Why Relationships Fall Apart

Why Relationships Fall Apart
Robert Wurtz II 

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14 ESV)

What do you suppose would happen if unexpectedly all the   mortar that is holding every brick and stone together were suddenly gone? Our entire civilization would be in a heap of ruins. Everything would come crashing down — destroying anything in its path. Buildings would implode; bridges would collapse; walls would fall over. We pay little attention to the mortar holding things together until it is gone. Paul used this concept of a “bond” or “binding force” to describe the importance of love. 

It is sad to realize that many relationships begin, and are held together, by something other than love. It is not unusual for young couples to kick-start their relationship by victimizing themselves in order to stimulate “sympathy” or “pity” in the other person. It’s the oldest trick in the book. How does it work? Tell all the sad personal stories that you can remember; make them as pitiful as possible and try to get sympathy out of the prospective girlfriend or boyfriend. Anyone is liable to be thrown under the bus during these episodes. It’s used so often because it is generally effective; however, it is akin to pouring gas (petrol) in the fireplace because your wood is wet. It may start a fire, but it is likely to burn everyone up in the process. 

If a person has to throw their family and everyone else to the wolves in order to get a little sympathy, I suggest the relationship is doomed anyway. If I have to say something that will cause a person to hate someone else — just to get them to feel sorry for me, there is a serious problem. This is not love, and the relationship is doomed to failure. Nevertheless, this is the kind of false-footing that many relationships begin with; and it causes all kinds of love related issues down the road. 

The Right Method 

Our passage in Colossians 3:14 begins with the phrase, “And above all these…”. This is the final binding garment (as it were) that will anchor and tether all godly attributes. “Above all” is a phrase that escalates love to the highest level of importance. The “these” that he is speaking of is the list in Colossians 3:13-14. As we look at this passage let us settle this once and for all in our minds. The subject of love is not secondary, or even primary, it is at the very top of our religion and faith. A thousand subjects may be spoken on within any given day within the Body of Christ; but none excel past this one. 

The Binding Power of Love  

Our next phrase is “which binds everything together….” The picture here is that of a girdle that binds together all other aspects of the clothing. It was a foundational connective garment. Like an over garment, love is to be “put on” over the top of everything in Colossians 2:18 in order to hold it all together. 

Within the range of meaning in this concept is another picture of the binding power of tendons and other connective tissues within the body. These hold the various members together as a functional unit. This is how a knee functions or an elbow. Love is that binding force that brings cohesion to all things within the body. Without love, everything within the body of Christ becomes disjointed and dissimulated.

A Torn Ligament or a Herniated Area 

Our passage is a powerful picture of the essential binding force (love) necessary for the body to function. Any area of the body where love is not being expressed properly is a place “not holding” itself together.

Colossians 2:19 explains that Christ, the Head, has to be “held.” He has to be given His rightful place as the head and held there. (See Ephesians 4:16) If we allow Jesus Christ, the Head, to become disjointed because we are not moving in love for Him, we will allow other “loves” to become the head and rule our lives. Moreover, every member of the body is important and each one needs to be “held in place” by the power of love. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians:

But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Corinthians 12:20-22)

 God set the members in the Body of Christ as He sees fit, but Paul tells us that love is essential to the functionality of all of those members. Non-love is to the body as a torn ligament or a herniated abdominal wall. It is a weak spot. In fact, if non-love is not dealt with soon, certain members of the Body may become disconnected or even rejected by others members of the Body. This is a particular concern in a time when scripture tells us that because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will wax cold. There is no replacement for water and there is no replacement for love.

Herod and Pilate were made friends and brought into unity, not because they loved each other, but by placing their hands on a common enemy and destroying Him. When love is not present to maintain cohesion and unity, then something will have to be substituted. Love can hold all things together in unity; however, hatred will sacrifice a victim to start a relationship, mend a fence, or maintain a friendship.

Real Life = Real Love

Jesus came into the world that we might have life and have it more abundantly. This is the very life of God that He pours out into us when we genuinely receive the Spirit. This is the life that empowers us to love. What does it profit to speak in tongues if we cannot love? The song writer speaks of “pouring our love on Christ”, but He has called us to also pour our holy love on one another in a binding unity. 

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14 ESV

What things? Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)

Love binds this list together and holds it in place. It holds each of us together in place. What are we trying to substitute for this love? It will never do. We need it above all these other things, and that is quite a list. May God quicken our minds to this reality and show us how utterly determined He is to bind us together in love.

Carcinogenic Christianity

Carcinogenic Christianity
Robert Wurtz II

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16 ESV)

Ephesians is basically broken down into two halves: chapters 1-3 are doctrinal and chapters 4-6 are exhortation. In short, God says in chapters 1-3, “I have made you a saint.” In chapters 4-6, He says, “Now, live a saintly life.” (Weust) This is why we have the use of “therefore” in Chapter 4:1 and in Romans 12:1. Paul builds his case and then calls us to action. 

When Paul was leaving Ephesus for the last time, he warned the elders emphatically and with tears that grievous wolves would come into the church not sparing the flock. He told them that among those present, some would seek to draw disciples after themselves. This was not the first time he issued such a warning. For years He lamented the destructive power of such behavior- in so much that he had here-to-for spoke these things night and day to them. When writing to the Ephesians years later, he offered precious instruction on how to prevent this type of destruction. To explain it he employed the metaphor of a human body.

Building Up Itself

I find it interesting that in modern times we have a great understanding of the things Paul spoke of. Paul would have had no such knowledge; but the Holy Spirit, who inspired these writings certainly did. As technology has increased so have the dangers Paul spoke of. His metaphor has only sharpened with time. Understand that when a body functions normally, it grows and repairs itself automatically. Cells die and are replaced, while other cells multiply to effect proper growth. However, we need to ask, what happens when a cell begins to grow and divide uncontrollably? We usually call that a tumor. What happens when that abnormal division begins to spread around effecting other parts of the body? We usually call that cancer. Paul’s body metaphor comes into view. He expounds on the importance of the whole body being under the Head (Christ) and that every joint or part must work properly for the Body to grow in love. His concern was that individuals would break off from the Head- doing their own thing becoming what we might call a “tumor” or a “cancer” to the rest of the Body.

The Carcinogen of Pride

Any time there is a platform for men and women to express their pride and ambition there is great danger. We see it in all walks of life. The churches of God are not immune to such things. Pride and ambition are like cancer causing agents in the Body of Christ. When left unchecked, people who are motivated by these realities will multiply themselves (as it were) simulating legitimate growth. We must understand that not all growth is created equal. Not all growth is healthy to the Body. A “following” is not the same thing as a ministry. Many in these last days are taking to themselves the title of minister, but are not truly under the Head (Christ). The result is the exact thing Paul warned Ephesus about:

 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
(Act 20:29-30 KJV)

False Growth

In the early days of Television Ministry, the National Religious Broadcasters held seminars to prepare TV ministers for “celebrity status.” Since that time almost all forms of ministry have been directly effected by a form of Christianity, as defined by Television. The brightest and best have been pushed to the front until Christendom is largely an expression of Paul’s great fear in Acts 20. It has gone unchallenged to the point of normalcy. In fact, many ministers have nearly reached demigod status. They are untouchable. The Christian landscape is now filled with ministries, under the names of men and women, with all of their respective alliances. A form of Christianity has emerged that is very different from the book of Acts. Multitudes have embraced the very thing Paul warned about. 

Christ’s Vision of the Church

Thousands of ministers have a “vision” for their ministry, but Christ has one vision for His Church. In His Church the Saints are endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3). Why? because in the mind of God there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:-6) To Christ, everyone is vitally important and functional in a real sense. There are no superstars. There are no “American idols.” As the cliche goes, there are no big “I’s” and little “U’s” (you’s). The worldly scourge of such mindsets are non-existent. What did Paul say to the Philippians?

 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Php 2:5-16)

Lowliness of Mind

It has been said that one of the greatest tests of our spirituality is whether or not we can esteem others better than ourselves. A Christian with a lowly mind is the enemies worst nightmare. A person serving the Lord who could care less if they were ever seen or noticed is a mighty weapon in the hand of God. Paul stated on two occasions in his epistles (Eph 4:2, Php 2:3), that we are to walk in lowliness of mind. “Trench says of this word: “The Christian lowliness is no mere modesty or absence of pretension, nor yet a self-made grace. The making of ourselves small is pride in the disguise of humility. But the esteeming of ourselves small, inasmuch as we are so, the thinking truly, and because truly, therefore, lowlily of ourselves.” The word is used in an early secular manuscript of the Nile River at its low stage, “It runs low.” Expositors defines it: “the lowliness of mind which springs from a true estimate of ourselves – a deep sense of our own moral smallness and demerit.”” (quoted in Weust) We are to have the mind of Christ in the genuine article as the antidote for the spiritual “carcinogens” of this world that lead to “cancers” that sicken and drain the Body of its vitality. 

We have to make a conscious decision to be in God’s will for our lives and not allow selfish ambition to become destructive to the Body of Christ. The world likes to manufacture idols of people. If we fall into that trap we endanger not only ourselves but they that we would seek to lead. We imperil the churches and provide for the enemy a beachhead from which he can invade the Body.   


The Fiftieth Day

The Fiftieth Day
Robert Wurtz II

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

Pentecost Sunday is known in Christian circles as the birth of the Church (Ecclesia). Pentecost is the Greek rendering of the Jewish festival known as Shavuot. It is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks”. In one sense it was the celebration of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. It is said that from Passover to the giving of the Law was 7 weeks so that on the Fiftieth Day a celebration was to take place. Shavuot is also connected to the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. 5:24, Deut. 16:9-11, Isa. 9:2). It began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. For the disciples, they had experienced the reality of what Passover intended to convey in the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. From now on, Christ would be our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). At first the Disciples did not understand what was going on and were in a terrible confusion. But Jesus met with them and explained to them all passages of the Old Testament the things pertaining to Himself. He then concludes with these words:

Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49)

Up to this point the Disciples had not only misunderstood the mission of Christ, but they were in no wise of the right spirit to minister the Gospel. James and John had desired to call fire from Heaven on the Samaritans and Peter had cursed and swore with a loud oath when confronted about Jesus. They were trying, but they just were not there. Human effort simply cannot make a man or a woman into a child of God. It would take regeneration. Not a simple infusion of grace to believe, but a total transformation of the person in which they pass from death unto life and from the power of Satan unto the power of God. We have a truncated pattern here in Luke 24: 

1. repentance and remission of sins must be preached
2. believers must be endued with power from on high

The Holy Spirit in relation to the Temple

It is important to take a moment and explain the significance of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can use Solomon’s Temple as our Template. Solomon built a Temple for the Lord. Up until the time the Temple was dedicated it knew only a general sense of the presence of the Lord. God manifests Himself where He is welcome, but He is present at all places and at all times. This is a theological proposition we sometimes call omnipresence or immanence. He is in the pubs, gambling dens, sin houses and even hell itself (Psalm 139:8); but He is not there in the way that He wants to be. During construction of the Temple, we could argue that God was made more welcome than He was in Egypt, for example. God has determined the bounds of our habitation that we might feel after Him, for He is not far from any one of us. That is the experience of the careless sinner. However, Israel was a God-fearing nation and people of the covenant. God was certainly more at work in their midst than He was in Egypt. Yet, the Holy Spirit wasn’t any more present at the Temple site than He was down the road until the day when the Temple was dedicated, the altar was filled, and the Fire of God fell. The glory of God filled the House until the priests were not able to stand to minister. In time the Holy Spirit departed from the Temple and it was destroyed. Yet, the artifacts in the Temple remained the possession of Jehovah (YHWH). We know this because of how Belshazzar was judged when he took the sacred dishes into his party (Daniel 5). 

The Holy Spirit in relation to men

When a person is in a careless state, even as the idolators of Athens, God is not far from them (Acts 17:27). The Disciples left their careers and followed Christ coming under His Lordship. In this condition, prior to His death, resurrection and ascension, we have this saying from our Lord, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17) Here the Holy Spirit is said to be “among” the Disciples and that they “knew” Him; yet He was not yet “in” them as the Holy Spirit had not been given because Christ had not yet been glorified (John 7:39). The glorification of Christ took place in the death, burial and resurrection. So we see a contrast between the careless sinner and the follower of Christ. Yet there is another level still. We read of this hope, reform ye (repent), therefore, and turn back (be converted), for your sins being blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19 YLT comments added). The Disciples had had their Pentecost and now they are preaching the full Gospel.

Temples of the Holy Spirit

As soon as we turn our lives to Christ we are bought with a price, becoming the sole possession of God. Our bodies and our spirits are God’s possession and we are to glorify Him with them (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are temples of the Holy Spirit, not because He dwells in us, but because we have been purchased of God with the blood of Christ in order to be made dwelling places of God. When a person turns to Christ in repentance and conversion, they have the promise of the times of refreshing coming by the presence of the Lord. They are the purchase of God. Receiving the Holy Spirit comes as a result of our submission to Him as He deals with us convincing and convicting of sin. We must respond rightly to the Holy Spirit by ceasing to resist Him. One cannot resist and receive at the same time. Many rebellious people have made a profession of Christ and believe they have the Holy Spirit, but we are not known by a simple prayer or a profession, but by the fruit we bare. I am sorry it has to be that way, but this is the clear teaching of scripture. Receiving the Spirit is something that takes place consciously and is not a process that takes place by logical deductions. A person has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them when it can be seen that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in their life. 

Baptized into One Body

At Pentecost the Body of Christ was formed through the one great baptism that Paul spoke of in Ephesians. At that moment everyone that the Spirit fell upon was baptized into His Body and became partakers of all that He had accomplished upon the cross. They had lived for 3 years among Christ, dwelling with Christ, but now they are “In Christ” as new creatures. The mean spirit that wanted to call fire from Heaven was dispelled and the Holy Spirit poured out the love of God into their hearts (Romans 5:5). Their propensity to Sin was replaced with God working in them to will and to do His good pleasure. They were dead to Sin and dead and crucified with Christ. Before this great baptism none of them could say that. They were made sons of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is more than a profession and more than self-help. It is a new creature. They were enabled at that moment to function as a body through the gifts that had been given to men after He ascended on high. These gifts are essential to the edification and increase of the Body of Christ. Each person fitly framed and joined together in love. 

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