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Divisions In The Church

Lessons From 1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Theme: Lessons From 1 Corinthians.
Hope: Come to understand the doctrinal principles therein better.
Last week we examined “The Danger’s Of Division.”
We examined how it weakens our fellowship with God and our fellow brethren.
We also noticed it weakens our relationships with our family and community.
This evening we are going to focus more on divisions found within the body of Christ.
These divisions are dangerous and understanding what causes them and how to prevent them is important.
With that in mind let’s examine our lessons for this evening.

What Causes Divisions?

Cliques In The Church.

It goes without saying that each person within the a local congregation is going to have different interests and personalities.
A clique is a group of people that come together based on similar interests typically.
A clique is neither good nor bad in and of itself.
However, when cliques start to cause problems is when they step out of the bounds of simple common interests and seek to exclude other they don’t feel share their interests the same.
Over the years I have seen many cliques within the church that have become divisive but what does a divisive clique in the church look like?
Divisive cliques that I have witnessed.
Cliques based on skin color which is obviously wrong.
Racism has been around almost forever and has never been ok by God.
Galatians 3:28 ESV
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Cliques based on country vs city.
Now I’m not talking about the perfectly harmless jab here and there that can be had with each other between the city raised and country raised. I’m talking about fellow Christians that think they are superior because they are country or city.
Daniel 1:3–4 (ESV)
3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
Amos 1:1 (ESV)
1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
Matthew 4:18–19 ESV
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Acts 17:12 ESV
12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
Cliques based on age.
Again, if the young Christians don’t like associating with the older Christians or vise versa there is a problem and an issue.
2 Kings 2:23–24 ESV
23 He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
Finding oneself closer with some Christians than others is ok, but one should never find themselves segregating or dividing themselves from the rest of the church.
What else can easily divide the church?

Preacher “itus” In The Church.

The unfortunate reality is that some preachers seek to divide the church by seeking popularity with man over God.
This is typically called “preacheritus” because the preacher will seek to created an audience that “loves” him and only him as a preacher. This is what was happening in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 1:11–12 ESV
11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
I’ve seen it go so far as when a preacher begins working with a different congregation, they encourage their “followers” to come with them.
And the sad reality is many do instead of encouraging and helping the next preacher.
Preachers like everyone else must make it clear that Christ is the one to be followed and admired more than any other.
Luke 10:27 ESV
27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
What else can divide a church?

Leadership In The Church.

Most often we find divisions rise in a congregation of the Lord’s because the leadership within it is simply too weak to put a stop to it.
Instead of immediately seeking a resolution to the discord or division it is allowed to fester and rise until it has caused such harm it splits the church, or the church simply withers away.
We actually have a biblical example of this in our current book.
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 ESV
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
How does this happen through, well it happens one of two ways.
Sadly, in many cases the “one sowing discord” is ignored with the absurd hope that it simply “goes away.”
1 Corinthians 5:6 ESV
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
It also happens because well intended elders or preachers try far too long to “reason” with the sinfully “unreasonable.”
The truth is the Proverb writer was write when he wrote in Proverbs 18:2
Proverbs 18:2 ESV
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.


As you all here know there are far more ways division can arise in the Lord’s church.
And the unfortunate reality is that we are all human in the church and thus there will never be a congregation that will never have to handle “one sowing discord.”
So, what is the solution?
Like with every “sin problem” the solution is…

Get Back Into The Book

Collapse The Cliques

How can a congregation divided by cliques overcome this?
By humbling reminding ourselves that we are all the same in two areas according to God’s precocious word.
We were all lost and helpless without Christ.
Ephesians 2:1–3 (ESV)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
We are all “family” in Christ.
Colossians 3:11 ESV
11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
For those with preacheritus we must…

Purge The Perspective.

How can a congregation divided by preacheritus overcome this.
Hopefully, the preacher can be reasoned with biblically and he will repent and come to help rectify the issue he helped to create.
If not each member must be helped to understand by the elders or church leadership that this man is “not to be worship” rather they are to worship God.
Acts 10:25–26 ESV
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”
Concerning weak leadership other men must…

Stand Straight.

How can a congregation divided by weak leadership overcome this?
If the preacher is the problem then the elders or the faithful men leading the church need to step up and put a stop to the division he is causing.
In other words, as the apostle Paul put it…
Galatians 2:11 ESV
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
If an elder or elders are the problem then it is the preacher’s responsibility to admit a charge against such when it has been aptly proven one or more are in sin.
1 Timothy 5:19–20 ESV
19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.


No division in the church can be fixed without going back to the “good book” to determine what we need to correct discord being sowed.
Somethings this is easier than other times but every time it is needed.


Divisions In The Church will destroy the church because a house divided cannot stand.
The church of Christ cannot serve Christ and its sinful desires.
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:5–6 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Matthew 10:32 NKJV
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Romans 6:3–5 ESV
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
1 John 1:7 ESV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
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