Recently I viewed a video taken by a professed Christian. He visited an activity held at another denomination’s church, taking them to task for actions he disapproved as being unbiblical. I questioned how we would feel if someone came to our church looking for such differences.
The incident reminded me of Paul’s response to some questioning his own relationship to Christ, perhaps boasting that theirs was more correctly in line with His teachings.
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. (2 Corinthians 10:7 KJV)
Should we think it impossible that those who call upon Christ as their Lord and savior, though there be differences between us, are His?
Are there not differences within our own denomination? Within our own church?
Are there not instructions within His word as to how to handle differences between brothers in Christ? Might these be used on a larger scale?
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (Matthew 18:15 KJV)
If that doesn’t resolve differences, there is another step Christ gave us.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18:16 KJV)
Still another step is available.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:17 KJV)
Then we can step back and see what Jesus did with heathen and publicans. How about the publican Matthew? Take a few moments to look up how Jesus spoke to him – and what he wrote about Christ afterward. Another example is found in Luke 18:9-14. Who went home justified? Do a Bible search on “publican” and “publicans.” Following one such verse is this:
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. (Luke 15:2 KJV)
Yes, I’ve presented more questions today than I have scriptures. I’ve had to answer these questions in my own mind, for I consider myself of Christ and I need exhortation, too.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:13-15 KJV)
As Matthew Henry wrote in his “Commentary on the Whole Bible” regarding 2 Corinthians 10:7-11: “This we may plead for ourselves, against those who judge us and despise us that, how weak soever we are, yet, as they are Christ's, so are we: we profess the same faith, we walk by the same rule, we build upon the same foundation, and hope for the same inheritance.”