Why belive in "Simply a Christian"

Understanding why I believe series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:05:49
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What do we know about the church?

Understanding, being able to explain things within Christianity is important. We know what we believe, but why do we believe it? Can I explain my beliefs too others? That is what this series has been about.
Why do I believe in God?
Why do I believe in the Bible?
Why do I believe in Jesus?
Why do I believe in the Church?
Last week we focused on what can we know about the church, we defined it, described it.
Jesus spoke of the Church (Mt16:18)
Matthew 16:16–17 NASB95
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 16:18 NASB95
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
(Insert what is the church picture here)
We described what the church looks like.
The church is universal. It is comprised of all the believers, all the body of Christ, all the saved
The church is local. That is the body of believers that are saved people who work and worship together as a local congregation.
Take a minute, and consider these things if you have not previously, jot down some notes of your own.
In today’s world there is altered picture of the biblical church, that is what we are looking at today.
(Transition) - I think we can agree that the church is divided and in division there is damage, harm being done. That is why we believe we are “simply Christians studying God’s word so to live it.” - this morning we are going to look at
Denominationalism defined
Denominationalism described
Answer to denominationalism (conclusion/application)

Denominationalism Defined

This message today is not about division it is about unity. To bring to understanding what is a denomination and why do we call ourselves “Simply Christians.”
This morning I will be defining words, terms and giving some examples, don’t worry we will get some scriptures in for understanding and application before we we are done.
What is a denomination?
A large group of religious congregations united under common faith, under a single administrative hierarchy - American Heritage dictionary
Hold on, need to give you three names to remember. I will tie them in later. Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon
OK, Websters dictionary says “A religious organization united in a single legal and administrative body a number of local congregations.”
Simply put, a group, collection of congregations, bodies of believers joined together under some governing body.
(Insert Denominations picture here)
The governing/administrative body maybe known as:
Diocese, Synod, presbytery, convention, or even under governing “pastor.”
So they are a part of what they call the “whole” so the term itself means “denominated” from all other congregations that do not share the same believes or submit to same authority.
Examples of Denominations
The Roman Catholic Church
Made of people, congregations called parishes that submit to the pope in Rome
The Eastern Orthodox Church
This is made up of those churches that submit to the patriarch of Constantinople.
The Anglican Church of England
Those churches that submit to the archbishop of Cantebury.
The Lutheran Church
Those who submit to the synod of Missouri (this is the conservative branch of the Lutheran church. As compared to the ECLS synod that has a more liberal believe.
Just a few of 45,000 world wide
many of the 45,000 are denominations, break-off’s from other denominations.
(Insert historical look at denominations picture here)
This is just a touch on denominations, the majors, and yes they even listed the church of christ as a denomination, which we are “simply Christians” and they have the placement wrong. So, now that leads to another question.
What is denominationalism?
Webster’s - Devotion to denominational principles or interests.
It also says “narrow emphasizing of denominational differences “Sectarianism”
American Heritage Dictionary says
The tendency to separate into religious denominations
Strict adherence to a denomination; “sectarianism”
(Insert sectarianism picture here)
Sectarianism according to Oxford dictionary: excessive attachment to a particular sect or party, especially in religion.
denominationalism, sectarianism is dangerous and divisive to the body. (Mt16:18; 1Cor12:27; Eph4:12; Col1:24)
Matthew 16:18 NASB95
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Speaking of the church, a couple more should bring in a few more scriptures
1cor12:27 “27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
Eph4:12 “12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;”
and finally
Colossians 1:24 NASB95
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
By being a member of a denomination you are, by membership, by implication, advocating for separation/division into religious denominations/sectarianism
The building says “church of Christ,” where most say “church of Christ meets here,” for we are the church, we are simply Christians who are united in Christ who gather together in accordance to the scripture to learn, to grow, to go, to serve. We are SIMPLY CHRISTIANS and not a denomination.

Denominationalism Dangers

Danger, you want people to warn you about things that are dangerous, or could bring danger to you, right? This section we will look at some potential dangers of denominationalism.
(Insert Denominationalism picture here)
No biblical basis for division of Christ’s church (Mt16:18)
mt16:18 “18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Scripture shows local churches were independent, self-governing (Act20:17, 28; 1Pt5:1-2)
Act20:17 “17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.”
And then down in (v.28)
act20:28 “28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
So to the church at Ephesus, to the elders at Ephesus, the local church under local leadership
Then there is what Peter said.
1Pt5:1-2 “1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;”
Church organization was limited to within local congregations, with elders (aka pastors, shepherds, bishops, prebyters) who they were appointed to oversee the body in which they belonged to (local congregation)
Apostles authority did not carry on after death
The Apostles were inspired by Holy Spirit and were writers of the New Testament. They had authority that we do not have today since they were inspired by God. That authority was not authority to pass onto others after they died and the New Testament became a sealed.
But through the word of God, written by the prophets and the apostles continues today and has the authority of God, the commission of God, the direction of God for the church of God.
Individuals, synods, conferences, Diocese that presume to usurp authority over a local congregation today do so without scripture authority.
(transition) danger, that is a danger, but the danger is real and in fact denominationalism is anti-scriptural. Don’t take my word, let the scripture speak
Denominationalism is contrary to the prayer of Jesus regarding unity (Jn17:20-23)
turn with me to Jn17 for a couple of minutes.
jn17:20-23 “20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Paul calls for no division of church at Corinth (1Cor1:10-13) and the danger of it (1Cor3:3-4)
1Cor1:10-13 “10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
Just two chapters later in the same letter to the divided church he said this regarding sectarianism (denominationalism)
1Cor3:3-4 “3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?”
It opposes the work of Christ on the cross (Eph2:14-16)
eph2:14-16 “14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
Jesus died to break down that dividing wall
Jesus died to reconcile man to God in one body
“Just as sinning works against the efforts of Christ on the cross, (for he also died to put away sin) so it is with denominational division.” -Mark Copeland
It is harmful to the cause of Christ (Jn17:21)
Jesus knew the unity of the apostles would be the final apologetic , that the world may believe because of their unity!
It is not hard to believe that the world has a hard time believing the gospel coming from a divided church.
Divided over salvation
Divided over leadership
Divided over music
Divided over buildings
Divided over meals
Divided over scripture even
Let me give you some quotes, I will read the quote without telling you who wrote it first.
“I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call themselves Lutherans, but Christians. What is Luther? My doctrine, I am sure is not mine, nor have I been crucified for any one. St. Paul in 1Cor3 would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian. How then should I, poor, foul carcass that I am, come to have men give to the child of Christ a name derived from my worthless name? No, no, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names, and call ourselves Christians after Him whose doctrine we have.” quote from Luther recorded in Hugh Kerr book a compend of Luther’s theology.
So Luther a leader of the reformation movement was against denominations, called for all to be known as “Christians.”
Here is another one.
“Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot and that the very name (Methodist) might never be mentioned more, but to be buried in eternal oblivion.” - John Wesley quote from Universal knowledge dictionary and encyclopedia of arts. -
John Wesley another reformer who his followers identified themselves at Methodists or Wesleyans.
“I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living! I hope that the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ’s name last forever.” - Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon memorial Library Vol. I.
I would be remiss for what is known as the Church of Christ was called “Camblelites” after Thomas Campbell a restoration movement person, by the way who used to be a Methodist preacher. But we are not Cambelites, we are Simply Christians. We are a part of the whole. There are many out there meeting in buildings like this, homes, beaches etc who believe in the biblical authority, biblical description of the church.
We have looked at
How denominationalism is unscriptual
How denominationalism can even be anti-scriptural
And how it can be harmful to the cause of Christ.
Hence, why we want to be “Simply Christians” throwing off the shackles of denominationalism and embracing the bible. Walking in the freedom that Christ died to set us free for. And the liberty we have in Christ Jesus.
Let me give another passage to consider before we close this morning
Philippians 2:1–2 NASB95
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
One purpose! the purpose of Christ! For we are unified in Christ may we remember Christ’s prayer in the garden not only for the apostles but for those who believe because of their word
John 17:20 The Message
20 I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me.
Unity comes in Christ, are you of Christ? Are you in Christ? Are you bringing unity to the body of Christ? May we be unified in one purpose, the purpose of Christ.
He came to seek and save sinners, may we do the same. In unity, in truth, in love, in respect!
Believe in Jesus and His church (Mt16:18) and be a part of the Church of Christ
Romans 16:16 NASB95
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
It is not a building, it is not a creed, it is not a title, it is the people who comprise the Lord’s church that meet in many places but stay to the Lord’s doctrine the bible.
(Invitation slide- Christ in You) (Song) (Prayer) (Exit)
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