Friday, December 1, 2017
Seeing disunity and compromise in Christ’s “one body” (Eph. 4:4), God said through Paul, “Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:12–13). In Christ, there’s no disunity or compromise of His truths.
Having been in the structural steel fabrication industry for over forty years, I know the importance of by-the-book (AISC Manual of Steel Construction) qualified structural steel engineering data that governs the grade, design, fabrication and erection of structural steel. Disunity in calculations is unacceptable, and compromise of steel grade, connection design and fabrication is intolerable.
Though it’s never occurred in my structural steel fabrication business, there are structural steel failures that cause delays, cost overruns and sometimes death to people. For example, on July 17, 1981, “The Hyatt Regency walkway collapse took place at the Hyatt Regency Kansas City hotel in Kansas, Missouri. Two vertically contiguous walkways collapsed onto a tea dance being held in the hotel’s lobby. The falling walkways killed 114 and injured 216.” (Wikipedia)
Earlier in that building process, “The construction of the 40-story Hyatt Regency Kansas City [suffered] delays and setbacks, including an incident on October 14, 1979, when 2,700 square feet (250 m2) of the atrium roof collapsed due to the failure of one of the connections at its northern end, [but] the hotel officially opened on July 1, 1980.” (Wikipedia)
The first instance of a structural collapse on October 14, 1979 should have been a red flag sufficient to immediately terminate the services of the structural PE team. But disunity and compromise were permitted until less than two years later when the hotel was in use by the public, the tragically unnecessary death and critical injury of many people occurred.
I share the above illustration to say this: if the passing and temporal criteria of structural design is critically important to the safety and security of people, of how much greater importance is the by-the-Book (The Holy Bible) and its design criteria given by Almighty God for the safe passage of people from this life to their eternal destiny! The eternal is much more important.
But Satan has deceptively and masterfully used division to conquer. Take a look around and ask yourself why you attend the church you attend when there’s a smorgasbord of divided churches to choose from. No matter which Christian denomination you choose, it’s divided in matters of interpretation, doctrine, tradition, gifts, baptisms, etc. etc. against its neighbor up the street.
Yet they all use the same Book! They’re divided by the names or groups of men who created those denominations centuries and decades ago! Have you asked, why? Does it bother you? It should. Which one has the right doctrine? How do you know? Why do so few teach Christ’s prophetic meat of the Word while the majority ignore it? Like the failed Hyatt Regency data above, the majority of churches have compromised Christ’s prophetic design data of safety.
The Hyatt Regency walkway had the appearance of having structural integrity, but when live loads were applied, it proved to lack the connection integrity sufficient to its intended purpose. So too, many Christians have a confident appearance of spiritual integrity, but not being equipped in the knowledge of prophetic truths, will find that their profession of faith and connection to God is insufficient to its intended purpose. Now is the time to change that.
For, what’s the end result when the stress design of the tribulation sets upon the church? “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). This final generation is being taught by many pastors that God is love, grace, love, and more love. But the God of the Bible is love, mercy, grace AND justice, judgment and wrath.
What’s your design criteria for attending one church versus another? Does your flesh like what you hear? Not good! Maybe the entertaining light, smoke and sound show? Not good! The hip pastor? Maybe a little Bible but more of other books/programs? Or do you hear flesh-crucifying soul-searching truths that build more of Christ in you, truths that mature you in Christ “leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ” (Heb. 6:1) which is so vitally important?
To navigate your way through the maze of end-time churches is not easy, but you must do it. For the sake of your eternal soul you must do it. For the love of God and fellowman you must do it. For the sake of your loved ones, do it. It was Jesus Christ Himself, who said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:34–36).
Please note that, spiritually, the Matt. 10:34–36 passage relates directly to God commanding the Levitical priesthood of ancient Israel at the Mt. Sinai rebellion, saying, “Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor” (Exo. 32:27). And here’s the New Covenant counterpart: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37–38).
Here’s the application of those texts: if we favor our child, spouse, friend or tradition over the commands and teachings of God in Christ, we actively join in the idolatrous rebellion at the foot of Mt. Sinai when ancient Israel worshiped the gold idol Aaron made for them! Truly, God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6). And the Holy Spirit said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
We who are in Christ Jesus by faith are the O.T. Levitical priesthood counterpart, for, “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10). As such, we love God and fellowman, and prepare to endure to the end.
Though there are thousands of Christian churches, there is only “one body” (Eph. 4:4). Though there are millions of professing Christians, “many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Though many claim faith in Christ, Jesus said, “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14).
There are voluminous prophetic design details awaiting your discovery of things to come before Christ gathers together His saints. Unfortunately, due to its false pre-trib rapture tradition, much of the church has taught the people to actually disbelieve that Christ gathers His saints only once “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) as Jesus Christ taught.
I pray you have spiritual eyes to see and a discerning heart to know that influential men, putting forth their own interests, have divided the one body of Christ. But what are you doing to protect yourself and your loved ones from being deceived by divisive church doctrines, traditions and compromise that has created such a splintered church? As for me and my house, God’s Word, and not divisive theological powers, is preparing us to endure to the end as Christ taught.
Marlin J. Yoder