Summary: In keeping in line with your Theme, I believe the text references unity as it relates to the body of Christ. If we have no unity within the body of Christ – it is futile to attempt to bring Unity with the local community in which we live.
TITLE: UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY
SCRIPTURE: I CORINTHIANS 1:10-15
I stand this afternoon honored and consider it a privilege to share in this great marriage between Church and Pastor. What a wonderful celebration we have had unto this point. The foundation has been laid to help us receive the Word that the Lord has in store for us this afternoon. I trust the Word will encourage this my friend and your new Pastor, his wonderful wife, as well as the leaders of this MT. OLIVE BAPTIST CHURCH.
I have been given your theme and scripture text which I understand your Pastor has been teaching over the past month or so. I have prayed over the text and theme that God might give me what needs to be shared during this marriage celebration between Congregation and Under-Shepherd that will strengthen and encourage not only this body of Christ, but all represented here this afternoon. Although your text places focus upon one single verse – VS. 10 it is important that we read through VS. 15 to have a clearer picture of what Paul has to say to us during this preaching time together. I do lift up as a thought your theme for this glorious occasion as it was presented to me – “Unity in the Community”
Some years ago, after a sermon I delivered on church unity and I think I did a pretty good job with it as well. I’ll never forget the little girl who approached me standing next to her Dad after the service. She said, “MISTER PASTOR, WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ABOMINATIONS?” I chuckled at her mispronunciation of “denomination,” but thought to myself, perhaps her term is the more appropriate one to describe the division that sometimes exists between so many churches.
In the body of Christ, the various denominations exist largely due to different opinions about certain doctrines - organizational government - the style of worship - or perhaps passed-down traditions. But what is not commonly understood, is most Christian churches have far more in common than they have in disagreement with each other.
• Researchers indicate the majority of protestant/evangelical congregations in the U.S. share at least 90% of the same beliefs
• More importantly, there is little disagreement over the most basic elements of Christianity — such as Jesus’ life and teachings, including His DEITY - DEATH - RESURRECTION
• Here is what we all agree upon and it is referred to as the APOSTLES CREED - Jesus was Born of a Virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, Dead and Buried, Third Day Rose again, now seated on the Right Hand of the Father
• This understanding alone should bring all Churches under the Umbrella of UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY
In keeping in line with your Theme, I believe the text references unity as it relates to the body of Christ. If we have no unity within the body of Christ – it is futile to attempt to bring Unity with the local community in which we live. There can be no Unity outside the four walls of the Church if firstly we find no Unity within the body of Christ.
When the bible talks about unity, it is always referring to being unified in Christ. In this text for examination, Paul was writing in another contentious time when he penned his letter to the Corinthians. He’s concerned with POLITICS — CHURCH POLITICS or what we would call POLITY — and Paul recognizes he has his hands full.
• Different factions are forming and aligning with each other
• They’re drawing lines in the sand about who’s following who and the right thing to believe
• The folks in Corinth are following particular preachers and putting that allegiance before their call to follow Christ
• Paul says they’re saying silly things like, “I BELONG TO PAUL” or “I BELONG TO CEPHAS OR APOLLOS”
• Paul is not at all pleased
Christians in Corinth were claiming to be of Paul was better than to be of Apollos and vise-versa.
• They were divided over meaningless things rather than focusing on Christ
• Today false teachers play on people's lack of scriptural knowledge and claim that unity means to accept anything and everything without question
• Anyone who questions a teaching or a practice that is unbiblical is criticized as being divisive
• While unity is important and even essential to be an effective church, it is equally essential to understand what unifies us
The question that should have entered our minds at this point and challenges us to wrestle - IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST TO ATTAIN SUCH HIGH IDEALS OF UNITY?
• In practical terms, would it be possible for the Christian community to come into such harmony that we all “speak the same thing?”