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Devotional - week of May 18, 2008


DANGERS OF THE FAITH FACTOR

 

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.  Romans 14:1

  

In this verse, Paul warns against fellowship problems developing in the church at Rome between those strong in faith and those weak in faith.

 

This same faith factor is in effect today. God will always lead His churches to move forward in the power of what He can do rather than in the power of what they can do. Those strong in faith are ready to take the seeming risks of “stepping out on faith” while those weak in faith are often in opposition. The result can be a broken fellowship in the church body. In some cases, those strong in faith will leave their church to begin another church. Each situation is sad to both groups.

 

The sadness felt by those involved in such divisions is bad enough. However, consider the head of an evangelical church—Jesus. He mentioned in His prayer of John 17 that unity among his followers is a message to the world that the Father had sent Him and that the Father loved his followers as He loved Him. The lost world takes notice of what is happening in our churches.

 

Jesus does not say in that prayer that the divisiveness between believers damages the reputations of churches with the world, but experience tells us that it does.

 

Is there an answer to the dangers of the faith factor? There is. Let the church leaders keep unity in the church a high priority—and let them teach their churches how to live by faith. Teaching the New Testament message of the believer’s union with Christ is the one certain thing church leaders can do to have a church membership growing in faith in God. Understanding and living this message removes one from faith in himself and grows his faith in God.

 

When all the membership of a church continues to grow in faith, many of the problems of church unity will go away. The result will be joy throughout the membership and, according to Jesus, a strong and important message to the lost.

 

If all new churches started with a strong emphasis on the life of grace and church unity, God would be glorified, the lost would be impressed and attracted and church members would have cause for rejoicing.