Division in the church is the result of man trying to incorporate their imperfect ideas, perceptions, and religious rituals into the perfection of God’s Holy Word. In the Bible days, the church of Corinth was the perfect example of this type of behavior within the church. Paul did address their behavior concerning this matter and warned them of the consequences of division (1 Corinthians 3:4). It appears that this same type of thinking is plaguing our churches today. Unfortunately, in modern society, we accept philosophical thinking to be the final authority of truth; especially, if the speaker has fame and fortune. Our society has started to demonstrate that money and material gain equals wisdom on all subject matters. The Body of Christ has made a habit of transferring the world’s pattern of thinking in with their new life in Christ. Unfortunately, the church wants to continue to lean on their own understanding and dismiss the power of the Holy Spirit for direction in their lives. Earthly knowledge portrayed in our churches will always consist of several opinions; therefore, encouraging division in the church. Earthly knowledge should never take precedence over the Word of God. The Word of God should always be the final authority in governing circumstances and issues in our everyday living. What are the consequences of division in the Church? Spiritual immaturity and sexual immorality are two results of division in the church. There are several other consequences of division in the church; but these are the two that I will be discussing today.
Spiritual immaturity is one of the major results of division in the church. The Body of Christ should be focused on exemplifying unity in the church. The spiritual foundation of the church is built on the Word of God. Quarreling, jealousy, backbiting, and chaos are friends of the world; therefore, enemies of spiritual growth. Unity in the Body of Christ can only be obtain through the Word of God (Ephesians 4:13). When we fail to conduct our behavior on a strong, spiritual foundation based on Christ, we will never grow in Christ. Unfortunately, the Body of Christ has embraced expressions such as “babes in Christ” and “carnal-minded” as accepted states in a believer’s life. These terms should never become permanent fixtures in the believer’s life. Spiritual immaturity is the exception in the believer’s life, not the rule. When the believer fails to grow in Christ, they fail to be what God has called them to be. Everyday, the believer should be striving to become more like Christ (Galatians 4:19). The believer’s life should be mandated by the Word of God and nurtured by the Holy Spirit.
Sexual Immorality is the second result of division in the church. This type of behavior has become so incorporated in our culture that it has become accepted within the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ behavior pertaining to sexual perversion has become a mirror to the world concerning this matter. The Word of God states that His people are not to be conformed to the world; but to be renewed in our minds (Romans 12:2). It appears that believers are taking a reversed role with the world. God has declared His people to be the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13). Believers are called to be the light in a dark world. When believers embrace or indulge in inappropriate sexual behavior, the world takes the church’s behavior as a stamp of approval in their own sexual perversion. When it comes to sexual behavior, the church should fall in line with the Word of God. This is the standard set by God that should be exemplified in every aspect of our lives.
Division in the church is a major problem; but we have the assurance of God’s Word. Jesus is the head of the church and will always have control over it’s final destination. Jesus is fully aware of the division in the Body of Christ and I am sure He has a reason for allowing division to remain within the church. Jesus promised to build the church, to never forsake the church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). The responsibility of the Body of Christ is to trust Christ. We have to relinquish our own way of thinking and accept the authority of the Word of God in our lives. Everyday we should be shedding our “worldly beliefs” and putting on the whole armor of God. The Body of Christ has to stop trusting its knowledge and start to trust God’s wisdom.
by Pamela Morton Palmer