This teaching really hits home with me and it should with you also during these trying times in which we live.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3: 2
The word ‘affection’ means thinking. You are to think on things that are above – things that are spiritual. It’s been said to me by a teacher in the ministry which taught me God’s Word, that sometimes it is a good thing if we do not watch the 6 o’clock news. I’m sure many of us understand that at this time in which we are living. I am going to present to you a teaching that hopefully will get your mind off of our present worldly situation. It is a teaching that explains why we have so many problems in churches today. One church believes one thing and another church teaches something different about the same subject. We have division in our churches today mainly because of one Scripture that is not understood or applied.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – II Timothy 2: 15
I want to point out that there are two words in this verse that you should find interesting. These two words are ‘rightly dividing’. The English words “rightly dividing” are the Greek word orthotomounta. Orthos means “perfectly right” or “perfectly straight”. Temno means “to cut”. Putting these two words together in the word orthotomounta , translated ’rightly dividing’ in the King James Version, literally means “a perfectly right cutting.” This is what great meaning and precision II Timothy 2: 15 can have in our lives when even that verse is rightly divided. All Scripture must be rightly divided. Take a closer look at the verse and read it again. I also want to point out to you that the words ‘rightly dividing’ are used only once in all of the Bible. You will not find those two words again anywhere in the Bible. Now let me take you to another extremely important verse in the Old Testament that explains clearly what can happen to us when we do not rightly divide the Word of God.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. – Hosea 4: 6
What type of knowledge do you think that God is referring to? Is it knowledge that you read in the Wall Street Journal? Is it what you read in Playboy magazine? Of course not. God is referring to people who are destroyed for a lack of the knowledge of His Word. Then God goes on to say why. He says that we have rejected His Word by our free will because everyone has free will. Now He says something that seems to startle some people, but on the plus side, maybe it will wake us up. God says that because you have forgotten me and my Word, I will also forget you, my children.
This sounds so utterly sad to me that it makes me want to cry. God does not want to forsake us, because He loves us more than we can imagine. There is something about God which I have taught you many times before. To receive anything from God, there is always a condition. The condition that God is speaking of here is that we study His Word. And how many people in this world don’t even seem to act like God exists. We are in a very serious worldly situation now and all that I hear about is the conditions that man has set for us. Why aren’t people and politicians making prayer a federal mandate? I won’t say anything else about this. But division occurs amongst so many churches and so many believers because the Word of God is not rightly divided. Many people never even pick up a Bible in their lifetime and the Bible is our blueprint for living. If we do not start to gain a knowledge of God in these serious times in which we live, I feel like this world is going to come to an end because Christ is going to come back and he’s going to knock some heads. Everyone is going to be raised from the dead except the people who are alive at his coming. Believe me, no one is going to hang him on a cross this time. He is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My God, what a great day!
I am going to take most of this teaching on “Why Division” from one of my research materials. God has taught me that it makes no sense and it is a total waste of time to reinvent the wheel. I will edit some of this teaching with my own teaching based on experience but first, I would like to give you the name of the book from which this teaching was originally published. The book is “The New Dynamic Church” published by the American Christian Press. I would like you to pay specific attention to the beginning of this teaching which will follow. I lived one of those situations in my own life. I saw the same thing happen as I witnessed to a person who was torn way from the rightly divided Word of God by people. These people blamed me for bringing nothing but dissension into their family. It was a terrible situation and one that I will never forget. I will tell you more about this as the following teaching begins using my research material. What happened is explained in the first paragraph of the following teaching. Hang on.
Somewhere in our thinking, many of us have erroneously embraced the idea that when God moves, peace and tranquility prevail. This concept was succinctly stated in a radio broadcast when the minister explained it as follows:
Frequently we are mixed up when it comes to defining a movement of God. We think that confusion of any sort indicates that the whole thing is of Satan. Nothing could be further from the truth. A move of God always upsets the equilibrium of established order. For a time it seems to bring chaos into orderly lives and churches. The smug, complacent, and self-satisfied are tremendously disturbed. It is quoted that ‘God is not a God of confusion but of peace.’ This is true, but only in the Church will this peace be found. In the world, as well as in the ‘merely professing’ church, there is to be found confusion and every evil work. The movement of the true God upsets everything carnal, fleshly, selfish and devilish.
My girlfriend’s parents in my college days threatened her daughter that if she kept seeing me, they were not going to pay for her education. I did nothing with their daughter but share the rightly divided Word with her. There were no problems and we both were happier together than we ever were in our lifetime. She enrolled in a 36 hour Biblical Research and Teaching class – 12 sessions and she had to quit in the 10th session. Her mother said that the teachings conflicted with her Catholic beliefs and threatened her daughter. She told me that there was more dissension in her house than any time before and what I believed in could not be from the true God. How wrong she was. Her father was so ignorant of the Scriptures that he told me there was no devil! My girlfriend and I still saw each other at school. Finally, her parents went so far that they bought her a car if she would obey them. I felt really bad for this girl. She fell into an elaborate trap of Satan. She couldn’t move. Finally we had to part our ways. My first obligation was to God and I stood my ground to this day. This all happened 40 years ago. It is still fresh in my mind.
In the fourteenth chapter of Acts we are told of a movement of God. It took place in Iconium, and the evangelists were Paul and Barnabas. What happened was not just an isolated instance; such events seemed to have been much the pattern wherever Paul and Barnabas preached. Arriving at Iconium from Antioch in Pisidia, they witnessed the same sort of confusion as had transpired elsewhere.
And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. -- Acts 14: 1
There was a mighty turning to God among the Jews and the Gentiles; but all was not sweetness and light.
But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. -- Acts 14: 2
Did the attitude of the unbelievers stop Paul and Barnabas from ministering? Not at all.
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. -- Acts 14: 3
How could they cease preaching when God continued to do great signs and wonders under their ministry? But despite these marvels of grace, there were those who would not believe.
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. -- Acts 14: 4
Here was division and confusion. Not just a home or a church was divided, but an entire city. The tension did not subside, but rather became worse.
And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them. – Acts 14: 5
Here was riot and violence. Some people will say, “Surely if this was of God, all of this would not have happened.'' Yet this is what did happen and still does happen when truth is taught. The powers of darkness, even though religiously garbed, will fight. There must always be an exposure and destruction of evil whenever and wherever spiritual revival comes about.
Not the trouble, but the signs and wonders that accompanied Paul and Barnabas testified to the fact that God had called them, and that they indeed brought about the movement of God. Signs follow those sent by the Lord. They speak with new tongues. They cast out devils in His name. When men of God lay hands upon the sick, they arise whole for with God there “is no variableness.'' He answers needs constantly.
These saints of God, Paul and Barnabas, barely escaped with their lives from Iconium, but they moved on into Lystra and Derbe. In Lystra the people wanted to make gods of Paul and Barnabas, and the priest of Jupiter could hardly be restrained from offering sacrifices to them. But Paul and his companion would have none of this activity. They intervened among these idolaters and succeeded in halting the entire proceeding. As a matter of fact, Paul and Barnabas were so successful that the tide changed against them and in a short time the people attacked and stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing him to be dead.
The number of people who would want to be involved in such a movement, I’m sure is very small. Yet this confusion was a result of a movement of the true God and His rightly divided Word. So we can see what happens when the Word of God is misunderstood or wrongly divided – division.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. – James 3: 16
The Lollards who were organized by Wycliffe in the fourteenth century were instructed “to go about and preach to the poor in their own tongue, working in harmony with the clergy if they would allow them, but against them or independent of them if they were hostile.”
The leaders of the spiritual movements in the Church have always been ridiculed and maligned. The confusing element in the entire situation is that it is the religious people, those who are deeply sincere, who cause the division. The world appears to clearly show little initial interest regarding a movement of God and pays virtually no attention. As Acts 7 points out, it is the religious element who are the persecutors and resisters.
I can’t help but again mention my girlfriend’s mother. She was very religious and as sincere as can be. However, she did not work the Word of God like we are doing here. So she became, as the paragraph says, a persecutor and a resister.
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. -- Acts 7: 51
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: -- Acts 7: 52
The Pharisees would not accept Jesus as the Christ. The Jews stirred up the multitude against Paul and Barnabas. The religious people of the day stoned Stephen. Division always frustrates Christian efforts.
May God deliver us as the Church from being contentious and difficult, from maligning our brethren, from bickering and quarrelsomeness, from dividing the Body of Christ by our lack of enlightenment. There is too much division outside the Church; our solidarity is imperative to give us strength to move forward in spite of the opposition. May the Father in heaven, for the sake of the only-begotten Son, bless us with such an abundance that we may cease to be a part of the problem and become a part of the answer. May we as members of Christ's Body become so filled with love that we may be teachable and have our hearts opened to His Holy Word. And may we receive of Him and carry the blessing to all we meet, that they may see us and know we are His.
I would like to conclude with a rather humorous true story of two churches that were divided on a most unusual detail. One half of the congregation did not believe that Adam and Eve had navels (belly buttons). But the other half of the congregation believed that they did!
So the latter half of the congregation built a new church across the street from the other church and called it “The Church of the Navelites.”
GOD BLESS! YOU’RE THE BEST!