Fellowship vs. Doubtful Disputations

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations.
(Romans 14:1 KJV)
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I can remember when I would jump on any differences that others had from the way I saw Christ and the church and would confront people over them without much love. It got worse once I got burned a few time in authoritarian churches. Then one day God showed me that I was getting back from pastors, church leadership and others the same thing I had been handing out! You reap what you sow. He showed it to me with this passage…

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10 KJ2000)

What I got out of it with the help of a brother who confronted me in love was that if I sowed division and received others “unto doubtful disputations” I could expect the same treatment. I had to get tired of being rejected by others and getting back from them what I had been doing. God teaches us that way. He lets us get a boat load of flack back of the same kind thing that we have been handing out to others that we might learn… He rubs our nose in the very thing that He wants us to never do! If we sow love and acceptance among the saints, we will get that back. If we sow disrespect and judgment among them we will get that back as well.

The next thing I share here is important… Notice in this passage above the words, “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap…” There is a delay. We go out and sow to others the way we want to be received by them and it takes a while for that new crop we are sowing to come to fruit, so we need to hang in there and keep sowing to the Spirit of Christ’s love and eventually we will get the same back from others.

In short, I had to get tired of having ME shoved back in my face! I had to come to the place where I hungered for Christ so much that I didn’t want MY point of view to be heard at the expense of finding HIM in others. Yes, I do draw a line, but it is only when people attack Jesus for what the church has done to them and even then I am patient and ask God to show me how HE sees their hearts. I don’t jump on differences in doctrine, but rather try to stir the conversation back to focusing on our Lord. Christ has to be our center if we are ever to have any meaningful fellowship IN HIM. If we keep beholding Him as His body, we will eventually become what we behold.

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14 comments on “Fellowship vs. Doubtful Disputations

  1. kenneth dawson says:

    those words–I had to get tired of having ME shoved back in my face–say it all–I have a tendency to be critical of others when they don’t seem to be functioning the way I think a Christian should but then the lord will always say to me–yea but what about you?so im learning to always just point them to the lord as our only source and that whatever it is that they are doing if its not from him then they will suffer loss at the bema seat–from there I just pray for them and trust that GOD will do the fixin.

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  2. Nancy says:

    Michael, what a timely commentary for me. This is exactly what my sister just accused me of. My concern for her is that she has been slipping away from God’s truth for awhile now, and is serving two masters, God and mammon. She cannot see it. It is because I love her, that I challenged her walk, NOT her faith. She could not see the difference. She was not listening. This has upset her to no-end and she told me to read Romans 14:1-23, which I did. No matter what I said or how I said it, she took it all the wrong way. None of her responses would address my concerns so that we could better understand where each of us were coming from. Sometimes tough love is required, while at other times – we must speak gently. The danger when showing tough love to someone who is either in error or is falling away, is to be labeled “judgmental,” a person who divides/causes division, or you are told… “who do you think you are?” When I see a professing Christian’s heart getting harder, that is when I back off and just continue to lift them, and their situation in prayer. I move on…it is between them and the Lord. Two things I have asked myself, was I being led by the Holy Spirit; and what was the motivation in my heart towards sharing and challenging my sister? I love her and fear for her Salvation. Michael, it is painful when this type of exchange occurs within one’s family. The hostility is so thick, one can slice it with a knife. God Bless!

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  3. Pat Orr says:

    I have just read your refreshing words. My journey has been one of many struggles with myself. I wanted to be approved by men. Years ago, I was in a setting where my fear of rejection was a daily stronghold. Had I been free of that, and had a pure heart, I would have rejected the wrong teaching, and left the consequences to God. I want to appreciate the acceptance that I have in the body today, but not be moved by it. I want the fear of God as my only fear.
    Thank you for your hearing and sharing His word.

    You are a great blessing to me,
    Pat Orr

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  4. trihvac says:

    Everyone seems to draw the line at a different place, from the fool who hates rebuke to the fool who is full of anger. Seems to me to the scriptures are correct in this saying.
    (Mic 7:2-4) The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
    I am always interested in which balance a person takes on this very critical issue of judgment, without this balance there is no ecclesia, no effective fellowship at all.

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  5. Mark W says:

    This article is very good but ONLY among the elect but among the false brethren it’s the kiss of death. We must figure out who is of the Spirit and who is the false convert. The reason I left the institution church is because I felt it was 99% unregenerate and dangerous for my faith.

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    • Mark, good to hear from you again, my brother. I had something happen in a church building down here in Houston. It was actually a “fellowship hall” on the grounds of a mega-Baptist church complex that covered over 40 acres. Anyhow we were there to honor our grandson who was being awarded his Eagle Scout ribbon and certificate. Afterwards they had the snack and visiting time. So this one nicely dressed gent came up to me and introduced himself, being friendly as his religion requires. Well, you know me. I don’t do “how’s the weather” so I directed the conversation toward Jesus and started to share with him how my life had totally changed since I unconditionally gave my life to Christ Being a church Christian, I figured we would have something to REALLY talk about. NOT!!! So I was talking with him about how God has kept the cross of Christ in my life and he “immediately with one consent began to make excuse” and excused himself and took off. I said all that to say this, IT TAKES NO FIGURING OUT. THE CROSS IS THE LINE IN THE SAND. If we share Christ and HIM crucified IN us, people will manifest where their hearts are post haste. As Paul put it,

      “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19 KJ2000)

      And Peter wrote, “You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Therefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. UNTO YOU THEREFORE WHO BELIEVE HE IS PRECIOUS: BUT UNTO THEM WHO ARE DISOBEDIENT…[HE] IS A STONE OF STUMBLING, A ROCK OF OFFENSE, EVEN TO THEM WHO STUMBLE AT THE WORD.” (1 Peter 2:5-8 KJ2000)

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      • Nancy says:

        Michael, that is exactly when things started turning sour with my sister…that it is necessary to die to self; to crucify the flesh. It is very difficult for so many Christians when they are being told, you can live your best life now. Dying to self is the antithesis of today’s mantra. If your faith costs you nothing, then your faith is worth nothing. Mark, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding this article being good, but ONLY among the elect. Michael, we are commanded to contend for the faith, so yes, doctrine does matter. I do have a question, you said, if we keep beholding Him as His body, we will eventually become what we behold. Well, each one of us are called to be part of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is the Bride.

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    • trihvac says:

      First off, we need to stop acting like everything is ok in the ecclesia, it’s not, even Joshua the high priest came before the Lord with dirty clothes, which is the righteousness of the Saints. Even the Saints under the altar who said, “how long oh Lord will you not avenge our blood” – they were given a clean set of clothes. Bottom line – even Daniel said “to us belongs confusion of face” – Wisdom and knowledge that begins with the fear of God is in short supply – unrighteous judgement does go forward. So what is the penalty for declaring your brother a fool (a fool has said in his heart that there is no God), an unbeliever? Hell fire. Right judgement does not proceed forward because you succeed at assembling a gang of loyalist who tell you what you want to hear. Right judgement is patient, reasonable and does not present it’s self with the attitude of infallibility or group think. You got to tell the man his sin and convince him and if you cannot, your discernment is worthless. With so many false professors you must be different. Men should show their skill at this in the home among their children and wife, before they try out their hand at ruling others, I don’t say that dogmatically, but just as a general rule of wisdom. So who is the true ecclesia, those who you approve of or those who God approves of and what does this look like? Food for thought bros, food for thought!

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      • Nancy, Russel, Ron, Mark and all,

        When Jesus and the disciples were not received into a Samaritan village, two of the disciples, the Sons of Thunder, wanted to call fire down from heaven and kill them all! They were thinking in terms of the Old Covenant and Elijah killing 450 prophets of Baal after calling fire down from heaven. But Jesus was of His Father’s New Covenant, not the Old! So what did Jesus say to them? “You do not know what spirit you are of. The Son of Man did not come to take away mens’ lives, but rather to save them.” And they simply went another way. Peter later was sure that He was not supposed to have anything to do with the Gentiles, being of the Old Covenant mindset. Even after He had been converted and Spirit filled, boldly saying to God, “Not so, Lord!” How can a person call God “Lord” and still refuse to obey Him? Yet, we see it all around us today!

        You see, we all have lots of room for dying to our old carnal natures and lots of planks to be removed from our own eyes. Paul told the Corinthians that they were yet carnal because they were still aligning themselves with men and not with Christ. I have to come before God in prayer constantly and say, “Not my will, but yours be done, dear Lord.” As soon as I think I am right in and of myself, bingo! I am looking at a fall or at least another trip to the woodshed. Like Paul said, “IF any man thinks he knows something, let him know this… he knows nothing at all as he ought to know.” As long as I think I know something in a fixed mindset way other than the supremacy of Christ, the Spirit of God is quenched and I am no different than Nicodemus who could not recognize the very TRUTH of God standing right in front of Him.

        You see, Life IN Christ is all about walking by faith with our hearts tuned into HIM and not by mental knowledge that we accumulate along the way. We who follow the Spirit are like the wind and move with Him wherever HE goes. One thing we know for sure is that the Spirit will always point us to Jesus as our Lord for that is why Father sent Him, to lead us INTO all Truth, Jesus Christ, that we might grow up into full sons and daughters of God.

        One last thing, if God does send you into a situation where the people do not receive you and you are walking IN Christ and not the flesh in what you do and say, then wipe the dust off your feet and move on. Sometimes we have to let blind followers be led into ditches by their blind guides and that takes time. You see, “ditches” in the third world (including the ancient middle east) are used to carry effluent out of the towns and cities. So when you wake up on your back with effluent up to your nose from following the teachings of blind guides, maybe eventually you will come to yourself and say, “How did I ever get here? Oh, I was following Pastor Wonderful! Maybe I should quit following men and start following the Spirit of God!” This is why Jesus told the disciples when speaking of blind guides and blind followers, “Leave them alone. Let them fall into the ditch.”

        Remember, we no longer live in and unto ourselves IN Christ, but it is “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

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  6. Ron says:

    Good message to counsel ones self. Made me think

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    • Thanks, Ron. God tends to be constantly breaking us out of our old religious molds, for sure. I finally got to where I welcome His chastening when it comes, knowing that it will eventually yield HIS righteousness as I clench my teeth and hang in there, trying to learn the eternal lessons He has for me from the experience.

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  7. As I was praying early this morning, I found myself reviewing Stephens last few minutes on earth. I saw how he approached them, reviewing there own history in detail, in a way identifying with them in a fleshly sense. With authority and profound specificity he was led up to the point in which he stated firmly but in loving concern for their eternal souls, you stiff necked resisters of the Holy Spirits light, truth, presents and display of power and majestic glory, you are murdering and betraying the manifestation of Eternal life continually, just like our Fathers did.(my paraphrase) I saw how Stephen had come to the point in which only Christ himself and HIS love, for deceived, perishing, unlovable souls, haters of His Father, mattered in him. Stephen willingly laid down his natural life by the very Life of Christ leading him. I believe I was seeing the cross and the Life in its epitome of experience. That’s my need, my only need, when it comes to the Christianity of this world, and its deceived souls. All movements of “me” must be swallowed up by life, uninterrupted.

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    • Russell, good to hear from you. I hope the Russians are not in your back yard, yet. 🙂 More shaking going on in this world than one can begin to keep track of, but it forces us to get our eyes off those things temporal and onto those things which are eternal, the more we see the end of this age approach. It was this very issue that Stephen was rebuking the Jews for that day they killed him. The had spent their whole history following God by the leading of the Spirit until they build that temple and then they set down stones and mortar and started singing, “I shall NOT be moved.” The resisted God’s Holy Spirit and refuse to be like the wind and follow Him from that Old Covenant dispensation into the New and killed God’s Holy One that came to shoe them the way and herald that very transition. I am convinced that the traditions of men are use by the antichirst more than any other thing, but God refuses to be confined in a box and the Spirit will move on or as it was with the Jews, destroy their temple and whole priestly system as He did in 68 AD to make sure that they could no longer us that to draw away disciples after themselves. What is amazing is how many Christians today still want to see the Jew build a new temple and restore the old priesthood and animal sacrifices once again… and these “Christians” show themselves totally ignorant of the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and the nature of God’s REAL spiritual temple, the one made with LIVING stones!!! Like Paul said to the Corinthians, “You are yet carnal!”

      Keep seeking His face, my brother. BTW, if you or anyone else would like to get on a Skype chat my Skype name is Michael Clark 110

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  8. Nancy says:

    Michael, AMEN!

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