Key verse: Titus 3:10
Big idea: Division is the church killer.
There are a lot of challenges churches have faced through history. Hostile governments, financial crises, plagues and social pressure have all opposed the churches of the Lord. Yet they have never been ale to effectively stop what God was doing. In fact, it seems that greater opposition often motivated Christians to accomplish more so that what was intended for evil was used by god for good. So what really puts a church in danger? As we have seen over and over again, it is the internal problems which threaten the survival of a church. Division, bickering, and factions will do from the inside what no emperor could ever do from the outside. When God has broken the barriers between us and made us into a family, it is profound blasphemy to reform the divisions that the blood of Jesus dissolved.
Paul warns Timothy about the kinds of factitious people that would enter the church. The King James Version uses the work "heretick" here, but the meaning of heresy has changed since 1611. At the time, the word meant those who caused schism within a body, although now we only use it to refer to those who cause division by false teaching. That idea is certainly included here, but there are many other ways to divide a church and all of them are deadly. Foolish questions for the sake of stirring up conflict and endless studies into genealogies that miss the essence of the faith threaten the effectiveness of the church by robbing her of her focus and fellowship. Those who cause this division show their own wicked hearts and should be removed from the fellowship of the church after two warnings like cancer.
Division is dangerous. Factions in families or workplaces are almost as harmful as it is in churches, where instead of collaborating together for a common purpose, vanity plays and undermining one another become the priority. God has called us to something better. He has given us a new kind of life through the death of Jesus that makes all of our old divisions and barriers irrelevant. Isn't it high time we acted like it?
Discussion idea: Why are churches so quick to fall into "teams"?
Prayer focus: Pray that God would help you to be a peacemaker, so you can be called a "son of God." (Matthew 5:9)