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The True Tragedy of a Divided Church

By October 27, 2015April 24th, 2022Ministry & Leadership3 min read

When Jesus is being accused of casting demons out by the power of Satan, Jesus responds with these words, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:24-25). In other words, if Jesus were in league with the Devil, He wouldn’t cast demons out. Jesus here is speaking a truth that He knows well. Jesus knows about a united house, for the Son is the second person of the Tri-unity. His house knows perfect unity. God’s purposes always flourish because in God’s house there is no division. Father, Son and Spirit have always only worked in harmony.

However, since Adam and Eve people have been at odds with this unified house. Adam chose his own wisdom over his Creator’s, and we have all followed suit—each of us like straying sheep, seeking to build our own house—our own kingdom. It amazes me that God’s love is so great that the Son would then come to this earth to make His abode with us, yet even here He was busy about His Father’s house (Luke 2:49). In the verses leading up to Jesus speaking about a house divided, his earthly family thought Jesus was out of His mind and sought to seize Him (Mark 3:21). Jesus, who is united with His Father, lived in a family that knew discord on the earth. He experienced the disunity of our claustrophobic kingdoms of one. His own earthly home was divided.

Jesus then goes on to speak about His house (family). He asks a question, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” (Mark 3:33). He answers that those who do the will of God are My family (Mark 3:35). In other words, My family is united with Me. There is something profound happening here. When we put our faith in Christ, we experience faith union with Christ. He unites us with Him, thus we have the Spirit of adoption crying out, “Abba” (Romans 8:15). In fact, Jesus assures us before His death that “In My Father’s house are many rooms…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

By this adoption into His house, we experience the Trinitarian life! Through Christ we are united with God, and we are united to one another. This is a wonder too deep for us to grasp! Read the book of Ephesians and you will see this mystery leap off the pages! Paul says that our corporate union with Christ is the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).

This is why it is so grievous when the body of Christ, whether locally or universally, is divided. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Imagine with me what it would look like for our churches to so love the unity of our Father’s house that we would love one another. Just like within a family where two siblings do not need to agree on what type of music they like, yet they do agree on who their parents are and who their siblings are.

We are called to walk in the unity that was forged on the cross. If you are like me, you can probably think of relationships that are in discord. How can we pursue unity in the church? This question confronts our own hearts that seek to build our own houses. This is that horrid sin nature. If judgment begins at the household of God (1 Peter 4:17), then we should seek to be a household united for the glory of the Father. I cannot change your heart. You cannot change my heart. But we can all pray with the psalmist, “Unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11).

Matt Kottman is the senior pastor at Solid Rock Christian Fellowship located in Prescott, AZ. Please visit his website. Also, follow Matt on Twitter.