“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
There are an estimated 34,000 Christian sects and denominations across the globe – 1,200 in the U.S.
There should be only one, but human fallibility when interpreting doctrine has led to many “divisions and offenses.”
Many good men and well meaning scholars have come up with a variety of contradictory doctrines. Many Christians are drawn to them for reasons ranging from misunderstandings, taking verses out of context, lack of studying, using flawed Bible translations, avoiding spiritual conviction, and many more.
Rather than embracing a false doctrine – and there are hundreds, if not thousands of them – we should avoid them at all costs. Those who teach them are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, we cannot determine whether a doctrine is false without reading and studying our Bibles. Many times a false doctrine is derived by removing a passage from its context – like treating Acts as a book for Christian doctrine when it is supposed to be a historical account of the transition from the Old Testament to the Church Age.
Another problem is the fear of spiritual conviction. Sitting under “feel good” soft preaching that focuses too much on the love of God intended to comfort the Christian while ignoring hard preaching that makes the listener uncomfortable in their worldly lifestyles and ignorance of the Word of God is dangerous for Christians and unbelievers alike.
Studies show that seekers – those who are unsaved but seeking God – are drawn to “high-tension” churches like the old fashioned hard preaching ones. These churches demand your time, money, and service to be given for the glory of God and the benefit of the church.
It is the Christian who flees from the conviction of a “high-tension” church to the perceived safety of a “low-tension,” feel good church that fills the seats of liberal, modern, mega churches that represent lukewarm Laodicean doctrines.
Biblical Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Jesus told the rich man to sell all he had and “follow me.” He told the man grieving the loss of his father to “let the dead bury their dead” and go preach.
Luke 14:26 says, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Christ, Himself, was a hard preacher. There is no way to read these words and not feels spiritual conviction, because these standards are incredibly high – but they are nevertheless what God expects of us.
Far too many Christians have become “freeloaders” in the pews. They reap the rewards of a social group – membership, inclusion, comfort, friendships, financial benefits – without service or sacrifice. This is one danger of a low-tension church.
Others are offending God though spreading false doctrines and grieving the Holy Spirit by ignoring conviction.
Study your Bible to show yourself approved and find a solid, high-tension, doctrinally sound, Bible based church that will challenge you.
1 Corinthians 3:2 says, “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.”
If you are a mature Christian, you need to put down the bottle of milk and eat your meat. If you are not mature – and that has nothing to do with how long you have been saved – then perhaps you should embrace conviction and spiritually grow up so you can help the babes in Christ to do the same.
This might sound like hard preaching, but know that I write this out of love and Biblical truth.
We should be perpetually uncomfortable, because we are spiritual beings in constant conflict with carnality.
Succumb to the Holy Ghost today.