Summary: Based on I Corinthians 1
1 Cor. 1 How to Maintain Harmony in the House Jan 03
Thesis: Principles on maintaining harmony in the Church
Introduction: The church is the ecclesia, the called out of God. In the days of the Apostle Paul anytime a Roman city had a town meeting the ecclesia would gather together. These were the ones called out to decide the business of the town. The word is carried over into the NT to designate the church.
This is not the only way the church is designated in the NT. It is called ‘his household’, ‘salt and light of the world’, ‘Christ flock’, ’the bride of Christ’ and the ‘body of Christ’.
The word ecclesia is used three ways in the NT in reference to the church.
1) It is used to designate all the redeemed that belong to Christ. Easton’s Dictionary says, ‘It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church’. Catholic being used here in the sense of the universal church. In the book of Ephesians the Bible says Christ is the head of the church and He is the savior of the body.
2) It is also used to designate a small group of believers for example in Romans 16:5 we read ‘ Likewise greet the church that is in their house.’ Every Christian is a part of the church, the body of Christ.
3) It was also used to designate all the believers in one city, whether they gathered in one place to worship or not. For example we might, if we lived in that age, received a letter from the Apostle Paul which might be addressed to the churches in Concordia parish. It would be for all of us who believe on the name of Jesus Christ. That is in reality what the Holy Spirit of God meant for us as He inspired the writing of the NT. The Bible is for every believer in all places.
Yet sometimes the church runs into trouble just as it did in Corinth. She finds herself embroiled in the midst of something which threatens to divide her membership. What is the church to do when it encounters these divisive issues.
I. Must Focus on the Messiah
A. Where must our focus be?
As Paul begins to address the Corinthian church and some of the problems of division they were faced, he began by asserting the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why does he use the phrase ‘by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ’? Paul was speaking in His place as the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the role assigned to him by God, Paul spoke with authority to the church. It wasn’t Paul’s authority, but the authority of the word of God.
He wants to refocus their attention on the one to whom their devotion and true allegiance lies, Jesus Christ. The allegiance of the church does not lie with the pastor, although the pastor has a unique role and responsibility
assigned to Him by the call of God upon his life. The allegiance of the church does not lie with a few select members of the body but with the Lord Jesus Christ as the head of the church. In verse 13 three probing questions are ask. One, is Christ divided? Two, was Paul crucified for you or were you baptized in the name of Paul? The answer to these three questions is the same, no. No Christ is not divided and no Paul did not die for us and we were not baptized in the name of Paul, meaning that we in our baptism identified with Jesus Christ.