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Addressing the Divide In The Church

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The following is an excerpt from the introduction of my latest book, “Edifying the Body of Christ : Unbinding the Strong Man”

 

There is only one body of Christ, the Church.  I pray in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that we come together as one and end this division among the Church.   As Paul addressed the church of God at Corinth, I pray also that we all speak the same thing.   Today the Church is experiencing division because some churches made errors and Satan has been effective in causing the strong man to be bound within these churches.  Now some Christians are holding on to traditions.  However, these traditions are not the traditions that were taught by the word of God.  But they are traditions that were established in error because Christians failed to adhere to Jesus’ warning in Matthew 16:6.  Jesus warns His followers to “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”   Matthew 16:12 explains that the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees were their doctrines.  Remember, Jesus was the word of God made flesh.  However, He warned his followers about the leaven of the words or doctrines of men.

These doctrines of men were used as a means to destroy by the wicked one.   Besides this warning, at 2 Peter 3:17, Christians were warned if they did not fall from their own steadfastness, they would be led away with the error of the wicked.  The failure to adhere to Jesus’ warning regarding the leaven of the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees and Christians holding on to their own steadfastness are the crux for today’s division in the Church. 

            Consequently, today we find some Christians have rejected the keys of the kingdom of heaven that were given to Peter in Matthew 16:19.  Jesus charged Peter to ensure that the Church was properly fed in John 21:15-17.  Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times.   After each time Peter answered Him, Jesus gave Peter a command.  The commands were (1) Feed my Lambs (2) Feed My Sheep and (3) Feed My Sheep.   Although Peter taught and passed the keys on, many rejected those keys because of the affect of the leaven of the doctrines of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. In addition, some did not believe in the name of Jesus.    The doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees were allowed to grow out of control.  Therefore today we find in some churches the Canon Law, and other procedures and practices without scriptural foundation, are being used in lieu of the word of God.

“Edifying the Body of Christ” provides insight for Christians to discover the reasons for the division and gives instructions from the Holy Spirit that lead us to the truth and shows how we can serve God in a more perfect way.  As Jesus gave the command to Peter, today, Jesus is giving the same commands to the mature Christians to feed His lambs, His sheep, and His sheep.  We must share these keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, our gifts from the Holy Spirit, and our growth with others in love.  We must work together to identify traditions that are contrary to the word of God; then end the traditions that prevent the proper edification of the body of Christ.  Therefore, we must allow the Holy Spirit to teach.  When this occurs, we can transcend denominational lines and become a perfect union in the unity of faith.   

The body of Christ includes the Churches built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone; this is the everlasting gospel.  However, today some of the churches are not built on this solid foundation, the everlasting gospel, therefore they remain babes in Christ.  Consequently, they do not know who Jesus is, because they do not do what Jesus commanded them to do.  According to the word of God, they are liars and the truth is not in them. (1 John 2:4)  Unfortunately, some of these babes are teachers and pastors.

They did not receive the gospel with power and the Holy Spirit with much assurance, according to 1 Thessalonians 1:5.  Therefore, they have not received power; they drink milk only.  Nevertheless, there are some people within those institutions that know the truth.  However, they hold fast to traditions and consequently God’s people are not being properly fed.  God is calling for spiritual growth.  But they cannot grow if they do not allow the Holy Spirit to teach them.

The Protestants separated from the Roman Catholic Church because the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees had affected the Roman Catholic Church to the point that some of their religious practices made a mockery out of Christianity.  Consequently, their doctrines today are not the doctrines taught by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the doctrines implemented by the apostles in the book of Acts.  Christians must understand that the doctrines of the apostles are the twelve foundations that support the wall of the great city, the holy Jerusalem that contains the bride of Christ as it descends out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:10-14)  The doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church are not built on this foundation.

            Although there has been a separation from the Roman Catholic Church, some denominations still hold fast to some doctrines of Canon Law.  Some of these doctrines do not have scriptural foundation and lend to practices that bind the Holy Spirit.  (Canon Law is the body of laws and rules of doctrine and discipline enacted by a Christian Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church.)   Consequently, the Catholic influence is still having a negative impact on the body of Christ.  Thus, some churches were built on the foundation of the philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.   Listen, this is not for condemnation, however, it is for correction and edification so we together can serve God in a more perfect way. 

When some read this work, they will see it as new wine.  However, this is not new wine.  It is the same doctrine Jesus Christ taught and preached by his apostles.  However, it is new wine to some because today many are drunk from bad wine, which are the doctrines of men, philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.    Listen carefully to the warning that was given to the drunkards of Ephraim.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!”  (Isaiah 28:1)  How did they become drunk? What was this wine that made them drunk?   Listen. 

“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.  For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.”  (Isaiah 28:7-8)  Isaiah continues this discussion with the following questions and declaration.

“Whom shall he teach knowledge?  And whom shall he make to understand doctrine?  Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to his people”  (Isaiah 28:9-11)

Today, the church is experiencing the same thing; some of the ministers have drunk bad wine straight way.   The wine in this text, you cannot purchase it at the local liquor store, however it can be purchase from most local Bible Book Stores.    Luke 5:39 says, “No man also have drunk old wine straightway; desireth new: for he saith, the old is better.”  Now here are some sobering thoughts.  Some of the new translations of the Bible have altered the scriptures.  These alterations include, deleting words and phrases, changing the text, amplifying the text without understanding the base scriptures, changing verb tenses, and the list goes on.  Consequently, these are some of the unclean things found on the tables or used to prepare the bread.  Unfortunately, some have drunk this bad wine straight way. 

Then the problem is compounded, when some take scriptures and use them without lining the scriptures up as required: “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little.”  Consequently, only vomit can come out of their mouths and not the word of God.     

  Here are a few examples of the alterations:

(1)    John 3:16, some Bibles have removed the word “begotten.”

(2)    John 12:28, some Bibles have removed the word “both.”

(3)    John 12:28, some Bibles have changed the text From: “Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  TO:  “Then came there a voice from heaven saying, I have already glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  However, this alteration has a great impact on understand the meaning of this scriptures. 

(4)    Ezekiel 19:10 says, “Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: …” Some Bibles have changed “is” to “was.”

(5)    Isaiah 48:16 says, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his spirit, hath sent me.”  The New Living Translation, by Tyndale changed the text to read.  “Come closer and listen. I have always told you plainly what would happen so you would have no trouble understanding.  And now the Sovereign Lord and his Spirit have sent me with this message:”

(6)    Isaiah 28:7 says, “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”  The New Living Translation, by Tyndale changed the text to read as follows: “Now, however, Israel is being led by drunks! The priests and prophets reel and stagger from beer and wine.  They make stupid mistakes as they carry out their responsibilities.”  

I purchased a copy of the New Living Translation, by Tyndale in 2000, it did not take me long to discover that is bad wine.  However, if I would have drunk it straight way, today I would be a drunkard and would not be able to rightly divide the word of truth because I would not have receive truth from that cup.  Nevertheless, I would have proclaimed that I was correct and had the truth and would not desire to drink from any other cup.  The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, by Tyndale is only one example, there are other translations that are wine or strong drink and out of the way of the truth, the truth in the cup that the Apostles of Jesus Christ drank from.  

Surely, many tables are full of vomit and filthiness, and some ministries are drunk and full of pride, and have the love for money.  Consequently, some do not have love for the truth and will reject the word of God and hold fast to their current practices.  They attempt to prepare the Bread of God with the wrong recipes, bad ingredients in kitchens that are full of vomit and filthiness.  Pride and the love of money will keep them from rechecking the recipe, getting rid of the bad ingredients and cleaning up the filth.  Consequently, today many people who profess Christianity are drunk and do not really know who our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is. 

Satan has taken advantage of all of our mistakes and faults.  According to 1 Thessalonians 2:9-11, For the ones who do not have love for truth, Satan will have all power and lying wonders.  And the ones who do not love the truth will be in a state of deceivableness of unrighteousness, and God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

Errors made in the past do not have to be our burdens.  However, we must have love for the truth.  We can be set free by repenting and following the word of God today.

Besides the leaven of the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Satan found other ways to come in.  Some of these errors were made due to poor reading comprehension, followed by the lack of study.  When the educated became aware of the truth, they did not receive it.  However, they kept silent and held on to traditions.  Some did not receive the truth because of their love for money.  1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”   

Jesus has an answer for people who do not love the truth and have elected to hold on to traditions.  Mark 7:6-7 says, “… This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Besides worshipping God in vain, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie because they do not have love for the truth so they can be damned.

Sometimes, when people elect to follow the commandments of men instead of the commandments of God, their ministries on the surface appear to blossom. However, these ministries do not do the first work of God and will not produce saints of the Lord who can bear fruit or saints of God who become soldiers, ready and able to fight in spiritual warfare.  Today, consequently, there are many babes in Christ without power and have not been properly fed.  I judge not.  Let everyone examine himself or herself.  The words of God will judge at the final judgment.

There should not be contests within the Body of Christ that pit one denomination against another denomination.  Warring within the Church is very destructive.  The Church has common enemies, Satan and his host.   However, it is imperative that we understand not everyone who professed Christianity is drinking out of the same cup.   

God wants His people to drink out of the same cup.  God wants His people to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  God wants the ones that have received these spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit to share those gifts and work to edify the Body of Christ.   For this to occur we must do it in love.  We must not think too highly of ourselves, but humble ourselves as servants and then use these precious gifts to bless others.  God wants us to fellowship with Him.

Listen.  “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  (1 John 1:6-7)

I know all of us who truly love God want to serve Him more perfectly.  The ones who love Him want to use their gifts to edify the body of Christ for the glory of God.  The ones who truly love God only want to do what is pleasing in His sight.  The ones who truly love God expect God to rebuke and chasten them.  When they are in error, they welcome the Holy Spirit to lead them in a more perfect way.  God will use the called, chosen, and the faithful to take dominion from Satan while judgment sits.  (Daniel 7:26, Revelation 17:14)

            The Lord said His sheep would know His voice.  Jesus wants us to drink out of the cup that He has prepared for us.  Are you one hundred percent (100%) sure that you are currently drinking out of that cup?  Have you truly studied to show yourself approved unto God?  Do you use translations of the Bible other than King James Version?  In these translations, is any of the text changed?  Have words and phrases been omitted?    Have you searched the scriptures and aligned it up precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little? 

Through this work, today Jesus is surely at the door, knocking.  Jesus says if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.  (Revelation 3:20)

 

“Edifying the Body of Christ: Unbinding the Strong Man” is a reproof from the Holy Spirit.  (Soft Cover: 344 pages) 

 

Order a copy today!

 

Elmore Richmond Jr.

 

 

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