Dear AudioVerse Friend,

Jesus said that “a house divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) Is it any wonder that there’s nothing more the Devil would like than to see God’s people divided?

Division and contention—especially over closely-held, conscientious beliefs—are not unique to our time. In fact, severe disagreements and conscientious objections have persisted since the founding of the Christian church. (Some may even say it’s a hallmark of the church through the ages!)

In Romans 14, the issue was over the fact that some believers held a moral objection to eating food offered to idols. It would have been a violation of their conscience to pollute their souls and body temples to do so. Although Paul did not share those convictions, his response was a willing surrender of his right to eat that food for the sake of the Gospel. Not willing to be a stumbling block to those with differing convictions on matters of “doubtful disputation,” he accommodated and respected their conscience although he disagreed with them. Paul was concerned more for the salvation of others than for his own rights.

"I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died." - Romans 14:14-15 NKJV

In Acts 16, shortly after the conclusion of the Jerusalem Council during which the church decided to lift the requirement of circumcision on new converts (perhaps the single most divisive issue in the Apostolic Church), Paul met the promising young man, Timothy. Yet upon accepting Paul’s invitation to ministry, the very first thing Timothy underwent was circumcision. He was willing to surrender his right of bodily autonomy for the sake of the Gospel. The great irony was that he was circumcised in preparation for the very ministry campaign to announce the decree that the circumcision mandate had been lifted! Timothy certainly was under no moral obligation to be circumcised, yet he did so anyway for the sake of those for whom circumcision was a stumbling block. He was concerned more for the salvation of others than for his own rights.

"Paul wanted to have him [Timothy] go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily." - Acts 16:3-5

The church grew in number and in the faith when the members submitted their personal rights and privileges to the greater calling of their mission to save souls; when they were willing to “esteem others better than themselves.” While we certainly must “let each be fully convinced in his own mind” on many matters, nevertheless may we all be fully convinced to look beyond our own rights to the rights of others; beyond merely being right but to be righteous.

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:3-4

Bible

The Present Division

Without a doubt, there is no issue more divisive in the church today than that surrounding COVID vaccines. As this controversy captures our attention and intense emotions fray the bonds of unity, it’s become tough to know what to think. Are there principles from God’s Word that can be a “lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path?”

I want to share two messages that highlight some Bible principles that may be of guidance to us regardless of our personal persuasions on the matter. May they be profitable to us for “instruction in righteousness.”

“Liberty, Opportunity, and Responsibility” by Eugene Prewitt 

“Go Show Yourselves to the Priests” by Don Mackintosh 

"Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes. As never before we need to press together, serving Him who has prepared His throne in the heavens and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken His people, and our strength lies in not forsaking Him." - Maranatha 25.4

May we press together with one another and with Jesus, 

Alistair Huong

Executive Director, AudioVerse

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