The testimony of the Lord is best honored and served, and the body of Christ best built up, when and where Christians avoid the self-consciousness that necessarily goes along with an emphasis on what distinguishes them from other Christian groups. Majoring on such distinctions is sectarian in spirit: one may as well say that “I am of Paul” or “I [am] of Christ”.¹ To give just one example, if you would say “Come to my church, because we have a great program of worship and service,” or if I should say to you, “Come meet with us, because we don’t have a program, but allow the Lord to lead in worship and ministry,” we both to a degree promote ourselves. There is an inward focus in this natural tendency of ours, and it is thus we become sectarian in thought and word.
On the other hand, should believers in simplicity and humility make endeavor, as members of that “one body” of Christ, to hold to its Head, and to hold the truth in love, letting faith work by love, then souls who have “learned Christ”² will be attracted to nothing but Him who delights in being in the midst of His own “little flock”. Where much is made of the Lord Jesus, and self not entertained, the calm assurance of His presence may be experienced, for it is by the indwelling Spirit of God that the earnest saint will able to discern where the Shepherd’s voice would lead them, and where He can be enjoyed as among His own.³ It will be there that the sheep of Christ, in the enjoyment of being a part of that “one flock”, may find the peaceful pasture of His gracious provision.
¹ I Corinthians 1:10-13
² I Corinthians 12:12-14; Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:15, 20-24; Galatians 5:6; Luke 12:32
³ John 10:1-30; Matthew 18:20