We are created and saved to glorify God so the church is to be glorious which applies to the individual “local” church and the church universally as well.
What makes the church glorious? Certainly we aren’t glorious as sinful men therefore it stands to reason that He who is glorious (Christ our Head) makes the body of believers a glorious church. There is an attribute that makes the church glorious and that is known as “harmony.”
Sadly, we have quite a bit of disharmony within “the church,” and this disharmony/disunity detracts from the luminosity of that quality of being “glorious.” The Apostle Paul gives this entreaty in Ephesians 4:2,3 – “with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Also consider 1st Corinthians 1:10 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
As we ruminate our current condition within the universal body of Christ recognizing the disharmony/disunity within the local “church” bodies we must ask ourselves what accounts for this disharmony? Yes, the “Sunday School” response is naturally “sin,” and disharmony is sinful in this context. Sin is indeed the root of it all yet what are the branches of such disharmonious sin?
Branch #1: there are those (and always will be) who are “in” the church who are not genuinely “of” the church. Paul addressed this when he wrote to the Galatians: “I would they were even cut off which trouble you” (Galatians 5:12).
Branch #2: those who are genuinely “of” the church are poor Christians at best and the frequent disobedience of our members to the Lord drives wedges between one another. If all of us would simply “obey” Christ as our Head by loving one another as Christ loved us, we would display genuine love within our church. Instead, we perpetuate sinful pride and jealousy, and what ripples from this effect is the lack to “esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Whenever an organized body of believers presents a performance of grand illusion causing its viewers to perceive and therefore believe that there is harmony when in fact there is no harmony is nothing short of being a complete sham.
When there is strife, division, discord, disharmony, disunity, jealousies, envying, etc. within a local church body it’s a sure indication that these symptoms are the result of something far more malignant and this disease left untreated will definitely become terminal and the local church body will ultimately die!
Our local churches do indeed have disharmony/disunity in her midst and there is also a significant amount of “simulated” harmony as well. In spite of this “simulated” harmony the fact that the church of Jesus Christ is characterized by a very “real” harmony cannot be altered whatsoever. This dear reader(s) is decidedly very good news!
The Book of Acts paints a beautiful picture of the early church at Jerusalem: “All that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and braking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:44-47).
Although the Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian Christians for divisions among them, he also strongly stressed the truth that believers are members of one body. Paul further exhorted them to behave toward one another as members of the same body should, he also declared boldly that in essence harmonious cooperation of the members of the church is as much a fact as is the harmonious cooperation of the members of the human body.
It stands to reason that with many members of one body that though all should work together these members of this one body differ widely in function and purpose by God’s design. Yet, these differences play a crucial role with aiding one another in the spirit of harmony/unity for the glory of God Almighty and His Kingdom.
Within the universal church we have some who may have five talents, and others may have one or two. Some are leaders and some are followers. Some have material wealth and some do not. Some are highly educated and some are quite unlearned as well. Some are strong in the faith while others are weak in the faith. Regardless of these differences we all need each other and as a collective corporate body we actually complement one another. What should bring us all together is the Christian virtue known as love.
This love will bring about a spirit and presence of harmony/unity which is the substance and essence of the church for the (true) church is undeniably the body of Christ and the (true) church will have the love of Christ flowing through her veins.
The problem is we have allowed false-converts into our churches and over time they have taken over. There’s always a small pocket of the elect, doing their best to be submissive to God’s plans and that humility and submission always runs up against the nefarious plans of the goats. So when we have a church that is a hybrid of the elect and false converts, no wonder we have such division! The world has no business in the church until God saves them.
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Yes, we have “allowed” false converts into our churches, etc. We have also played another role in false professions when someone simply prays the “sinner’s prayer.” The body of Christ always has and always will (this side of heaven) have the wheat and the tares. Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly believe that the vast majority of those who profess to be Christian are not. Therefore, we indeed have a real problem within our local church bodies and yes Paul we have God’s (true) elect and those false converts too. Some of the false converts do hold key positions within the leadership and at times it’s the Senior Pastor position as well. Thank you for sharing brother Paul, most folks stay “mum” about things of this nature rather than putting it out there and telling it like it is.
Thank you brother for your feedback. You are bang-on in your thoughts. We would be shocked to find out the actual number of the elect compared to the false-converts. I believe it’s far more than we know. The main comfort we can embrace is the fact that no matter how the “church” flows and how ugly and hostile the world gets toward us, God has every single person (spiritual and carbon-based) on a leash and we will only be allowed to do as we are allowed.
This is immensely comforting to us.