Division among God’s people is nothing new. When Jesus walked through Jerusalem, the children of Israel were not a unified block. There were Herodians, Grecians, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots, as well as others who never got a mention in the Bible, like the Essenes. With the advent of Christianity, this trend continued among the believers. In the book of Acts, we find “those of the circumcision” and “Greeks,” almost like a caste system. In I Corinthians chapters 1 and 3, believers claimed to be of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and Christ. There are even more examples in other epistles and the books of Timothy of people splitting off, forming a sect (Read the book of Galatians with this in mind). In our day, we see this on steroids. What is an appropriate response?
NIV Ephesians 4:15
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Speaking the truth in love involves...well, speaking. Saying something. Allowing things that are unbiblical to continue unchecked is not love. Speaking the truth in love will set people free. Whether they receive it or not isn’t up to you and me. Now, we don’t have to send people to hell, trying to convince them they are wrong and we’re right. It is, however, our responsibility to “Go, stand, and speak (Acts 5:20).”
NIV Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Reading about the ministry of the apostle Paul in the book of Acts, we can see a pattern. He traveled to far and distant lands, and then, finding a synagogue, he would speak the Word to the people gathered there. Almost everywhere, a riot ensued. But many believed.
KJV Acts 17:5
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
How people respond to the truth is not up to us. But they deserve a chance to hear it, even if the fur flies and the chips fall where they may. More next time.
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