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Avoiding Church Splits-Part A

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The Cross Radio
January 29, 2022 2:00 am

Avoiding Church Splits-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 29, 2022 2:00 am

The early church grew by addition and multiplication. It seems the modern church prefers to grow by division: one group splintering off on its own only to replicate that cycle again and again. The Christian community at Philippi was a vibrant, growing church but it was experiencing a period of disharmony. A split between two personalities was threatening the integrity of the church's testimony. Here we learn how such a split can be avoided.

This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.




This week's DevoMail:

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig

It's okay when children act like children even when they fight and squabble are some cute about that. They can say things make us laugh, but it's tragic when adult is nothing more tragic than to see children in bodies, but they don't have the wisdom whenever you see church splits church by church arguments. What you are seeing what you are hearing is children and adult bodies to critically Skip weekend edition today we got a new teaching that addresses the vision of the church. Did you have a 43% of churchgoers say they don't fully trust their church. The marriage of his lack of trust is one of the many factors that leads to thousands of churches splitting or shutting down every year. The family of God sometimes disagrees with each other but we need to avoid letting those disagreements cause division and that's what Skip examines the day here and connect with Skip Heitzig weekend division. But before we get started is what we have for you this month and Neil Armstrong to Nancy first step in the whole world watched Kenny's first words are well now on our program. It is not common knowledge that the first step is usually to discuss his new center begins with Buzz Aldrin 1959 July number four John gets out of the Eagle project at famous first step on the moon gently, but just before that the pouch and took out the wine and bread represented body, but if you cry and he he had personal communion service and that moment when I found out about it about a year previously hit me like a thunderbolt. You know, just to realize that the first thing ever on the moon. The Last Supper, the last supper on the new hardcover book resource receive your copy when you get the gift of $35 and more to support this program just going to or call one 898 or call one 868 series church in Philippians chapter 2 skip.

Isaac begins by sharing a bit about his childhood. There wasn't always harmony in our home going up. I was one for boys for rowdy boys and did we know how to argue and we know how to fight and sometimes the fights were very vocal, very noisy. I remember throwing my brother through a window and him throwing me through the same window after it was repaired by my parents. I member coming at my brother with a nice and him coming at me with a pencil and wheat. We have since learned to get along a lot better with each other as we have grown up, but that happens in families. If you are parents or you think back to your own family you you got your own stories. I know that while in the Christian family. When you have spiritual infants and spiritual adolescents and spiritual teenagers, and even spiritual adults, there can be friction within God's family, sibling rivalry, of sorts.

There was a dad who came home wanted some peace and quiet, opened up the newspaper to read and he heard his young daughter and her friends in the next room.

They were talking and they got noisy and more argumentative than they were pushing and they were yelling and even calling each other names and when dad put his newspaper down and demanded an account is little daughter walked in and smiled and said daddy it's okay were just playing church. But the goal is to grow up.

The goal for Christians is to grow up.

Paul said as much to the church at Ephesus. Paul wrote them and said, grow up, or in his own words that we should no longer be children, but that we may grow up in all things.

It's okay when children act like children even when they fight and squabble are some cute about that.

They can say things make us laugh, but it's tragic when adults do it there's nothing more tragic than to see children and adult bodies.

They got the power, but they don't have the wisdom whenever you see church splits or church fights or church arguments. What you are seeing what you are hearing is children in adult bodies. That's what you're saying. That's what you're hearing children at play who don't want unity but will will promote disunity just to get their own agenda. Now Christians throughout history haven't always gotten along. And if I may just switch from the need to grow up to just just say that it doesn't always happen and I just want to normalize this just a little bit. I want to normalize as I read my New Testament. I discover that even Jesus closest apostles didn't get along with each other that they had fights while Jesus walked the earth and argued about who would be the greatest in the kingdom who's in a sit at Jesus right hand when he comes again as I read the New Testament. I discover that even Peter and Paul didn't get along with each other but had an argument in Galatia over the meaning of the law and its application is I read my New Testament. I discovered that the Council at Jerusalem argued about the relationship of the Christian to the law of Moses and on and on and true history and true councils even during the Reformation. Great reformers like Luther and Zwingli argued about the Lord's supper and how that is to be administered according to U.S. News & World Report. There are 22,000 different denominations and sects of Christianity throughout the world. What is that tell you tell you that you have a lot of different ways of looking at things and dealing with each other so the church is the society of the redeemed, not the society of the perfect and I say all that in hopes that you will lower your expectation. I'm not sure to when it comes to the church. Some people that have such high expectations of perfection among the church and church leaders. It is impossible and will always be impossible to please them well were in Philippians 2 and I know I told you to turn to Philippians 2 what I like to show you is that there were two forces at work that were pressuring the Philippians to divide pressure number one false teachers from the outside pressure number two fighting Christians from the inside. False teachers fighting Christians. Both were addressed by Paul if you look at chapter 3 you'll see the first. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord for me to write the same things to you is not tedious but for you it is safe beware of dogs, beware of evil workers. Beware of the mutilation. These were false teachers. He calls them dogs.

I like Paul the second problem was the fighting members on the inside look at chapter 4. Therefore, my beloved, my long for my joy, my crown, so stand fast in the Lord beloved, I am chlorine. Jody and I implore send to Katie's are two women in the church to be of the same mind in the Lord and I urge you also true companion help these women who labored with me in the gospel with climate. Also in the rest of my fellow workers. We don't exactly know what the issue was, but apparently there were two strong personality and women in the church at Philippi that polarized people around there issues there were at odds with each other. Maybe these were two women who were there from the very beginning when Paul first went to Philippi down at the riverbank, but now was causing the division so to our text in Philippians chapter 2 he is laying groundwork.

This is groundwork of getting along with one another. This is where it all begins. Here are the basics of getting along, and the basis of getting along.

Philippians 21 through four. Now you have four verses as to why my Bible.

In this chapter. What you may not know is that in the original Greek. It's one long complex ongoing sentence chapter 1 verses one through four is all one sentence and it's put out in a literary format a literary device called Protestants and the Protestants and if then clause a conditional clause. If this is so, then that must be so that's how it is set out.

That's how Paul works out to make a very strong point.

What I like to do this morning is look at these two things. The basics of getting along, and the basis of getting along.

I'm not start in verse one, but actually in verse three.

To give you the basics, because in verse three in verse four Paul gives us to ways we should not be with each other and two ways we should be with each other. Don't be like this process but be like that.

So these are the basics negative and positive. By the way, these first two negatives are exactly the same way and same reasons that Satan didn't get along with God. I want you to hear this exactly the same thing that happened with Satan and God could happen with each other in church listen to what Satan says in Isaiah 14 I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will be like the most high.

What is that that's this selfish ambition and conceit very two things Paul says don't be like that so these first two things describe the personality of Satan the second two things, humility, etc. describe the personality of Jesus Christ. The first two things more room in a church the second two will remedy the church so look at the first number one, don't live selfishly or as he writes it.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition. There's not a person in this room who doesn't know what selfishness looks like you have children then you know what selfishness looks like you have parents then you know what selfishness looks like. Do you know any other human being than you know what selfishness looks like and if you're honest with yourself if you're the only one around you. You know what selfishness looks like you getting my point is a natural human trait. It is a trait of all fallen human beings Calvin Miller said that if we were the ones to have written the Lord's prayer it would sound like this. Our father who art in heaven. Gimme gimme gimme that selfish ambition, that's natural fallen humanity that the word means to cause division in order to get your own way to cause division in order to get your own way.

This is a pushy person to get my weight says that person as he walks into an issue or situation that selfish ambition is like a little boy and his sister, who were riding a toy horse together out in front of the supermarket you you put 1/4 enemy thing moves around on earth they still have most of my guess is all replaced by iPhones and gadgets now, but in the days when there were those little horses on front of supermarkets, a little boy and his sister were trying to write it together. Good luck little boy turned to his sister and said you know if one of us would get off there be more room for me. That selfish ambition, me first philosophy that ruins friendships families, marriages and churches. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition. So that's that's the first thing not to be don't live selfishly. The second negative. The second thing not to be as don't look prideful and for the same sentence. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit.

Now if any of you this morning have the old King James Bible. I just confess to you they translate this word far better than the new King James NIV NLT anybody they use the word vainglory vainglory a very descriptive word of what this is about conceit vainglory the empty pride of living for other people's opinions empty pride living for other people's opinions. This the person who is so exalted in his own opinion, and he is concerned that others share that same view of himself or herself. Paul says in Romans 12 verse three we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think that's vainglory, that's conceit that is the very opposite of what Paul considered himself to be of what Peter considered himself to be of what John considered himself to be what is the one word that all three of these writers introduce themselves as whenever they wrote a New Testament book serve you got served up all slave of Christ on bond slave or a bondservant, servants keep churches from splitting vainglorious self absorbed people help it split two ways you can enter a room. You can enter a room of people with a sort of a stance and attitude. It says, well, here I am.

Or you can enter the same room with a group of people with the attitude that says there you are. That's acerbic.

That's the server I read something a long time back.

I thought about it for a good long while. It seems that if thoroughbred horses get attacked that they have a strategy. If there attacked from the outside, they form a circle and their heads are all in the center of that circle, giving them the ability to kick out words and backwards in any direction from any predator that smart, but the same article talked about how donkeys react when there attacked. They also form a circle but they all face outward, and they'll start kicking but they'll start kicking each other.

I read that I thought that is so descriptive, so telling, so indicting. I get to beg the question, are we thoroughbreds or donkeys don't live selfishly don't live frightfully those of the first two negatives. Here's the second two in their positives to live humbly do live humbly look at verse three. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit those of the first two negatives, but in loneliness of mine, lowliness of mind now lowliness of mind is one word in the Greek language top. I know Frost sine six syllables to Pino for assuming it's hard to say. Took me all day to memorize how to say that just for this moment, but the reason I did.

It is this one of the most despised characteristics in Greek philosophy was the quality that in color quality device being topline a first for assuming, of having a low mind.

In fact, the Greeks gave that title to slaves that they would conquer somebody would grovel in the dust was given this humble minded lowly minded title.

So if you were conquered by a Greek army and they turned you into submissive slaves. They would give you this title lowliness of mind and that is because the virtues that the Greeks love were things like self assertiveness, confidence, self-esteem so they saw this not as a virtue, but as a vice and bringing that up because that's exactly the opposite of how the Bible views the Bible is in view.

Lowliness of mind is a vice but as a virtue, something to want something to incorporate in one's life. The opposite to be confident in self assertive lowliness of mind. The crouching submissiveness of a slave.

Why is that because that's exactly the attitude of Jesus Christ and rested the first two are the personality of Satan. Second, to the personality of Christ. This is the personality of Christ. Look at verse five he brings that point very clear. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but he made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of man and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross, Jesus didn't exalt himself, he humbled himself, you want to get along with other Christians in church do that do that. It should be the attitude of how can I climb the ladder higher and higher.

But how can I descend the ladder lower and lower like Christ.

Those are the basics lowliness is the grease that keeps the gears of relationships smooth in any body of believers. Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, whenever I see somebody who is puffed up and have these exaggerated ideas of their own importance and want everybody else to know about them. I think person in following the one is lowly in heart, when my favorite authors FB Meyer, Frederick B. Meyer, a British pastor did work on both sides of the Atlantic century ago, almost wrote this. I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves, one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character, the more easily we can reach them, but I now find God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other.

And that is not a question of growing taller, but if stooping lower. You want a rewarding church experience. Get down sound like I'm a discogram get down get lower get more humble, so do live humbly and finally the fourth, the second of the two positive characteristics do live respectfully do live respectfully again. Verse three says, and lowliness of mind is the first here's the second. Let each esteem others better than himself. If you're an American. If you're a Westerner and I assume all of you are this flies directly in the face of everything you've been taught the last 30 years and this is let each of you esteem others better than yourself person next to the person in front of me.

The person behind enter in your son a lot of the divisions and disagreements of the church could be avoided if this more broad course that is easier said than the influence you are right. Why should we make sure everyone else knows but is being right really worth dividing the body of Christ that something we should consider that's going to wrap up our time for today but before we go here. Skip to invite you a trip to Israel.

Later this spring.

Lenny and I are taking a group to Israel in 2022 and we want to invite you to join us will visit places like Nazareth, the Jordan River.

The Dead Sea and Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and the garden tomb. And not just a flyby look at the itinerary.

Find out more about the a BQ thanks Skip that if you'd like a copy of today's study avoiding church splits. Just call us at 1-800-922-1888 or visit

Each copy is just four dollars for shipping and joined his as we explore more ways to keep the church from splitting what we continue our series church who needs it right here and connect with Skip weekend division of presentation of connection to God and ever-changing time