Summary: Paul’s appeal to Christians to be united in the body of Christ is still valid.
November 4, 2001
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Churches have their favorite songs. I am familiar with one church that constantly sang a chorus as an opening song-prayer to God,
Bind us together, Lord...with cords that cannot be broken...Bind us together with love.
The song is a longing for unity - so warm and inviting. That church needed binding-together - they had split several times in less than ten years.
The reality of disunity is cold and chilling to the bone. In disunity there is chaos and wandering. It doesn’t matter what preaching you preach, or the songs you sing - if there is no willingness to actually be bound together in love.
Bill Hybels is pastor of Willow Creek, one of the largest Southern Baptist churches. He recognizes that conflict is a part of life - even in the heart of the most unified congregation. He is quoted as saying, The mark of community--true biblical unity--is not the absence of conflict but the presence of a reconciling spirit.
(Bill Hybels, Leadership, Vol. 14, no. 1.)
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 next 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!
( W.A. Criswell, The Bible For Today’s World, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan Press, 1965), 32)
He learned the hard way an important theological lesson; it is very difficult to divide things that are bound together.