Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are We Breaking God's Heart?

                The words that I am about to write I am pretty sure will hit some people hard, and may even cause some debate and even offend some. My intentions for writing this are not to offend, nor to cause a debate. My intention for writing this is to get something off my chest, and to share with all who read these words today what I believe is causing us to break God’s heart. As I prayed this morning, I prayed for the Lord God to break my heart for what breaks His. I think as Christians we pray for many things; successes, blessings, love, etc, and forget to ask God what He wants. We become more focused on our needs and forget that we were created to do His will, and to have His heart. So this morning I asked Him, what breaks Your heart? What came out resulted in a Facebook post- which will, I am sure, cause some debate. This is what I posted:

  It so bothers me when people exalt their church above others, and put down, look down upon the way "other" churches do things. Oh, how I pray for the Lord to bring down anyone who exalts their church above another, or is lifted up in pride for the way they do church. Are we not all Christ's? Did not Christ die for the Baptist, the Protestant, the Calvary’s, the Methodist, the Catholics, and all mankind? I prayed this morning for the Lord God to break my heart for what breaks His, and that is what came to my mind. I hear it all the time- how great and wonderful someone's church is, and even, at times, from the pulpit, from the man who is to be leading the example of godliness putting down other churches. Pastors are putting down a certain denomination and exalting their church above others; this ought not to be so, my brothers and sisters- this is breaking our God's heart. Your church is just a building full of sinners, full of pride-filled people, just like the one I attend. Your pastor is a sinner in need of God's grace, just like mine. Can we please not see the heart of God that is breaking when we exalt our church over another? Can we not see that our pride for church has caused hurt and pain to others? Can we not see that we are all the same? Can we not see that Christ died for the Baptist as well as the Protestants, the Catholics, the Calvary's, the Methodists, and all the other members who attend a different building? Your church is not the only church that will be in heaven, your denomination (or non-denomination) will not be the only "Church" in heaven. Your church isn't the only one who is doing it right! Please, please, let us stop putting one down so that we can be lifted up- and instead let us just exalt Christ. We are breaking the heart of our God. We, as the body of Christ, are causing the divisions, and causing pride to be exalted above the One who died so that we could be ONE BODY! We are breaking His heart.”
                After I wrote these words, this rant if that is what you want to call it, the words of Jesus came into my heart. Jesus is about to go to His death on the cross, and He begins to pray. He prays for His Name to be glorified and He prays for us, His people who will call on His name.
                “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23
                Why can we not just get along? Why do there have to be so many divisions within the body of Christ. Jesus  went before God the Father before He went to His death and prayed that we would be one. God has not caused the divisions, God has not set the Baptists on the right, the Calvary Chapel’s on the left, the Protestants to the back, and the Catholics to the front.  He has set us all together to be one body, one people in Christ. I attended one denomination (which they say they are non-denomination, but now I see that they are a denomination all in themselves) for years. I never really knew any other denomination except that one. And during that time I heard from the pulpit the pastor putting down other denominations. Now, I agree that some of those denominations are a little out there in their doctrines, but does that give us the right to speak ill or unkind of them? Even the denomination that I now attend was looked upon unkindly by the some of the people in that church, and even at times from the pulpit. Did not Christ die for them too?
                Now that I attend a Baptist church and see the other side of the coin, I see that pride is what was the issue. Pride for the way we do things, pride for the way we preach the Word, pride for the way one follows the Bible word for word, and the other does not. Let’s be real, none of us- not even our pastors can follow the Bible word for word!  “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” (Philippians 1:15-16)  If we preach Christ, and Him crucified, is that not teaching and preaching the bible? So what that one church teaches topical and the other verse by verse- who cares how it is taught as long as it is taught! I have heard an exalted tone coming from so many churches and its congregation because they teach the bible this way, and others do not. It’s like because they teach the bible a specific way they are the only church that has it right. (Yes, I went there!)  
                Jesus prayed that we would be one, that we would be one body, one spirit in Him. He did not ask that we split up into various denominations, but prayed that we would be one. It is man who has put up the walls; it is man who through pride has exalted themselves above another. God does not look at my church and say, “Wow! They got it going on! Check them out!” and neither does He say that about yours. What He is most likely saying is, “Why can’t they just get along?”
                We are not better than another person and our church is definitely not better than another. Just because we teach a certain way does not make us more holy. What makes us holy is Christ. Just because we don’t label ourselves with denominations does not make us more biblical. What makes us biblical is the Word of God. Just because one church takes up an offering and another puts the offering boxes on the back wall, does not mean that one is right and one is wrong. Why have we allowed the walls of pride to separate the one thing Jesus prayed for? He prayed for unity among the believers, and instead we give Him separation and pride filled pulpits.
                I know that I am probably ranting and some are going to be offended. But I do believe that we are breaking God’s heart. He prayed for us to be one, yet we are divided and against one another. He prayed for us to be in Him, together- yet we have separated His body into denominations and non-denominations. He prayed for us to exalt Him, yet we exalt our churches. Oh, my brothers and sisters how I do pray that we would wake up and stop putting one another down. I pray, I plead with you as through Christ were pleading through me- be one with each other. Can we please stop this? Can we please just see the hurt and pain we are causing? Can we not see that our fighting within the body is causing the world to turn away? Can we not see that sinners have no desire to come to Christ because all they see is Christ divided? We are to be one so that the world can see Christ, but all they are seeing is Christ divided. This ought not to be so.

                Father God, I pray that if my words offend anyone, Father I pray now for forgiveness. Father I do pray that we as Your Unified Body would come to the realization that we are breaking Your heart when we put up the walls of pride and tear one another down. Father, give us eyes to see these walls and hearts that desire to tear them down. Father, I pray that we would become one body in Jesus Christ, not concerned about the details but focused on the truth of Your Word- that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom we are all chiefs. In Jesus Name, may Your Word go forth, and whatever is not of You but is of me fall to the ground. To You be the glory, honor and praise, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.