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Avoiding Church Splits-Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2022 2:00 am

Avoiding Church Splits-Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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February 5, 2022 2:00 am

The early church grew by addition and multiplication. It seems the modern church prefers to grow by division: one group splintering off on its own only to replicate that cycle again and again. The Christian community at Philippi was a vibrant, growing church but it was experiencing a period of disharmony. A split between two personalities was threatening the integrity of the church's testimony. Here we learn how such a split can be avoided.

This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.

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Website: https://connectwithskip.com

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Now there's some things that are true about human beings. People can blow it. People can get very nasty. People can say hurtful things. People can be downright stupid and egg-headed. Amen?

And that's precisely why they need forgiveness. Now today on Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Pastor Skip talks about some key ingredients to avoid church splits. But before we begin, we have an excellent new resource for you this month at connectwithskip.org. There's a top 10 list for just about everything. But what about a top 10 list that can actually impact your faith?

Skip Heitzig's top 10 messages will really make a mark. Here's a sample from What Most People Don't Know About Heaven. Somebody once said there are going to be at least three surprises in heaven. First of all, who's there that you thought would never make it?

Second, who's not there that you were sure would make it? And then number three, the fact that you yourself are there by God's grace. Hear Skip teach on heaven, hell, and the end times, and topics like the Holy Spirit and true happiness. And when you give $35 or more today, we'll also send you Reload Love, Lenya Heitzig's book about the founding of a ministry that's been helping children victimized by terror for nearly two decades.

Visit connectwithskip.com to give today and get Skip's top 10 messages on CD plus your copy of Reload Love by Lenya Heitzig or call 800-922-1888. Philippians chapter 2 is where we'll be today. So open your Bibles there and let's join Skip Heitzig. Verse 3 says, in lowliness of mind, that's the first, here's the second, let each esteem others better than himself. If you're an American, if you're a Westerner, and I assume all of you are, this flies directly in the face of everything you've been taught the last 30 years in our culture. This says, let each of you esteem others better than yourself.

The person next to you, the person in front of you, the person behind you, better than yourself. The last 30 years has seen the idea of self-esteem become the hallowed virtue of Western culture. It's all about your self-esteem. Well, how does this affect my self-esteem? Well, if they say that to me, what will that do to my self-esteem? And your self-esteem is so guarded and so important and it's so hallowed. I went on Google yesterday and Googled self-esteem. 13,900,000 hits.

Almost 14,000,000 hits. Self-esteem, the hallowed virtue of the American pantheon. But here it says, let each esteem others better than yourself. See what I mean? It's directly antithetical. It's counterintuitive to everything we've been taught. The Williams translation puts it this way, practice treating one another as your superior. What would happen if we started doing that? If when we met a person, there's a little bit of a riff, we start imagining, this person is my superior, my boss, writes my paycheck.

You're going, okay, that's tough. How do we pull that off? Verse four tells you how to do that. Let each of you look out, not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. That's how we do it. We look out. We start watching. We start noticing. We actually become interested. Here's the deal.

Here's the bottom line. If I'm always looking out for myself and you're always looking out for yourself, if I'm always putting myself first and you always put yourself first, we're going to collide. There's going to be some nasty fireworks.

But if I'm thinking about you and you're thinking about me, things are going to run very smoothly. Moreover, the body of Christ, the church, is going to be built up and become healthy. The key words in verse four are to look out. See those words? Look out. Doesn't mean look out, like watch your back. The idea means to focus one's attention upon or to notice or to keep your eyes carefully on something else.

It's where we dare to notice and care what's going on in another person's life. I heard about two boys who were talking, two little boys. And if you know me by now, you know that I love conversations between kids. And one little boy said to his friend in a candid moment, wouldn't you hate to wear glasses all the time? Just like a kid, right? Wouldn't you hate to wear glasses all the time?

And his friend said, I don't know. Not if they were my grandmother's glasses. He said, you know, my grandmother has this ability to be able to see if there's a problem or a hurt in a person's life and say and do exactly the right thing to make that person feel better.

And I asked grandma, how do you do it? She said it's the way she has learned to see things the older she gets. And the kid who came up with the protest in the beginning said, you're right, it must be your glasses.

He just didn't get it. May God give us new glasses to look out for each other. So those are the basics of getting along. Don't be like that.

Do be like this. Now comes the basis of getting along. Now what I want you to notice with me briefly is the reasons Paul lists of why we should get along with each other as believers. And I'm going to take you to the first word of chapter 2. What's the first word? Therefore. Now if you know anything about language, you know, you don't start a thought with the word therefore. It is a word that refers to other things that I have written about or talked about before this. So to begin a chapter, therefore, you have to know what the therefore is there for.

You got to get the context of it. So we will begin in chapter 1 of verse 27 to understand the therefore. He says, only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, that I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. And not in any way be terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now here in me. Therefore, and now he begins the new chapter.

In other words, they in Philippi were getting persecuted. And he mentions that. He says stand firm because you're getting persecuted by the world just like I've been persecuted by the world, you saw it and heard about it in me.

And then he says, therefore, in other words, here's reason number one. We should get along with each other because the world out there won't provide it for us. Won't provide it for us. Paul is saying since the world is going to persecute you and is going to afflict you and because you will suffer at the hands of the world, the one place where love and acceptance is to be found is not out there. Don't expect to get it out there. And if you can't get it out there, the one place you should get it is here with each other. Jesus put it this way, in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer.

I have overcome the world. So since the world won't provide this kind of love and acceptance and forgiveness for us and the one place we find it is together, this is the reason why when a church splits or fights or argues, it is so utterly absurd. It's like a soap opera. It's like a soap opera. Now, I'm not a soap opera fan if you didn't guess that already. But I do know that soap operas have been going on a long time on television and I actually know a couple people in my lifetime who have watched them. And so I have, on occasion, tuned in. Only long enough to discover the theme of most soap operas is deceit, envy, avarice, all of the base experiences and emotions of humanity. And as I watch some soap operas, on the little snippets that I have gotten, I wonder, do any of these people get along with anyone else?

It seems to be constant conflict and constant churning. So that is why it's absurd when the church acts like the world, a thinking unbeliever looks at the church and says, excuse me, I don't want to join that, I can stay at home and watch a soap opera. I can get that for free at television. I don't need to see that kind of drama played out inside a church. It's awkward when Christians battle that way. Second reason is because you belong to Christ. Because you belong to Christ.

Therefore, that's the first reason, because the world won't provide it. Second is because you belong to Christ. Notice, therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ. Now you see the little word if?

Cross it out and put since, that's the meaning of the Greek word. What he's saying is this, since it's true that there is consolation in Christ, since it is a fact, since it's verified that you and I are consoled by Jesus Christ himself who forgave us by his blood, that forms the basis of getting along with each other. It takes that same kind of acceptance.

Acceptance, love, forgiveness. Now, there's some things that are true about human beings. People can blow it. People can get very nasty. People can say hurtful things. People can be downright stupid and egg-headed. Amen?

And that's precisely why they need forgiveness. Hear me. And no more of these arguments, well you can't believe what he said. I can believe it. I've heard it.

Moreover, I'm a keen observer of human nature. Oh, but they're so horrible. It's exactly why they need your forgiveness. Because they're sinners and they say and they do those hurtful things and that's the point. There's consolation in Christ and there is. And since Jesus did that for you, you can't do that for somebody else?

I'll reinforce that. Ephesians 4 32, you know it. And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

You. So because the world won't provide it, because you belong to Christ. Third reason, because His love is the catalyst that gets this going. Notice the next phrase in verse one. If there is any comfort of love, now it's speaking about His love for us. If there's any comfort that you derive from His love for you. God's love is one of the most comforting things ever. No wonder Billy Graham always has said at the end of his crusades, remember God loves you.

He says, he'll say that 30 times in a message. Because it's so comforting, the comfort of His love. I love that song, oh the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think God loves me. I hope you're not the kind of person that says, well I am pretty lovable.

I don't think it's a great wonder that God loves me. Hey, do you remember that fairy tale of the beautiful princess who was going to kiss the ugly toad? You know that, everybody knows it. And it's always struck me as odd, because what toad wouldn't want to be kissed by a beautiful princess?

That's great, it's the best day of his life. But what princess would ever want to kiss a dirty, slimy, odorous toad? I can't think of one. The ultimate kiss in history is John 3 16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish. So there is great comfort in God's love for us that He would bow to that extreme. But, do you know that you have a capacity to love?

You have a great and deep capacity to love the unlovable, to love the unruly, to love the nasty. Because the Bible says the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts. That the love we have received from Him, God has given us all a wonderful, huge, limitless capacity to show love to another. It's a wonder why we don't.

We have that capacity. Fourth reason, because we're a spiritual family. That's another and final basis of getting along.

Because we're a family. He continues, if there is any fellowship in the Spirit. Fellowship in the Spirit, we've already covered fellowship.

You know what it means, koinonia. Joint partnership and a common interest. You and I are joined together. We're part of a family. We have the same spiritual resources, same spiritual blessings, we're part of the same spiritual family.

That's one of the basis. God put us together. We're in His family. I'm a child of God, you're a child of God. That means you're my brother and my sister and vice versa. If there is any fellowship in the Spirit. The next phrase is also family related.

Look at that before we close. If there is any affection and mercy, he says in verse one, fulfill my joy by being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Any affection and mercy.

Now if you do happen to have an old King James Bible. This is where the translation goes from really wonderful before vain glory to a little bit weird. Because if you have a King James version it says if there are any bowels of mercy. Bowels? Merciful bowels?

Do you have merciful bowels this morning? That's an old word to speak of deep seated emotional affection. Because the Hebrews believe that the place you feel the most emotion is in your gut. If you show genuine compassion to a person, you show it in the bowels. Jesus saw the multitude, it says he was moved with compassion.

The Greek word splonkina means the bowels. He felt deeply compassion and emotion. So as members of the same spiritual family we are to show compassion to each other, to value each other. Because we have been forgiven, we have been blood bought. We are under this covenant.

So that is the basics and the basis of getting along. I want to close with a story. It seemed that a young man was returning from war. He was a veteran, he survived. He came home to the shores of the United States of America. First thing he did, he was a good boy, got on the phone, called his mama. Said he's coming home.

They were excited to hear each other's voice. I'm going to tell you the story now as I read it. As they talked for a while, eventually the young man said to his mother, Mom, I have my best friend in the whole world and I want to bring him home with me. He saved my life. He was one of my buddies out in the field when a hand grenade was thrown into our foxhole and he was wounded, saving my life.

As a result, he continued tentatively, he has only one eye and one arm and one leg. And Mom, he doesn't have any family except ours. He said this with hope in his voice. I've told him, Mom, that he can come home with me. I would like your permission for him to come and be one of our family and to live with us from now on.

Can he? His voice trailed off, anxiously awaiting her reply. You bring him home, son, she said, and in a few days we'll be able to find a place for him where I know he'll be happy. I'm so anxious to see you, she said, trying hard to hold back the tears that were welling up in her eyes. But he pleaded, Mother, I want him to come home and be a part of our family, not to go anywhere else, but to live with us.

Well, son, you're so young, she reasoned. It'd be alright for a short time, but after a while, we would get tired of always having to care for him. But you can bring him home for three, four weeks, she conceded.

During that time, we'll find him a place. You understand, don't you? Yes, Mother, his voice sounded so far away, I think I do. They said their goodbyes and they hung up. The mother was so excited that she would see her son in a few days, but the next day, the next day, a government official stopped at that home with tragic news. Her son had taken his own life. The mother was obviously shocked and perplexed and wondered how this could ever have happened. In a few days, the son's body arrived in their hometown. Numb with grief, she went down to view the body of her precious son. She looked into the coffin, then she understood. He had only one eye, one arm, and one leg, and he had tested her love, and her love had fallen short.

Having become crippled, he no longer felt he had any value. How very different is that from the love of Jesus Christ who has come for the crippled and the brokenhearted and the lame and the fatherless and the senseless and the directionless and says, ah, there you are. I've got a place just for you. And with that, he gives the commission to us to say exactly the same to those that he calls to his body. My friend, you are one of those who have been called. You are one of those who Jesus and his great love was looking for and was willing to die for.

Maybe you've never heard that before, or maybe you've heard but decided not to pay any attention before now. Don't let this opportunity slip away. Seize this moment to be embraced by the love of Christ. Experience his forgiveness and the new life he now offers you. And if you'd like to talk with someone about how you can do that, just call us at 1-800-922-1888 as we share some time with Skip and Lenya for more thoughts about division in the Church.

Lenya? Skip, today you address division in the body of Christ, and that is such a painful thing. And I think it's been around since the early times. I am of Paul. I am of Apollos. Even among the Twelve. Right, and then some even said I'm of Christ. You know, like they were the super, super spiritual ones. And it's sad, and it's something we want to avoid as much as possible. Discuss with us the importance of harmony within the body of Christ and the consequences that disunity brings.

Yeah, I'd love to. When it comes to the body of Christ, just think about that. The body of Christ. That God loves us and is so intertwined with his people relationally that he descends, condescends to call us his body. We're all a part of him. So, you know, who are we to think that we can break that up?

Or we can hurt that? And no matter how you feel toward another brother or sister, you and I, we need to promote harmony. First of all, because of Jesus' death, he died for those people. He loves those people.

They're going to be in heaven with you, and they belong to Christ. So because of Jesus' death. Second, because of Jesus' prayer. It was the will of the Father, consequently the will of the Son and his prayer to the Father in John 17, when he said, I pray that they will be one even as you and I, Father, are one.

So, for those two reasons, and then there's a third, because of the world's need. The world needs to see something that is functioning, something that is whole, something that is loving and forgiving, not perfect, no one is, but when they know there's a group of people who will eradicate their differences and erase problems in the past and come together on a common love for Christ and for each other, there's healing in that. And Jesus said by this, I was just thinking that. Shall all men know that you are my disciples. Indeed. By the love you have, not for them, but for one another. And there's something magnetic about seeing people love each other, because when you see a loving family and you're not a part of one, you go, boy, I wish I had that.

Yep. Well, thanks for that encouragement, Skip and Lenya. And don't forget to pick up a copy of today's message, Avoiding Church Splits. It's available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit connectwithskip.com or write to us at P.O.

Box 95707, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87199. And join us next time as we examine one of the key components of church, worship, right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection.

Make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. A connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-12 10:07:03 / 2023-06-12 10:16:04 / 9

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