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Summary: Paul appeals to the Corinthian church to unify. He pleads for unity of word and unity of action.

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Introduction

A. Two taxidermists stopped in front of a window where an owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted. Its eyes were not natural; its wings were not in proportion with its head; its feathers were not neatly arranged; and its feet could be improved. Just when they had finished with their criticism, the owl turned his head...and blinked. It’s easier to be critical than correct.

1. Lets begin by turning to 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (NKJV)

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. {11} For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. {12} Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." {13} Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? {14} I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, {15} lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. {16} Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. {17} For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. {18} For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

2. The copy of the New King James has divided this passage into 2 topics

a. First was the fact of divisions in the church

b. The second is the cause of division in the church

(1) Lets read again 1 Corinthians 1:10

II. Body

A. Paul begins this portion of his first letter to the Corinthian church by begging the church to speak, he says to all speak the same thing, unity

1. Unity of word

a. That there should be a unity of doctrine

b. And there should be unity of action

c. Years ago, when we attend Highland Baptist Church in Leomenster Mass, we had a guest speaker one Sunday, his name was John Debrine. John Debrine was the host on a Christian Music radio program from Cape Cod. He was also chairmen of the radio programs governing board. He told us that in things concerning inconsequential matters, such as the color of the ladies restroom, only a majority of votes would carry the issue. But in matters concerning the ministry, if the vote was not unanimous they did nothing about the issue at hand. His reasoning was concise, If the board was not unanimous, some one was out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit will not disagree with Himself. If some one were to be out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit, Satan has a foot hold.

d. Stanly Jones wrote in Leadership Magazine, “Talk about what you believe and you have disunity. Talk about Who you believe in and you have unity.”

e. Marilyn McCoy, Chester, Vermont in the Christian Reader wrote, “Each Sunday our minister presents a "children's sermon" to all the young children. Recently a bright-eyed three-year-old girl listened intently as he explained that God wanted them all to get along and love each other. "God wants us all to be one," he said. To which the little girl replied, "But I don't want to be one. I want to be four!”

(1) Lets turn to Ephesians 4:10-16

2. Unity of action

a. The church has two purposes

(1) When the church is gathered it is to educated the saints

Ephesians 4:10-16 (NKJV)

He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) {11} And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, {12} for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, {13} till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; {14} that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, {15} but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ; {16} from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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