Comedian Emo Philips tells of walking across a bridge and seeing a man standing on the edge, ready to jump off.
He ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” the man said.
“Well, there’s so much to live for.”
“Well, are you religious?”
The man said, “Yes.”
I said, “Me too!
“Are you Christian or Buddhist?”
“Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
“Wow, me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”
“Baptist Church of God!”
“Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God or Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God!”
“Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”
His new friend replied, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915.”
To which Philips replied, “Die, heretic!” and he pushed him off.
This simply wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t so realistic. It is amazing to me how quickly and easily those of us who name the name of Christ separate ourselves from one another. Dried wood doesn’t split as easily as many Christians do.
In John 17:21-23 Jesus prayed,
“…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
How many churches have started, and how many denominations have formed simply because Christians refuse to honor the desire of Christ and learn to live together in harmony? This is tragic! What was supposed to be proof of the presence of God among us (our unity) has become exhibit A against Christ’s existence!
Never forget that the church was Jesus’ idea. It’s the only thing he ever founded and it’s the only thing he ever said will prevail against the powers of hell. It’s also the only thing ever referred to as his bride. The church is truly something special! The greatest investment any of us will ever make is that which we do to build up and enhance the local church. Want to get close to the heart of Christ? Build up his church!
Want to find yourself on the other side of the pleasure of God? Hurt his church. If you are divisive and speak badly regarding his bride, don’t for a moment think it doesn’t matter. It does.