Restrictiveness and Binding Iron-Chains of Denominationalism, Part 2

 

covers refit5, Aug. 10, den. 2 001IN THIS BOOKLET I want to use some various scriptures to draw out some practical applications. I am NOT saying in any one instance that this is the meaning of the scripture quoted, but I am merely stating some application that could apply, using them as a springboard for thought and meditation.  But hopefully, there will be some teaching along the way that the various scriptures give meaning and “meat” to. Even  fuel for thought and fuel for prayer.

ROMANS 12:3-5

“For I say, through the grace given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according  as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

This really needs no interpretation. Relating to “denominationalism” or “the party spirit,” it is self-explanatory.

While we each are not to think too highly of ourselves, we are ALSO not to think too lowly of others. See 1 Corinthians 12, along with Romans 12.

1 CORINTHIANS 12

Verse 6: “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which  worketh all in all.”

Verses 11,12: “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Then Paul goes on to describe various members of the natural body, like the foot, the eye, the ear, etc.   They are all different, but of the one and same BODY.  He speaks of a tendency to think too lowly of  some parts of the body, as though we have no need of the less comely parts. But that is what he is exhorting against.  Look at—

Verses 22-25: “Nay, much more those members of the body, which SEEM to be more feeble, are necessary. And those members of the body which we THINK to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care for one another.” 

MEN AS TREES WALKING?

One time when Jesus healed a blind man, He spit on his eyes, “and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw aught,” if he saw anything.  And the blind man looked up and said, “I see men as trees walking.”

Mark 8:25 says, “After that He [Jesus] put His hands on him again upon his  eyes, and made him look up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

I heard a preacher say one time that it was not that Jesus did not do a good job of healing the first try; it was that He did too good of a job, the men were seen with magnified vision, so the Lord adjusted it! Well, maybe so!

My application, however, I know is not the meaning of the scripture, but I think of the application of SEEING MEN AS WE OUGHT TO SEE THEM — NOT TOO BIG AND NOT TOO LITTLE, as we have been learning from the previous paragraphs. We can see men as too important, and even make idols of them; or we can look down on others as if they are so small and not as important as WE are. The disciples of  Jesus had this problem, So, “Jesus, adjust our eyesight too, please.”

Thinking more deeply about it, the Holy Spirit I expect would want us to realize that our eyesight needs to be adjusted. What a Teacher, He is!

ISAIAH 6:1; 2:22

This one may not be as obvious, if the application is really meant to be there. But here are the verses:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.”

2:22: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. . . .”

Isaiah was a prophet of God and knew how to instruct the children of Israel. I doubt he placed man on a pedestal, but he was a man of like passions with the rest of us, as does speak James the apostle of Elijah.  So Isaiah MAY have seen the tendency to exalt man above measure. Who knows but what he may have been thinking too highly of King Uzziah. At any rate, it is said that the year the king died, Isaiah “saw the Lord . . . high and lifted up.” Often when we are looking at man, we are NOT looking on the Lord so as to see Him as He is. And what happens when we see the Lord? Just as was the case with Isaiah, that caused him to see HIMSELF as he was, “undone” and “a man of unclean lips.” And he was dwelling with a people who also had unclean lips.

To begin to KNOW God, to see something of the holiness of God, reveals also the vast distance MAN is away  from God, and by nature so totally unlike God. That brings forth the cry, as Isaiah cried, “Woe is me!” “I am a man of unclean lips.”  It brought forth the cry from the poor publican, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  It brought forth the testimony of the apostle Paul, “I am the chief of sinners.” No wonder he would go on to teach men not to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, and to not look down on others who had what was perceived to be lesser gifts. “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?”

MEN REPUTED AS NOTHING  BY GOD

Man by nature has a disease called “self-importance” and pride. Because he is a fallen and sinful creature, he is unworthy  at  his best. Daniel 4:35 puts it this way: “And all  the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.” Think about that when you begin to think you are such a valuable person or better than others, or that you have a right to boast because of some special gift. We have nothing we have not  received from God. Again, Paul comes at the same teaching toward humility from different angles and at different places. In 1 Cor.4:7 he says, “For who maketh thee  to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

Finally I come to how the disciples were quick to judge and  condemn those that were not with them, not associated with them, and seems to be “not with them.”   Really, like today with so many denominations and groups holding other true Christians at arm’s length because they are “not associated with us.”  Now there ARE false churches, false doctrines, and false gospels. Even false churches and systems that the Lord warns His people to “COME OUT” from among them. I think ANY false gospel that makes a caricature of the God of the Bible, the sovereign God of all grace who accomplishes His will and save those He sets out to save, they are presenting a false gospel of which the sheep of God are not to partake. I am not speaking of that. And none of God’s people have perfect knowledge and we need not think  that WE are the ones with the perfect knowledge, either. But I am talking about true believers in other groups, rejecting them just because they  are “not of our group” and may have some different ways, yet they love the Christ of the Bible, and preach His true character. They may even have  some error you  do not hold; or they may hold some  truth you are not  fully aware of.  But they don’t HAVE to be of “your denomination” to be a faithful follower of Christ and taught by the Spirit of God, and even have gifts and fruit of the Spirit, being washed in  the  same blood of Christ.  Even Jesus’ early disciples had this problem. Listen to—

LUKE 9:49-50:

“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is  for us.”

That is a bit hard to take for our sectarian tendencies and mindset.  How can one different from us and not “of us” be qualified to be accepted of us?

Now no one in the New Testament was as dogmatic about the correct Gospel, the Gospel of God’s sovereign grace, being preached than was the apostle Paul. He even pronounced a curse on those who preached “another gospel,” and he repeated the curse twice for emphasis.  Yet as long as the true  gospel was being preached and the true Jesus being proclaimed for whatever motive, he was NOT against that, even when the motive was grossly inferior. He said,—

PHILIPPIANS 1:15-19:

“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my  bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set  for  the  defense  of  the  gospel.  What then?  Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense or in truth, CHRIST IS PREACHED; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

But  again, realize Paul was not endorsing anyone that was preaching another gospel, or  making a caricature out of the sovereign electing God whose love and power is infinite and  victorious on behalf of  His sheep, the sheep that God the Father gave to Jesus Christ to successfully save, and that without losing a single one.

But if  a failing and defeated Jesus is preached that lets even one of His sheep perish that the Father gave Him, then that is a FALSE GOSPEL and not to be countenanced by the  child of God, the seeker of  truth. That would be a denial of Christ and His work on the cross, and His accomplished purpose.  We are not  to join hands with the perpetrators of a false gospel.

Many of God’s dear children may be  trapped in false churches or false denominations, yet are to be loved individually and help attempted on their behalf. They can even be bearing the fruit of the Spirit. We can recognize that without at all endorsing any false system or false doctrine.  If your  brother is sick, he needs a doctor, not an undertaker.


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“. . . For Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God

by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue

and people, and nation.” (Revelation. 5:9)

 

“The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He

cometh leaping upon the mountains,

skipping upon the hills.”

(song of Solomon 2:8)


Recognizing a False Doctrine

Is it right or scriptural to speak of the  sovereign, electing God to be OFFERING salvation, His purchased redemption, to all mankind, meaning to every child of Adam?

Let us stay with the way scripture uses words. And the Scriptures speak of Christ Jesus offering the sacrifice of Himself on the cross to God the Father, for the justification and redemption of His people, for those the Father chose in Him and gave to Him. That offer was to the Father to meet the justice of God. It was never presented as an “offer” to be accepted or rejected by the sinner. So let us stay with the biblical usage of the word “offer.” Let us not try to be half-Arminian by using Arminian language that is strictly NOT  biblical.

Christ did not even invite all to come to Him indiscriminately, to every child of Adam, without  any qualifying modifiers. For example, He said, “Come unto Me ALL YE THAT ARE WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN, and I will give you rest.  He calls and says “Whosoever will may come.” He does NOT say, “Come all those who have no will or desire  to come.” Even the “whosoever will” must be given the new will to want to come, or they will never come, and are not “invited” to come.”  Again, biblically, the only offer Christ makes of Himself, is to the Father. To those given by the Father to the Son, salvation is a GIFT, not a mere hopeless “offer.”—g/b

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