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What Team Are You on?

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Where do you stand?

If someone were to come up to you and ask you what you are, what would you say? Would you say I am a "Baptist", "Penecostal", "Evangelical", etc.?
 Or would you simply say, "I am a christian", or perhaps, "I am a follower of Jesus Christ"?
Let me first state, before I go any further. Is there anything wrong with belonging to a certain church, or church denomination? Absolutely not!
We all know that there are many different denominations, churches, groups out there, etc. Differing in small to large doctrinal differences.
The reason being? Differences on doctrine, and other things that have caused churches to split, new churches to form, etc.
The question is, what is your position in all this? Do you consider you, your church to be the, "only one" following God, and no one else does? Do you hold that your church is "right on track" and everyone else needs to fall in line with you? Or do you realize that God can use different churches, people in different ways?
Now we know Biblically that we should all be part of something that "lines up" with Scripture. That is following God's word accurately and to the fullest! There may be small differences between us that do not make, or break us, but hopefully we are part of something that is healthy and Biblical!?
The other night the Lord spoke to my heart about this subject. It really hit home for me...right through the heart! We will often times condemn, or criticize each other ( or other churches). When we disagree with them, but yet we are all suppose to be on the same team! It should not be this way!!
Now let me say that we should never agree with anything that goes against God's word. If we know something to be wrong, we should "admonish" in love, fellow believers (if something they are doing, or they believe is not Biblical). Now let me say also that it should be done by God's leading so that we do it in the "right spirit". That is in a "spirit of love", not condemnation. There is enough of this in the world without us adding to it! We should always admonish each other in the best way possible!!
How do you see yourself in all this? Do you make fun of other believers because they are weaker than you? Disagree with you? Go to a different church? Or God uses them in a way that you personally do not understand, but yet you cannot scripturally discount the way He is using them? Or do you understand that there are other believers out there who may not share your exact views. But yet they still believe in the basics and you accept them as brothers, or sisters in Christ?
So ask yourself, what team are you on? Are you on "tean Baptist", "team Penecsotal", "team Evangelical"? Or are you simply on, "team Jesus"? It amazes me how we have such arguing and "dissensions" among ourselves because we do not all agree on everything! One may believe in Spiritual gifts, another may not. Does it mean one is saved over the other? Of course not! It may mean that one may be more mature than another, or it may be that one simply does not understand (or is unsure).
We will often times condemn others we feel that we are "superior to", or "better than", or "more correct", than they are! Because of this we end up separating ourselves from other believers simply on the merit that we do not agree!!
Now I am not talking about large, important differences on doctrine. Such as the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, and works do not save us (only by His grace, our repenting of our sin and putting our faith in Him), that is, the basics. These things are "non-negotiable". We need to remember that we are all at different stages of our walk with Christ. But the question I want to ask all of us, is this. Whose team are we on?
You see Jesus forbid "sectarianism". Sectarianism is the practice (belief) that your "circle", "group", "sect", etc. (of believers) is right and everyone else is wrong. Jesus confronted this issue of "sectarianism". In fact He forbade it:
 "Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us."

    But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side."

                                      (Mark 9:38-40 NKJV)

You see Jesus forbade that anyone who was a believer in His name, should be "forbidden" to do ministry in His name! Its so sad that we as believers will fight each other more, than we are out doing God's work! It should not be this way!! We are all suppose to be on the same team!!! The question here is, where do you fit personally in this? When someone asks you, "what are you?" What do you say? You see we should all have the common goal of exalting Jesus, following God's will, and "preaching" (sharing) the gospel to all "creatures" (Matthew 28:19). But what often happens? We end up getting caught up in our differences and we miss this altogether!
Its absolutely astonishing, all the "bickering", arguing, that goes on among us. Truly the evil one is out there on the "prowl" seeking whom he may devour:
 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
                                         (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)
You see as believers we are ALL on the same team, but somehow we just do not seem to get it! We are not separate "entities" from each other and the full corporate body of Christ. We are all on the same team (all of us that are true believers and followers of Jesus)!  Its not for us to condemn, or "disapprove" of each others walk, or work in Christ. Paul the apostle was clear on this:
 "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand."
                             (Romans 14:4 NKJV)
Sectarianism in any form is just plain wrong!
You see God uses each and every one of us in different ways. We are all at different stages in our christian walk! Some of us are stronger than others. While some of us may be weaker than others. One thing though that should be clear to ALL of us. Is how we should see and treat each other. That we are all on the same team! "Team Jesus"!!!
Paul exhorted the Galatians wisely:
 "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all."
                            (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 NKJV)
 "Let all that you do be done with love."
                              (1 Corinthians 16:4 NKJV)
Now we are all at different "stages" of our walk with the Lord, but one thing is true of all of us. That we are all "works in progress". God is not done with any of us yet!! (Amen to that!!!)
Also when we mistreat each other, what kind of impression do you think this leaves with those who are not believers? Probably not a very good one!?!
Is there anything wrong with saying, "Im a -------". No, but if you do, ask yourself this, why did I give that answer?
So if someone asks you what team you are on, what will your answer be (what will you be thinking)?
And heres a parting thought. Remember what Paul said to the Galatians:
 "But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
                                        (Galatians 5:15 NKJV)

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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