Summary: In the church at Corinth they were feudin’ and fightin’, stewin’ and suein’. So much so that Paul wrote a letter telling the congregation how to deal with their “family feud”. What do you say to the first church of the Hatfields and McCoys?
THE FIRST CHURCH OF THE HATFIELDS AND McCOYS
Introduction: You remember the Hatfields and McCoys don’t you? In 2002 they went back to a Pikeville, KY courtroom. This time it was to settle a dispute over a cemetery plot and property rights. Some “feudin” seems to never end!
In the church at Corinth they were feudin’ and fightin’, stewin’ and suein’. So much so that Paul wrote a letter telling the congregation how to deal with their “family feud”. What do you say to the first church of the Hatfields and McCoys?
I. Deal With Your Divisions (1:10-17)
Note three things here from the text.
A. The Exhortation (v.10): Not a demand but exhortation “Agreed” = on the fundamental nature of the gospel. This is not uniformity but unity. See I Cor. 12 for the issue of diversity. “United” = to be knitted together-meaning of mending nets. In feuds some turn from the church. Many just turn on one another.
B. The Information (v.11): The exhortation was based on the information. Someone had given Paul an earful! There were “moles” in the church! Heaven help us! “Quarrels” = internal differences, jealousy.
C. The Explanation (v.12): There were four groups in the church.
1. The Paul Party – Evangelism
2. The Apollos Audience – Eloquence
3. The Cephas (Peter) Crew – Endowed (remember Pentecost)
4. The Christ Crowd – Elite. A cut above the rest. The key word in this verse is “I”. I belong to a Graham, Falwell, Stanley, or Rogers. Get the idea? The church was divided.
Look at v.13-17. Is Christ apportioned out so that only one group has Him? They were enamored with their own wisdom. They were arguing over who has Christ when they should have been concerned with who Christ has. Disunity is always a sign that people have taken their eyes off Christ.
II. Concentrate On The Cross (1-18-31)
The only answer for a divided church and broken world is the cross! This church was located in a secular, sophisticated city. It was home to the scholar and philosopher. The “smart cookies”, know it all’s, PhD’s and all other degrees were here. Yet when Paul went there he said, “I determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified.” Paul was as intellectual as anyone but he just stuck to the cross. It was and still is the power and wisdom of God. For many the cross is a stumbling block (why the cross when I’m good enough to get to Heaven on my own?). For others it’s to scoff at (sheer nonsense). For the Christian they know, “I must needs go by the way of the cross; there’s no other way but this…” Please note that the cross:
A. Makes Human Wisdom Foolish (18-21): We’re not saved by reasoning but by redemption. Human wisdom fails to grasp what God did at the cross.
B. Makes Human Strength Feeble (23-25):
C. Makes Boasting Forever Foul (26-31): Salvation by grace through faith as a result of the cross leaves no room for human boasting. “Salvation is of the Lord.” Read Isaac Watts “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. Do you want to find God? Go to the cross!
III. Go With The Gospel (2:1-5)
Stop all your speculation. Be done with your irritation. Get on with the proclamation. How do you tell the ungodly, secular, and unchurched, lost world about Jesus? Learn these lessons from Paul.
A. Proclaim Him (v1): He gave his testimony. He told what God had done for him.
B. Keep It Simple (v.2): He focused on what Jesus did at the cross.
C. It’s Alright To Be Nervous (v.3-5): Paul acknowledge his weaknesses. He depended on God for all his power. Don’t be intimidated by an unbelieving world. Tell the story of Jesus.
Conclusion: There are a lot of churches like the “Hatfields and McCoys”. They have been fightin’, fussin’, and feudin’ for years. They never look outside to see a lost world. Their only concern is that they get their way. It’s laughable yet tragic to watch many fight over the manner of worship yet give no thought to a missionary mandate. It really is all about them! How childish. Paul simply says deal with your divisions, concentrate on the cross and go with the gospel.