A Verse That Can Change the Church

Posted on May 30, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Church Civil War
It should be enough that the Church has to fight against the spiritually evil forces which seek to destroy us (Ephesians 6:12), but it is not. Sadly, too high a percentage of Church battles are within, whether inside individual assemblies, or against other denominations or belief systems. This is Church civil war.

An example of the latter would be the enmity between those who believe that certain gifts of the Spirt such as tongues are no longer active and those who fully embrace all of the more “charismatic” gifts. It’s fine to disagree with one another on these issues, but these disagreements should not cross the line of enmity and hostility.

Once such behavior is exhibited, the focus shifts from the particular issues being disagreed upon to the much more crucial issue of how Christians should conduct themselves. Of course false and wrong doctrines – if we are absolutely sure they are false and wrong – should be combatted, but the Lord is much more concerned with our behavior than anything else.

And I have a verse which backs this up.

How to Conduct Ourselves
The apostle Paul was fully aware of Church civil war and gave believers instructions on how to avoid it. He wrote in Ephesians 4:1-2 (emphasis on verse 2): “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love

My tendency is to briefly expound Scripture to make the point. However, regarding this verse, do I really need to? Let’s look at verse 2 again: “… with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance FOR ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE …”

The “one another” refers to believers. Paul doesn’t quality this, nor does he command us to agree with one another in everything. But, so long as a person or congregation you know has a different view than you but absolutely loves, worships, and adores the Lord Jesus Christ, you have your marching orders. You are to be gentle, patient, and tolerant with them.

I don’t believe it can get much simpler than this. Do you believe in the “cessation” (stoppage) of certain gifts such as tongues following the first century A.D. and think they have no place today? On the other end, do you believe in the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” which brings with it the more “charismatic” gifts and that those who lack it are not “complete” Christians?

Both can’t be right, but this isn’t the most important thing. What IS the most important thing is that we conduct ourselves as Sons of the Mighty King!

If all believers were to take Ephesians 4:2 to heart, the Church would be totally transformed. May God make it so!   

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