Our Peace is a Threat to the Devil
For Christians, Jesus is our peace – and satan hates that.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
In its immediate context this passage addresses the fact that non-Jews were separated from God but that in Christ they have been brought close to Him.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
This happened the day we were born again when we were placed….or baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit of God.
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)
We have been made ONE in Christ and this is true of ALL
Christians, whether Jew or Gentile.
Satan hates that because it is an insurmountable threat to him and his agenda in the hearts of people and on the earth.
God LOVES unity among brothers.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.” (Psalm 133)
Unity is precious to God.
Unity in Christ is LIFE for us.
This is why when satan watched God unite people in Christ he formulated a plan to functionally work around that unity.
He knew that people love their own flesh – their ability to try to provide for and protect themselves without depending upon God.
The devil then set out to functionally splinter the body of Christ.
He has been, tragically, very effective at that.
The Church that the Apostle Paul referred to as “one body” eleven times in ten verses in his letters is DIVIDED by people into countless denominations and “non-denominations.”
Even in tiny, sparsely populated areas of the earth that ONE BODY is even further splintered into countless congregations….most of which never cooperate in any way at all.
All the resources of Christ’s one Church are splintered and practically unavailable to the Body of Christ since each tiny piece of it considers them to be their personal territory.
This includes the gifts that each person is, the talents and spiritual gifts of the people built into them by God and the finances needed to support the needs of the people and to truly advance the Kingdom of God.
This renders the Body of Christ largely impotent in all areas of the earth.
This explains why the Body of Christ is so weak and vulnerable to the schemes of the devil.
It also explains why the advancement of God’s Kingdom seems to have slowed to a crawl in most places.
Satan is thrilled with this but is not satisfied with this degree of division among Christians and the waste of God’s resources.
He always wants more.
He hates God (and His people) THAT much.
Having successfully discipled Christians that it is right and good (maybe even that it is God’s will) to be divided from other Christians, he continues his campaign to disrupt the peace (unity) Jesus spent so dearly for us to have.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...” (John 10:10a)
Satan then sets out to cause division in each congregation. I’ve seen and heard of congregations divide over all sorts of things: a tiny point made in a sermon, what should or shouldn’t be allowed in a “church building”, versions of the Bible, choices for committees, carpet colors…..you name it.
This is nothing new. Satan started this in the first century. The Apostle Paul addressed it in the part of the one Church that was in the area of Corinth:
“….when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)
If not the devil, who can be behind these divisions?
I HAVE seen ministers over these congregations which are divided from the rest of the Body of Christ in all geographical areas address the division within the organizations they head up. They often use this verse:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
They use this verse to inspire the people in their subset of the divided Body of Christ to work in unity with one another. This is good, however, in context that verse was written to the ENTIRETY of God’s Church in a city…not to one group meeting in someone’s home or business or marketplace.
(This was before man added church buildings to God’s plan for His one Church.)
How can I say this? Well, let’s read Paul’s words as he opens this letter:
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to THE church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with ALL who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)
He wrote this to God’s CHURCH in that city – not to one or a few subsets of that one Church. He wrote to that ONE CHURCH appealing to it to have NO DIVISIONS among them.
What do we, as a Body, do with what Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to us? We largely ignore it and, not only that, we CELEBRATE being divided by using utterly non-Biblical language like “my church” and “my church family” and identifying ourselves by our allegiance to a congregation (subset) of Jesus’ Church rather than identifying ourselves in terms of Him alone.
Satan is delighted with this….but that does not satisfy him.
He wants more.
So, he brings division between husbands and wives, parents and children, extended family, friends…..the list goes on and on.
Have you ever paid attention to how many divorces begin with a relatively minor issue that starts small but is used by the devil to tear a marriage apart?
People seem willing to divide over anything.
This all started in a beautiful garden when satan divided two people from their Father….and from one another.
The devil is NOT creative in the least.
He keeps using the same tool – and people keep falling for it.
I’ve painted a bleak picture here, haven’t I?
Well, the reality of our situation IS a bleak picture – but this is not a hopeless situation.
God still wants us to be one in Christ and that means He is motivated to equip us to unify in Christ. We won’t do that, though, if we are satisfied with the status quo. We don’t do that if we not only practice division in the Body of Christ as a lifestyle, but actually think it is God’s will for His Church to function like that.
There is a name for when a human lives as a divided being:
It is often said in sermons that Jesus is returning for a pure and spotless Bride (His Church.) I believe this is true. I believe Jesus WILL return and we WILL be, as a Church, pure and spotless.
Speaking of the Day Jesus returns when all earthly things are wiped away, Peter appeals to us:
“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless…” (2 Peter 3:13-14)
It seems to me that our current state as the schizophrenic Bride of Christ is quite a “spot” or blemish, yet Jesus IS coming back and He WILL find His Bride (one Church) blemish free and blameless.
The question, then, is how do we cooperate with Him with a mind to being brought back to that spotless and blameless state?
When we look at the entire Body of Christ and see all the disorder in it we can become overwhelmed with it all and tempted to give up. It seems impossible for us to make the Church function as one again ….and this is because it IS impossible for any of us to fix the entire Church.
I think we should approach this the way it all started for each one of us: one person….coming to Jesus.
It’s HIS Church - HE will fix this through us working in fellowship (or partnership) with Him.
We’re not responsible to bring the entire ONE Church back to order.
I’m responsible for ME being in God’s order.
That should keep me busy enough.
Some fourteen years ago my wife and I began to hear sermons and read things in the Bible and elsewhere that were about the unity of the Body of Christ. This resonated within us so much that we approached the pastor of the congregation with which we were identified and told him that we felt the Lord was calling us to serve the entire Body of Christ in our geographical area.
He was enthusiastic about this and encouraged us to do this. None of us realized at the time that we were embarking on a journey in which we would come to see that superimposed over the One Church that Jesus established was an earthly system that has largely neutered God’s intentions for His Church.
It has been a grievous revelation.
During the last fourteen years we have tried to live and think as members of Christ’s one Body wherever we are. In that time we have been assigned by the Lord to serve people in parts of His body that identified themselves primarily in terms of two separated subsets (congregations) of the Church in our county. We did so considering that these people were really, despite their mindsets, members of the One Church Jesus established.
We have also, for all that time, met in our home, in the homes of others and in parks here in North Texas (as well as in Houston and St. Louis.) Wherever we were we saw ourselves and conducted ourselves as members of the Lord’s Body and not as any subset of His Body.
We spoke that. We model led that. We lived that.
When we meet in our homes in what we call Gatherings (the core definition of the word “church”) we are NOT a separate church. We are a gathering of some of HIS one Church in whatever geographical area we find ourselves.
How have we handled our recognition of the damage satan has wrought on God’s Church through rampant division? We have resolved to live in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ – no matter how they have treated us or how they see us or themselves.
In other words, while some might look at other Christians and think “them” we have chosen to look at ALL other Christians and think “us” – NO MATTER WHAT.
The division between man and God and between the first two humans resulted in just two humans making individual decisions to divide.
It seems right to me to think that the eventual true and functional unity of the Body of Christ will begin with each individual Christian deciding to live in unity with all those Jesus has saved.
I have, then, decided to live this way.
It is my prayer that what I have written here will touch many to each decide to do so as well.
The devil has always been threatened by our peace with God.
Let’s choose to live as an active threat to him and his intentions for mankind.
Let’s choose to live in true unity in Christ, no matter in what form we choose to gather as Christians.
Let’s question earthly systems that have infiltrated the Church that perpetuate the division satan has brought to the Bride of Christ.
Let’s repent of those and refuse to practice them.
Let’s be one in Him.
Maybe…..just maybe…..this is what is causing Him to tarry.
I’m ready for us all to be HOME with Him.
I humbly submit these ideas to the Body in the name of Jesus.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© July 27, 2016
(for use with permission)