Are you feeling a unity with another christian other than your fellowship or church group? If someone were to ask you if you were a Christian would you feel compelled to proclaim your denomination or religion to them? I walk in many cities with a large wooden Cross slung over my shoulder. I get asked as least once a day what denomination I am. They know I am a Christian because I speak about Christ but then they want to know what denomination I am. I have one stock answer. I just love Jesus! Some have pressed the issue, I don't budge! I love Jesus, I love Yahweh, I love the Holy Spirit, I love people. I do not, will not,and say not that I belong to a denomination. If someone wants to find out if I believe in baptism, or tongues or any other doctrine, ask me and I will tell them from the bible what I believe. If it comes down to a difference of interpretation, I will politely point out my interpretation, a scripture or two or three to back it up and if they can do the same on a particular interpretation that is different from mine, then I say "well that is another way to look at it. Keep trusting in God and He will reveal His will in His time." I would never stop associating with this person or refuse to love them or help them just because they did not get the same interpretation of scripture. I certainly would not start my own denomination because I wanted every one who agreed with my interpretation to be clustered in my little group. So then why do we have denominations? Aren't they mans' attempts to get people to God through man. There is scripture for that too. I only know one way to get through to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ also known as Yeshua the Messiah. John 14:6 tells me that in Jesus own words. Another place in the bible is Galatians 3:2,3 which Paul asks a most pertinent question; Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?..(the answer is in the same chapter)..v.11-13 "The righteous shall live by faith." v12 But the law is not of faith....v.13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree- So Jesus died in my place and I confess faith from my heart that he died to pay the price of my sin and if you believe then Jesus paid for your sin. He did not die to create a religion or a denomination. He did give each of us a ministry though according to scripture. See 2 Corinthians 5:18 (I sure dont want to name it a denomination though. I sure don't want to get a 501C3 permission from the IRS to have a non-profit church or ministry called Ministry of Reconcilliation. I do though want to accept my responsibility before God to keep on imploring people on behalf of Christ so that others may put their faith in Him and become the righteousness of God. Some think that if you join my religion, my fellowship, my denomination, my group that has been around for a hundred years then you will be approved to get eternal life. WHOA, NELLY! Jesus is the WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. he has life in himself and he gives it to whoever he wants to. He does not leave us in the dark about this. He tells us in Romans 10:8-10 how to get saved. In the translation I read and I read several, I do not see any religion or denomination specified. Believe, confess that He is your Lord and you will be saved. (Salvation through Faith). In my mind and heart no question here how to obtain salvation. We are individually saved by our confession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Jesus now sends his Spirit into our hearts so that we know by the Holy Spirit guarantee seal that we are a part of a whole which is called the Body of Christ, also called the Bride of Christ. Now Christian unity, that is another matter. I have been weighed with these thoughts about Christian unity for some time. Below is a portion of an email I sent out to about 15 trusted brothers and sisters in Christ about two and a half years ago. I still sense we know the direction to head but getting there seems to be a blockade because we are still in the denominational trap. This denominational thing is a stronghold on the unity of the Body of Christ. After you read this please feel free to comment and do not hold back your candor: We still have to come to the point where Jesus prayer at John 17 is fulfilled. We probably will not get there by ignoring each other.
Here is the email: Dear Trusted Friend,
I have known all of you for several years. Some of you know each other.
I need some wise counsel, suggestions, always the foundation of which is Jesus Christ and always preceded by prayer.
I do not want this e-mail to be a long read cause I can get wordy at times. I may leave out some prepositions and cut right to the heart of the matter, Please allow the Holy Spirit to fill you in on the story behind the story.
Unity of Churches, (not buildings, not denominations,not even ministries, (Body of Christ.)
We do not do enough together, we compartmentalize, we corral or allow ourselves to be corraled. while we need our close associates for support, we should experience more unity with other members of the Body, our Godly fellowship is missing. Our praise and worship together is too structured, we have set so many guidelines, we many times fellowship with only those in our intimate circle and we have not helped others to experience the fullness of worship that comes when we gather as the scriptures say two or more gathered in my name. Not the name of a ministry, or denomination or building or group.
The name of Jesus, (the name above every other name),
Jesus made a very specific prayer to His Father before He finished work at the cross came to fulfillment. Father, may they be one as we are one. You in me, me in them and them in us.
Are we there Body? Are we even close? I have visited several churches in the past few months and they all seem to be touting what they do , what they believe, what they accomplish, What they build. ( I do not doubt that I may do the same thing)
Like Elijah, Oh Lord they have all deserted you or been killed and I am the only one left. God says> (paraphrased) Oh quit your whining, I have over 7000 men who have not bent their knee to Baal.
The churches or denominations say in a sense, this is the best place to be cause we are serving God with ultra knowledge, books, charts , explanations, invitations, suppositions, and our prayer team is the best trained and most souls gained.
Longevity, we have been saving souls or feeding the hungry or clothing the naked or whatever it is they are doing for over 25 years, or 50 years or celebrating our 100th anniversary. It is so all about them and so little about Jesus, News flash, we have not saved anyone, Jesus has been saving souls since he invented them. Yes, we are vessels, but are we clean vessels or are we vessels of a dishonorable use?
Here are some facts that I do not believe the leaders in the clergy want us to know.
Jesus died for the world.
God calls everyone.
Few are chosen, because few answer.
Any that gather in Jesus name have God through His Son Jesus in their midst.
It does not take an educational degree to tell someone about Jesus.
If you live with Him in Spirit, He is with you at all times and when he empowers you, you will be His witness. (He gives you the power) You do not even have to worry about what you will say. He will speak for you and through you.
Jesus loves those who love him and those who do not love Him. (He keeps knocking)
Obedience is the essence of showing our love to Him.
Obedience is to Jesus, not the (ministry, church, denomination, building, or the building committee. (Cooperation is essential for unity though) Trials and Tribulation make us better, (different than Living your Best life now as if the proof of Gods blessing is our successful, materialistic way of life.)
Success is not measured by how many come or how big or expensive the building is that your church touts. Or even how many programs that your church coordinates.
So what is our purpose and God's pleasure in our lives?
Love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Praising God,being obedient to Him.
Love our neighbor as ourself. ( I barely know my neighbors name)
How Good it is that brothers dwell together in Unity.
Praise God, Love neighbor, gather as one. Abide in Jesus.
If every Christian would do this, we would each get an opportunity with Gods Holy Spirit working out all the circumstances to win a soul for Christ. Some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred fold.
The world which Jesus died for would be evangelized and saved by Him in less than 2 years.
Why, I believe we are not there.
We do not worship and talk and love on God enough.
We do not fellowship, listen and pray for each other enough.
We do not even try to do anything for our neighbor.
We are selfish and our families are selfish. (not always, but more selfish that not.)
We want to pound a sermon in someones head but we do not spend 15 minutes listening to their heart.
What is the answer?
Abide in God first and foremost. Spend regular quality time with Him.
Actively seek His will for our lives.
Ask the Lord to show you others who sincerely worship Him and Love Him and then learn and assist each other, no matter who or where or even why. If God says it, that is the best reason.
Friends, if I have been unfair in this assessment, if I have not spoken truthfully, If I have left something out, if I have been misled, would you be my friend and please correct me.
Is there something I am missing here. Am I expecting more than the Body of Christ is capable of or have we been misled by our educated leaders?
Please take this matter into your prayer closet and come out and speak what God tells you.
Please anything at all that would be helpful in this regard. I will listen and I will take correction. Please consider it prayerfully.
In His love and prayerfully His will.
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