Summary: Who is Leading you?
WHO IS LEADING YOU?
A. Paul is not discussing the differences that exist between denominations
In his day, there were no denominational divisions.
B. Paul, in this passage, is striking out against division in the local congregation of the church.
1. However, division is wrong wherever we find it and this passage has application to nearly all cases.
2. Most division in the local congregation today is not over matters of faith, but rather the result of personalities that are in conflict.
C. Paul is writing from Ephesus and verse 11 tells how he learned of their problems.
D. The problem was a burden, not something to be covered up. They went to an inspired apostle with the problem. We can often do that by going to the Scriptures.
I. The Divisions of This Church.
A. The word division means to “rip” or “tear” (v. 10).
B. We might sum up the divisions in this way:
1. I follow Paul—This group may have taken the attitude that Paul started this church and he will always be our leader. These are the traditionalists.
2. I follow Apollos—These people may have put great emphasis on knowledge of the Scripture. Apollos was mighty in his use of the Word (Acts 18:24, 25). These may have been the Bible intellectuals.
3. I follow Peter—These may have put great emphasis on the church and were taking the attitude that Peter had been given the keys to the kingdom, instituted the church on Pentecost, and they would follow him. They may have been great “church” men without going further.
4. I follow Christ—These may have been saying, “We don’t need anyone or anything but Jesus.”
II. The Questions Paul Asked This Church.
A. Is Christ Divided? This means, “has Christ been split up with different parts given to different groups?” Would He want His body, the church, fragmented?
B. Was Paul crucified for you? Paul directs them to the cross. He focuses on the atonement.
C. Were you baptized into the name of Paul? They had been baptized into the name of Christ. In verses 14-17, Paul makes a statement that some had tried to downplay the necessity for baptism. Paul is not against baptism. They had been baptized. In all of this, the people were guilty of putting the messenger ahead of the message.
III. The Significant Facts Paul Gave to This Church.
A. We could obscure the message of the cross by flaunting our own intellect and eloquence (v. 17). Paul depended on the simple message of the cross even though he had great intellect.
B. The message of the cross is absolute foolishness from the standpoint of the world (v. 18).
1. Message doesn’t refer to the preaching, but to the fact.
2. Foolishness is from the root word for “moron,” “dull” or “stupid.”
3. Power is from the word for “dynamite.”
Study John 19:17-24. Tell the story of the crucifixion. Roman soldiers divided the earthly belongings of Jesus, but they gambled for His seamless robe rather than tear it. These were hardened men, but they saw the beauty of that robe and refused to tear it. I have heard that the early church used this seamless garment as an illustration of the unity of the church. To divide the church was to “tear” or destroy something of great value and beauty that belongs to Christ.
Who is leading you? Are you following Biblical teaching? Many are led by peer pressure, religious opinions formed without knowledge and ideas without Biblical foundation, etc.