WHO SPLIT THE LOG? - OR - DIVIDING THE BODY OF CHRIST
A. This lesson has to do with the unity of the body of Christ, the church of our Lord. Another way of expressing it is the people of God or the children of God.
1. Those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ.
2. That there is division among or in this group is undeniable.
3. Who caused the division? Who split the Log?
B. Unity: Oneness, oneness of mind, concord, harmony, agreement, freedom from diversity or variety. The word unity appears in the Bible three times: Psalm 133:1; Eph.4:3,13
C. Division: State of being divided, a marking off or arranging in parts, the separation into two or more groups, separation by difference of opinion or feelings, section, schism.
I. UNITY IS GOOD AND PLEASANT
A. Some things are good but not pleasant (medicine; corporal punishment). Other things are pleasant but not good (I'll leave that to your imagination).
B. Unity among brethren is both good for us and pleasant, illustrated by the ointment on the head and face; the dew of Hermon, Psalm 133
II. UNITY IS DEMANDED Amos 3:3 John 17:20-21 1 Cor.1:10-12
A. Unity does not just happen! It must be brought about by each member's thoughts being brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
B. We must endeavor or give diligence to peek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph.4:3)
III. DIVISION CONDEMNED Mark 3:24-25 Church is kingdom of God (Rev.1:6) and the house of God (1 Tim.3:15). 1 Cor 3:1-9
IV. WHAT CAUSES DIVISION? OR- OVER WHAT SHOULD WE DISFELLOWSHIP (SPLIT)?
A. Any strange or foreign element that alters or adulterates the plan of salvation, worship, work or organization of the local church. 2 John 9 1 Pet.4:11
1. Mechanical instruments of music Eph 5:19 Col 3:16 Heb 13:15 --Mechanical music is another element. This adulterates the worship.
2. In scriptural authority the N.T. is the divine element. The doctrines of men form other elements and adulterate divine authority. Matt.15:9 Gal.1:6-10
3. The local church is the only divine organization through which the church is to do her work.
a. The Missionary Society, through which churches perform the work of evangelism, is a STRANGE ELEMENT or ANOTHER ORGANIZATION! Eph 3:21 1 Tim 3:15
V. WHO CAUSES DIVISION - OR - WHO SPLITS THE LOG?
A. Those who introduce or add anything to that which is divinely ordained, as the things mentioned above. The one(s) opposing innovations (iniquity; lawlessness) are NOT the dividers!
B. Those who make a law where God has not made one concerning anything that does not alter the divine elements ordained - things incidental or methods. Examples:
1. GO. (Matt.28:19) Can walk, ride, fly, boat, etc., - to pick ONE as the ONLY way would be making a law where God has not made one.
2. ASSEMBLE (Acts 20:7; Heb.10:25). Upper room; basement; ground floor. Rent, own, meet in someone's home.
3. COMMUNE 1 Cor.10:16; 11:23-30 The cup is that which we drink, divide, bless, etc. The element is the fruit of the vine. The number of containers used does not alter the element any more than the color of the cover of the Bible alters the elements of the Bible. A pa system does not alter the element of preaching. The use of song books does not alter the divine element, sing.
4. TEACH. One teacher and one group or two teachers and two groups (etc.) does not alter or change the fact that we are still doing exactly what God commands.
a. Many other things could be listed. Those who select one way of doing such things and condemn all who will not bow down to their dictates are guilty of causing division or driving the wedge. They usually say, "Our practice is not questioned."
C. ORPHAN HOMES. Those who say that a church may Scripturally contribute to orphan homes accuse those of us who oppose this practice of making a law where God has made none.
1. It is regrettable that division exists over this issue. However, we are not legislating where God has not - HE HAS A LAW CONCERNING THIS! (as with all other matters) and that is, SCRIPTURES AUTHORIZE and where there is NO SCRIPTURE there is NO AUTHORIZATION!
2. Examples in NT of churches sending to churches - always, the receiving church was destitute and the sending church had plenty (had more). No example or command for a church to send to another ORGANIZATION (INSTITUTION)!
a. No authorization for such.
b. No authorization for the local church to do ANY PHASE OF HER WORK THROUGH ANOTHER ORGANIZATION OR ANOTHER LOCAL CHURCH!
1) This was one of the things wrong with the missionary society. And brethren oppose the missionary society (at least, a society so named!), but do not know WHY they oppose it!
2) This is what is wrong with the Herald of Truth radio and TV program. And if it is claimed that the hot is not another organization (which it is), there still is no authorization for churches to pool their resources in one church to carry on any work!
VI. THEIR PRACTICE OF LEGISLATING A LAW WHERE GOD HAS NOT IS QUESTIONED
A. Paul refused to allow such. He allowed Timothy to be circumcised (Acts 16:3) but when some made it mandatory as a law of God, Paul refused to allow Titus to be circumcised. Gal.2:3-5
B. Paul set forth this same principle in Rom.14:2-3
C. Paul says, "The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God." (Rom.14:22) Until this attitude prevails (regarding our personal convictions which is what Paul refers to [The faith which you have], not matters of THE FAITH), there will continue to be divisions over matters that do not change, alter, adulterate the DIVINE ELEMENT of God's plan.
Paul pleads: being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph.4:3) That is our plea. Emphasize again: One opposing innovations (iniquity) - NOT THE DIVIDERS! MUST OPPOSE ALL LAWLESSNESS!
by Larry Bunch
Return to the Sermon Outlines page