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.
B. What happens when we lose sight of the Savior?
1) We can get our eyes onto other people. That’s what happened at Corinth when they lost sight of the Lord Jesus. They began to focus in the personalities around them rather on the Person who saved them.
2) We can get our eyes onto other problems.
They began to focus on the problems they were having with each other. They began to argue and fuss and even began to take each other to court.
3) We can get our eyes onto other priorities.
Even in church we can often get our eyes on the wrong priorities. The priorities of the Corinthian believers began to be what they desired. They began to live according to their appetites thus becoming carnal rather than the spiritual people they were supposed to be. This lead to the abuse of spiritual gifts and the abuse of the Lords supper.
In the case of the Hebrew Christians to whom the epistle to the Hebrews was written they were exhorted to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us and looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, they were to run the race set before them with patience following the example set by the Savior who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Let us take this same exhortation to heart so that we might also run the same race before us, having laid aside the things in our hearts that hinder us and the unbelief and the apathy that entangles us. Let us, in our race of faithfulness, keep our eyes on the One who is the eminent example of faithfulness, who is comparable to no other. Look at His faithfulness to the will of God as our example. Among the legions in the hall of faith in chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews no one comes close to Jesus example. Whether you speak of Moses, Abraham or any other prophet you find none of these, no matter how tremendous their walk with God, match our Lord. If you ever feel that the race is to much look upwards at Jesus. Never set another person on a pinnacle. Never set a pastor or preacher up as the one you ultimately look for your example but let your eyes be on Jesus. I know that we who are pastors and preachers and leaders are supposed to be examples, but you will always find fault with me and with other mortal men’s example of faithfulness to Christ, but you will never find a flaw in the Savior.