FELLOWSHIP, BRIEFLY PUT
How happy we are to dwell together in the peace of Christ! We have that peace of heart and mind that surpasses all human understanding. We know Him as the Crucified. And we know Him as the Resurrected. We have peace with God through this our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This we believe and teach. We are united with God through the peace Christ won for us on Calvary.
Not only are we united with God by faith in Christ, but we are united with one another in His Church by our common faith. Just as we have peace with God, so we should have a peaceful relationship with one another in His Church. As Paul says, we should be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:3
This unity we have in Spirit shows in that we as a church agree and teach His Word in its truth and purity. We have formed a visible church body in order to work together for Him in His kingdom. Our unity is based on the pure Word of God. We will not tolerate any false teachings, or any false teachers. We seek to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.” Phil. 1:27 Unity not based on agreement on what God’s Word teaches is not true Scripture unity. Over and over again the Word tells us that for a group of Christians to work together for Him, to worship Him together, and to do any religious practices together, there must be agreement on what His Word teaches. “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” I Cor. 1:l0 Our unity under God in our church body is based on an acceptance of all that God’s Word teaches and nothing more and nothing less.
Our simple teaching is that we all agree on what the word says and then practice religious fellowship in all its various forms: worship, prayers, teaching and preaching, offerings, church work.
We cannot tolerate false teaching within our church because God’s says we cannot. Even if it is only one false teaching it cannot be allowed as Paul says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Gal.5:9 Our Lord taught that we are to remain or continue in His Word and to beware of false teachers. Just as we can’t tolerate false teachings, so we can’t tolerate those who teach falsely.
Just as we are not to allow false teachings and false teachers to teach within our church, so we are not to practice religious fellowship with false teachers and their churches and organizations. Scripture speaks clearly in warning, “I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple.” Rom. 16:17-18 “But false prophets also arose among the people just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” II Pet. 2:1
We are to pray only with those with whom we agree. We cannot share our preachers with other churches which have some error. We give our offerings for the preaching and teaching of the pure Word and all of it and not for the spread of or condoning errors. We study the Word together because we totally agree. We kneel together to receive the Lord’s body and blood because we are united in our confession of faith. We don’t take communion at other churches because we don’t agree with their teachings. No matter how little an error is, it is still error and can eat like a cancer if left alone. We hold up God’s Word in its entirety as a treasure to be taught and learned.
Remember how dangerous error is and therefore why we must not condone it. If you mix muddy water with clear water you no longer have clear water. Which would you prefer to drink? The wholesome and refreshing or the muddy. If you mix even a little muddy water with clear, the water is not longer clear.
Also, the whole counsel of God’s Word is to be taught and not just some or part. We have the duty to say what is right and what is wrong from God’s Word. We do not judge. It is the Word itself that judges. To pick and choose from the Word is audacious to say the least. God gave us the whole Word to be searched, poured over, heralded, taught and believed.
Any taking away from God’s Word is debilitating like a cancer. Paul even compares cancer with false teaching. When cancer infects a person, death can ultimately occur. False teaching is likewise deadly. It destroys the truth as cancer destroys the healthy body. Cancer does not show at first. It is also that way with false teaching. It does not appear so dangerous at first. As it erodes and crowds out the truth it becomes ever more deadly and ultimately soul destroying.
We live in these last times in which the devil will do his worst to rob us of our faith. He tries to destroy the basis of our faith—the Word. He is our enemy who sows the seeds of error that sprout, take root, and spread their poison. The only antidote is to cleave to His Word in its truth and spread this truth. Let us worship only in our churches, where we know the truth will be preached for the upbuilding of our faith. Let us support the work of preaching and teaching so that more people may know the truth of Christ and be set free from the devil’s grasp. Let us work hard to keep our church free from error that so much troubles Christendom. Preserve your Word dear Savior to us this latter day.
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 15:5-6