Summary: The reason why church people must get along is so that when we proclaim the gospel to the lost, they will see sincerity and love and will hear the message, and new believers will hear the teaching of the Scripture and will be strengthened in their faith.
Series: Questions about the Church
Part 3 of 5: How Can I Get Along with People at Church?
1 Corinthians 2: 1-5
We’re still in our series of “Questions About the Church.” We started with the question, “What Exactly Is the Church?,” then, last week we asked “Why Do People in the Church Think Differently from Me?” I mentioned how those differences had led to quarrels in the church at Corinth. And because Paul loved these people, he spent some time in his letter dealing with some of the how’s and why’s of getting along with people in the church.
Now, I’m using the phrase, “getting along with people in the church,” and when I say that, I’m including several things. I’m talking about unity in the church, fellowship in the church, and loving one another as Jesus told us to do.
The question about the church I want to deal with today is “How Can I Get along Better with People in the Church?” but I’m going to spend most of my time this morning dealing with the reasons WHY it’s important that we get along better with people in the church. And once we understand the WHY, I think the HOW becomes easier.
I. So, Why Is it important that church people “get along?” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
The reason it is important that church people get along is this: the message we have is extremely important for both the lost and the saved.
Verse 1, When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
The word ‘resolve’ is used of a judge who listens to the evidence in a case and ‘makes a decision’ about how things are going to be. Paul says, “I made a decision when I came to you to focus on the message that Jesus is the Messiah, who died on a cross to pay the price for sin.” That is the most important message of all. Paul goes to say, “Because I wanted you to hear that message...
Verse 3, I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
Paul’s not saying that he was spiritually weak or afraid of what they might do to him. Remember, he faced an awful lot of persecution. He was beaten, nearly stoned to death.
When I started this series about the church, I said that Corinth was a cosmopolitan kind of city. Because of its importance on that isthmus, many nationalities of people came and went, and lived there. It was a large city. I’m sure at any given time, you could probably hear a person trying to get a crowd together to talk about their religion or some other kind of cause. I’m sure that many of these kinds of people were aggressive in trying to get support.
We see this kind of behavior in Philippi, when Paul cast a demon out of a slave girl. The owners got the crowd riled up against Paul and Silas, and they were thrown in jail.
I think Paul is saying that he came more in humility, opening himself up to them, and maybe with some fear that they still might not listen to the truth.
Verse 4, My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (NIV)