To continue in Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ (Dr. LJ) book The Basis of Christian Unity, there are still a couple of points needing to be highlighted. The first concerns Christian maturity for to have unity, the church must be filled with mature believers not spoiled little children who selfishly fight for their own way.
The apostle says that we must be no more children. It is interesting to notice what he says about children. What are their characteristics? They are unstable, fickle, ignorant. They like novelty, dislike work but like to play. They dislike being made to think and to reason; they like entertainment and excitement. Children, unfortunately, are very susceptible to showmanship and to that which is plausible and meretricious (pg. 46)
This view is quite a contrast to what many modern people hold about children. In their eyes, the little ones can do no wrong and are just innocent people. Yet God sees the other side of the issue and into their hearts and sees something completely different. Many Christians do not want to grow up both physically and spiritually which causes a lot of problems in the local church.
They tend to look at scriptures like the following:
15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.
and conclude that they do not have to grow up spiritually and hope to let God do all the work, forgetting that God has chosen to use people to get his will done. God can’t do that when his followers refuse to become mature Christian adults. We see a lot of that quoted description in the adult portion of the local church today. people like the carefree life of a child and desire it more than they do Jesus. They like having no responsibilities and passing their duties on to someone else. They think, ‘why not, it is fun to play and be entertained’.
What they do not realize is that this childish attitude interferes with the work of Christ and turns a victorious church into a defeated one because the people are not equipped to fight those representatives of evil who come prepared and ready for battle. They also lose a lot of potential souls because they do not know their own faith, their Bible, their own history and that is nothing to be proud of.
Here is what else Dr. LJ says about children:
These are their obvious characteristics (quote above). But , above all, they are liable to be deceived by that which is false. They are liable , in fact,by their very nature, to be carried about with every wind of doctrine because their understanding is not fully developed. (pg. 46)
And we see this take place today as different local churches and denominations lament the fact that they are losing their young to sin and evil when they get older and enter real life. We should not be pointing the finger at anyone but ourselves in this issue. Our idea of ‘protecting’ our children leaves them unprepared, unwary, naive, and incapable of defending themselves.
Because we want to protect ‘their innocence’ we leave them vulnerable to false teaching, secular ideas and we maintain their childish attitudes and behavior instead of helping them grow out of such characteristics and become real Christian adults. Few people realize that when keep children from ‘dangerous’ items we are not ‘protecting’ them but ensuring their inability to handle these same situations when they get older.
By not allowing them to see and experience the world as it is then answering their questions correctly or giving them words of wisdom to guide them through the world we are not doing our children any favors. The Bible gives us very explicit instructions on what we are to do with our children:
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6)
Training involves allowing the child to participate in different activities and be shown what to do in any given situation. Child rearing is an active relationship on the part of the parents. They are to protect their children by training them just as Jesus protected his disciples by training them and getting them involved in his ministry and answering their questions.
If we do not want our children to leave the faith when they get older, then we need to teach them correctly and be involved with them by guiding their growing up as Jesus guided his disciples in their spiritual growing up. We do not ‘hide’ the truth from our children nor do we practice ‘our child needs to have a childhood’ mentality for there is no such thing and that mentality is not biblical teaching.
We teach them, get them knowledge, and turn them on to the fruits of the Spirit and by doing so we give them a godly childhood instead of one that will keep them vulnerable to evil who wants to destroy them.
I didn’t get to the following point yesterday so I need to deal with it today. Dr. LJ says:
Paul goes on to compare this with the unity that characterizes the life of the blessed Holy Trinity, the mystical union between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is one body, he says, and one Spirit…one Lord…, one God and Father of all… (pg. 29)
By this teaching we then can conclude that there is only one truth. Jesus said, Ye shall no THE truth…’ Notice he does not say ‘a truth’ or ‘one of many truths’. That is because there is only 1 truth and when alternative believers come to the congregation and start saying that the words of Moses do not matter, or certain words of Paul or Peter do not matter, you know that they are not bringing that one truth. They do not know it and this is evidence that they are NOT following the HS to the truth.
When you realize this, then you can separate them from the rest of the congregation and practice correct church discipline and disallow their false teaching from entering the congregation, whereby if it were allowed to enter, it would work its destructive purpose and bring disunity to the flock. Here are some more scriptures pointing to this fact that there is only one truth:
that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (Jn. 14: 17 NASB)
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, (Jn. 15:26 NASB)
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (Jn. 16:3 NASB)
We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 Jn. 4:6 NASB)
One Spirit of truth thus one truth. Those who receive Jesus’ words receive this truth and do not seek to alter it. Unity in the church depends upon the one and only truth being taught within its doors. You cannot have unity if those who do not accept the truth teach other ideas or say things about God’s word that Jesus did not say. Those who teach the truth stand with God and those who don’t stand with evil.
The church does not have the time to allow false teaching to take root in its midst. It needs to be busy teaching the correct truth to its people, especially its young, so they can build their spiritual houses on the rock and not the sand. We see far too many young people building their homes upon sandy foundations and we see the results of that construction.
If the church does not want to lose its young to the world, then it needs to clean out the false teaching as Dr. LJ quoted earlier in his book:
The slogans are that ‘doctrine divides’… (pg. 3)
but in reality, it isn’t doctrine that divides but false teaching that does that dirty deed. If everyone has and abides by the truth then there is unity and no division amongst the people. There is no room for alternative beliefs or views in the church. This does not mean that the church blindly goes around accepting what everyone says without question. No, for wisdom, knowledge and understanding have their place in the development of the people of the church in order for them to learn how to get the truth and how to identify and avoid false teaching.
The church is not an organization filled with ignorant, brain-dead, and out of touch people. Instead, It is to be filled with those who know the truth, how to identify it, how to apply it, and so on.This takes thinking, discussion, knowledge, wisdom and much more. The church is not to be filled with lazy spiritual children but spiritual adults prepared for spiritual war because that is what God wants.
Children are of no use when it comes time for battle with the enemy. We need to get our people to grow up and make the hard decisions if we want to produce like Christ wants.