Divisions in the Church
1 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.
We all face the poisonous head of division which is eating into the Church and keeping us from experiencing the glory of God. Even the Apostles faced this problem and we read the first records of division among Christians in the book of Acts chapter 6. It is by this we understand one of the root causes of division.
When the Church was growing in strength and increasing in numbers Satan also tried hard to destroy the Church. We read the Hellenistic or Grecians Jewish Christians complained against the Hebrew Jewish Christians because their widows were being overlooked in the daily service.
The Grecian were people who followed the Greek traditions. Even though these people had migrated to Judea since many years they had not let go of their traditional ways which they followed of their native land. The native Jews were known as Hebrews and were easily identifiable from the Grecian for the Grecians spoke Greek while the Hebrew Jews spoke Hebrew / Aramaic. The lifestyle of the Grecians was also different they treated their women like Muslims treat their women. Those who could afford had separate rooms for the women of the house and were kept away from the eyes of other people. Their clothes were uniform and utilitarian in the extreme. There was hardly any difference between the dress style of the rich and the poor except for their footwear.
We see these people identified themselves between each other mainly because of their traditions.
I thank God that I was born in India a land extreme filled with traditions. Not that I am proud of traditions but when things are done in extreme they expose their root foundations.
In India we see traditions like the cuisine, clothes, festivals and practices are dependant according to the part of the country the people dwell. Since India has different climates in different parts of the country, therefore the vegetation also is different and thus the supplement ingredients in the food also vary and have caused different kinds of traditional cuisines. Similarly the dressings also are influenced by the climate and the terrain. Another factor that primarily influences the traditions is the belief of the native people and that also affects their dressing and their food habits. Some traditions practiced over very long periods start to stick so hard that they are no longer identified as tradition but are considered de-facto way of life and anyone not doing it is looked on as an alien or a crazy person. For example women wearing ear rings is no longer a tradition by the people, so if they find a woman without them is looked on as an alien or something wrong with the gender. People do not bother to find the root of this tradition, if it is from a belief or of pagan practice?
What is interesting is when people of one region move to another, they do not change their way of life or traditions but continue the ones of their native land. Even though that tradition was based on the climatic conditions they lived in before, now that they moved to another region with a totally different climatic condition and terrain yet the traditions of the previous region are continued.
Tradition is one of the biggest factor that spiritually kills people. It blinds the mind and spirit of the person. It is also one of the biggest factors that cause division after doctrines (difference in understanding - read 3rd July 2012 message). It may not be the way of dressing or food that affects Christianity but the others do affect Christianity. People try to fuse the beliefs, festivals and practices from their pagan religions which have taken the form of way of life into Christianity. Slowly they start to modify the doctrines of Christianity and start creating different forms of Christianity and thus cause divisions.
Language is a way of communication and should not be used to put communication barriers between people by grouping them.
The Lord always detested the traditions of man. If we look the name 'Jesus' given to the Lord as man was more a Greek name instead of a Jewish name. Paul was born in a family half Jew and half Roman and would blend in either environment; he was also at home with the Greeks.
The external traditions of man do not affect us Christians so much, but the others do i.e. the concept of balancing genders in Heaven by introducing a female gender came from pagan Babylonian/ Roman belief inducted into Christianity. The great religious importance given to objects or relics also is another factor (Bible gives a symbolic / meaningful importance to objects but does not issue them a religious status).
The Bible tells us we need to be born again to be Christians. We need to be free of the yokes of traditions. We should renew our understandings and start like a child to build our understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven. Only then will we experience the Resurrection Power in our lives. It is this Power which keeps us united together.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, even though we believe in You yet many of us are yet bonded by the traditions and understandings of the world. Lord, we pray that we start anew in You, like a child being innocent of the world but learning all things through your Word and by your Spirit. Fill us Lord with the gift of discernment that we may reject the things of the world and thus be of one mind and one understanding, united in You...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
Acts 6:1 - And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?
38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 6:13 - Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,
30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,
31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
1 Corinthians 10:25-26
25 Whatever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.
2 Corinthians 3:6 - Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament [not referring to the book]; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions [what was written/spoken] which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle [reconfirmed here].
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