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Scripture Reading: Psalm 133
Why are there Different Churches of Christ?
1. Unity is a spiritual blessing in Christ that influences the world to believe, Eph 1:3; 4:4-6 (Psa 133:1-3); Jno 17:20-21.
2. Yet, the chilling wind of division has too frequently swept over the people of God, leaving an icy trail of hard hearts and lost souls.
3. Why are there so many different churches of Christ?
a. Does it really matter which one we are members of and have fellowship with (either temporarily or permanently)?
b. Should we extend the right hand of fellowship to every church of Christ? (Gal 2:8-10)
c. What prevents us from having fellowship with any church of Christ?
I. CHRIST AND THE CHURCHES.
A. Christ is Sovereign, Rev 1:10-11 (Matt 28:18; Col 3:17).
B. Christ Walks among the Churches, Rev 1:13, 20; 2:2.
C. Christ Knows what Happens in the Churches, Rev 2:2, 9, etc.
D. Since Christ does not have Fellowship with Sin and Error, How can We Do So and Please Him? Rev 2:5, 16; 3:1-3, 15-16; 2 Jno 9-11
II. SOME CHURCHES ARE PRACTICING SIN AND ERROR, Rev 2:1, 4-5.
A. Corrupted the Organization of the Local Church, Acts 14:23.
1. Sponsoring churches corrupt independence of the churches.
2. Unqualified elderships lead to weak and failing churches.
B. Corrupted the Work of the Local Church, Acts 2:42; 4:34-35; 11:22.
1. The work of edification, benevolence to needy Christians and evangelism has been added to and taken from:
a. General benevolence (1 Tim 5:16; Gal 6:10).
b. Church supported human organizations (Jas 1:27).
c. Social gospel (Rom 14:17).
d. Failure to discipline the disorderly (2 Ths 3:6).
C. Corrupted the Worship of the Local Church, 1 Cor 11:17.
1. In spirit (but not in truth), Jno 4:23-24.
2. Instruments of music, women leaders, etc.
D. Corrupted the Morality of Godís People, Eph 5:1-7.
1. False doctrines that condone and do not rebuke sin, Rom 6:1-2.
2. False doctrines that accept adulterous remarriages, social drinking, dancing, immodest clothing, vulgar language, etc.
III. SOME CHURCHES ARE BINDING OPINIONS, Matt 15:7-9.
A. They Fail to Distinguish Liberties and Commands, cf. Rom 14:1-3. These are the Judaizers of our day.
B. They Fracture into Factions (2 Tim 2:14, 23):
1. No Bible class churches; one cup (container) churches.
2. Individuals cannot work together in any organization to preach and teach the gospel (foundations, camps, colleges, etc.).
IV. SOME CHURCHES WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE (2 Tim. 4:3-4; Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Jno. 9-11), cf. Rev 2:14-16.
A. On How to Establish and Apply Bible Authority (Acts 15:6-21).
B. On Contending for the Faith, Jude 3.
C. On Preaching the Whole Counsel of God, Acts 20:27 (20).
-On having no fellowship with error (like this lesson!).
V. SOME CHURCHES ARE EXTENDING FELLOWSHIP TO THOSE WHO TEACH ERROR / PRACTICE SIN.
A. Some Accept Christians Who Remain in Sin, 1 Cor 5:1-2, 13.
B. Some Refuse Faithful Christians who Teach and Live the Truth, 3 Jno 9-10.
C. Some Tolerate Error and Refuse to Rebuke It, Rev 2:20-23.
1. Some do not continue in the apostolic doctrine; they fall away, 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Jno 2:19.
2. We must constantly examine ourselves and correct ourselves to conform to Christís will, or He will remove us from His presence. Rev 2:5