It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You
Last week we heard
About the city of Corinth
And how it was totally corrupt
And had a worldwide reputation
For being a place of debauchery
We saw that the world had a term
For what it was like to live
Like a Corinthian
And that it was a huge insult
To infer that someone might
Lead a lifestyle that would be
Acceptable in Corinth
We looked at how the world
Had been allowed to creep into the Corinthian church
At how, instead of the church being the influencers
They had become the influenced.
They had let things infiltrate the church…
Things like liberalism, tolerance
Entitlement and partisanship…
And these things
Began to mark the church
A mark that might
Make the church
We heard about the giftings of the church
And how bountiful they were
And how everything they had
They had received from God
And it all was to be used for His glory
And not theirs
And we heard about how thankful Paul
Was that God had gifted them
so that they
Could reach out to the
Lost around them
Probably the most important thing we should have taken
Away from the first 9 verses
Was that God gives is everything we need
To do what He calls us to do
And that we should not only realize that…
But be satisfied with it as well
He gives us all we need
But that’s all we need…
We shouldn’t compare our gifts with others,
We shouldn’t covet the gifts of others
We should be happy with what God has given us
And realize that it is He,
not our gifts
or anything else
that sustains us
He sustains us
He is all we need.
This week, we’re going to see
The impact that partisanship
Had upon the church….
It’s not who you know….It’s Who knows you!
Paul has just encouraged these people
And assured them of their place in the body of Christ
And in heaven
And he’s told them that God
Is faithful to the ones He calls
Now, Paul says, “Here are some things you need to work on.”
And he begins with this….
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Paul addresses the issue of unity first
Because without unity
The is no body
There is no church
There is no way
To resolve their differences
And look at the way he begins…
He calls them brothers…
He exhorts them in the name of “our Lord and Savior”
Not in the name of “their” Lord
Or in the name of “his” lord
He says “Brothers….I want to encourage you
In the name of ‘Our Lord’
We’re together in this
We all have the same God
We share the same salvation
We are recipients
Of the same grace
What he’s really implying
Is that they’re going to get through this
Because they have a lot more in common
Than what separates them
Since Paul has already established
that it is by God’s hand
that things get done….
It will be by God’s hand
That the problems are resolved
Now there’s a life lesson for all of us here ….
If we allow Him to…
God will resolve our differences…
We already have what we need to do it
All we have to do is use it appropriately
How do we do that?...
By looking to Him
For our guidance
Stop and think about it for a moment
And you’ll see what Paul is saying here
He says, you should all get along
There should all agree
There should be no divisions among you
You should be of one mind
And one judgment
But wait a minute!
he’s talking about church people here!
He’s asking them to all be in agreement
Paul has, obviously, never been to a church
In our 21st century modern times!
Where information gets around
At the speed of light
Particularly gossip, slander
Rumor and innuendo!
Maybe Paul doesn’t have to visit us today
Maybe things haven’t changed a whole lot
Since the first century church
You know, churches are the same
Everywhere you go…
Their all made up of people
And most churches are made up of
Pretty good people
WBF has been blessed with more than a
Fair share of committed, faithful folks
But we’re all still people
And people have a tendency to disagree…
They disagree about a lot of things…
Big things, little things
In between size things
It’s just how people are….
And it’s not only in the church that this happens
It’s the way we live…
Think about it…
There is constant conflict
Everywhere we go
It’s in the church
On our jobs
In our neighborhoods
Even in our homes….
And the conflict is always
Based on someone, it doesn’t matter who…
not getting their way
Then getting upset…
You see, we learn to be in conflict
It starts early in life…
When we’re babies and we don’t get something we want
Of something we want is taken away
We are very vocal about our displeasure…
And as we age…
We may not be as quick to whine…
But we still get upset
Over the same thing
We want what we want
And we want it now!
Yes, conflict starts early
with rattles, then goes to toys
then to footballs and dolls,
Then to a place on the team
Or the cheerleading squad
Then we graduate to the business
And professional world
Or to the PTA
Or into politics.
We’re always striving
for the things we want
Husbands and wives fight
Parents and children fight
Even nations fight…
Sometimes they go to war.
You know something?
I think the source of all of our fighting
The beginning of every conflict…
The root of all disagreements,
Is our own tendency
to view ourselves
as the center of the universe
To look at everything around us
As being there for us
And when we run into
Someone else who has
The same idea about themselves…
It is our own, selfish nature
That causes us to fight among ourselves
I think scripture is very clear on this…
One of the overriding themes of the Bible
Is that man is essentially and naturally sinful
And the root of his sinfulness is his own self-will…
From birth to death,
His inclination is to look out for number one!
Whatever he wants
Even believers are tempted
To fall back into self-centeredness..
To indulge their self- wills…
To work, play and pray in their own self interests
If we are willing to look close enough at it,
the most fundamental foundation of all sin
Is our own egos, our own insistence
That life is all about us
and our happiness
Our way of doing things
Take a look at James 4:
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
(EXPAND on asking and not receiving because…)
Again, I say,
The root of all of our conflicts
Lies in our own idea that we are
The center of the universe
What a hopeless situation!
How do we get out of this?
If we really, really understand how self centered we are…
How can we ever overcome
Our self centeredness
And enter into the type of unity
Paul is asking the Corinthian church
To enter in to?
The answer is right there in the text….
“…that you be made complete in the same mind…”
What mind is that?
It is the mind we received when we received Christ as savior
It is the mind of Christ…
You see, it is the mind of Christ
That will bring us unity
It is the mind of Christ
That will resolve our conflicts
It is the mind of Christ
That will restore peace
It is the mind of Christ!
It is not our minds!
We can’t do it on our own!
If we are ever going to achieve unity
Some miraculous is going to have to happen…
Something supernatural has to occur
We can’t do it on our own
So we need some help….
There’s some good news here…
We already have all we need to address this…
We already have the mind of Christ
What is that?
What is the mind of Christ?
Do we have His brain in our heads?
No, but we are in Him
And He is in us!
And by virtue of that union
We share His heart
And His mind
And what a wonderful mind it is!
What a perfect mind it is!
It is a mind that was able
To lead a sinless life!
It is a mind that was able to resist
It is a mind that has perfect faith!
It is the mind of Christ!
And it can show us the way!
It is a mind so tuned into God’s will
That it was willing to sacrifice everything
In order to remain there
Even life itself!
We got it when we were saved!
We’ll see in the next chapter that we already have it.
Now all we have to do
Is learn how to use it!
How do we do that?
Well, we heard last week
That God has given us His Word
So that we don’t have to sit around
And guess what He wants us to do
We don’t have to rely on our experiences
(expand on experiences)
So our experiences are good
God gave us feelings
So that we could love Him
But we need to know
That our experiences are not unbiased
That is, they are subject to our interpretation
Of what’s going on
So the measure of our experiences
Must be something that is
We have God’s Word
How do we know it is objective
Because God tells us it’s the truth
He wrote it
And in it,
He tells us how we can achieve unity
Through the mind of Christ
Through the teachings of Christ
Through the Word He gave us
And that Word tell us
How to do all this…
It says we should…
Serve each other
(I came here to serve you
Instead of I came here to use you)
Love your brother like yourself
(I want the best for you
Even if it means sacrificing the best for me)
Treat one another as more important
(your welfare is more important than mine)
You see, this is the miracle
Paul was telling the Corinthians about
That they have the mind of Christ
And by learning how to apply the teachings of Christ
They can be of the same mind
And enjoy the same blessings
This is why…
In His high priestly prayer
Jesus prayed this
John 17: 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
The Corinthian church needed to learn this lesson back then
Just as much as we need to learn it today.
How did Paul know all this was going on?
11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.
We don’t know much about Chloe
Other than she probably lived in Corinth
Paul mentions her people
Some translations use the word household here
We know that Paul is not referring to Chloe’s children
If so, they would have been named
By their father’s name
It would be contrary to Hebrew custom
To name children by their mother’s name
We know that his is not a reference to a church
Because the phrasing here indicates
Literal, actual ownership…
That would be similar to saying
That I, as pastor, owned you as a congregation
So these folks Paul is talking about
Are, most likely, slaves or servants
And Chloe is probably a business woman
Whose people move between Ephesus
Paul, obviously trusted Chloe or Chloe’s people
Enough to cite their testimony as being accurate
But we should see something else here, as well
Paul doesn’t mince words here
He doesn’t give some vague testimony
From “unidentified sources”…
There is a place and a time for that
But it’s not here, when accusation of sin
And inappropriate behavior are concerned
And we should conduct ourselves
In the same manner…
If we’re going to accuse
Someone of something
We should be
Willing to stand behind our statements
And have our name mentioned…
It’s a matter of integrity.
If we all had did what Paul tell us to do here…
It would nearly eliminate any idle gossip
in the church today.
Paul doesn’t just mention
who gave this report
He is specific about what the problem is
12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
The phrasing and inflection here are everything…
Paul says that people are bragging about
Who they have aligned themselves with
About who their teachers are
About who they follow…
And each name carries greater emphasis
That denotes superiority to the others
“I am of Paul!”
“Oh yeah? Well I’m of Apollos!”
“That ain’t nothing! I am of Cephas!”
“Well, I got you all beat! I am of Christ!”
And that last one denotes exclusivity…
As if they were the only one
Who was of Christ
And it made them
clearly superior to
They were all gauging their status
By who they knew!
By who they were “friends” with
You can just see the discussion….
“You know, Paul thought I was his star pupil.”
“Oh, Paul is so yesterday! I have been with the new guy, Apollos!”
“Man, you guys are both out of it…
There’s a new guy in town…
He’s got it all together…
His name is Cephas…
I’m pretty good friends with him…
I call him Peter…
All his good friends know him by that name!”
Oh, you guys are so lame!
All I want to do is follow Christ.
I don’t see how you can listen to those guys.
I’m much too intelligent
To get my teaching from another man.
I go right to the source!
I have a special relationship
He tells me things
He would never
Tell you guys!”
Paul lays this out there
And they way he writes it
Leaves no doubt in the reader’s minds
That this is not acceptable behavior
Then, to emphasize his warning
he asks three questions…
13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
The questions are rhetorical,
They don’t expect an answer
As a matter of fact
The tone of the questions
Infers the answer
The answer to each question
Is, obviously, no!
Paul want them to think here…
“When did we start divvying up the teaching talent?”
“Who devised this amazing grading system you’re using
To determine who’s better then who?”
“When did it become a status symbol
To follow one of these guys…
And when did one of them get more
Of Christ than the other?”
“Who made the ultimate sacrifice here? Me?”
“Do you want to recognize me above Christ?
Can I save you?
Did I save you?”
“When we baptize people…who’s name do we use?”
“Do we use mine? Apollos? Peter’s?”
“Do you want to stake your eternal future
What Paul is getting at here is two-fold…
The first is the absurdity of making celebrities
out of men who bring the Word of God…
giving them more credit than Christ Himself
The second is the absurdity of embracing one man
and rejecting another as inferior
or less worthy
and, even worse…
rejecting the followers of
another man of God.
Based on personality or fame
Rather than sound teaching
All the people mentioned are godly men….
All of them are mentioned elsewhere with respect
by Paul, an apostle
Yet the folks in the Corinthian church
Were fighting over who as better
And the fact is…
This conflict was acknowledging and affirming
Everyone on the scene but Christ!...
Christ was getting lost…
Getting put aside…
Given 2nd status!
And it wasn’t just for these teachers…
It was for the Corinthians opinions
You see, there was a second agenda here…
they had embraced this partisanship
as a way of elevating their own status!
They had elevated their teachers
So they could elevate themselves…
Feel good about themselves…
Paul addresses this problem as well…
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.
16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
He says, “Man, I’m glad I didn’t baptize very many of you”
You’d probably be arguing over that too!
You’d be telling people, ‘I was baptized by Paul,
so I am really baptized!
You should think about getting baptized
Just in case Peter’s baptism
You know, I hear he has a
really bad temper!”
Paul goes on to say, “I really don’t remember very much
About who I baptized.
Let’s see, I think I can recall a few…
A guy named Stepahnas and his family
But that’s about it!
That’s all I remember!”
Think how devastating this must have been
To those who were bragging about
Their close relationship with Paul!
He didn’t even remember them!
But that’s how it goes…
When we put out faith and trust in men…
They will let us disappoint us every time!
Then Paul drops this bombshell on them
It’s obvious that they have been arguing
Over who the best teacher was
And who baptized who
And Paul says this…
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
He says, “Baptism is not the issue here!”
This is not to say that baptism is not important…
It’s a commandment!
We have to obey it!
But it should never become a gauge
For how spiritually mature we are.
Paul says, “I wasn’t sent to baptize anybody!
That’s just a bonus blessing!
God sent me to share the gospel!
To tell lost people about Christ!
You guys are missing the point
You’re all bound up by your surroundings!
In the town you’re in, it’s all about the teachers
And how well they speak.
I’m writing this letter to tell you
You have it wrong!
It’s about the message!
And we don’t preach it by persuading
People to come to Christ!
If it was our persuasion …
Brought people to Him
Why would He have
To have died
On the cross?
The message is powerful enough
Don’t make it about personalities
And powerful oration
And level of intelligence!
And who you know!
Let it be about the one who knows you!
Let it be about His Son
And no one else.
We’re all teaching the same thing
The message comes from one God
And it really doesn’t matter who says it
As much as it matter that it is said!”
You see, this is very much a message for us today.
Let Paul’s words ring in our ears and our hearts
From 2,000 years ago
And know that God intended for us
To hear them today.
The gospel of Jesus Christ
As about the message
And not the messenger.
Listen to me…
God knows each one of us
Better than we know ourselves
And He will meet every person
Who comes into His kingdom
At exactly their point
Of greatest need
He knows their situations
He knows the state of their heart
He knows exactly what they need to hear
And He knows exactly when they need to hear it
He knows all that…
And He knows this too…
The power is in the message
Not in persuasive words
Not in great intellect
Not in deep theology
Not in the messenger
The power is in the message
And the message is simple…
God sent his Son
To pay for our sin
If we repent and believe
And make Him Lord of our lives
God will save us
And we will live with Him forever…
It doesn’t matter who the messenger is….
That messenger can be you
Remember what we learned last week
God has given us all we need
To do what He has called us to do
And what he has called us to do
Is to be His witnesses
And we don’t have to be
Or brilliantly articulate
All we have to be
Is willing to be
Used for His
Yes, brothers and sisters
It’s not about who we know here on earth SLIDE
That will save the Corinthians or us or anyone else
It is who knows us… SLIDE
Who has saved us
Who has equipped us
And who will empower us
And He’s up in heaven….
And we are His messengers
Here on earth.