"...if in any thing you be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you." (Philippians 3:15)
In this verse, Paul was addressing his favorite local church, the Philippians. This group of people had supported him with prayer, love and finances when no one else would. As Paul's prison sentence was coming to an end, the only group he desired to see were the Philippians. They were as close to being a perfect congregation as possible. But what exactly is a perfect congregation? It is certainly not one that makes no mistakes or never has disagreements. Neither is it a flock that has every doctrine correct or where everyone agrees on every teaching. So what is a perfect congregation?
A Spirit-filled local church is unique. It is not united because of doctrine. The congregation is comprised of Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Brethren, Lutherans, United Congregationalists, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and more.We are united by the new birth and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Because we all come from different backgrounds, we often bring our "pet" doctrines with us when we are born again and filled with the Spirit. Regardless of how well a pastor may teach, some doctrinal beliefs will not be corrected until we all stand before the Lord Jesus at the judgment seat of Christ. We will all disagree on certain issues until we get to Heaven. No one has the corner on the market for every doctrine.
If doctrine does not unite a local church, what does? Vision is what unites the local church. When we disagree, we should turn it over to the Lord Jesus, who will one day settle every issue. Until then, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Paul says, "...if in anyting you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal it unto you." We do not need to strive to make everyone believe as we do on every issue. We should "endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).
The definition of a perfect local church is one that is able to catch the vision of both the leader from Heaven, Jesus, and the leader on earth, the pastor, to make converts and lead them into spiritual maturity. A perfect local church has the ability to take areas of disagreement and give them to the Lord Jesus, realizing God will handle all of them in eternity.
The vision of the Spoken Word Church is to help believers be bright lights in the world and to the world. This not only helps people better understand the Word of God, but also helps them to get along better with fellow believers. Life is short and not every issue is a Heaven or Hell issue. Many doctrines which we seem to think are so important don't seem as significant when we mature in the Word of God. Rather than argue about differences, the Christian life is about walking in unity to accomplish a goal.
There is a world that needs to receive Jesus and believers who need help in discovering their supernatural rights and authority. Your partnership with me in this local church and ministry helps bring the Word of God to believers in our country and throughout the world. It truly brings strength to our nation when we help equip believers to do the work of the ministry.
Thank you for 36 years of partnership. You are important to the Lord Jesus, the kingdom of God, and to me.
In the Everlasting Love of Jesus,
Bill Novak, Pastor