Part Two - Things that are required of those who desire to be true disciples of Christ.
Part Two - Things that are required of those who desire to be true disciples of Christ.
Is There a Difference Between a Christian and a Disciple of Christ.
In part 1 if this series we found that it is the responsibility of each individual who claims to be a disciple of Christ to see that he is NOT DECEIVED.
Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of all Nations, He did not say to make Christians, others later called the disciples Christians, nor did He say to build “churches” or make church members. His command was to all His disciples and all that will become His disciples.
In this article we will be looking at scripture to see what a true disciple of Christ is and comparing what we find to what is currently defined as a Christian. We find in scripture that the disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch. From this we see that originally a Christian was a disciple of Christ. Is that true today? Has there been a change? Are the terms Christian and disciple of Christ describing the same persons, are they interchangeable terms? Lets do as the Bereans and look to scripture to see if they are both descriptions of true followers of Christ or not?
The only way to find out is to see what a true disciple of Christ is and then compare it to what is called a Christian today.
Acts 11:26 And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
What are the scriptural requirements of a true disciple of Christ
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How could one ever become a disciple of Christ if unable to SEE the kingdom of God? Jesus is telling us that before we can even begin to be a disciple of Christ you must be Born again. But we need to also look to what is required of a disciple before we decide if we really want to be one, or so we know if we truly are one.
To do this we must see what the word translated as disciple in scripture means.
NT:3101 mathetes (math-ay-tes'); from NT:3129; a learner, i.e. pupil:
Here we see that a disciple is one who learns from another, a pupil, a follower of someone. So that a disciple of Christ is specifically one who learns from, is a pupil of and follows Christ. Now that we understand what disciple is we will have to look to scripture to see what Jesus says to His pupils. Now you must understand that a true “disciple of Christ” only follows what Christ teaches him or he is not truly a disciple of Christ and will have a mixture of beliefs which negate his claim to be a disciple of Christ. He is a disciple of teachings he follows but is NOT A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST. Any belief (doctrine) he follows that is not of Christ (contrary to or in opposition to, the doctrines of Christ) disqualifies him as a true disciple of Christ, because he has a mixed doctrine. Based on the truths of scripture we must then look at what is called Christianity today and see if those who call themselves Christians are what Jesus says a disciple of His is.
The first requirement is to Repent.
Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
NT:3340 metanoeo (met-an-o-eh'-o); from NT:3326 and NT:3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):
You must have a change of heart, reconsider your previous actions and learn a new way to think and act, His way.
Then you must be born again of water and the Spirit
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
Jesus makes it clear that to enter the eternal Kingdom of God you MUST be reborn as a Spiritual person by being baptized in both water and the Spirit of God. You cannot remain carnal and be a disciple of Christ, you must change.
There are many other things that Jesus instructs His brothers to do and we will look at more of these later. Yes His disciple become His brothers as they are then sons of God also.
Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Here we see that Jesus gives instruction to His first disciples and also to all who will become His disciples, regarding the work of the ministry that disciples are required to do. Go and make disciples of ALL nations.
NT:1484 ethnos (eth'-nos); probably from NT:1486; a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; )
Here He confirms that anyone (all people) of any race or tribe is eligible to be His disciple.
Then they must be baptized in the Name of the Father God, and the Son of God Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Not the false catholic trinity, but God, His Son and God's Holy Spirit. Two distinct and different persons and the one Spirit that they share and that every disciple of Christ must share to be of one Spirit with God as Jesus is..
Then third He says “ 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”. Do you see that, look again, Jesus said to teach them to observe (to do) ALL THINGS I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. This is one of the most important things that Jesus said, yet have you heard this taught any where before, I have not in the last 30 or so years. We must do ALL things He commanded (taught, and set an example by doing). We can see proof of it here in Noah.
This is a good place to be reminded of what God said about Noah, the ONLY man God saved from destruction in the Flood that cleansed His earth for the first time.
Gen 6:9-10 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Gen 7:5-6 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.
The word translated as “commanded” here above is;
NT:1781 entellomai (en-tel'-lom-ahee); from NT:1722 and the base of NT:5056; to enjoin:
Here is the meaning of “enjoin” from an 1800's dictionary
ENJOIN', verb transitive [Latin injungo. See Join. We observe that the primary sense of join is to set, extend or lay to, to throw to or on; otherwise the sense of order or command could not spring from it.To enjoin is to set or lay to or on.]
1. To order or direct with urgency; to admonish or instruct with authority; to command. Says 'this word is more authoritative than direct, and less imperious than command.' It has the force of pressing admonition with authority; as, a parent enjoins on his children the duty of obedience. But it has also the sense of command; as the duties enjoined by God.
The word translation of “commanded you”, like so many words in bibles is not complete here. It means everything I have enjoined (taught) you, not just the new commandments he gave us to replace those that were done away with from the last age, we are to do EVERYTHING HE SAYS TO DO if we are to be His disciples. Scripture tells us Jesus left His words and example to follow, do you see that?
It says each in its own order, Christ FIRST, because He had to first defeat death before He had fulfilled ALL of the law, thereby earning the right to give us eternal Life. Then He could bring others in as we fulfilled the requirements to become His disciple. God does not give us eternal life (yes it comes from God but), He has delegated that to Jesus because He paid the price to make life available to us. Adam disobeyed God and brought us death, Jesus obeyed God and brings us the opportunity to have ETERNAL Life that Adam lost for us. He will continue to do this until the day of judgment.
Then He says something that so many do not understand. He says “I am with you, always, even to the end of the age.” What does this mean? He is referring to who He is in this age, God has given Jesus all of His authority for this age. Jesus is Lord of this age, no, He is not God, He is the Son of God, as are we if we do all He tells us to do. He is acting for God during this final age of man because He is the only way to God, only Jesus and only those that are His true disciples, the Spiritual sons of God, will enter the eternal kingdom of God. At the end of this age, Jesus work will be fully completed and he returns all authority back to God and sits down at the right hand of God in submission to Him.
1 Cor 15:23-28 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
The purpose and necessity of being baptized in, possessed (controlled) by the Holy Spirit
John 10:30-31 I and My Father are one."
John 17:22-23 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one (all of the One Spirit, in one accord), and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
John 14:15-19 "If you love Me, keep My “commandments” (do all I have enjoined you to do).. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
We are required to become one with Jesus as He is One (possessed by the same Holy Spirit) with His Father, God. This is what makes us sons of God, possessing His Spirit through Jesus, and following (doing) ALL He requires of us. This is not possible without us being possessed by the Spirit of God because without the Holy Spirit no one can understand the things of God. The word that is translated verse 15 above as commandments is another improperly translated word in most bibles., The word is
NT:1785 entole (en-tol-ay'); from NT:1781; injunction, i.e. an authoritative prescription:
A more correct translation would be “keep and do as taught to you by my words and actions”
1 Cor 12:13-14 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Eph 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
A disciple must be of the same Spirit as Jesus to be of one accord with Him, with God and with each other.
Summary of what must I do to be a true disciple of Christ.
There are things that are required of ALL that would be disciples of Christ and thereby sons of God. Anyone desiring to be a true disciple of Christ must understand and do ALL of these requirements. No shortcuts are allowed. Some of the first requirements are, you must be born again, you must recognize and repent of your sins (Jesus did not die for your sin, He died to give you life. The only means of removing your sin is that YOU must Repent and they are forgiven), you must be baptized in water, you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit (filled and following), you must make disciples of Christ. There are more as you learn who Christ is, what he has done and how He wants YOU to be and you MUST change as the Spirit shows you to do. Then you must keep doing ALL until the end of man at the judgment. You are not saved yet, you are born again. If you do all and endure (continue) to the end you will be saved. No one is saved until the day of judgment when ALL whose name is written in the Lamb's book of life will be saved from destruction that is reserved for the unrighteous in the Lake of fire. At the judgment ALL true disciples of Christ will enter into the eternal kingdom of God, being saved from destruction.
Matt 10:22-23 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Heb 3:6 Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
From the above study of scriptures we see that to truly be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ we must understand and do ALL that Jesus told to do, showed us to do by His actions and that the Holy Spirit instructs us to do as did Noah. (God spoke to Noah, but today God speaks by His Spirit and only to those that possess His Spirit.) Those seeking God can hear from the Spirit of God but only through Jesus- His Spirit is God's Spirit as ours must be to be a disciple. And then YOU MUST ENDURE (CONTINUE DOING ALL) TO THE END.
NOW WE WILL LOOK AT WHAT IS CALLED A CHRISTIAN TODAY
Today there are many that say they are Christians, there are many “churches” that say they are Christian. But what does scripture say about this, are they disciples of Christ or does the word have a different meaning today? Scripture will tell us so lets look. Saying you are a Christian, attending a “church”, saying you believe in Jesus (so does satan), giving money to “christian works”, casting out demons, prophesying in His name and doing wonders no more make you a Christian than driving a car, washing it, putting gas in it or standing in a garage makes you a car. Scripture tells us what a Christian was supposed to be, it was another name for a disciple of Christ. Above is a basic study of what a Christian should be.
Can anything designed and run by man be of God, can it be Christian, can it produce disciples of Christ? That is the first thing we need to look at because there are over 20000 different groups claiming to be Christian.
Because it would take a book bigger then the scriptures to fully detail all of this, I will a few popular Denominations and explain them and if they agree with scripture or not.
To do so I will go to the headquarters site of those mentioned and find their tenants of faith (Their required beliefs) or what ever they call them and compare them to what scripture says of disciples. At the end we will summarize what we have found.
Because we found in scripture that to be a disciple of Christ you must do all that Jesus requires. And you can not have any beliefs that are contrary to Jesus requirements in scripture, because a double minded man (or organization) is unstable in all of his ways. Any person or group that has one or more things that are contrary to scripture or that is missing one or more things required by Christ THEY CAN NOT BE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST. LETS SEE WHAT WE FIND. Is what is now called Christianity the same as being a true disciple of Christ or not.
REMEMBER do not believe me or ANY other man, go to scripture and see for your self with the help of the Holy Spirit, if what we teach is or is not truth.
We look at each website and compare each to scripture. We will stop when we find discrediting beliefs that show they cannot produce true disciples of Christ.
Ag-USA AOG Assemblies of God
Claims over 3 million members of their “churches”.
They claim 4 core beliefs and 16 standard doctrines. We will check their doctrines against scripture.
At first glance on their core doctrine page I see that they believe and promote something that Jesus Abhors, they teach clergy and laity which is totally against the doctrines of Christ.
We see this doctrine is correct, the Inspired Scriptures, it correctly references scripture and 22. NOT bibles as the source of truth.
This one, The One True God, is not scripture truth it is a false doctrine of men. Jesus makes it clear He is the Son of God not a 3rd part of something. In fact He, Jesus, is number one in this age in which He has ALL Authority. This is a serious error that in it self discredits them but we will go on.
Another reference to the false trinity doctrine. And it is the strangest thing I have ever seen on a “church” website, “the adorable Godhead”.
This one they say correctly that Adam brought us death.
This one also sounds correct but do they teach it correctly?
This talks of the church and Baptism in water and communion and both are incorrect according to scripture. Baptism must include water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit to be correct. Communion in scripture is a meal together. No where in the new testament, the handbook for this age, does it specify that what they call the “church” is responsible for baptism, scripture clearly states that the saints are to do the work of ministry.
This one mentions the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an option, Jesus says without it one can not be His disciple
Jesus did not address speaking in tongues as required. Because of this, even though I believe
in speaking in tongues I do not agree with their interpretation here.
This talks of sanctification, a man made doctrine. A person that receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit as required by Christ is sanctified by Christ.
Their man made definition of the church is totally contrary to scripture. They exist to bring people under their ”church” system which is contrary to scripture. We are to bring people to Jesus Christ. Scripture says we are to make disciples of Christ, not church members. We are not to make images of Christ but we are to make sons of God of which Christ is firstfruit. There is NO SCRIPTURAL basis for the assemblies of god to exist. It is a work of man.
A man made doctrine contrary to scripture. There is NO Clergy and there are no leaders such as they envision in the church of Jesus Christ. There are to be God anointed SERVANT ministers to SERVE the saints as needed but not men above men as they teach. The Holy Spirit is here to teach us all truth and without the HS you cannot be a disciple of Christ.
Divine Healing, if they were of God their people would be healed whenever any member laid hands on them but this does not happens other than on rare occasions.
The blessed hope- They get this one correct.
Here they contradict their number 13. They say here that the blessed hope is the false doctrine rapture. Scripture is clear that it will be “as it was in the days of Noah” and in those days God protected Noah on earth and through the flood which destroyed ALL the rest of mankind.
The final judgment. Wrong again, they say “Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”. Bit scripture is VERY CLEAR those in their quote are DESTROYED IN THE LAKE of FIRE, they are not tormented they are simply dead. If tormented they would not be dead.
Correct the righteous will inherit the earth then also the new heaven and earth.
It is clear to see that this is an organization of men not of God. There is NO CLERGY/Laity all men are equal according to scripture. They neglect important requirements give by Christ and add doctrines of men. There is NO scriptural authorization for an organization designed and operated by men in the New Testament. Jesus is the ONLY Pastor, He IS THE Senior pastor and all other men (anointed by God not man) are at best undershepherds. There are NO TITLES given in the NT. And the Holy Spirit, not men, is here to teach us all truth'
This is clearly a work of men and cannot raise up true disciples of Christ, they can only raise members for their organization. They mistakenly call them Christians.
UMC United Methodist Church
Their website is convoluted and wishy washy with so many contradictions and so many false doctrines that It appears almost anything is acceptable. They have no clearly definable doctrinal statement that I could find. They are actually disciples of he Wesley Brothers But they mistakenly call their Methodists Christian.
SBC Southern Baptist Church
The first line in their basic beliefs is “You become a Southern Baptist by uniting with a Southern Baptist church” .
Jesus said to make disciples of Christ not to make members of the baptist “church”
Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
They say that God is a trinity, a false doctrine.
Jesus is the Son of God, a Man such as we are, born to a woman around 2000 years ago. He is NOT God
Then they say Adams disobedience brought sin into the human race.
But scripture says that Adams disobedience brought DEATH.
Gen 2:17 for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
They say that pastor is a title/position held by a man of their choosing to lead and teach but scripture says we do not need a man to teach us if we are disciples of Christ because the Holy Spirit has been sent to teach us all truth.
They say at the judgment Jesus will judge man. Scripture says God will Judge man by whether or not their name has been written in the book. They also say that the righteous will receive a reward and dwell in heaven. Scripture says the righteous inherit the earth and enter eternity. The unrighteous will be destroyed in the lake of fire.
This clearly shows that the SBA does not teach, believe or require ALL that Christ does to be a disciple of Christ. Therefore they cannot produce disciple of Christ. They call their creations Baptists and that is what they correctly say their religion is Baptist, yet they say they are Christian and they cannot be both.
IPCH International Pentecostal Holiness Church
The Articles of Faith state;
1. They teach the false doctrine that is called the Trinity.
2. Then they say Jesus is God and that He is the word of God. Scripture says that the scriptures are the word of God.
5. They teach that the bible is the word of God. It is clear if you compare any bible to the actual word for word translation of scripture that bibles are translations containing the beliefs of the translators used to direct the reader to the beliefs of the translators. How can a bible and Christ both be the word of God??
6. Next we find they believe that eternity is spent in heaven for those righteous. Further they claim that there is eternal torture in hell for the unrighteous. But scripture says the righteous inherit the earth and that a new heaven and earth will be given as their eternal habitation. Scripture also says that the unrighteous will be DESTROYED in the lake of Fire at the judgment.
7. This section says they believe Jesus shed His blood for the salvation from sin. Scripture tells us that repentance forgives our sins. Jesus and Even God CAN NOT forgive Unrepented sins.
We also see that unlike God's doctrines that NEVER change, their doctrines are subject to and do change with the will of the their leaders. They advocate and require a clergy/laity system which Jesus abhors. From this look at their articles of faith we must conclude that they are not making disciples of Christ, they can only make IPCH members, followers of their doctrines and not disciples of Christ. They produce Pentecostals that they mistakenly call Christians.
PCUSA Presbyterian Church
I have searched their site and cannot find a statement of faith. This is actually catholic lite. One of the most liberal man oriented and controlled of all denominations.. This group just by the fact that they ordain practicing homosexuals MUST be discarded as being of God. Then we see their clergy/laity system which Jesus abhors in which their “pastors” are called Priests. They are an abomination and cannot make disciples of Christ. Yet they say their followers are Christian.
ELCA Lutheran Church
Of course this group are followers of Martin Luther. If you have read about him you know he was not a disciple of Christ, he killed his opponents whereas Christ loved His.
Their creeds tell us that they accept and practice the catholic holidays which are not found in the new testament. They also accept the catholic creeds as correct and acceptable even though they disagree with scripture.
Read their website and it quickly becomes apparent that this a church of man, following many men but one in particular, but not following Christ and is incapable of making disciples of Christ. They make Lutherans, disciples of Luther. which they incorrectly call Christians.
7th Day Adventist Churc
The first thing we should make note of is their name. They claim one day as belonging to God, the seventh day. This shows they do not understand the age we live in or that ALL things became new at the start of this age. In this age there is no clergy/laity , all men are equal, we need no man to teach us the Holy Spirit is here to teach us all truth, there is no day above another all days belong to Him and we are to celebrate Him honor EVERY day.
When we go to their statements of belief numbered from 1 to 28 here is some of what we find.
Note while I have been studying and preparing this study they have made changes in their website. Their beliefs are subject to change as their leadership changes but God NEVER changes.
WE see that they teach that the scriptures are the word of God then in another place they say the bible is scripture, but it is NOT it is a translation of scripture that includes the beliefs of the translators inserted to lead you to believe their way. Scripture must be studied in the original language or a word for word translation without added words or you will be misled. The reason there are hundreds of bible translation is because of the different understanding of translators, most are for the purpose of teaching what the translators believe. Unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit you cannot understand scripture and without the Holy Spirit teaching you will not correctly understand.
1. They teach the un-scriptural trinity doctrine as truth.
4. They say here that Christ is God but scripture is clear that Christ is a man, He born on earth the only way any man can be, through the womb of a woman around 2000 years ago..
6. Then here they say God created all.
5. Here they say the Holy Spirit is a separate person, then they say He is part of a trinity. But in fact, the Holy Spirit is simply the Spirit of God, which He allows to be in each believe that will invite Him . They just do not understand Spiritual things.
7. Here they falsely say that Adam and Eve's sin brought us death, but Eve's sin had no part in bringing us death it was solely Adam's sin that brought death to mankind. Adam was given all authority on earth, not Eve. But to their credit they do understand as most “churches” do not, that Adam brought death, not sin to man.
9. Here they say that Jesus death is substitutionary but that is not true the only cure for sin is repentance and only you can repent for your sins.
10. Here they say that Jesus became sin for us, He did not nor did he forgive our sin, He brought us the opportunity to restore the eternal life that Adam lost by his disobedience. Sin can ONLY BE forgiven by Repentance.
11. Here they say that what they believe Jesus did . BUT they neglect to mention the real reason He came, by His own words He cam to and did give us the opportunity to regain the eternal life that Adam lost for us in his disobedience.
We could go through the rest of their beliefs but we have seen enough to show us that they cannot make disciples of Christ, they make followers of their doctrines, 7th day adventists, disciples of Ellen White. Which they mistakenly call Christian.
Church of the Nazerine
Their name infers they are of Christ but let us look and see if they really are.
Their articles of faith say;
1,2,3 They believe the false catholic doctrine of the trinity in spite of Jesus saying He is the Son of God and not God. And scripture says the Holy Spirit is simply the Spirit of God which He will share with anyone that meets the requirements.
4. Here they incorrectly bible as scripture which is a terrible error. Bibles ARE NOT scripture, see above.
5. Here they teach that sin was brought into the world by Adam and Eve. Scripture is clear that sin was on the earth but was not known. Satan was in the garden but God did not want him released, Adams sin not Eves, solely Adams sin brought DEATH to mankind, not sin. Satan was released also by His disobedience in that now Adam could recognize sin because he ate of the tree of THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. There is no such thing as original sin in scripture. Sin is the result of man doing as he wishes instead of what God desires of him.
6. Purposefully confusing, I will not guess what it means.
8. They definitely correctly understand that the only cure for sin is Repentance.
11. Here they talk about the “church mission”. The church, according scripture is NOT a building, a denomination or any thing of man. THE CHURCH is simply any gathering of 2 or more disciples of Christ any time, anywhere and in he name of Christ. There IS NO CHARGE given to what is called church by any work or word of God, the command of Christ is to individual disciples of Christ the go to All peoples and make disciples of Christ. Not “church” members, disciples of the Man Christ who died and was resurrected to make eternal life available to whosoever will pay the price.
There is no need to go further we see that they have more correct than most denominations but are still lacking. They make Nazerines not disciples of Christ. Yet they claim Christianity.
Other Denominations and Groups
There are well in excess of 20000 denominations and groups claiming to be Christian and all claim to be “the one true church”. I will not look at all of them for you but this study shows you how to compare them with scripture to see how they measure up. If you belong to one not listed you need to do a study of what they believe and teach for yourself, you might be amazed at what you find.
What Scripture has to Say About Denominations and Other Groups that Bring People to Themselves
Scripture clearly tells us what is of God and what is not. It also tells us that true disciples of Christ, those that do ALL He requires of us, to stay away from (discard) anything that is not of God.
Here are some of the important scriptures we Must understand if we truly desire to please God.
John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Luke 14:25-26 and He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
These two scriptures are the most important things we have to understand if we are to be disciples of Christ. We must have the same kind of love for our brethren that He has shown for us. Note, where scripture talks about your neighbor it is taking about the brethren, Israelites live among Israelites, they could not live among the gentiles.. In the second one He is not saying to hate family, He is saying your love for him is to be so much greater than for your family and this is simply a way of saying how great.
God Hates Divisions and Schisms in the Body
Rom 16:17-19 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
1 Cor 1:10-11 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 Cor 3:3-4 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?
1 Cor 11:18-19 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
Jude 17-19 remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
1 Cor 12:25-26 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The above six scriptures make one thing abundantly clear. There are to be NO DIVISIONS AND NO SCHISMS in the True Body of Christ. They also tell us what a division or schism is, who causes them and what to do about them.
What is a division or schism?
Anything that is contrary to the doctrines of Christ is a division. When anyone says “I am a Lutheran” or “I am a Methodist”or “I am anything other than a disciple of Christ” they are carnal, in other words they are causing division by bringing a doctrine that is of man and they are not bringing the Gospel of Christ. They are bringing a false gospel, the gospel of man. When you say I am a Methodist you are saying I am a disciple of the Wesley brothers. When you say I am a Lutheran you are saying I am a disciple of Luther. Or whatever name you use, whoever founded and/or leads the denomination is whom you are a disciple of and you can not be a disciple of Christ because He is not your first love. ALL denominations are founded on one thing, division over doctrine that is of man and not of Christ, which God does not have any part in. There are well over 20000 denomination, divisions, schisms and others that claim to be of Christ, but they cannot be. Do not believe me look it up, enter christian denominations into a search engine, the look at the founding and history of them and see for yourself.
Also there are to be no factions (one form of division). I have never seen or heard of a “church” without factions, where there were not one or more “special families” that were granted special privileges by the clergy. These things cannot be tolerated in those who belong to Christ.
What is the heart of those that design and participate in denominational divisions according to scripture.
Scripture above tells us the answer. “those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple”.
“where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
Is it not clear by these scriptures that those involved in ANY kind of division, schism or factions ARE NOT of Christ, but of man. They are more interested in spreading their ideas of Christianity for making themselves appear more Holy, or learned or whatever their individual goal is. It is promoting other than Jesus Christ and their use of His name is only to draw others to themselves and their organization. In other words it is a bait and switch scheme, Do you see it, they are simply providing simple (those without a true desire for truth at any cost) people with a place to do their own thing, to have a place where they find agreement to their desires and not the truths of scripture. Smooth words and flattering speech, “yes, they agree with your false doctrine and tell you yes you are correct, we agree with you” and then lead them to a place where God does not go. In other words they are actually acting as carnal (fleshly, self pleasing) men as are you when you follow them. Or worse yet they are actually openly serving satan and getting away with it.
As scripture has shown us the depth of love we must have for Christ (that our love of family looks like hate in comparison) they DO NOT HAVE IT, their love of self is their greatest love. They cannot be of Christ.
What are we to do with those “churches” of men.
1 Thess 5:21-22 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Again scripture is clear. The above scriptures tell us “ note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them”. As usual it is clear, We are to AVOID THEM, get away from them, do not listen to them, do not be a part with them if you wish to inherit the earth and enter into the eternal kingdom of God.
“that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Which we must be to become sons of God and all of one accord.
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You can not serve God and mammon."
It is clear you cannot serve two masters, you cannot be a member of or follow any man, denomination or anything other than The Lord Jesus Christ, if you expect to have your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Paul says a true disciple of Christ is to be a bond servant of Christ, in other words, one who does ALL that Christ requires of him as an act of love towards Christ and his brethren with no thought of repayment.
Those who truly follow Christ will appreciate having their fruit examined as they have no desire to miss Him. Those who follow man will always resent having their fruit checked because they know all is not as it should be.
WHO DO YOU REALLY FOLLOW?
From the above and many other scriptures it is clear. What today is called”church” is not of God. The modern church system is a DIVIDED, SCHISM AND FACTION FILLED work of man. God has no part in it and neither should you. The term “Christian” that was first used to identify disciples of Christ, has been hijacked by the churches of man and no longer applies to disciples of Christ but is predominately used to describe “church members”. While I understand and know that there may be real disciples of Christ found in the church system, they are rare. And at some point n time they MUST COME OUT of the man made system to be truly free in Christ. The scriptures clearly show that ONLY true disciples of Christ that endure to the end will enter the eternal kingdom of God and all others will be destroyed in the lake of fire at judgment..
YOUR ETERNAL destination can only be decided by YOU, choose wisely which path you will take, the one that caters to your flesh and leads you to destruction or the one that makes no room for your flesh and leads to salvation?
This is the most important decision of your life, choose wisely.