Is The Church An Orchestra Whose Instruments Are Out Of Tune?
"...And the proper way to produce union in the church of God, is not to BEGIN by attempting to equalize all INTELLECTS...but to produce supreme love to God, and elevated and pure Christian love to all who bear the image and the name of the Redeemer." - Barnes' Notes
"The body is a delicate instrument which needs to be looked after with great care. Yet many of us don't value it as we should or take sufficient care of it. God has made each of us a living musical instrument, so to speak, capable of showing forth His praise. Each of us is like a harp of a thousand strings on which the most varied and beautiful music may be played. Every part of our body is skillfully constructed and admirably adapted to do its proper work. God has tempered or blended every organ to produce a harmonious whole. But this instrument is exceedingly liable to go wrong. The least thing spoils it and makes it unfit for its work. Unless it's properly treated we can't use it to the best advantage to glorify or show forth the perfect nature of God, its Architect and Creator. This is also true of the body of Christ, His Church. We are His members, diverse in our make-up and performance but duty-bound to blend our differences to produce harmonious music and praise that will attract the world instead of repelling it. Just as we wouldn't listen very long to an orchestra whose instruments were out of tune, neither will the world listen to Christians who sound forth the gospel against a background of divisions and quarrels."
- Illustrations Of Bible Truths
Let's single out a few statements from the above quote in case anyone missed them - "...This is also true of the body of Christ, His Church. We are His members, diverse in our make-up and performance but duty-bound to blend our differences to produce harmonious music and praise that will attract the world instead of repelling it. Just as we wouldn't listen very long to an orchestra whose instruments were out of tune, neither will the world listen to Christians who sound forth the gospel against a background of divisions and quarrels."
The Church - Is She an Orchestra whose instruments are out of tune?
Is she guilty of sounding forth the Gospel of Peace against the backdrop of "divisions and quarrels"?
Unfortunately, in some Ministries, this has been the case. Preachers have been found to be fighting other Preachers while the members slander, gossip, and backbite one another within the ranks. Witnessing it all, the sinner and backslider stand back and swear that they will have nothing to do with a people who preach a Gospel of Peace but cannot overlook their differences and live in peace with each other.
Nothing turns the world away from hearing the Gospel more than hypocrisy in the Church. Nothing grieves and quenches the Power of the Holy Spirit more than arguing and fighting among its members.
How can we correct this problem?
How can we "blend our differences to produce harmonious music and praise" for our Mighty Creator?
How can we - as instruments of God - possibly stay in tune?
It's important to interject - at this point in the message - that we are not advocating sacrificing Truth for Unity's sake. God is not asking His Church to lay aside the Major Doctrines or Teachings of the Bible so that we can get along with all people.
This message is strictly dealing with laying aside petty differences, envies, jealousies, pride, selfish interests, etc. which seek to divide rather than unite a people.
Once again we ask - Can we as instruments of God "blend our differences" so as to stay in tune and bring forth "harmonious music and praise" to our Blessed Creator?
The Scriptures offer us some guidelines -
Proverbs 17:14 says - "...leave off contention..."
Proverbs 20:3 says - "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife..."
Philippians 2:14 admonishes us to - "Do all things without...disputings."
1 Corinthians 1:10 adds - "...ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you...be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
In other words, watch out for that first "hot word," angry demand, or spiteful remark It takes a very special man - a wise man - to drop a controversy, forgive an injury, or withdraw from an "explosive" situation. Obviously, this man is not a Hearer of the Word only, but a Doer in that he avoids all brawls, altercations, strifes, and contentions. He does "all things without...disputings."
He always keeps in mind the points of agreement - the essential doctrines of the Bible - that he shares with others. He walks in perfect harmony with his Maker and strives to bring others into harmony as well. Even though he may not agree on all points with other Christians, he is united with them by the mutual desire to see them blessed and prospering in all of life.
A wise man ceases from strife; whereas, a "fool" will insist on quarreling (Proverbs 20:3). He will insist on having the "Last Word." The Scriptures describe this "fool" as being "ungodly" - mischievous, spiteful, and extremely vicious (Proverbs 16:27).
Can there be found a more wicked man than he who "diggeth up evil" (Proverbs 16:27) - searches for things in a person's life to use against him - to tear down his reputation among his friends and acquaintances? His "lips" are "as a burning fire" "set on fire of hell" (James 3:6) to furiously spread lies and slanders among the people.
This situation is magnified a hundred times over when it is found in a woman. In Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24, she is referred to as "a brawling woman." The Holy Spirit saw fit to repeat the same verse twice - almost using the exact wording - to get a point across to us.
Watch out for this "brawling woman." She is indeed a "fool" who "plucketh" or tears down her own house "with her hands" (Proverbs 14:1). Or should we say with her own mouth???
Her lips are "set on fire of hell" (James 3:6) - "as a burning fire." She constantly harasses her husband by "digging up" the "evil" of the past - all of his mistakes and failures. She disrupts any possible unity in the home and, as is often the case, is the culprit in infecting the Church with her contentious, argumentative, and rebellious(Jezebel) spirit.
The Apostle Paul got word concerning the Corinthian Church that there were "debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults" within their midst (2 Corinthians 12:20). "The house of Chloe" notified him of the "contentions" that were found among them (1 Corinthians 1:11).
He didn't take a passive stance against these sins in the Church. As any Faithful Minister should do, he addressed the problem by sharply rebuking the guilty parties.
What an abomination it is to find rivalries, passions, animosities, slanders, criticisms, undue elations, quarrels, backbitings, and whisperings in the midst of God's Holy and Sanctified People. What horrible racket is heard - coming from these tabernacles of Worship which are filled with disorder and confusion rather than the Presence of the Lord which brings peace and harmony.
The words of Paul to the Corinthian Church stand true for us today - "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...that there be no divisions among you..." (1 Corinthians 1:10).
In whose name and under whose authority is he speaking to the Church of today?
"...by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" Who happens to be the "Head over all things to the Church" (Ephesians 1:22).
The Holy Spirit is admonishing the Body of Christ to stop the arguing. The world is repelled by it all.
We are "...duty-bound to blend our differences..."
There are people who are counting on us to "get our act together" in the home as well as in the assembly.
We cannot - we must not - hinder the Gospel any longer.
The next time you find yourself facing a contentious situation between you and your spouse or one of the brethren, just remember King Solomon's words in Proverbs 20:3 - "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling."