Retrace the steps of each denomination in the Body and you will find that it started with someone who got a hold of truth. And that truth produced an experience, and that person came to know Him more through it. They came to know Jesus the Saviour or Jesus the Sanctifier, or Jesus the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost. And then they spoke that truth to someone else, and that person also came to know that truth (as it is in Jesus). But as more people came into the experience, more clarity and definition were required by men. And with definition came doctrine, which later brought division. However, if it was Jesus we were following, we would not let doctrinal differences divide us. Someone who knows Jesus wouldn’t let another person’s doctrinal differences stop them from loving them, praying for them and ministering to them…in humility. Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.
The reason men fight over doctrine or separate themselves from other believers is because they only know doctrine, not Jesus, the Truth. For example, the doctrine of healing can bring division to the Body because there are some that don’t believe in healing, or believe contradictory things about healing. But if I live that truth and pray for you and you are healed, I doubt very much that doctrine will divide us. The fact is that if our doctrine can’t be lived and demonstrated in our lives then it holds little to no value. And a gospel that can’t be lived isn’t the Gospel.
If there’s no power or life in the message we preach then preaching just interesting sermons and supposedly deep revelations is like placing a more attractive label on an empty can. Or like decorating a tomb. The way to get power and life in the message you preach is to live the message you preach. How can you preach Jesus to someone when you don’t know Him yourself?
For example, preaching a poverty doctrine to me and trying to convince me that money is evil will not sway me. Why? Because I believe in a prosperity doctrine? No. If doctrine was all I knew, I may feel the need to argue and may end up confused or even swayed. But the fact is that I know Him as my provider. I’ve already experienced the truth of His provision. “A person with an experience in God is not at the mercy of a person with a theory” (quote souce unknown).
Separating ourselves over doctrine or thinking we know better than the other guy, only proves our own spiritual immaturity. Knowledge puffs up (and divides) but love builds up. “Speaking the truth in love to one another, we will grow up into Him”
I’m not so much interested in the newest revelation coming to the Body, or even the next move of God’s power, as much as I am interested in us as a Body growing up spiritually. The goal isn’t wisdom or power; Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God. I’m interested in Him and being like Him.
I don’t want my life’s work, built on the Foundation, to burn up in the fire on the day He comes. If all I’ve got to show is some interesting theology and a few acts of power here and there, then that certainly won’t stand the test. But if I know Him and I’m like Him, then whatever work I have done that proceeds from knowing Him will stand the test and be worthy of His reward. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant”, don’t you?
Doctrine can’t be lived out in a person’s life without producing legalism, self-righteousness and division within the Body, if it’s lived out by one’s own strength, according to one’s own understanding. But when Truth is lived out in a person’s life, it will produce humility, freedom and love. Truth bears this fruit in a person’s life because Truth is revealed to someone by the Spirit and is worked into their life by His grace; and that person will realize that if the Lord didn’t show them, they wouldn’t have known, and if He didn’t help them live it out, they couldn’t live it. It’s from that humble place that you will treat others with grace, loving them and building them up.