Summary: If we’re all not in unity on this issue of strong relationships, then this body cannot function to it’s fullest intent.
UNITY - THE KEY TO STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
1 Corinthians 1:10-12 July 29, 2001
By Pastor Rick MacDonald
It’s possible that some sitting here today are tired, even upset about my talking about relationships week after week.. A few might say they have strong relationships; others may say I make you feel like children being chastised. I remember some leaving without a wrist bracelet, the Sunday morning we used them as prayer reminders. I asked one person if they didn’t get a bracelet and they said, “I just don’t want to wear it, I’ll remember.” The next Sunday I asked how their phone call went, and they told me they didn’t have time, but that they would do it the following week. It took three weeks, and then they finally called me and asked for the phone number. They called back and felt so bad, because the person they were supposed to call was having a tough time in their life, and needed someone to pray with, but was new and didn’t know who to call. I asked permission to share this scenario, because there’s a point I want to make: Without unity, there cannot be strong relationships. And if we’re all not in unity on this issue of strong relationships, then this body cannot function to it’s fullest intent.
Some have suggested, and there has been great discussion about, going back to one service so that we won’t be two congregations, but instead united as one. Part of what that thinking reveals is that for the most part our relationships are built around Sunday morning church attendance, and not regular fellowship with each other away from this building. We need to change.
Over the next weeks, you will be hearing a lot about our kick-off for U-Turn and the “Battle of the Bulge.” We’re believing that we will have a minimum of 200 new high school students attending U-Turn. What about their parents? Who will reach out to them? Us? We’ll if we have a tough time reaching out to each other, how will we do it of others?
The Church at Corinth, has some unity problems. First Corinthians reveals some of the typical Greek cultural problems of Paul’s day, including idolatry, divisive philosophies, spirit of litigation, the rejection of a bodily resurrection and gross sexual immorality. The spirit of their culture showed up in the church and explains the kind of problems the people faced.
The letter consists of Paul’s response to ten separate problems: a sectarian spirit, incest, lawsuits, fornication, marriage and divorce, eating food offered to idols, wearing of the veil, the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection of the body.
I. Being CONTENTIOUS - 1 Corinthians 1:10-12
A. 1:10 - Paul appealed to brothers, not to adversaries, in the name of Jesus.
1. This is the 10th reference to Christ in the first 10 verses, leaving no doubt as to who Paul believed should be the source and focus of unity.
2. His appeal was for harmony, not the elimination of diversity.
3. He desired a unity of all the parts, like a quilt of various colors and patterns blended together in a harmonious whole.
B. 1:11-12 - Chloe’s servants said everything was coming apart at the seams.
1. While the divisions were certainly real, the names cited—Paul, Apollos, Cephas—were probably illustrative, to avoid making the situation worse.
Illustration: A disagreement broke out between two roommates. They dealt with their anger by not talking to each other.
One came in one night and found a note from her roommate: "I wish you Jesus." She cried. Then she wrote a note asking for forgiveness. She placed it on her roommates pillow and went to bed.
A little while later, her roommate came home and shouted from the hallway that she had left a note on the desk–her sister had called and asked that she send her the music for "I Wish You Jesus"!
They both had a good laugh--and were reconciled.
C. What restored their relationship? - Jesus
1. This may seem elementary and even childish, but listen to what Paul says is Chapter 3.
II. Being CARNAL - 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
A. CARNAL - Anything related to the fleshly or worldly appetites and desires rather than to the godly and spiritual desires.
1. Basic human nature is carnal, sold out to sin, living in the realm of death
2. The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality.
3. The carnal person is hostile to God, unable to please God.
B. 1:1 - Paul says church members can be carnal, by remaining babies in Christ,
1. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it.
a. What are the warrings of the flesh?