WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 21, 2021
TOPIC: DWELLING TOGETHER IN UNITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“First of all, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that those of you who are right will be recognized!” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19 New Living Translation).
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (New King James Version). This should be the goal of believers. However, it is, sometimes, not the case. There are differences that become pronounced, and, sometimes, separate brethren.
In Acts 15:36-41, Paul and Barnabas parted ways because of their differences over John Mark when they wanted to go on another missionary journey. Barnabas was determined to take with them John Mark, but Paul disagreed. He insisted that they should not take him with them because he had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not continued with them in the work.
It was such a serious contention that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, while Paul chose Silas and departed. Even in contemporary history, believers and even ministers have had to part ways because of differences of opinions. Whether or not they were right is a different matter. Given another opportunity, maybe Paul and Barnabas would have handled their differences differently.
In John 17:20-21, Jesus prayed that His disciples and those who would believe in Him because of their testimony would be one, just as He and the Father are one. As much as possible, believers must be careful about divisions among them. So much can be lost to divisions, especially those caused by strife. There should be no schism in the body; members should have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25).
Paul said, “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 Corinthians 1:10 New King James Version).
The Bible warns us against those who cause divisions and offenses. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 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” (Romans 16:17-18 New King James Version).
Writing about the Corinthian church, Paul said, “First of all, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that those of you who are right will be recognized!” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19 New Living Translation). This church had differences, but the members were still meeting together!
In that scripture, Paul seemed to be saying that divisions were inevitable where some people in a church hold on to what is wrong. Those who believe in what God approves cannot, because they don’t want divisions, agree to do what is wrong.
The New Century Version puts 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 this way: “First, I hear that when you meet together as a church you are divided, and I believe some of this. (It is necessary to have differences among you so that it may be clear which of you really have God’s approval.)” In this letter to the Corinthian church, Paul corrected what was wrong in their midst.
Divisions, sectarianism, or differences of opinions among members have, many times, caused crises in some churches leading to their break-up, in some cases. There are differences of opinion that are not fundamental to the faith.
Believers should walk in love and not allow these differences to cause a parting of ways. However, it is a different thing where differences bother on heresy. “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19 King James Version).
2 Peter 2:1 says there will be false teachers, just as there were false prophets among the Israelites. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them and bring on themselves swift destruction. The Bible condemns heresy or heretical teachings, and believers must not condone it. Don’t continue to listen to or sit under heretical teachers or preachers (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).
According to 1 Timothy 4:1-3, in later times, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Believers must stay away from such false teachings or doctrines, which contradict what is clearly stated in the Bible.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13, Paul denounced “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” who transformed themselves into apostles of Christ. 1 John 2:22a talks about liars who deny that Jesus is the Christ. There are still such people today, presiding over churches or ministering in churches. True believers must separate from such people.
There must be divisions between the truth and lies, between heresies and sound doctrines, and between light and darkness. This is inevitable.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, make Your church one in the truth. Let there be no division, sectarianism, or schism. Make your church strong, Lord. Expose all false teachers; let them and all their followers come to the knowledge of the truth.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947