is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship
of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you,
brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye
all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions
among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in
the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been
declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are
of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" Q Corinthians 1:9-13).
The question might well be asked, "Why does the Church not present to the world the picture of the unity of Christ's Body functioning with such glorious harmony, power and beauty so as to accomplish the desire of our Lord?" Heprayed in John 17:21 . ... . . . that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
The present condition of the Church sadly presents to the world the very opposite of that for which He prayed. It mirrors the days when Josiah became King of Judah (II Kings 22). When the Book of the Law was found and read -before the King, he rent his clothes. Judah had departed from God. The temple, God's gathering place for His people, was in disrepair and filled with the accumulation of filth and rubbish. These things always occur when God's Word is not followed and man's ways and inventions take its place. God's wrath was kindled against Judah for her departure. Howbeit, God in grace withheld the judgment He assayed to bring upon Judah because of Josiah's desire to bring the people back to repentance and the true worship of the true God.
Who can tell but what the chastening hand of God may yet be felt e'er the Lord comes because of utter disregard shown by the Church to bring her ways into alignment with the Word of God. If every denomination would search the Scriptures diligently as Josiah did in his day, would there not be a carrying out of the filth and rubbish of human ideas and thoughts which mar the unity of the Body of Christ?
Imagine the apostles and prophets who are in the foundation of the Church coming back to examine what had been built upon them. Would they not demand complete destruction of the God dishonoring, man-designed divisions which destroy the unity of His Body?
Imagine if the Apostle Paul returned and visited our so-called churches today. Would he not say as he said to the Galatians. "0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucifiedamong you?" "Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
The show of "will worship" is always the easiest to follow because it is self-will. God has given us in His Word a detailed picture of His heart's desire for every local church. If followed, each church would be the visible expression of the invisible Church expressing the truth that, although we be many members, the Body of Christ is one. Paul would not even allow his own name to be used to divide the local church at Corinth. Paul's own desire is given in Ephesians 3:9 that all men might see the administration of the mystery. Why was this his desire? Was it not so that every workman (for we are His workmanship) would know if he were building according to the divine instructions given in the pattern for the house of God on earth, which house is to be God's habitation through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Paul's church epistles are sufficient to guide us in building God'shouse. Paul warned the Church at Corinth to "take heed" how they build (I Corinthians 3: 10).
Take heed that the house you and I are building, which may be very eye-catching, is not being built on the wrong foundation of our own imagination and, thus, contrary to the pattern God has given us. Not every house built for the habitation of God is occupied by God. Our Lord could say concerning the temple in His day, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Luke 13:35).
May God grant His people e'er our Lord returns a vision of what He desires His house to be, that He may be at perfect rest in it and that His Name and the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in the gathering together of His saints unto Himself.
W. G. McCartney
CHRISTIAN MISSIONS PRESS