Summary: Church fights, anger and power-positioning -- the church is so much like the world we hardly have anything to offer as an example of the Christlike life. Here is how to straighten out!

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sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC

A fellowship of faith, family and friendships.


Russell Brownworth, Pastor

1 Corinthians 1.10, 3.23, Psalms 133

There is a chorus I love; it is a prayer to God, "Bind us together, Lord...with cords that cannot be broken...Bind us together with love."

The picture of unity is so warm and inviting. The reality of disunity is cold and chilling to the bone. In disunity there is chaos and wandering. In unity there is direction and strength to spare. A young fellow had an old jalopy. Getting around in a town filled with hills was difficult. In order to get up one of the steepest of these hills, the young man needed a running start. As he approached the bottom of the hill at full speed, trying to get up enough speed to make the nest hill, he saw two cars crossing the street he was on. He calculated that if he slowed down just enough for the first car to pass, he could gun his engine and make it in front of the second car. The only miscalculation was that he failed to notice the first car was towing the second car! He learned the hard way an important theological lesson; it is very difficult to divide things that are bound together.

Whatever was binding the Christians together at Corinth had come unglued. There were four identifiable groups:

The Paul Group

These Gentiles, converted to Christianity turned their liberty in Christ into license to do as they please. They liked Paul’s emphasis on freedom. They disregarded "Be ye holy for I am holy."

The Apollos Group

The Apollos group had a fondness for knowledge. Unfortunately their intellectualism proved to be man’s (carnal) wisdom. They were into all sorts of neat things like numerology. For instance, in Genesis 14 and 18, Abram circumcised 318 members of his household. The Greek number 18 is the same symbol for the first two letters of Jesus’ name. The Greek number 300 is the symbol of a cross. Therefore (to the Apollos followers) Abram’s act symbolized the cross of Christ. Pseudo intellectuals always turn grace into philosophy.

The Cephas Group

The Jewish members of the Corinthian church kept the Law. They saw plenty of good in following Jesus...they just didn’t want to give up any tradition ever invented!

The Christ Group

As always, there is a group that claims exclusive rights to being in the right. The "Christ" group was a small rigid sect, self-proclaimed as the only true Christians. There’s no (textual) proof, however it isn’t hard to imagine that these were the ones who had a pocketful of pride over the gifts of the Spirit.

Four splinter groups, cliques in the church. I call them the "Gentile Loose Livers" -- the "Apollos Big Thinkers" -- the "Jewish Unmovables" -- and the "Christ Theo-ego Club." What did Paul have to say about these fraternities?

Don’t Be Untied

"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."1 Co 1.10 (NIV)

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Darryl Klassen

commented on Sep 21, 2006

Good thoughts; enjoyed reading your sermon and would like to have heard it in its context. I especially liked how you interpreted/contemporized the four parties that were divided.

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