There was an event that occurred recently that was related to an opportunity that we were cancelled out of at the last minute. In the revealing of more information it was clear that we were cancelled due to a difference of doctrinal beliefs. At first I was very surprised that such an occurrence could happen in today’s church; however the more I began to ponder and realize I now understand that this was not an isolated event. This behavior of isolationism has become more prevalent in established sanctuaries that possess a “if your beliefs are unlike mine then I can’t accept you” mentality.
First of all, I am going to address those who adopt “my way or the highway”. What I’m about to tell you is going to be straight and to the point: if we cannot learn to work together as Christians for the greater good of people receiving Christ then we are no better than the rest of others that people so proudly turn their nose to. Let me ask it this way: if you knew that when your loved one would be saved that they would shout and dance (and possibly embarrass you) when they worship would that be enough for you to hinder their path to Christ? If you had a spouse that had been lost 30 years and upon being saved began to speak in other tongues would you shun them and consider what they received “crazy” or not of God? What about yourself?! If you knew you could be totally delivered from depression but you grew to minister the gospel to your peers…would you completely surrender?
Secondly, if your doctrines were enough to save the world then why have the not worked? If your own ideals and beliefs were the answer to your problems then how can we explain when God uses others to bless us? If religion and the checklists that the “do and don’t” folks hold so tight to would work then why do I see so many that are in the same place they were when religion found them? Let me say this last thing to you: it is people that think I am crazy that remind me every day that religion and doctrine do not save people; Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life to this lost and dying world. My prayer for you is that you continue to spend your efforts on me and others that genuinely care about making a difference. At least then you would not hinder another person from accepting salvation for fear of prejudice and attack from its own.
Finally, I have a scripture and word for some of you who are dealing with some form of this from people. I want to remind you assuredly that people perish for their lack of knowledge. And when people get so ingrained in the ideals of a doctrine they lose sight on the entire word of God. Remember that denomination does not define you. The blood of Christ in your life is what makes you who you are! Let us take a look at the example of Stephen:
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Whether people stood by or took part in throwing the stones they were equally guilty in this moment. Even in the midst of all the good things Stephen had done there were still people that wished to see him fall. And even in the midst of something so undeserving you hear “lay not this sin to their charge”. What a powerful showing of how the enemy has no hold on God’s children! Be reminded this day that even if people try to bring you down that you can be at peace enough to even forgive them and enter into peace and rest!
To this day I never had the chance to stand in the church that I was brought up in for 20 years due to the differences that left me shunned as a minister. That has not stopped me, however, from going back numerous times in my life to still fellowship with people. We go to many churches of various denominations and love each and every chance we get to show the love of God by sharing our gifts that God has given us with others. Our own family all goes to different churches of different denomination yet we serve our ministry to whosoever will. Your willingness to be open and worship with others is what makes what is precious in you shine. With this mentality people won’t see you as one denomination or another but a child of God. I choose to be of no denomination because I feel it limits people so much to whom they truly can be in God. I choose to be a child of God and to be defined by the word of God and what it’s promises entail for me! And now when I go through situations where I am shunned or made to feel like nothing I am reminded that I simply ask for their forgiveness and be at peace.
So today, I forgive you and pray that the willingness to be open and serve with Christians of all beliefs will enter into your heart. Because at the end of the day when we are called to be with Christ there will be no parties by denomination. We will be one body, separated no longer by ideals, opinions and doctrines. Open your eyes to see that we all need each other in the last days!
Be reminded and encouraged my friends, God is alive and well!
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Presented at 13th Street Church of God, LaFollette, TN
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Sermon Notes: http://www.heartofgraceministries.com/blog/after-the-fact/stop-living-denial-face-issues-christ/
We realize that in these words that it opens a window of what should help us strive to be stable in our faith. The enemy is working through people and situations that strain our spirit. What I am afraid of more than anything is that one day we will think we have the power to overcome anything but from our denial of sins and temptations that we will be no better than our enemy.
Sadly, we church members do not sufficiently realize the extreme subtlety of our heart’s disease. Denial does not come at us loudly proclaiming to be our deadly enemy, saying, “You are a bold faced liar and you are going to burn in the Lake of Fire!” It comes like Judas, with a kiss, and like Joab, with his hand extended in friendship and his tongue uttering flattering words.
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
We are facing an ever constant battle of spiritual warfare. The enemy seeks to steal your mind and rob any imagination that would lead you to have a constant lifestyle aligned in God’s will. As we allow these fiery darts to prevail in our thought process we see that we begin to lose our spiritual vision (faith). And as our spiritual vision goes we begin to try and listen for anything that will let us continue as we are and reject any notions from God that take us towards a faith that leads us blindly through our trials.
This prolonged rejection of the word leads to a cold bitter heart that has little or no acceptance to God’s word, prophecy, encouragement or exhortation.
How do we overcome denying our faults?
1) The Worship of God and Christ will empower the Holy Ghost inside of you. The Holy Ghost will teach you and align you to the truth of God’s word and purpose, thus making you free
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
3) Examine your life daily. If the doctor tells you to examine yourself and to take care of yourself to live long…then chances are when we perform our spiritual checkups that we can deal with things and rid them in the earlier stages rather than waiting until we are in denial!