07 Apr 4/7/19 “A Desperate Plea for Unity”
The title this morning is “An Urgent Plea for Unity.” And as you know, we’ve been in the book of 1 Corinthians. We just started it, and what this book has taught me so far is that saints (that’s what you’re referred to as a believer) can sometimes act like sinners. That’s why the church in Corinth (that’s where 1 Corinthians comes from), Paul was writing to a church that was alive. And as D. Martin Lloyd Jones said many years ago, “Living children need rules. Dead children don’t.” So before we start to mock people that we might think are emotional, we might want to look at our own hearts. Living children need rules. Don’t your kids, running around the house? Dead children don’t need any rules. They’re dead to the things of God.
And this is a Christian’s struggle. We shared last week (you can watch the sermon) where Christians will struggle from time to time with that call to be a saint and that pull to sin. And 1 Corinthians helps us to look to God’s Word to find that balance.
So, the message is “An Urgent Plea for Unity.” Why is disunity so hurtful to the church? Have you ever thought of that? It quenches the work of God, it grieves the spirit, it knocks us all off track, it consumes our mind with anger and bitterness. In short, we become unproductive. No wonder the enemy loves to cause division. And I’ve noticed how he often causes division is he will plant the thoughts. What you do with that thought is up to you.
And as we’ve found before, hurt people hurt people. Instead of being clay in the hands of the Potter, we become clay in the hands of the enemy. Any time we’ve been hurt, we’ve been offended. Has anybody ever hurt you at the church? Has the church ever offended you or hurt you? Welcome to the club; I think we can all raise our hands high. You would be surprised, but the majority of attacks I receive are from Christians. Isn’t it interesting? Division. Dividing over certain things. I’m going to get to that in a minute.
Here’s what I’ve noticed as well. The arguer and the debater (fortunately, we’re very blessed at this church because most of these people don’t stay very long), but the person who loves to argue and loves to debate—have you met those people? They rarely do anything good for God. Why? Because they’re too busy trying to convert you to their way of thinking. [Some] people in the church are debaters, they are arguers. They love to argue things.
Do you ever have those people in your life? They want to argue. Well, argue what? Well, I’m getting there, hold on; I’m just setting the stage. I’m building that foundation, that footing. I’m sparking your thinking here. Now, maybe this does go out to some of you, if you find joy in arguing and debating, you might want to repent of that. It’s often a spirit of disunity. Now, I love to sit down and talk about theology just as much as anyone. But we have to be careful on what is essential and what is a nonessential. What did Christ die for? And what are people going to have different views on? It’s very important.
So the context now, we’re going to get into 1 Corinthians 10. And we just learned last week that God has graced you, the testimony of Jesus Christ is in you, and God is faithful. That’s where we left off. So I think we have verse 10 up there. So, this is Paul. Remember, Paul is speaking to whom? Unbelievers or believers? Paul is addressing the church. He would be reading this to us. And these first few words really just stuck out this week: “Now I,” what? “Plead.” Can you imagine the apostle Paul begging? And sometimes I picture these people with tears in their eyes. “I beg you, I plead with you. I plead with you. Brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you,” what?
All speak the same thing. And that there be no division among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Now, that’s going to take a minute to unpack, because I know what you’re thinking—initially, what I thought: Well, does that mean I can’t have an opinion? Everybody has to believe exactly how I have to believe? No, I don’t think that is it at all. But if we look at a deeper study in these, they’re speaking the same thing, that there’s no division among you, that you be perfectly joined together. Now, that is complete. The essence is they’re fighting for unity because often people fight because of disunity. But a group, a church, a healthy church, actually fights for unity. They’ll go to a person and say, “I don’t think you meant to come across that way, but you did. How can we fix this?” “I don’t know if there’s a riff between us, but how can I fix this?” “Okay, they love that song, ‘Ain’t No Grave,’”(whatever it is). Half the people don’t like it, half the people love [it]. It’s like, Okay, let me get my heart right. Let me not worry about those trivial things. And they fight for unity.
Why is that so important? Because by default (meaning if you do nothing), you’re going to lean toward disunity. If you don’t fight for unity, disunity is going to creep in very subtly but very surely. Because it’s in us to critique. We go places, we want to critique and put down. So, “speak the same thing,” is not necessarily “of the same opinion.” We’re going to have different opinions in the church, are we not? But he’s saying here there’s no division, which means “separating into parts.” And he’s going to go on to say in just a little bit, “I’m of Paul, I’m of Peter, I’m of this person…” So there’s no separating into parts: “Okay, you Calvinists sit over there.” (If you don’t know what this is, that’s ok.) “You Armenians, sit over there. Young earth, you’re here; old earth, you’re here.” There’s no division among them; there’s no discord.
Do you want me to try to play that piano right now? “Ooooh, not good. Would you please stop?” But see, that’s what disunity is in the church. And if the leadership team doesn’t fight for it, if we as members don’t contend for it, you will not see a powerful move of God because God moves on a united church. They were of much discord in the upper room for ten days. Does the Bible say that? No, they were with one accord in the upper room, worshiping and praising God. Maybe there was some, “Well, I don’t think we should do that psalm. Maybe we shouldn’t do that, or this…” There was healthy discussion, but they fought for unity. They didn’t let the enemy come in and bring a wedge and knock the believers apart.
You might be thinking, “Shane, what are you talking about?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Do you know there are worship wars in the church? “Why are they singing that song? Why aren’t they singing this song? I don’t like this. I don’t like that.” And preference plays a huge role. You get the twenty-year-olds compared to sixty-year-olds. Oh, man. There’s going to be a big difference. You’ve got the Hillsong group and the Keith Green group. Pretty big difference there.
So I think maybe that’s one reason why God has given us different denominations. Maybe there’s an evening service and a morning service, not to divide, but because preference can play a role in that, because it is hard to worship in what you don’t really prefer and “well, this isn’t really resonating with my heart.” A lot of it is what we’ve experienced in childhood. When I came back to the Lord, it was the 1990s. Can you picture those worship songs? “Shout to the Lord,” [Singing] “These are the Days of Elijah. Here he comes!” (You don’t want to hear me sing, either.) [Singing] “Here he comes, riding on the clouds.” And I can remember myself just prostrate on the floor before God. So, a lot of these songs … [Singing] “Let it rain, let it rain, let the spirit of God rain in this place.” they broke me, they humbled me, so they resonate with me. But I wasn’t changed through Keith Green, so it doesn’t resonate with me. Or the older songs.
So, we have to allow preference, but there’s also nothing wrong with preference. It’s okay to have preference in the church as long as it doesn’t foster a divisive attitude. And I’ve been to speaking engagements many times where, well, I don’t want to name names and different things, but let’s just say it wasn’t my preference. Not even close. And I still had to preach God’s Word. I still had to go up, and I said, “Lord, I’m just going to look at these lyrics,” (actually, it was a hymnbook), “I’m just going to read these hymns”—and it helps when people can sing when they’re gifted—“I’m just going to read this and concentrate on who you are, and focus on who you are. I’m not going to let this cause division.” Because the way they were worshiping meant a lot to them. That’s how they worship God. So we can’t allow the worship wars to come in and create division.
What about the gifts of the Holy Spirit? [Whistles.] That can really cause a lot of division. Now, granted, a church that believes in the gifts and one that doesn’t—probably going to be hard to fellowship together on a continual basis because there’s a lot to that. Churches that are predominantly, say, Reformed churches, Calvinism, I mentioned earlier. Basically, the foundation of that is that God saves the elect. He only elects certain people; He saves them. So that type of group, you’re not going to see them doing a lot of altar calls, because it doesn’t matter. And people who do altar calls, they’ll say, “This group is pushing man against his will, and has emotionalism and different things.” So, this type of church is probably going to have more of an altar call or a call to make a decision to follow Christ. So it would be hard to mesh those two, but you can still have a spirit of unity. What comes out of our mouth? Are we putting down others? Are we not putting them down?
What about translations of the Bible? There’s not a month that goes by that I don’t get an email rebuke saying I’m a false teacher, I’m using the wrong translation, I’m using the New King James. Hmmm. Can you show me one verse where I’m being led astray? “Oh, no, it’s all throughout.” Well, the King James went through thirty-three revisions. Even the scholars who wrote it said that they’re just doing the best with what they have, with the textus receptus. All translations are is they’re trying to—unless you can read Greek, or Aramaic in the Old Testament, Hebrew—every language is trying to convey the heart of God. That’s why some translations are called dynamic equivalents, meaning they’re trying to express the thought of that verse. And I don’t lean towards dynamic. I read them, they’re interesting; it’s good to get stuff, but what we call formal equivalents, meaning word-for-word. What did the authors intend to say word-for-word? But that can cause division, right?
Now, I always know who it is: “Tell me, what Bible do you use?” Oh, here we go. So I just say, “Search our website for what Bible translation is best, and that will give you an hour’s worth of dialogue.” And just to be honest with you, that’s why it gets exhausting sometimes for me, and why it’s hard to meet with a lot of people. Not here, but just out there, because most of the time, they just want to debate. They just want to push their view.
What about the big debate over “ordo salutis”? Anybody knows what that means? I don’t know if Luke is in here, he might know. It’s Latin for “the order of salvation.” See, this side, Calvinists would say you’re actually regenerated first by the Holy Spirit, and then you can exercise faith and belief. So, they would say that regeneration by the Holy Spirit comes first in the order of salvation. This side would say, “Actually, repentance and faith and belief come first, then salvation.” And boy, there are some heated arguments over this one. Now, to me, when I read the Bible, it’s pretty clear, and I don’t want to upset anyone on that, so we’ll move to the next point.
And we can all think of lists here, can’t we? Women as senior pastors. Uh-oh, uh-oh. Tiptoe on that one. But are we fighting for unity? Actually, a friend of mine—I’d consider him a good friend now, getting to know him—his mom is a pastor. [I don’t say,] “I can’t go to lunch with you.” I don’t agree—and this church actually doesn’t teach that role of the lead pastor is male—just because the Bible teaches this. It’s not male chauvinism, it’s not male dominance, it’s servant leadership; dying for self. It’s not an exalted position. These people crack me up; they think it’s some kind of walking around, “Let me lead this place.” No, it’s “let me die for this place.” And the man is supposed to die for the family, lead the family spiritually. So we see women leading in every single role possible. But in that role of elder, pastor, overseer, we see that the man is primarily for that position.
But see how division can come in? [How] we start to divide on these things? Many of you don’t know this, but it’s a big debate out there: the age of the earth. Billions and billions of years old? Or six thousand, according to what the Bible says? Uh-oh. I’ve had people leave this church because I’m “young earth.” I believe that a day is a day, night and day, not a million-year span of time. It’s just what I believe. You can read John McArthur’s book In the Beginning that really breaks this down well.
But we’re going to divide over that? Paul would be going, “What is the problem?” At the heart of that is pride. And it’s arrogance, straight up. I’m shooting you straight this morning. That’s nothing but ugly pride and arrogance. That is the person who is the arguer and the debater. They love to send the articles in the mail, they love to have you read; do this, do this. Trying to convert you. Convert you! So many people try to convert me in all these areas.
And here’s the interesting thing. I want to ask them, “When have you converted anyone to Christ?”—well, the Holy Spirit does that, but “when have you led anyone to Christ?” You’re so worried about what I believe, what do you believe? Why don’t you get out in the street and start witnessing for Christ? You can’t because you’re not humble and you’re not broken. You could be an arrogant Pharisee. But Shane, that was Old Testament. Well, there in the New Testament, Jesus rebuked them quite often: “You white-washed tombs. You look so good on the outside, but inside, you’re full of dead men’s bones.” John the Baptist took it a step farther: “You brood of vipers.” Can you imagine?
So I think we need to be careful, folks. Are we striving for unity? Those are all nonessentials. Everything I just [said] is not an essential. We should be united on “Christ is the way, the truth, the life,” nobody gets to the Father except through Him, the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the propitiation, that He was a sacrifice once and for all for our sins, there’s no works, there’s no purgatory, the completion of God’s Word. That’s the essentials to salvation. And the Holy Spirit—you know, there’s big talk out there: ecumenical movements, all religions coming together. That’s impossible. And we can’t be united just for the sake of unity. Unity is what? Unity of faith and truth. And I’m pretty sure—I don’t know all of you in here—but all of us, for the most part, are united in here together because of the truth. And that should be a pause to many of you because I know, some of you, we disagree on these issues, but we don’t allow it to break our fellowship.
Now here’s where it’s going to get interesting. That’s why I prayed that prayer this morning. I was awakened at 3 a.m., and I believe God put all this on my heart; I just started writing it down. On one hand, I’m excited when He does that, on the other hand, I’m a little frustrated because that means I have to get rid of a page or two of sermons, and usually, it’s not something I really want to talk about. But it came up yesterday, and I think God put me in a place for a reason. And I don’t even know where to go with this. Maybe I’ll try to be careful on one hand, but just to also let you know a few things. But “An Urgent Plea for Unity” is the topic. “An Urgent Plea for Unity” is the topic. By a series of events, I ended up yesterday at an event and had the privilege of meeting and talking with Francis Chan for a little while. He’s in a lot of heat right now because of different places he’s been speaking, so we spoke about that. I actually posted a picture of us on Facebook, and I’ve already had people saying, “I’ll never follow your ministry again.” But, like I said, we’ve got to stand up for what is right, and not have the fear of men. We need to have the fear of God.
Now, this is just a funny side story, because I always get pictures because my wife says, “Make sure to get pictures.” I was at Fox News Thursday, and I didn’t even get a picture, so I just took my phone and did a quick one for my wife. And I’ve been to Washington; I spoke underneath the Congress and [led] a little Bible study. [I] didn’t get any pictures. So I kind of forget that. Thank God for women because they put the scrapbooks together. So it was at the end, and I forgot, and I asked this guy who’d been talking with us for ten minutes. Man, just a spirit-filled guy. Twenty-eight or twenty-nine, looked fit, and we’re all hitting it off, and I said, “Hey, would you take a picture?” And he said, “Okay.” Later, people were like, “I can’t believe you just asked that guy to take your picture. Don’t you know who that is? And I go, “No.” And he says, “That’s Derrick Carr, the quarterback for the Raiders.” Like, “Oh, well, next time I’ll find out. I’m not really a sports fan.” So, if he’s ever going to listen to this, I apologize; I know who you are now.
But there was this group of us, and I’m seeing some of these men who were there and were in this back room, speakers were there, and I see just a love for God, a love for worship. Some of the worship leaders that were there have things said about them—negative, very bad things about them. And I went up to the top of this coliseum, the highest seat that I could find, way down there, and I just worshiped God, crying, “Holy, holy, holy is our God.” And the worship just seemed to descend from the portals of heaven, and I was broken before God. I was weeping before God, confessing any pride, or hardness of heart. “Lord, show me.”
We’re getting into time now, where you’re seeing a shift, you’re seeing a divide, between what you would call conservative, non-emotionalism, very tidy, definitely don’t go to the altar. Twenty-four-hour prayer services? Not good. And you’re seeing another side that wants more of God. This younger generation that wants more of God. They want to worship God. And I’ve noticed the critics often don’t find themselves at the altar. They are not emotional; they are not filled with the spirit of God. So, yes, we need to be careful. We need to be in high alert. Francis, for example, has a high regard for theology, as do I. And let me preface this; I’m broken over abuses we see in the church. I’m angered at a lack of fear for God. I’m disgusted by sloppy theology. But we have to be very careful.
Here are the points I want to share with you. What if God is using some people to speak into a movement that needs theological grounding? What if God is using people to speak into a movement that needs theological grounding? So people can come inside of the movement and say, “Hey, that word didn’t come to pass. We need to call you accountable.” “Hey, that worship is self-focused. There seems to be pride here in your hearts. Watch out for emotionalism.” You can speak into a group.
There’s also a leader of some other movement I don’t want to mention, but he had a Roman Catholic on the stage with them at that event, and I think that should be denounced. I don’t think that’s good. I don’t know what was behind that. And it’s okay for us to say, “Hey, we love you enough to tell you the truth.” Because ecumenicalism is not possible. If you understand what Roman Catholicism truly teaches, you can’t all come together under one umbrella and sing “Kum Ba Yah.” There’s a whole lot of stuff there that’s not biblical. It’s very anti-biblical. Or, what about if we’re also challenging the group that desperately needs humility? Those heresy hunters out there, those Pharisees, need to be lovingly confronted as well.
Number two: Don’t immediately rush to judgment. Correct? We immediately rush to judgment. And you have to be careful now, because there’s so many what we call “heresy hunters,” armchair quarterbacks who sit at home. I love the internet in many regards, but I hate it in other regards because they can just sit at home, like they’re doing right now, probably just yelled at their wife, just looked at porn last night, and they have the audacity to sit and tell us what a move of God looks like. I told you, I came full of fire. Don’t immediately rush to judgment. Most of us are trying to gauge a powerful heart for God with worship, with insincere and fake worship. There’s a balance you have to find. We don’t want to be gullible. We can be so hungry spiritually that we will consume anything. Anything.
Here’s something I’ve mentioned before, but I think it will fit perfectly, too. Powerful moves of God have always had people speak against them, even those called Christians. When I read of, let’s say for example, the powerful Welsh revivals of 1700s—Daniel Rowland, Griffith Jones, Howell Harris, these men of God—they would receive rebukes from conservative churches. George Whitefield was kicked out of the Church of England. You’re preaching in open fields, and people are falling down on their face before God and crying out to Him? How could you?
Every move of God—the Welsh revivals, the New Hebrides revivals in the 1950s, in 1904 the First Great Awakening—always a word spoken against a genuine move of God, always somebody saying, “That’s not of God. That’s emotionalism.” Why? Because many times those people have never experienced the power of God. God forbid the church ends up at the altar. God forbid we go into a 3-hour worship service. God forbid people wake up and cry because pride has been lifted from their heart and humility has been instilled in them. And they have broken addictions, they go home, loving their children, working on their marriage. God forbid! That can’t be of God! Oh, no sir, it is! Because when the human heart is wrecked by the power and the presence and the spirit of God, you are changed, you are broken, and you are humbled by almighty God!
You know what the saddest thing is right now? I’ll show you how strong pride is. Even everything I’m saying right now is going to fall on many deaf ears because they have theology, but not the power of the Spirit. They are as straight as a gun barrel theologically, but they’re just as empty. That’s why they’re not shooting, in a good way, anyone with the Holy Spirit’s power and seeing lives changed. Do you think we can see people being healed and set free? I mean, when the anointing of God is on you, you’ll be in Trader Joe’s shopping, you’ll begin to pray for somebody. You don’t care what people think. You don’t care what man says. You’ve got to obey almighty God, and you pray for that person, and you might speak something in their life, and they start weeping and breaking down. They’re changed by the power of God because somebody filled with the spirit of God decided to go out and do ministry.
So, don’t you see what is under attack these days? It’s the spirit of the living God. And they are attributing the works of God to the works of Satan. Watch out! Watch out! Because that is very dangerous. Powerful moves of God are always spoken against. Here’s why—and that’s why we are just honored to lead this church because it was a rough go at first. Some of you remember—but, eventually you start to say this enough, and people will leave, unless they want to be part of it. “That guy’s too this.” “Oh, that’s emotional worship. Thirty minutes of songs?”
Here’s why I felt this very clearly this morning. I could have just kept going and going. The comfortable person does not want to be stirred, the lukewarm person doesn’t want to be convicted, the cold doesn’t want to be heated up, the Pharisee doesn’t want to be humbled, the proud doesn’t want to be at the altar, and the heresy hunter doesn’t want to admit that they could be wrong.
Now, I don’t want to go into this because many of you don’t know what I’m talking about (it’s not really too relevant) but [Francis Chan] caught heat for speaking at certain events with some people that I would call questionable. I don’t know them, I wasn’t asked to speak at that event, I don’t know. But you have to take things before God, and you have to really find out: “God, do you want me to speak?” Because it’s one thing to endorse, but it’s another to go into a hostile environment and speak the Word of God. I remember Adrian Rogers went into Russia in their government office and preached the Word of God to all these soldiers. That wasn’t ridiculed. But you go to some event and preach the Word of God to people who need to hear it here in America, now you’re ridiculed.
Now, you have to be careful. Some people, I don’t know if I could what they call “share the stage” with. But imagine this struggle. The local Mormon church says, “Would you come and just preach the gospel? Whatever God puts on your heart?” Do you say, “No, because I’m identifying with you, and people take photos,” or is that God opening a tremendous door? Thank God I don’t have to make that decision. But see, as soon as you make that decision, you know what? And you could have great motives, be filled with the spirit of God, and boldness is in you, and you go and do that, you’re going to get people saying all kinds of things.
See, the fear of man is actually a snare, the Bible says. Do you know what a snare is? It catches animals in the forest. You can set up a snare. And the fear of man snares us, and we don’t want to do things for God because of what people are going to think. Fortunately, I’ve been beat up and battered so many times on social media, I couldn’t care less at this point. My skin is three inches thick. God’s called me to publicly say these things because it’s from a heart that truly breaks for these people that are modern-day Pharisees. They’re arrogant, they’re proud and unteachable, and they need to be lovingly rebuked. And the spirit of God will chasten them.
Let me just give you one example. We’ll play songs, and people comment on Facebook, “Those are heretical songs.” And I had the opportunity to meet some of these band members. I had the opportunity to meet some of these speakers, and I don’t see it. Well, let me send you this clip of this. Yeah, [but] put it in context. I’m all for sound doctrine. I don’t think people should be shaking and preaching and drunk with the Spirit and all this weird stuff. Not at all. But, don’t allow counterfeit to sway you away from the original. Because people aren’t all calm and cozy when the spirit of God hits a place. They start weeping under the weight of their sin, under the magnitude of their pride. They’re being changed and challenged.
One of the songs that I love—I don’t know how many of you have caught this; maybe it’s new to some of you—but this song brings me to tears. Well, look who wrote it. I don’t know who wrote it! I’m just singing to God! “Try to stop your love, and you would wage a war; try to take the very thing you gave your life for. And you would come running, tear down every wall and all the while shouting, ‘My love, you’re worth it all.’”
So see, I think of God saying, “Son, I know you’re drunk in your twenties. I know you should have died many times over. I know you should have wrecked your car. But I’m coming, running. I will not allow you to kill yourself because I’ve called you for a purpose.” And see, that worship comes alive. “God, you pursue me! The power and the glory and unstoppable love that never ends. You’re unrelenting! Your passion and your mercy!” See? I can sing that because I feel it! I’ve seen God grab me out of the portals of hell and pull me out, lift me up, and say, “Go and preach the glorious gospel!” So I might worship a little emotional. I might be broken before God. I might even come to the altar and say, “God, I need you. Our families need you. Our marriages need you. God, this church needs you. I don’t want to step to that pulpit until you break me, until the power of the Holy Spirit is pouring out of me. I want more of you. I don’t want more religion; I want more of God.”
So, that’s why it breaks my heart because many of you haven’t experience God. No wonder you can’t worship. I hated this worship twenty-five years ago. Give me George Jones and Kid Rock and Metallica and Megadeth. Back when Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were starting, and let’s grab some vodka. I like that! Fill me up! Fill me up! Another 7 and 7. Fill me! A Long Island iced tea. Just keep ’em coming. We say the same thing in the world, but then when it comes to church, you say, “God, you filled me up. Thank you, because I’m not an angry, abusive person like I should be. Or a mean, arrogant person like I should be. Or a drunk on my fifty marriage.” By the grace of God there go I, so I will shout from the rooftops, “Amazing grace! Amazing grace! I was blind but now I see. I was lost but now I’m found.” That song is sung over ten million times a year. Why? Because God’s grace is true. That unstoppable love that will penetrate the darkest heart. It will go into a demonic home. It will pull that child up out of being demonically possessed and save that child and give them a ministry, and that person’s going to become a worshiper. See, that’s my heart. Many people have not experienced the power and presence of God.
I look and say, “People are bored here like I’m bored watching football.” Oh, God. I started weeping this morning; I see my daughter up at 5 a.m. She’s coming to the morning worship instead of coming home from an evening out. Getting ready to come to worship. Oh God, thank you. Thank you, God! Now, I don’t know what the future holds, so don’t pull this sermon up ten years from now, because a lot of PK’s drift for a season. You’ve got to have love. But it just broke me and broke me, and then the worship songs come alive, and I hit repeat, repeat, repeat.
Nobody can stop your love, Christ! You’ll wage a war! Do you understand what we’re singing? Nobody can wage a war against God and win. God wins the war. He wins the battle. Also, I want to throw this out here: don’t simply go off what other say or your YouTube clips. My Lord. There [are] people who will take a clip of something I say, and it’s way out of context. Do you really believe that? And I’m like, “Where in the world did you get that? That’s actually the opposite of what I said. Oh, you just took a little clip.” But I should say, when ministries are out of order, and they’re allowing things at services that should not happen, they’re acting weird at revival events, it should be called out. It should be rebuked, and those people should be lovingly confronted.
Number 4. Be fruit inspectors. Be fruit inspectors. That’s one reason I went to the event. I drove three and a half hours yesterday to get there. I met some of the speakers who would be considered controversial. Really, let me just sum this up. Those who believe, like I do right now, in the power of the Holy Spirit, might start crying at worship. Emotional—let’s have an all-night prayer meeting, filled with the spirit of God, I might have a word that God puts on my heart for someone. God forbid. This group is being attacked by those who are not charismatics. They are conservative, they love the Bible, but I’m not sure how much they love Jesus. They have sound doctrine, so they say, but they have no brokenness in their homes and in their hearts. These people are often the angry ones that yell at their spouse and their children. They can’t find a good church; they pop from church to church because that judgmental spirit follows them. So, that’s really what’s happening. You’re seeing a divide from those who just want more of God and those who want to judge those who want more of God. Again, [I’m] not okaying weird or bad behavior but just being honest with you.
For example, what does it look like, at the event last night, that three thousand came forward to the altar? Weeping, wanting to get their lives back on track. So that’s bad? What’s your definition of good? What exactly is a “good move of the spirit”? And I’m even [susceptible to] the fear of man. I don’t want to say the name of the event or the speakers who were there because I’m going to be nailed. But sometimes it doesn’t need to be said, just the general concepts need to be said. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t way weird people. It’s people many of you look to.)
And now Francis is called a heretic; I’m called a heretic. But I wear that label well if it’s from those who are Pharisees. Because a heretic just means a self-willed opinion that opposes the truth. We’re not opposing the truth. We’re embracing the truth. I read the book of Acts, and that doesn’t look like a normal church service. Ten days waiting up in a room, and fire falls on these people. They’re so filled with the spirit of God, they’re speaking this language. “They’re drunk.” No, they’re filled with the spirit of God. See, the early church had critics back then too. I better get off this topic quickly.
So be fruit inspectors. We have to look at the fruit that is produced, like I said, from altar calls or people being changed. The enemy is not going to save a person, clean them up, and say, “Ha ha, I was just tricking you.” The kingdom of darkness is not divided. So you look at the fruit. Maybe somebody needs to hear this, listening: more can happen at one God-inspired event than what may happen ten years in a dead church. At one Holy Spirit-infused event, you can accomplish more in regard to spirituality than ten years at a dead church. I would say that a lifetime of a dead church because a dead church does not produce living children.
There’s a group out there protesting, calling people like us Zionist murderers because you support Israel. What, you support Palestine? And they have books, and they’re passing out tracts. I saw the spirit of God in none of them. They’re arrogant, angry Pharisees. I told you this was going to get me in trouble. But I’m tired. I’m tired of remaining quiet. I’m tired of not challenging the people who challenge us. Now, it must come from a right heart, because we’re also not called to always be divisive. But we are called to rebuke a divisive person.
And then finally, does what is happening align with God’s Word, and does it align with God’s heart? I can give you way more scriptural support for emotional worship and people at this altar than I can for dead worship. I actually have no scriptural support for dead worship. “Sing a joyful noise unto the Lord.” “Shout to the Lord.”
And every person that actually meets the power and presence of God, where do they end up? Sitting down, just relaxing? No, they end up on their face before God. The prophet heard the temple shake, and the angels crying, “Holy, holy, holy is our God, “ and he said, “I’m a man of undone lips. I’ve seen evil things.” And the spirit of God came and touched his lips with the coal and took away, the purging of sin, and he fell on his face before God. Moses fell on his face before God. The disciples fell on their faces before God. Why? Because it aligns with what God’s heart is.
So, I just want to encourage those watching, maybe, and you as well. Much of this does align with God’s Word. The problem is you’ve never experienced it, and it’s hard to embrace what you’ve never experienced. And as Christians, we like to critique something if we think we’re less than spiritual. We’re not being filled with God’s spirit.
And then, verse 11 (that took a while, didn’t it?). Don’t worry, I won’t keep you, but Paul is saying right here, I believe, to declare, to call out dividers:
For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
In short, Chloe told on people. Chloe wrote Paul a letter, and she said, “These people are being divisive.” So Paul is going to call them out.
Now I say this, that each of you says, “I’m of Paul,” or “I’m of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas.” (v. 12)
Well, what does that mean? Oh, we do it today. “I’m of John Piper.” “I’m of John McArthur.” “I’m of R. C. Sproul, bless his heart.” “I’m of Alistair Begg.” “I’m of this podcast.” “I’m of that podcast.” “I’m a this person.” “I’m a that person.” No, are you of Jesus Christ? You better be following Him and not men because men will let you down. From that position comes a prideful, arrogant heart, because “Look who I’m with,” “Look who I’m aligned with,” “Look at my theological beliefs,” when it should be “Look at Christ!” and Christ alone. All pastors must understand that crucified preaching comes from a crucified man. You have to be crucified before God and broken before God and point people to the cross. So Paul said, “Point them out.” Am I of Paul? Am I of Apollos? Am I of Cephas? Or am I of Christ? Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?
So, I’ll end with a few things. It’s okay to point out the dividers if we need to. Is Christ divided? Absolutely not. It’s one banner, one truth, one faith. The Holy Spirit unites all of us in truth. That’s why we can all come to a service like this and be encouraged and built up, even though there are different beliefs among us. I could have listed more beliefs: Can a person lose their salvation, or are they “once saved, always saved”? Two views [right] in this room.
But now, I’m going to take your attention to Communion. I’m not going to read a lot about this, but it’s interesting, because Paul said:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat and drink of the cup. (1 Cor. 11:26–28)
Now, the context, if I had time to read it, is this: They were coming together. The rich had their own food, they were gluttonous, they were eating their own food, they were getting drunk, they were going ahead of people in line, they weren’t considerate of others. This is a rebuke of selfishness. Self-focus. Now, we call it “self-ie.” That’s what he’s coming against here. You’re selfish, you’re self-focused, you’re arrogant. Everything ties in. That’s why it’s an urgent plea for unity. [Dis]unity will rot your bones from the inside out. It will kill your walk with the Lord. You won’t be able to witness to people because you’ll walk around thinking, “I’m God’s gift to theology. Let me set people straight.” No, there’s no power of God in that. Because, how you set people straight is you come broken before God. And you say, “God, if it wasn’t but for you, I would be just like that drunk on Sierra Highway. How can I go and minister to him? I’m nothing without you.” And see, now you’re ready for ministry. So this deals with selfishness in the church, a haughty spirit, and an attitude of entitlement.
So, as we go into closing worship, look at your hearts; examine your hearts. He even goes on to say, “This is why many of you are sick and have died.” So, I get this impression of this haughty couple, just arrogant, entitled, and they come into the church, and say, “Oh, there’s where I usually sit.” Just this entitlement mentality, and they keep taking Communion. And [Paul’s] like, “Mmm, you better stop that. You better stop that selfishness. You better examine your heart, because you’re taking it in an unworthy manner.” A worthy manner is to say, “Thank you, Christ, for what you did for me. I’m taking Communion, and I’m remembering that broken body on the cross.”