Summary: Paul stressed that the believers Corinth must strive to be unified under Christ, one in purpose. Paul’s message spans over time to the church today, where we must strive to be unified under Christ, one in purpose.
Date Written: November 2002
Date Preached: November 6, 2002
Church: BBC (PM) Wednesday
Series: Series on 1st Corinthians
Title: Unity in Christ
Text: 1 Cor 1:10
ETS: Paul stressed that the believers Corinth must strive to be unified under Christ, one in purpose.
ESS: Paul’s message spans over time to the church today, where we must strive to be unified under Christ, one in purpose.
As long as I have been involved in church activities and church business… I can remember that there have been differences between those who are trying to ‘do’ the church business.
I have seen where simple matters have divided believers in such a fashion that desention has arisen and the work of the church has been impeded and the witness of the church has been damaged.
In our passage tonight, Paul was dealing with exactly that same type of situation. There were many factions within the church that were striking out at each other, and it was causing problems in the church.
Let’s look at our Scripture… [read 1:10-17]
“…now dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there wont be divisions in the church.
I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chole’s household have told me about your arguments, dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a following of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”
Can Christ be divided into pieces?
Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.)
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News – and not with clever speeches and high sounding ideas, for fear that the Cross of Christ would lose its power.
Now the 1st thing I want us to look at this morning is the negative aspects of this particular situation that Paul was dealing with.
The 1st word of this passage is the word “NOW” which indicates a transition from the introduction and the thanksgiving Paul had expressed to an attitude and approach of reproof by Paul.
We see earlier in this chapter that Paul had written about the grace that all Christians experience. He also writes about the riches that we as Christians each enjoy.
He also wrote about God’s faithfulness and dependability for the believer, but it is at that point that Paul turns from a tone of thanksgiving to a tone of reproof and rebuke which he focuses on through Chapter 3:23 of this letter.
We find Paul giving some very severe condemnations for the believers having divisions among them.
Now when we look at what the problem was in the church at Corinth we find that it was foundationally a problem of intellectual conceit and a divided sense of loyalty in who was their leader.
Paul refused to accept any sort of excuse from the church at Corinth that was FOR the division of the church… Paul not only did not accept it, he severely condemned it.
Paul understood that divisions lead to nothing more than a break or contention within the fellowship of a congregation, and these dangers lead to many costly problems for the church.
When we look at the modern-day church and the contentions that arise in them, we find that most of these contentions are over personality differences between members. .
It could be that one member believes that they are smarter or more intelligent than another in a particular area of ministry.
It could be that one member believes that they are more devoted and consecrated than other members.
It could be that there is a REAL lack of consecration and devotion to God within the member causing the desention.
Finally, it could be that one or both of the members involved in the desention are lacking in humility in their service.
Whatever the problems, what we MUST understand is that the evils that are connected with the divisions in our churches today are MANY!
Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. A church with divisions becomes weak. The energy that should be spent for the cause of Christ is wasted on internal squabbles.
Division makes for such a scandal that God is dishonored and the world cannot see Christ in us, and therefore they stand in contempt of the message of Christ.