What Is A Sect?
The word “sect” has various uses today. Its meaning often depends upon the user. To illustrate, the following description of a “sect” was used in a recent discussion of a blog post where the church of Christ was called a “sect” by one who was expressing his official withdrawal from said “sect” (http://stevedewhirst.com/the-church-of-christ-sect/).
“A sect is a body of churches that recognize themselves as part of the larger church universal (churches rather than individuals), which sees itself as the only true Christians and looks with disdain on others. They typically insist that they all have the same name and observe all the same practices. NOT what they do in worship, as they should be similar, but in the traditional practices men have tacked on over the years. There is usually a group of men within the sect (though not officially appointed) who's job it is to ride herd over everyone else and use papers and pulpits to denounce those thought to be out of line. A sect is, by definition, an inwardly-looking group that rarely evangelizes, though often speaks of the importance of it. The emphasis is usually upon "doing church correctly" than in reshaping ourselves into the image of Christ and trying to reach the lost.” (Steve Dewhirst, Facebook comment, 11/4/2013).
When considered in light of the standardly accepted definitions of the word “sect,” this clearly embittered description seems wholly arbitrary and largely sectarian.
Your Presence Alone Edifies
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24-25).
Beyond a doubt, there are times when you don't feel edifying. You don’t feel like exhorting anyone. There are times when infirmities have you down and out. Who hasn’t experienced times when they feel more like provoking others to tears, instead of love? Who can deny those times when they feel weary in well doing—so much so that they have no "provoke to love and good works" in them? We all struggle with discouragement and infirmities as we face this life under the sun. If life never had any “downs,” we would not appreciate or recognize the “ups.”
When it comes to our assembling with the saints, it is at times like these that we often fail to realize that our presence alone edifies.
What Hinders You?
Traveling down a road in the back of a chariot, reading from a prophecy he did not understand and studying from scripture with a man he had just met, the Ethiopian eunuch made a choice. He made a choice to FOLLOW JESUS (Acts 8:26-40).
Starting with Isaiah 53, while preaching Jesus to this man of great authority, somehow Philip must have spoken about baptism. In light of the way many view baptism today, it is significant that baptism played such a featured role in this conversation. As Philip “preached Jesus,” the eunuch obviously realized that he needed to be baptized.
There is Only One "Race" - The Human Race
“What race are you?” How do you answer this question? We have been conditioned to answer, “Caucasian,” or “African American,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” etc. Many think in terms of skin color, “White,” “Black,” etc.
As far as the Bible is concerned, there are many nationalities, but there is only ONE RACE! Therefore, why not answer: “The Human Race?”
Speaking to those in ancient Athens, the apostle Paul reminds us, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that God made every nation of men from “one blood.”
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings…” (Acts 17:24-26).
Beauty Through Adversity
Mark 4:35–41 - "On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!""
Sometimes it is difficult to walk with faith, trusting God.