Summary: God cannot be honored when division exists in the church
An Undivided House
April 23, 2006
The year was 1858 and the newly formed Republican Party was seeking a nominee for the senate from the state of Illinois. They chose a young lawyer, who had some limited politcal experience, to run for the position. You’ve likely heard of him, it was Abraham Lincoln. During his acceptance speech for the nomination, Lincoln made an appeal to change the status quo of the practice of popular sovereignty. This allowed half of the country to exist as slave states and the other half to be free states.
The words that Lincoln used that day still hold essential truths to them. “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
The greatest problem of the Lincoln’s day was division. Has our society changed that a great deal since then, no. We see division in all levels of society.
• Politcal division runs deep even among members of the same party
• Issues of moral, ehtical and political importance divide our nation - (Abortion, war and homosexuality)
• Families are divided by problems and dilemmas
• Churches are divided over minor issues that hold no importance to the Kingdom of God
Is this really anything new? Absolutely not!
• The Israelites were divided theologically and spiritually by the creation of the Golden Calf
• The nation of Israel was divided into two Kingdoms - Northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Both were eventually conquered
• The people continually proved disloyal to God and often abused the Prophets
• The apostles argued constantly over issues that proved to be pointless
• The early church saw various divisions over doctrine and practice in the church
When I was young a neighbor caught two cats and decided to see what happened if their tails were tied together. Those cats were united but trust me there was no unity. They were fighting, scratching and clawing just to get loose form that rope.
Division is nothing new in the fabric of society or to the life of the church. One of the greatest problems facing the church today is division. Division is one of the most effective ways Satan has to make the church ineffective. Jesus is glorified and honored by a church only when they complete His plan as one body. This morning, I want to look at the words of Paul on the issue of the church being the Body of Christ. Open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don’t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don’t need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.