Summary: This sermons illustrates the forms that division takes in the church as well as the absolute necessity to end it! Then the sermon outlines attitudes that can defeat division.
January 12, 2003
A. [Lunatics Never Unite, Citation: Haddon Robinson, "The Wisdom of Small Creatures," Preaching Today, Tape No. 93.]
A man went to an asylum for the criminally insane.
He was a bit surprised to find that there were three guards to take care of a hundred inmates.
He said to one of the guards, "Aren’t you afraid that the inmates will unite, overcome you, and escape?"
The guard said, "Lunatics never unite."
If we don’t, we don’t know where our power is.
B. And so today, I want to ask, “Are Christians luny?”
D. Now, Paul is not discussing the differences that exist between denominations and brotherhoods.
1. In his day, there were no denominational or brotherhood divisions.
2. There was only one church in Corinth.
3. It would be like there only being one church in Greencastle, one church in Bainbridge, and one in Crawfordsville; one church in each town.
4. Paul wrote this letter to the church in the city of Corinth.
E. Paul, in this passage, is striking out against division within the local congregation of the church.
1. However, division is wrong wherever we find it and this passage has application in nearly all cases.
2. Division of any kind is wrong.
3. Division is division, whether inside of one church or within the church world-wide.
4. Denominationalism is wrong.
5. And I must say as well that most division within local congregations today is not over matters of faith, but rather the result of personalities that are in conflict.
6. And it wasn’t any different in Corinth.
E. Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthian while in Ephesus and verse 11 tells how he learned of the Corinthians’ problems.
1. One of the people living in Corinth was named Chloe.
2. And some of the people living in Chloe’s household had traveled from Corinth to Ephesus to inform Paul of the divisions within the church at Corinth.
F. The problem was a burden; not something to be covered up.
1. They went to an inspired apostle with the problem.
2. Good example to follow!
3. Let’s follow that example by looking to this inspired apostle for help with our modern-day divisions.
4. First notice...
I. THE DIVISIONS PAUL NOTED IN THIS CHURCH
A. The Greek word for “division” in verse 10 is “schisma” which means to “rip” or “tear”.
1. Paul says the church in Corinth has been torn into different parts.
2. The people have divided themselves into different groups.
3. These different groups had different beliefs and ways of doing things.
B. We might sum up the divisions in this way:
1. First Paul mentions the “I follow Paul” group.
a. This group may have taken the attitude that Paul started this church and he will always be our leader.
b. These are the traditionalists.
c. They probably said things like, “This is the way we’ve always done it before.”
d. “Paul started this church, and we’re always going to do things his way.”
e. This is the way Paul taught us and nothing is ever going to convince us that there is any other way.