The Most Loving Thing

A friend of mine recently sent me this video: A Corrupt Church System & Love

Go ahead and watch it…I’ll wait.

OK, got it?  Great!

There are several things that this man says that I wholeheartedly agree with.  Here are a few:

  • In Mark 12:29-31, Jesus does indeed say these two commandments are the most important.  The first is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
  • In John 13:34-35, Jesus does indeed say that people would know His disciples if you have love one for the other.
  • “There is not going to be a Pentecostal section in Heaven and a Baptist section and a Catholic section and a Protestant section and a Lutheran section in Heaven.  There is not going to be any divisions in Heaven.  And, therefore, there should not be any divisions among the church.  God never authorized division in His church.  There is only one church and one God.” – Amen!  Amen!  Amen!
  • “Christ’s church is founded on unity!” – Again, Amen!
  • “Everybody who knows the truth needs to break down those walls!” – Totally agree!

That last one is the one I really want to talk about.  “Everybody who knows the truth needs to break down those walls!”  I completely agree, and I want to start trying to break down those walls right now.

The speaker in the video says that we need to break down those walls by loving one another.  I think he’s right about that.  So, I’m going to tell you about the most loving thing you can do.  Ephesians 4:15 says that we are to “speak the truth in love.”  Telling someone the truth about what God would have them to do is the most loving thing you can do.  Every time you tell someone the truth about what God wants, it’s like telling them “I love you so much that I want to spend all of eternity with you!  Will you choose to spend eternity with me?”

Finding the truth can be difficult, however.  We can sometimes find part of the truth, but miss other parts of it.  Psalm 119:160 says “The sum of Thy word is truth.”  What does that mean?

I heard a preacher once say that is means that until you hear all that God has to say about any particular topic, you haven’t heard the whole truth.  You must take ALL that God has to say about something, add it all up, and then you will know the truth.

Can I take just a few minutes to tell you the truth in love?  Not because I want to beat you over the head, but because I care for you immensely and want you to be with me for eternity in Heaven.  For a few minutes, would you put all defensiveness aside and listen to my love?  I sure hope so.

The speaker in the video used scripture and his words sound wonderful but there are a few vital things he forgot to mention.  Unfortunately, he also said some things that are incorrect.  I want you to have the whole truth.

The Greatest Commands

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31

As I mentioned above, Jesus did indeed say that these are the greatest commands and they are.  However, that doesn’t give us a free pass to ignore the other commands.  We aren’t graded on a scale where these two commands get a higher score than the others.

The same Jesus that said what was recorded in Mark 12:28-31 also said “If you love me, keep my commands” in John 14:15.  “Which ones?” we may ask.  The answer is simple…all of them.  We are to keep all of Jesus’ commands.

So, then, we can ignore anything in our Bibles that isn’t written in red since Jesus didn’t give those commands?  Once again, the truth in love is that we can’t.  If you believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you believe that the things written by Paul, Peter, and the other New Testament writers are inspired by the Godhead of which Jesus is part.  That makes those commands of our Savior also.  We need to keep them all.

“Well, then, why did Jesus say these two were the most important ones?”  Can I show you the parallel passage where Jesus answers this question himself?  It’s found in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Notice in this reading that there is a final explanatory sentence: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  What is Jesus saying here?

He is simply saying that every commandment given, every law we are asked to follow, and every rule that is set stems from those two base commands.  Why shouldn’t we take the Lord’s name in vain?  Because, we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Why shouldn’t we murder other people?  Or rob them?  Or covet what they have?  Because we should love our neighbor as ourselves.

These two commands aren’t the greatest because we should follow them more closely than all the other commands but because they are the basis for all the other commands.  We are expected to follow all the commands given.  Why?  Because, we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  “If you love me, keep my commands.”

 

Love Isn’t Exclusive to Followers of God

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Jesus certainly told the disciples that men would know they were his disciples if they have love for one another.  However, taking this verse and this verse alone doesn’t tell the whole truth.

The same Jesus that said this also said in Matthew 5:46-48: For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Here Jesus is telling His disciples that they should love their enemies, but notice what He says.  He says that tax collectors and Gentiles have love for one another.  Does that make them disciples of Christ?  Not at all!  He used them as examples in this passage because they were NOT followers of God.

If we read only John 13:34-35 we might think that when two people love each other then both are followers of Christ, but that simply isn’t the case.

 

No Division

I completely agree with the speaker in the video that there will be no division in Heaven and I completely agree with his statement that God never authorized division in His church.  I will be the first to say that there should be no denominations.  Denominationalism is not authorized and is, therefore, sinful.

In the garden on the night before His arrest, Jesus prayed: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their (the apostles) word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

He prayed for those that would believe in Him through the apostles’ words.  Jesus prayed directly for us!  But, His prayer is that we would all be one just as He and the Father are one.  How did we get to this point?  How did we get to the point where there are over 3000 denominations if we are all supposed to be one?

Jesus answers that one too.  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

I want to point out with love what is going on in this passage.  Jesus says that there will be sincere believers who thought they were doing the right things who will be rejected by Him.  He is not talking about scum-of-the-earth type people.  He is not talking about blatant sinners.  He is not talking about people who straight out reject Him.  He is talking about people who did things in His name whom He will reject.  He is talking about “Christians.”

Why would He reject people who believe in Him?  He answers that also.  He says it is because they practice lawlessness.  Going back to John 14:15…He will reject them for not keeping His commands which shows that they don’t really love Him.

I’m going to have to tell you a very hard truth but I still do so with love.  Here is the very hard truth: Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is actually one.  And not every group that professes to be a Christian group is actually one.  Some of those people and some of those groups will hear “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

Certainly, there are false teachers in the world that know they are false teachers.  I Timothy 6:3-5 says: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”

We see some of these false teachers that use the word of God as just a means of making money.

However, Jesus here is talking about another kind of false teacher.  A false teacher that doesn’t know they are false teacher.  This makes me sad.  It makes me sad to think that there are people who love Jesus just as much as I do that will be turned away because they didn’t dig hard enough to find the whole truth and instead settled for what someone else told them.  Or simply failed to discover all that God had to say on a particular topic.  Those that stopped short of finding the whole truth and instead settled for a small portion of it.  And then, unwittingly taught that to others.

I’m about to say something that is very unpopular…but once again, I do so in love.  If two denominations disagree about a point of doctrine that the Bible discusses, one or both of them are wrong.  It is not possible for two opposing viewpoints to both be right.  We know this in every other aspect of life.

For instance, if I ask what 2+2 is, one person may say 3.  Another may say 5.  Yet another may say 4.  They simply can’t all be right.  It is an impossibility.  But, in matters of faith, we like to say “I’m OK.  You’re OK.  It fine.  We can both be right.”

But, NO, we can’t.  God has an opinion on many things including: men’s roles in the church, women’s roles in the church, what day the church is to meet on, what kind of language a Christian should use, the role of government in Christian’s life, how to pray, and many other things.  We don’t have the authority to change what God has said to do in these cases and if we do change it, we are WRONG.

Let me use one example from above.  Language.  Some people say that curse words and bad language are OK because it’s just cultural.  I know many people who call themselves Christians whose language is abhorrent.  Others say that we should keep our language clean.  If the Bible had no opinion on this, then each could do as they want.

But, the Bible does have an opinion on this.  Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  This passage goes past using cursing and foul language and even serves to condemn speaking harshly or impatiently with someone.  It says that our language should give grace to those who hear.”

So, the person who thinks that cursing is OK and teaches others that it is as well, is violating God’s opinion.  That person is a false teacher even if he believes with all his heart that Christ is Lord.  And, yes, even if he doesn’t know he’s a false teacher.  It also makes him an unbeliever because he isn’t keeping Christ’s commands and, therefore, according to John 14:15 doesn’t love Christ.

The Bible gives me commands about holding fellowship with unbelievers and false teachers: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Does that mean I shun them?  Not at all.  It is my job to tell them the truth in love.  To try to show them their error so they can better understand what God wants them to do and can follow Him correctly.  But, I am not to accept and tolerate their false teaching.

Sadly, this goes for entire denominations.  There are denominations that teach incorrect things.  When I run across one, I can’t accept those false teachings, but that doesn’t stop my love for them.  I still feel the need to teach them their error.  Jesus wanted all of His followers to be “of the same mind.”  This only happens when we all believe the same thing.

My sincere desire is for denominationalism to die.  But, that can only happen when everyone agrees on the truth.

 

Conclusion

Although I agreed with many things the speaker in the video had to say, I feel compelled to point out these problems.  I would love to be able to embrace everyone who calls themselves a Christian, but because 2+2 = 4, I simply can’t accept false doctrine as alright.  I have to reject false doctrine but at the same time love those who are caught up in it enough to try to show them the truth.  I hate denominationalism just as God does, but I love with all my heart those that are caught up in it just as God does.

Jesus founded one church…just one.  Dig deep, study hard, and fight until you find that one church.

I would love to help you in that journey.  Please let me know if you need any help because I want you to spend eternity with me.

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