"Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof'" (Matt. 13:31-32).
The tree begins with a single seed, and in time, it grows large and spreads out its branches. As each branch continues to produce more branches, and they branch out into even more branches, and so on. Eventually, they become so weak that they can barely support a leaf. In fact, the bark on the little branches hardly resembles the bark on the trunk of the tree. In this parable, Jesus told of birds dwelling in the branches. Birds, in the parables, represent the agents of Satan (Matt.13:19). So it is with Christianity; in its endless division into denominations. They, having compromised on doctrine, or having emphasized some doctrines while ignoring the others, have become a home for folks who are Christians in name only. .
I believe this has been the result of our failure to focus upon Christ's Great Commission for the Church (Matt. 28:19-20), which consists of three parts: 1) Teach all nations; 2) Baptize those who believe; 3) Teach the new believers Christ's will for their lives.
1) The only message that the lost world needs to hear is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It begins with the fact that God loves each one of us. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for us (Jn. 3:16), to be buried, and to rise again, all according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-8). At the moment a person accepts Christ's love for him, a change of attitude occurs called repentance, and he is born again (2 Cor. 7:10).
2) The first step in obedience to Christ involves being baptized. The Church began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first believers in Christ (Acts 2:1-3). Peter preached the Gospel to the crowd, three thousand accepted Christ, and they were immediately baptized (Acts 2:41). The Ethiopian Eunuch was presented the Gospel and immediately was baptized (Acts 8:35-38). Notice baptism follows Salvation. Belief in Christ results in Salvation (Jn. 1:11-13), and all who believed were baptized.
Lord willing, I will continue this study tomorrow. God bless.