Summary: In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul addresses the factions and divisions that have arose. He tells them and us that a united church has No Divisions, No Dividers, No Distractions and One Directive.
A Divided Church; An Oxymoron
1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 (NLT)
Intro: Who knows what an oxymoron is?
.Webster’s defines it this way:
. “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words”
. Phrases that contradict each other.
. Here are some of my favorites.
. Boneless Ribs, Fresh Frozen, Jumbo Shrimp, Small Fortune, Living Dead, Living Dead, Pretty Ugly, Working Vacation, Devout Atheist, and my favorite Artificial Grass.
. We are back in 1 Corinthians this morning and we see an oxymoron. A divided church.
. The reason this is an oxymoron is that once a church becomes divided, it ceases to be a church. The two words together are a contradiction.
. All it becomes is a group of people who have lost their way and their mission as a church.
. Division and fighting and backbiting within a church demoralize and discourage and deaden the effectiveness of the church.
. Not only does this destroy the church, it destroys the effectiveness of the Church. It undermines the testimony of the church.
. Quarrels are part of life aren’t they? From the time we are children and someone takes something away from us, we quarrel.
.Children fight and quarrel. You would think that we would grow out of that as we age and mature. Sadly most don’t.
. The reason we fight is always for the same reason, our sinful selfish nature. The “me” Syndrome. It’s all about me and what I want and need.
. Christians and the church are not immune to these problems either.
. There was a man who had been marooned on a deserted island for twenty years. One day a ship finally came by and he was waving and jumping up and down from the beach and they saw him. When they came ashore they looked around and saw all kinds of buildings and structures. The asked him what all of the bldg’s were for and he took them for a tour of his Island.
. They walked down the street he had made and he showed them hid house and his grocery store, his community center where he went for entertainment. As they walked down the street, he was proudest of his church he had built for worship on Sunday morning. As they looked around, they saw another bldg that he had not mentioned and they asked him what that bldg was. He said that the bldg was the church he used to attend before he got mad and changed churches.
. Christians, and the church, are not immune to quarreling.
.In his commentary on our passage this morning, John McArthur writes this:
. “Quarreling is a reality in the church because selfishness and other sins are realities in the church. Because of quarreling the Father is dishonored, the Son is disgraced, His people are demoralized and discredited, and the world is turned off and confirmed in unbelief.”
. The Corinthian church had many problems and issues as we will see as we work our way through the epistle.
. The first issue that Paul addresses first is the issue of quarreling and division within the church.
. He realized that as long as there was not unity within the church, nothing else could be accomplished.
. He realized that a divided church was in fact an oxymoron.
. Lets read our scripture.
10I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
11For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters.
12Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”
13Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!
14I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15for now no one can say they were baptized in my name.
16(Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.)
17For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
. In his correction, Paul is telling the Corinthian believers and us what a united church should look like.
. The first thing we see here is that there can be:
. NO DIVISIONS
. Look at verse 10 again.
. 10I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.