Divisions or Schism - RR274H16b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
They are the sons of God. But ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption. Whereby we cry Abba, Father, let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we come into Thy presence joyful in this wonderful season, and this time of rejoicing. And this time when we are reminded afresh of the victory that is ours in Thy son. We pray for those of our number who are in need, are in trouble or are ill in this blessed season that by thy presence Thou wouldst comfort and strengthen them. Remind them that with Thee is the victory that over cometh the world. That greater is He that is in us and with us then he that is in the world. We thank Thee our Father that the joy of this season is a permanent joy, a joy that will grow from day to day and be fulfilled in all eternity. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Our scripture lesson this morning is First Corinthians 11:17-19. Our subject: Divisions or Schism.
“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”
These three verses are urgently important because they are necessary to a Christian understanding of history. The perfectionist usually has a long historical view. He wants a perfect church at once and a perfect world. He’s very upset if he doesn’t get it. Because things are so bad in the church and in the world such people hold that the only possible answer is either perfection now or an any-moment return of Jesus Christ. [00:04:08]
In other words: we’ve got to have the end result now one way or another. So century after century these people have deflected the church from its proper function. Because they say it’s got to be perfect or I don’t want any part of it or the only answer is for Jesus Christ to come in my lifetime and clean up the whole mess. Neither possession is biblically tenable. Both undermine the faith and the church because both are implicit denials of historical process. History is a development, it’s a process. It requires growth, it does not say that either man or the church is going to reach perfection today. In a very, very much neglected text one that I don’t hear preached about or read about, our Lord tells us in Mark 4:28, first the blade then the ear, after that the full corn and the ear. In other words you don’t plant corn or grain or any kind of wheat then expect to yield a great crop in a few minutes. There is a process. It is slow, you have to work and tend the planting, then in due time you reap. A slight sliver of green is the first sign of a growing corn plant. Then much later a sign of a small ear of corn and finally the mature grain. The evil expectations and that’s the only thing you can call it of men demand instant results, they despise the historical process. But this is a false perspective, it is common both among Christians and non-Christians, it is a position that is evil. Evil expectations lead to evil results. [00:07:49]
Too many churchmen join with the ungodly in demanding...
Too many churchmen join with the ungodly in demanding the new heavens and the new earth now. We don’t want to grow! We feel that we’re ready for the results, Lord, give them now. We feel that we’re grown up enough to enjoy marriage and prosperity and what not, therefore we want it now, nothing about maturity, growth, saving, training, getting the education, no. I want the results now. And that is evil. The view of such people is therefore a very, very warped one. Why has the church failed? Their superior wisdom would no doubt have prevented such disasters. Despite their superior wisdom such people are usually at odds with everyone. Unable to give wisdom or peace to anybody or anything. Our Lord in requiring our sowing of the seed be done with an awareness that time and history must be seen as the necessary realm of growth and that growth cannot be bypassed by perfectionist demands. In First Timothy 5:22 we read: “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” Meaning that no man should be ordained into the ministry on short notice and without adequate training. Paul’s council in First Corinthians 11:17-19 is really a command. The word declare in verse seventeen should be translated really as command. What Paul here commands has reference not only to the place of women, verses one through sixteen and to the nature of communion, verses twenty through thirty four that follow, but also to an understanding of the necessity for growth or maturity. [00:11:06]
If they fail to understand the necessity for constant...
If they fail to understand the necessity for constant growth they are coming together as a church not for the better but for the worse. That’s a pretty strong judgment but it is one that comes from God through Paul. So they may be a church of several thousand but if they come together not for growth but just to hear that yes, Jesus is coming again soon therefore all will be wiped out, they are coming together for the worse! Are they coming together as the perfect ones to sit in judgment on one another, it is God’s law word that must judge them all. In verse eighteen Paul says that the reports he is receiving indicate that when they meet divisions or schisms mark their meetings. Paul is more than slightly ready to believe this he says. To limit what Paul has to say to the observance of the Lord’s Table is to limit its meaning very severely. But it does refer in part to the sacrament, it’s true, the Lord’s Table among other things sets forth Christ’s atonement or regeneration. Our membership in the kingdom of God and much more. But all this is in the context of Paul’s insistence that there must be also heresies among you and they which are approved may be made manifest among you. You shall have heresies, you shall have divisions, these are testings! Paul here sets forth the theology of history. In a fallen world there will be heresies. The word heresy means a self-chosen view as against a God given one. These will test all those in the church. [00:14:23]
There will be a sifting in the church as these heresies...
There will be a sifting in the church as these heresies are set forth. The sifting will be to draw off the dross and purify the church. Growth and success are possible where constant testing is an inescapable part of life. To expect a peaceful and trouble free church in this world is to confuse heaven and earth. The church in this world is a place for growth, for testing. We are constantly confronted by the word of God and the need to change our lives in terms to fit. The church is an escape house but a place for challenge and response, for growth and redirection. Conversion is an important milestone but as such it is a position, a pointer in the right direction, not a terminal point. The lust for terminal points this side of heaven is both unrealistic and morally wrong. The neglect of Mark 4:24, first the blade then the ear and then after that the full corn and the ear, is devastating to the church. It leads to a serious retardation in more growth. To a prevalence of idiots rather than mature Christians. The word ‘idiotas’ in the Greek refers to a baby. An idiot in our sense is someone who never grows beyond that stage. False religions have no growth dimensions. They simply call for acceptance and compliance, not moral growth. From ancient paganism through the mystery religions to the present day new age cults, all false religions are alike in this respect. Biblical faith is radically different. It speaks of regeneration and sanctification, of rebirth and growth. Paul says there must be heresies among you because every faith is challenged and tested, whether it is true or not. [00:17:59]
For this reason we can look to the future as a time...
For this reason we can look to the future as a time of growth, of grave problems, but of greater results because God has so ordained it. Remember: we are tried; we are tested in this life. For our service here and for our service in the world to come. We are created for eternity, we are to serve him throughout all eternity. This is our training school, here and now. Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thy purpose for us is all together righteous and holy, that here and now we are in training, in training for Thy purposes. For Thy eternal service. Make us mindful for our need to grow, keep us from those false views which demand an end now and make us ever mindful that day in and day out, year in and year out we have a mandate to grow, to mature, so that we may better serve Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? [00:20:33]
As you can see these three verses are of momentous...
As you can see these three verses are of momentous importance. They do demand growth. They demand a view of life very, very different from anything we today are accustomed to. One of our problems today is that in one area of life after another we don’t expect to see growth or maturity. As it was Walter who commented last night, at the dinner table, one of the problems in marriage is ‘okay, this is it, now lets’ relax and enjoy it’ but it’s a time for growth, every stage of our life requires growth, every stage is a testing, old age brings its testings’ too. It requires maturity and growth to accept what stage of life brings so that we may better be prepared for what the Lord requires for all eternity. Any questions or comments about any aspects of this lesson? Well if not let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. Thy word speaks to our every condition. Thy word corrects our waywardness and our self-will. Give us grace to commit ourselves to Thee each day knowing that Thy purposes for us are all together righteous and holy. And Thy purposes are for time and for all eternity. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.