Updated: Jul 26
Methodist Church founded by John Wesley on February 28, 1784
Largest mainline Protestant denomination.
2nd largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Convention,
3rd largest Christian denomination
6,268,310 US Members
Victim to the Culture War – Ammo doesn’t matter as much as Outcome – DIVISION.
- LGBTQ rights was the source of Methodist Church DIVISION.
- Texas will affect 600 congregations and 300,000 members.
- Early national casualties:
North Georgia – lost 70 churches
Arkansas – lost 35 churches
Florida – lost over 100 churches
This Is War – Weapon - DIVISION
– Bigger than LGBTQ rights
– Bigger than Social Justice Culture
- Bigger than woke, eco, politico activism
– It’s PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY
#2 Tenant in their belief doctrine:
THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS OUR WAY OF BEING FAITHFUL TO GOD. BUT IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY. Christianity is the truth for us. But it is not the only truth.
John 14:6 says different – Jesus - I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
War began in spirit realm and fought on earth to achieve DIVISION
– from each other
– from local church
– from God
But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
Matthew 12:25-26 (NKJV)
Baptism in Spirit is a Baptism in Unity.
Paul’s 1st century letter to Corinth is as true then as now – Culture War to DIVIDE still rages!
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (NASB)
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 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 (united) in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.”
Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
NOTE: Get to know the author.
Getting to Know PAUL
Saul was a Pharisee. Not Just Any - a Pharisee Among Pharisees - Acts 23:6 (NASB)
Paul was a Terrorist – Waged holy war on early Christians.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to The Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem
Acts 9:1–2 (NIV)
Stoning of Stephen – a good man filled with the Holy Spirit
And Saul approved of his execution.
Acts 8:1 (NIV)
- Radical conversion along the Damascus Road
- IRONY - God called him to minister to Gentiles (non-Jews).
- Over half of Acts is about Paul.
- Wrote 14 of 27 NT books.
He who caused suffering because of Christ, suffered for Christ:
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (NASB)
NOTE – Most pastors and church leaders would’ve changed careers or cultures?
PROOF - Biblical worldview – the filter through which you see the world:
Senior pastors -41%
Associate pastors – 28%
Children’s and Youth Pastors – 12% (7 out of 8 pastors influencing our kids)
Teaching Pastors - 13%.
AND IF THAT’s NOT ENOUGH:
- Also bitten by a poisonous snake after a shipwreck and beheaded as a martyr.
- Missionary Journey over 10,000 miles – BY FOOT! – NY 2 LA 4 Times
- Did Paul start out as a good man? No!!
- Can God use everyone? Yes, if we repent, receive Jesus, and walk in righteousness.
- God uses your mess for His message.
- Legacy - Apostle, Missionary, Writer, Martyr –YOUR KINGDOM LEGACY?
YEAH BUT IT WAS A DIFFERENT WORLD BACK THEN – Really?
- Corinth still exist today. Located about 50 miles from Athens, Greece
- Corinth started as a Greek city - destroyed by Rome - rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 BC
- Luxurious 1st Century port city over 200,000 population.
- “Isthmian games” held the years before and after the Olympic games. BIG TIME City
- Pagan religion and Cults
- “Corinthianize” term for fornication.
- Plato termed “Corinthian girl” = prostitute.
- 1000 prostitutes served as slaves in the temple of Aphrodite – the goddess of love, lust, and beauty.
Globe is scattered with places that make Corinth look like Disney World – We can’t use that example anymore. You Get the Point
The Seduction of Corruption Leads to Your Destruction.
1. Division - Cliques around favorite teachers – Paul v. Apollos v. Peter v. Christ
NOT EVEN FIGHTING OVER DOCTRINE – JUST PEOPLE!
2. Blinded - to truth that God uses teachers to plant or water BUT only God gives Growth.
3. Boasting – in human church leaders – ONLY servants of Christ - Boast in the Lord.
so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:31
What Does Paul Say About UNITY & Division?
Appeal to Unity
(1 Corinthians 1:10) But I urge you, believers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in full agreement in what you say, and that there be no divisions or factions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your way of thinking and in your judgment [about matters of the faith].
NOTE: Less than a hundred years after Acts 2 Day of Pentecost we have CORINTH
WHY? Culture Created Division
NOTE: Paul trying to bridge division by refocusing everything on Jesus.
- Fellowship with Christ requires fellowship with each other.
- Disagreement Does Not Require Division
- Unity NOT Uniformity
Unity in Christ Celebrates Our Diversity in Life
(1 Corinthians 1:11-13) For I have been informed about you, my brothers and sisters, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are quarrels and factions among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I am [a disciple] of Paul,” or “I am [a disciple] of Apollos,” or “I am [a disciple] of Cephas (Peter),” or “I am [a disciple] of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided [into different parts]? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? [Certainly not!]
NOTE: No info on Chloe. Assume well known because one name is used and recognized.
NOTE: Paul identifies cliques – Be Direct to Address Division
- You can’t heal what you don’t reveal
- Best way to prevent gossip is give everyone a name.
NOTE: Too Independent
– Seek Self-Satisfaction
- God supplies love, security, identity, and purpose
- Sin & DIVISION – We lost God’s supernatural affirmation
- In that void, we fail to fill it with modern cultural standards of Good & Success
- Each Own Journey – No Unity
- Satan counterfeits, divides, and conquers
Cultural Battle Lines:
How does woke culture of Progressive Christianity ATTACK Scripture of Unity?
There is more than one way to heaven?
Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 (Complete Jewish Bible)
How does woke culture of Progressive Christianity COUNTER call to only follow Christ teachings?
I follow people who make me feel better about myself and not guilty about sin.
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
(2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NASB)
Today’s WOKE culture of Seeker Sensitive Model main goal is to attract people to join church by not challenging, correcting, or risking offending them with gospel truth of sin, repentance, salvation and sanctification. Calling person a sinner isn’t good for church business, but it’s great for kingdom building.
Culture Control Can Keep You From Christ
BOTTOM LINE - Anyone other than Jesus creates division
1. Stay unified
2. Stay out of the world
3. Stay in God’s Word
NOTE: Need help breaking free from WORLD CULTURE? Start speaking KINGDOM LANGUAGE – Either Flee or Come See
NOTE: Being Holy, Sanctified and Set Apart is NOT Optional
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
Separating Yourself From the World Keeps You
Together in Christ
CTA: If your church is influenced by today’s culture more than it is influencing today’s culture, you need a new church.
This is how Five Stones does CHURCH:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.