CAN YOU IMAGINE ???
Can you imagine if the debates and the divisions of today were discussed in the early church age? Imagine, if you will, the disciples watching Jesus ascend up into heaven, with a promise from angels that He would return, and with a commission from Jesus to evangelize (spread the good news) to the world as the church of Jesus.
The 11 disciples (at least) were there. They turn to go down from the mountain, disappointed that Jesus has left them, but happy to know that He will return. They begin to discuss the important topics.
Peter says, ‘Well, we should just stay on this mountain until He returns. I felt the same way on the mount of transfiguration, but someone talked Jesus out of it. Had we stayed there, we would have avoided the failures in Jerusalem, Jesus never would have been crucified, and we would not have to go to prisons, and suffer death. Let’s just build a church up here, and let all the people who want to be saved come up here and join us as we wait. We could put a welcome mat at the bottom of the mountain, and that would fulfill our commitment to evangelize the world. Why should we have to go from town to town, possibly be hated, end up martyrs???
James stopped Peter at that point, and said, ‘Whoa, Peter. We are commanded to go to the nations, not tell them to come find us. We must knock on every door, and grab them by the collars, drag them to an altar and make them repent. If the towns refuse to listen, we can still call fire down from heaven to destroy them, for Jesus told us we’d do greater works than He did, and that is one ‘greater work’ that I have always wanted to do. We could carry signs at funerals, and parades, saying that God hates sinners, and if they don’t give in and get saved, they are bound for hell, and we could cheer that fact...
The debate went on...
However, Bartholomew began to discuss with James, the less, and said: What we need to do is relax, for if people are preordained to get saved, they will, if they aren’t so chosen, they will end up in hell. So, why witness to anyone, we can just build buildings, and open the doors for the ones chosen.
Yet, James the less answered: Wait a minute, God is not willing that any perish, and we are commanded to ‘go’, to ‘witness’, to ‘evangelize’. We must proclaim the gospel, and let them choose to accept or reject. We cannot sit in pews and wait to see who is chosen, we must take the gospel to the whole world.
The debate continued...
Nathaniel began to discuss with Andrew. Nathaniel had his own idea, and said: I think we need musical instruments, bands, orchestras, and dancing girls in the front of every church to attract the sinners. We could put on quite a show, and it could all be orchestrated well.
Andrew said: No instruments were used in the New Testament, Jesus never played a trumpet, or a guitar, we can’t have instruments in a church. In heaven the angels will play harps, but till then, instruments are not allowed in any church I build.
The debate continues...
Thomas began to speak then. ‘I believe we need to settle on how to take an offering. I think we need to put out an offering plate, and let the Lord choose to speak to hearts on how much they should contribute. The Lord told us to ‘give our all’, so we teach that all we have is the Lord’s, and allow each convert to then speak directly to the Lord, and find out from Him, how much of what all is His, each should contribute.
Matthew, the former tax collector, stepped up in front of Thomas, and countered his idea. ‘No way, Thomas! We need to have prophecies given that the Lord wants $88 (or some bigger amount), and that if they do give in obedience to this prophecy, all their children will be saved, they will be healed of everything but baldness, and they will never be poor again. That will bring offerings, and the Lord will probably obey the prophet and do all those things for the people. We have to be pro-active here, and make sure the offerings are enough for us to skim some and have mansions, luxury chariots, and lobster for lunches.
The debate continued.... and continued,... with more and more disagreements separating the disciples. By the time they reached the foot of the mountain, they had decided to each start their own denomination, and continue to debate these and other subjects till they were resolved.
John spoke up and said then: Let us get into the Words that Jesus spoke and find what His answers are. He showed us in all the prophets, messages about Himself, and we have written down His sermons, so we have a lot to digest and we can go by whatever Jesus taught as the right way!
Simon interrupted John: You are always trying to promote ‘love, love, love’. I am tired of it. Let’s just all start our own denominations, and we can argue this out till everyone finally agrees with me. It won’t take too long, for all my ideas have Scriptural proof, and you will all finally realize that I am right. What do you think, that 2000 years from now we will still be arguing over these things??? No way. I am right and you will all finally realize it, and agree, or go to hell. Since you don’t want to go to hell, the time of arguments will end soon.
They took a vote and Simon’s way won the vote, with 10 of the 11 votes. Only John wanted to search the Word, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide, and love the others till the Lord showed what is truth. But since the vote went Simon’s way, THE DEBATE CONTINUES.
(I APOLOGIZE TO ALL THE DISCIPLES, INTO WHOSE MOUTHS I HAVE PUT THESE WORDS, IT IS ONLY A ‘CAN YOU IMAGINE’, TO ILLUSTRATE A TRUTH, FORGIVE ME, FELLAS!!!)