe that separation should be conducted with much time and dialogue with the institutional pastor. We can never grow if we are told to listen and not participate, such actions will only inhibit a persons growth in the Lord. God made it very clear that the five fold ministry is to initiate others to minister and not to dominate ministry. To stop the body from functioning in the manor clearly presented in the scripture is rebellion to God and is a statement against His will and purpose for His body. Such an institutional control is harlotry and not the true church.

"Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 2 Cor 6:17, NKJV

"And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins,'" Rev 18:4, NKJV

We cannot participate in a place where a man is destroying the body of Christ by centering ministry around his Sunday sermons. That is heresy, not the church. But again such action must be met with great patience, discernment and honesty. How do we know that the Lord would give such a pastor repentance? In the end, if the person leaves it will be the pastors decision to refuse to accept God's word and plan for His church.

"Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them." Ezek 34:10, NKJV

"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings, says the LORD." Jer 23:1-2, NKJV

Pastors love maintaining their little division, their little control over the body of Christ by their own standards and not God's word, in reality they are maintaining division within the body of Christ and not caring for the flock.

(XII) Repentance

There is only one way to deal with division, repent. When the sons of Korah fell out with God, they only had two choices: Moses or the sons of Korah. When Absalom fell out with David, the people had only two choices, Absalom or David. Starting another church is not the answer, repentance, reconciliation and restoration is. It is easy to start another ministry from someone else's ministry and labor. But remember, every tree that the Father does not plant will be uprooted. We must see we can't have reconciliation without restoration of the once held unity. It takes humility on those who caused the division to admit they were wrong. But it will take a greater humility to return. The scripture makes it clear, unless they repent, reconcile and return they are living in division…. Satan's lie.

The New Testament church had power, fellowship and unity. They possessed an uncompromising attitude toward unity. We are in a falling away, can we honestly trust our soulish feelings. We would have made the rich young ruler our pastor, we would have made the bigoted lawyer our assistant pastor, but Jesus cut both to the quick and they were left dealing with their eternal souls. I am pleading for the restoration of God's word and His integrity. I know that what I am presenting is a new approach in some cases, but it is not strange fire.

My prayer is that what I have presented is from the heart of Jesus and for His Glory. As I Look back at the early church, it makes my spirit cry for that reality and truth they had in unity. I am tired of strange meetings, strange salvation messages, strange leadership. I want a new beginning with the oil and anointing of the Holy spirit. Unity, I must confess, appears to be the furthest thing from my experience at this point in my life.

My spirit drools over these next verses.

Acts 4:31-33 "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all."

WOW!!! I want to go to that church. Their hearts beat together in unity with Jesus' heart and they had His life in them. They were alive and unified by His power and blood flowing through them. These were believers who ate His flesh and drank His blood.

Little wonder they could preach the Word with boldness, "much grace was upon them all." How sad the church and Christians today cannot say the same when it comes to unity of the body.

If we don't understand everything, at least let us understand this--disunity concerning matters of Jesus is the absolute most condemning and destructive sin.

All the signs of the storm and the return of the Lord are around us and we cannot see it. I am afraid that we have lost the ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. My prayer is that I have not been misleading in my interpretation. I pray that in humility I have represented His word and His purposes. I have been diligent in word and in spirit in this matter.

Conclusion

True Christians will naturally be drawn to each other, these individuals have died to themselves and are perfectly content. We need to be concerned for others more than we are concerned for ourselves. This is the root of much of our trouble. If we could be just as protective of one another as we are of our children, we would find heaven on earth. Jesus said it this way: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matt 7:12)

That statement represents true prophets, true shepherds, true Christians and the true gospel, everything outside of that is against Christ. Would you want others to do to you what you did to them? This scripture is a foundational principle or truth, deny it and you deny everything that the law and the prophets stands.

Self interest and self protection should never play a major part in our decision making process. I would like to quote a letter written by a college student that was affected by a church split in her church.

A House Divided
by Christy Barritt

"The divorce that I'm speaking of was not between my mother and father. It was a divorce that happened within my church. Most people call my church divorce a church split. My heart was torn in half. I was so disappointed in the ugliness that had occurred among people I'd once respected. I began to question the very existence of the church. I knew in my heart that the church was an institution ordained by God; we were the body of Christ. I never thought my church -- my family -- would fall. I thought we were stronger than that."

"With time, I thought, I had buried all my feelings and hurts, dealing with them in a distant sort of way. But when I became engaged a year and a half later, all of my hurts surfaced again as everyone in my family began to give me advice on marriage. Still trying to show them respect, I could only nod as they spoke with me and shared their wisdom on commitment. Deep down inside I resented their advice because I'd seen what their idea of commitment was. When things didn't go the way they wanted, they went their separate ways. Some commitment, I thought. No, I didn't need or want their advice."

The wounds suffered in the saints thrown in division is devastating, just imagine what the Chief Shepherd will do to such self-centered wolves who in arrogance divide His body. "Well done thou good and faithful servant," are words they will not hear. But rather, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (rebellion to His word)!'" Matt 7:23, NKJV

"But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word." Isa 66:2, NKJV

Let God's word always be final on every decision you make. Never follow a deceived divisive person. For if you truly love Jesus, you will obey Him … Let God be true and every man a liar.

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