Ephesians 6:13-14

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, TO STAND. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about WITH TRUTH, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dealing with Other Christians

It appears as one reads through the Pauline epistles that the apostle Paul had the same problems with Christians in his day as we do in ours. Much of 1st Corinthians deals with "troublemakers" who are only interested in causing problems or profiting themselves in the eyes of others rather than exalting the Saviour and esteeming others better than themselves.

Paul plainly dealt with such people in chapter three:

3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9 For we are labourers together with God:

Here Paul speaks of those who are carnal and instead of following Christ with the spirit of meekness and kindness, they are guilty of envy, strife, and divisions as they all follow a man instead of God. (Do I really need to go any further with this? That kinda looks like the Fundamentalist movment of today, doesn't it? As it's full of its many camps, groups, Bible Schools, fellowships, man worship, etc.)

But notice what Paul says about himself. He doesn't exalt himself or his group. He asks, "Who is Paul?" (And in Eph. 3:8, he answers this by saying he's "...less than the least of all saints.)

Paul didn't have a high opinon of himself. Nor did he care about "man worship" or the constant "bickering" of Christians amongst themselves. (I've often wondered if he was against all that because it was so prevelant in the circles he ran with before he was saved, you know, when he was a Pharisee!).

No, Paul only wanted Jesus Christ to be glorified and preached.

So how do you, as a Christian, deal with other Christians? Are you compassionate, careful to encourage, and exhort them? Or are you like the Pharisees, who sought only to attack and ridicule Jesus?

Sadly, in the modern Fundamentalist movement, there is very little compassion, exhortation, encouragement, and charity. Instead, we find a bunch of pompous macho men who live only to "attack" others within their own ranks, hoping to catch them in their words and make them look stupid in the eyes of others. But where is the Christian spirit in this?

When dealing with other Christians, the Bible tells us plainly how we should act. Below are a few verses for those who have forgotten:

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

1 Cor. 16:14 Let all your things be done with charity.

Eph. 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Col. 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Col. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

1 Tim. 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sover, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I could list hundreds of even more verses, but this list should be a good start to convict the heart of many a modern "Fighting Fundamentalist" who has strayed from the Pauline Epistles and the true Christian doctrine of "speaking the truth in love," and "exhorting" others, rather than "extorting" them, and ridiculing them only to make themselves feel good.

Where's the love? Where's the charity?" Where's the kindness in modern Christian circles? Sadly, it's often not there.

What the world needs are more TRUE CHRISTIANS, who will stand for the truth, and earnestly "contend" for the faith, but will do so with the right attitude and the right heart, not attacking in the flesh, but contending in the spirit.

I mention all this, as I recently tried to get on a "Fundamentalist" Forum internet board. As I read through some of the discussions, I quickly found they turned into heated debates. I finally had to get out of that site completely, as those who claimed to be Christians were attacking each other so vehemently, that they were not only name-calling, but even cussing one another out. Where is this in the Bible? It's not there. These so-called brethern (God knoweth if they are saved or not, as they are showing forth a carnal nature rather than a spiritual one) were not dealing with each other they way that the Bible instructs us to. They were only interested in their own opinions, and they were willing to fight tooth and nail to make themselves look right. In short, they were Funny-mental-ists!

What's needed today are more TRUE CHRISTIANS, who practice discernment but also are able to deal with others in a cool, considerate, and compassionate fashion. If a man is a heretic or believes wrong, it's not my job to "Slam him" and "shut him up." I'm only supposed to give him the truth and show him he's wrong. If he doesn't want to hear it, it's not my place to call him names, scream at him, cuss him out, or put him down. I am only responsible to God for whether I told him the truth or not, and I should make sure to open the scriptures and show him the verses. If he rejects it, I reject him. But I don't go into attack mode and allow my flesh to take over, for this is exactly what the Devil wants. It makes me out to be the bad guy, and my testimony is shot. If only modern Fundamentalists would think about this and react in the same way.

Sadly, it appears they will not. They are just like those that Paul mentions, who are following a MAN or a MOVEMENT, and they are more interested in defending themselves and their own viewpoints rather than the Bible's. They believe they are right because they have the "majority" behind them, and they will never allow themselves to entertain the thought that it's possible that the majority might be wrong. Because they have numbers, they feel they can attack and then hide behind their cohorts. But they never seem to realize that this exactly what the Apostle Paul was against. He wanted unity in the body of Christ. And the only way to acheive it was to stop the man worship and stop the carnal practice of dividing the flock of God. In order to have unity in the body of Christ, we must sit down around the word of God and go verse by verse and we must believe what we read. We cannot take verses out of context, or twist them for our own fleshy reasons or monetary gain. We must accept what they say and follow THEM rather than follow MAN.

In dealing with other Christians, let us always remember that being in the flesh will always lead to CARNAL attacks. Rather we should deal with other Christians as spiritually as possible. We should practice the fruits of the spirit, and with meekness and longsuffering encourage and exhort one another. And if we so do, then we can join hands and be about the Lord's business together, rather than apart.

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