Wilt Thou Serve the Denomination, Or the Lord? #5

Friday, December 7, 2012

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23,24 KJV).

Beloved, we have a choice—we can serve a theological system (which is worthless), or we can serve the Lord (which is priceless).

Much of the last 2,000 years of “church history” is actually organization- and denomination-building. In the first century A.D., you were either a member of the Church the Body of Christ, or you were not. It was that simple. There were no Roman Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, or Assemblies of God churches (we could list 38,000 others that man has developed since Bible days!). Those were all founded by man centuries after Jesus Christ founded Christianity using the Apostle Paul’s ministry.

Uncompromisingly, we remind you that if you are not following what Jesus Christ founded, then you are serving man! Today’s Scripture reminds, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” In the context, we are exhorted not to work in order to be seen of others (“eyeservice”) or to be praised by others (“menpleasers”). Religion (denominationalism) encourages us to do just the opposite!

Christ rebuked Israel’s religious leaders: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men (Matthew 23:5). “For a pretence [show] [they] make long prayers” (Mark 12:40). Religion is man’s attempt to approach God through his own efforts, generating self-righteousness. “Look at all the religious ceremonies in which I participate! Praise me!” The denomination announces it (“he walked the aisle” or “she got baptized”), and everyone praises the person’s “piety.”

Jewish religionists (legalists) had pressured the Galatians that they needed the rite of physical circumcision for soul salvation. Why? Paul wrote, “[They] desire to make a fair shew in the flesh… that they may glory [brag, boast] in your flesh” (Galatians 5:12,13). Paraphrased, “Notice our new converts, our new church members. Look what they did to further our religion [partook of the ceremony]!”

Again, this will profit us nothing in eternity….