We have just about completed a 2000-year period since the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This is an age where the gospel has been, or is being spread, to all the nations and a “body of believers” has developed. That “body of believers” is made up of those who believe (and I would say “act on that belief”), that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised Messiah. The definition of the Church, also referred to as the “Bride of Christ,” is “the body of believers.”
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, clarifies that believers are all “one body.” At least that is how he says it is supposed to be. Denominationalism must grieve our Lord.
Romans 12:3-5 (NKJ)
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
It is most unfortunate that man has chosen to claim “special knowledge” that permits him to say, “God has revealed new information to me, beyond the scope of the Holy Scriptures, thus some of what you believe is incorrect.” I once heard a man say, “If it is new, it is not true and if it is true, it is not new.” The Biblical basis for such a statement is referenced by the Scriptures. Listen.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (NKJ)
2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Then Jesus tells us how much “editing” of God’s Word one can do.
Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJ)
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Man has historically felt the urge to press “new revelations” upon their listeners, perhaps in an effort to establish themselves as “seers and prophets” that have an inside track to God, the Father. As a result, their pride in their “discoveries” leads them to convene followers who they can then convince that the Holy Spirit, the Father, has revealed to them “insider information” that requires some “adjustments” to your faith and theirs. These adjustments create sects and memberships that are exclusive and different.
Most often they are “almost right,” that is, much of which they believe is in agreement with the Scriptures. That is why they are attractive and dangerous. The closer they are to being right, the more attractive they are, thus they are a powerful lure. Those who are very distant from the Scriptures, i.e. satanic worshippers, are not likely to effectively recruit someone grounded in the truth of the Scriptures. I suggest you avoid those who have added to or subtracted from the truth of the Holy Scriptures.
Listen to how angry Jesus was with those who claim with their lips to be “near to God” but whose hearts are far from God.
Matthew 15:7-9 (NKJ)
7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “
What was it that Jesus focused on? He focused on the teachings of the commandments of men as if they were the commandments of God. Read these next verses and understand that the church is the Body of Christ and there is only one body.
Ephesians 1:22-23 (NKJ)
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Even though there is only one body, the body of believers, that body is made up of very different parts. Each part is important and has an important role. No part is more important than the other. Listen.
1 Corinthians 12:1-27 (NKJ)
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 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.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 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.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
In this next quotation we find a very clear admonition. Do not be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, tricked by men, by their cunning and plotting.
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJ)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head– Christ–
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
I realize that my Jewish friends are dismayed by the constant references to the Messiah, but understand this. The Messiah you await will function in exactly the same role as the Messiah who has come. He will be your Deliverer. You will become one with the Body of Christ and all believers will be united. Read the following verses very carefully. They are the perfect truth and full of wisdom and guidance. We have not been left to “figure this all out by ourselves.” The Lord has given us clarity and light. If you are in the dark as you read the following verses, it is because you have not asked that His truth be revealed to you, at least not with a humble and contrite heart, seeking renewal and redemption.
Colossians 1:13-29 (NKJ)
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight–
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
If you decide to bow your knee now to the One that has been sent to redeem you, do not be deceived by men. Be rooted and built up in Him and let no one cheat you through philosophy and deceit. Turn to the Scriptures only and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. Do not be distracted from your pursuit of a perfect relationship with Him by men. We have become a world that looks and listens to the words and actions of men and women and have largely ignored the truth of the Scriptures. Men, like myself, are one step from defeat, constantly. Our personal righteousness is truly as filthy rags. All of God’s Word is an anchor to our soul. Remove the Word from your life and you are adrift, without certainty. Listen.
Colossians 2:4-10, 18-23 (NKJ)
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.
5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations–
21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
22 which all concern things which perish with the using– according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
These last 4 verses point specifically to the churches that “add rules” to the Scriptures or require their members to behave in ways that differentiate “their church” from the true Church. There is one set of rules as set out in the Scriptures. Sects are those that not only add to or subtract from the Scriptures, but who generally thrive on the fact that they are “exclusive.”
We who love the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all members of one body and Jesus Christ, because he is the One sent by the Father to redeem our souls, is our Head, our Teacher. The 119th Psalm is perhaps the best book in the Bible to teach you the importance of the Word of God. It is a Psalm full of wisdom and verity. This single verse characterizes the content.
Psalm 119:160 (NKJ)
160 The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
There is one body and One Teacher teaches that body of believers from one resource. There is no “new news.” The Word is your light.
Psalm 119:102-105 (NKJ)
102 I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.