Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)
- TITLE: The Battle Is The Lord's
By Doug Laird
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Church history reveals a record of divisions taking place as early as the formative years of the Church Age.
Paul’s letter (1Cor. 1:12) to the 1st century local assemblies in Corinth spoke of believers identifying themselves as followers of one of the apostles, to the exclusion of others, while others claimed to be the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote that he was glad (that he did not contribute to this developing schism) by having baptized many believers while he was in Corinth.
Water baptism was a ritual in which those baptized “identifies” are identified with a body of believers or with a teacher and/or his teaching, such as John the Baptist’s message of “repentance.”
Water baptism is not a required additive to the Gospel necessary for salvation. Water baptism must be distinguished from the Titus 3:5 baptism and work of God the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s concern was that those who were being saved were more focused on the messengers than the message.
If the Church had remained focused on the external and internal functions documented in the Great Commission, the damage sustained to its unity might have been minimized.
The Church was given the external assignment of preserving the true Gospel Message and proclaiming it to unbelievers.
The Church was to preserve the TRUE Gospel Message by NEVER adding ANY further requirements to it to either receive or retain salvation.
It is the function of the properly trained and ordained evangelist to announce the Gospel for salvation to the unbelieving world at large.
During and following the apostolic period of the Church, it was the properly trained and ordained pastor teachers who were charged with the internal mission of making disciples out of those who were born again.
“Disciple” is an English translation of the Greek word, “m-a-t-h-e-t-e-s”, that means to be a technical student in a teacher-pupil environment.
A “Christian” disciple is a born again believer who is taught the Word of God under the teaching ministry of an ordained pastor-teacher, and applies the Word of God to his/her personal circumstances with the enabling power of God.
The intended simplicity of the Gospel leaves those who are presented with it no other options other than to believe it or to reject it.
The simplicity of the Gospel will be considered “fighting words” when it stirs up the hostile (Romans 8:7) nature that dominates the soul of an unbeliever concerning God and/or the things of God.
The First Advent peace on Earth was not peace between man and man, but peace between God and those who would believe the Gospel Message.
All born again believers are forever equally saved, but are at different levels of discipleship.
Unless you are the first believer to have received and mastered an accurate understanding of all the doctrine that the Bible offers at the moment of salvation, you will find that post-salvation discipleship is an ongoing, never-ending, process.
There will ALWAYS be believers who are more spiritually mature than you are, and there will ALWAYS be those who are not as advanced as you are in the quantity and accuracy of the doctrine that you possess.
As one spiritually matures, God the Holy Spirit, our ultimate teacher, will reveal if and when it is time to make changes in one’s source of spiritual edification.
No one, cleric or otherwise, can be used of God to bring another believer further along than the point in which he/she has first arrived at him/herself.
What then, are believers to do about atheistic or false concepts concerning the need or means of salvation? What are believers to do about false post-salvation teaching and practices that are believed and practiced by fellow believers?
The battle is the Lord’s. Conviction comes from God the Holy Spirit when the truth of the Word of God is communicated.
The disciple’s function is to be prepared (1Peter 3:15) and to convey an accurate presentation of the Gospel to unbelievers and to convey accurate post salvation doctrine to fellow believers when given the opportunity to do so.
Agreement or disagreement is a matter between the recipient of the information and the Lord (Romans 14: 4).
By not allowing rejection to become a personal matter, future opportunities to evangelize or to edify may be preserved.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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