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No Divisions Among You

To the Church of God at Corinth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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At school for the past 4 or 5 years my position is Math Resource Teacher or Math Coach…so I enjoy teaching students math. I work with 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students. I get to create some fun and challenging math review games for them. One of the concepts that is difficult for them especially 4th graders is division. Things like 517 divided by 8…and word problems are even more challenging. Two hundred forty-three racers entered the Subaru Rally Challenge. The race officials wanted to place the cars into heat races that each hold 13 drivers. How many heat races will the race officials need to have in order for all drivers to compete in the challenge?
243/13=18R9 so the students need to understand that if the drivers are put into 18 groups of 13 there will be 9 drivers who will not get to race, therefore they race officials need to add another heat race so these 9 drivers get to compete. The officials need to have 19 heat races for all drivers to compete.
So division is good. Also what if you baked a cake for a party etc....
We have divisions in sports,
keep on talking about good division
We have divisions in sports from the very youngest to the top professional level. Division is good…we divide up bathrooms and locker rooms into boy, girls, men, women…we try and protect our children here, do as I said division is good.
In Washington D.C. we have Republicans vs. Democrats, we have division…how is this working out for our country? Is division really good?
George Washington
Washington warned of the dangers of political factions to democratic republics throughout history. His aversion to partisanship reflected the fact that just a few decades earlier, in 1746, political parties had driven England to civil war.
Washington warned of the dangers of political factions to democratic republics throughout history. His aversion to partisanship reflected the fact that just a few decades earlier, in 1746, political parties had driven England to civil war.
“I was no party man myself,” Washington wrote Thomas Jefferson, “and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them.”
George Washington’s Farewell Warning Partisanship would lead to the “ruins of public liberty.”
Washington also saw the dangers in the division of North vs. South and warned that political factions gaining enough power could seek to obstruct the execution of the laws that were created by Congress and could prevent the three branches from properly performing their duties as outlined in the Constitution.
Washington also saw the dangers in sectionalism (North vs. South) and warned that political factions gaining enough power could seek to obstruct the execution of the laws that were created by Congress and could prevent the three branches from properly performing their duties as outlined in the Constitution.
Partisanship would lead to the “ruins of public liberty,”
He also said;
The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/history-and-holidays/george-washington-warning-america-against-political-parties-63046/#D4YI4JMIJgpZSUDm.99
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/history-and-holidays/george-washington-warning-america-against-political-parties-63046/#D4YI4JMIJgpZSUDm.99
So maybe not all division is good....

Scripture Passage

1 Corinthians 1:1–17 NASB95
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 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. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 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.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 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.

Review of Intro to Corinthians

1 Cori
Paul founded the church at Corinth during his second missionary journey probably around ad 51.

Important Reminder

1 Corinthians 1:1 NASB95
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Essential Understanding

A. In 1 Corinthians we see Paul, a pastor, dealing with a problem church. In this letter and in Galatians, we see him apply universal gospel truth in different ways, based on the need of the church: freedom for the Galatian churches/limits to the Corinthian church.
B. This book is either a series of "cultural dinosaurs" or a wealth of principled truth applied to a particular historical/cultural setting. We must be careful not to confuse truth and cultural applications of that truth. For a good discussion of this very important hermeneutical issue see Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart's How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 65-76 and Gordon Fee, Gospel and Spirit.
C. This book will push you to the limit of your spiritual ability to interpret the Bible. It will force you to rethink aspects of your theology. It will open a window to God's will for our day, practically speaking, as few other biblical writings.
1 Corinthians 1:1 NASB95
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
The text states that Paul was “CALLED” klētós κλητὸς
invited, called out, chosen; SENSE: summoned - denoting someone whose participation or presence has been officially requested; especially a request to which refusal is not an option.
κλητὸς
essential
summoned by God to an office or to salvation
called, invited, summoned by God to an office or to salvation
Paul indicates that he has been summoned by God to be an APOSTLE, an envoy of Jesus Christ (an apostle is normally someone who has been taught directly by Jesus and who is invested with the authority to speak on His behalf.
1 Corinthians 1:2 NASB95
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
G. Archer says: It is debated whether there are apostles today. "The Bible itself never indicates the office of apostle has officially ceased, any more than with an evangelist or pastor-teacher (Eph 4:11-12)."
"The signs of a true apostle" are listed in : "signs and wonders and miracles." These illustrate the spiritual power of someone called (commissioned) by the Lord to "break new ground" and bring unity to the Church.
"The signs of a true apostle" are listed in : "signs and wonders and miracles." These illustrate the spiritual power of someone called (commissioned) by the Lord to "break new ground" and bring unity to the Church.
Utley gives a more detailed outline of the underlying foundations of APOSTLE
"an apostle" This is a common Greek word for "send." This term has several theological usages.
"an apostle" This is a common Greek word for "send" (i.e., apostellō). See Special Topic at . This term has several theological usages.
1. The rabbis used it as one called and sent as an official representative of another, something like our English "ambassador" (cf. ).
2. The Gospels often use this term of Jesus being sent by the Father (cf. ; ; ; ). In John the term takes on Messianic overtones (cf. ; ,,,,; ,,,,; ; ; ; ; ,,,,,; ). It is used of Jesus sending believers (cf. ; ).
2. The Gospels often use this term of Jesus being sent by the Father (cf. ; ; ; ). In John the term takes on Messianic overtones (cf. ; ,,,,; ,,,,; ; ; ; ; ,,,,,; ). It is used of Jesus sending believers (cf. ; ).
3. The NT used it for disciples.
a. the original Twelve who were an inner circle of disciples (cf. ; )
b. a special group of Apostolic helpers and co-workers
(1) Barnabas (cf. ,)
(2) Andronicus and Junias (KJV, Junia, cf. )
(3) Apollos (cf. )
(4) James, the Lord's brother (cf. )
(5) Silvanus and Timothy (cf. )
(6) possibly Titus (cf. )
(7) possibly Epaphroditus (cf. )
c. an ongoing gift in the church (cf. ; )
4. Paul uses this title for himself in most of his letters as a way of asserting his God-given call and authority as Christ's representative (cf. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ).

For Paul, apostleship was rooted more in the appearance of the risen Christ to him (1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7–9) than in letters of authorization from others in the church. The authorization of his apostleship was not the congregation, but God, as we see in his “by the will of God” (see also Gal. 1:1). His calling as an apostle came from God (“called an apostle”).

Sosthenes. Perhaps the same person mentioned in Acts 18:17, ruler of the synagogue in Corinth at the time of Paul’s first visit to the city.

Acts 18:12–17 NASB95
But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.

Sosthenes. This is a possible reference to the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth in Acts 18:15–27 who became a follower of Jesus (“our brother”). The description of him as a “brother” (Greek = adelphos) is similar to other uses of the term to identify those who have become followers of Jesus the Christ (Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 16:12; Col. 4:7). He may also have assisted Paul in the writing of 1 Corinthians. For example, see Paul’s use of “we” in 1 Cor. 1:18–31 and 2:6–16. The “we” texts may also only refer to a common form of writing in antiquity: namely, using the first person plural. Nevertheless, if the Sosthenes here is the same as in Acts 18:17, then there was at least one Jewish convert under Paul’s ministry and two others who worked with him in Corinth, Aquila and Prisca (= Priscilla), mentioned in 1 Cor. 16:19; Acts 18:2–3, 18, 26; and Rom. 16:3.

This was possibly the Jewish leader mentioned in , who was beaten by the mob and possibly later became a believer and a local church leader. It is possible that he was Paul's (1) helper; (2) scribe; (3) source of information about the church or; (4) someone the church knew well.
1 Corinthians 1:2 NASB95
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
"of God which is at Corinth" This phrase expresses two distinct senses about "the church."
1. It is a local body of born again, baptized believers. Most of the places in the NT that the word ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah) is used reflect this local sense.
(ek-klay-see'-ah) is used reflect this local sense.
2. It is also the universal expression of the body of Christ. This is seen in (i.e., the first of the rare usage of this term by Jesus, cf. [twice]); uses the singular "church" for all the local congregations in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria; and finally the use of the term in Ephesians, which is a cyclical letter to the churches of Asia Minor (cf. ; ,; ).
There is one large body of Christ made up of all believers (some now dead, some alive) and there are local expressions of that universal body.
▣ "to those who have been sanctified" This is a perfect passive participle, which means they have been and continue to be declared holy by the work of Jesus through the agency of the Spirit (cf. ). This term (hagiazō) is related to the word "holy" (hagios) and "saints" (i.e., "holy ones" hagioi). It speaks of our separation to God for service. Here it refers to our position in Him as does, but other places in the NT believers are to strive toward "holiness" (e.g., ). It is a position to be possessed. Paul encourages this factious, prideful church by calling them "saints" even amidst their failures and sins!

The origins of this notion of calling the people of God “holy,” or separated unto God, go back to Exod. 19:6 where the people of God are to be “a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.” It should be noted that the singular form is not used either here or in the letters of Paul, but rather the plural as the whole people of God. The same is true in the New Testament where an individual is not called a “saint” (Greek = hagios), or a holy person, but rather a community of believers in Christ are called “saints” (Greek = hagioi) or “holy people” (Rom. 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25, 31; 16:2; 6:1, 2; 14:23; 16:1, 15, passim). Those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, says Paul, are “called to be holy.”

"saints" "Saints" (hagioi) is theologically related to the OT term "holy," (kadosh) which means "set apart for God's service" (cf. ; ; ; ; ). It is plural in the NT except for one time in Philippians (4:21), but even there, it is used corporately. To be saved is to be part of the covenant community of faith, the family of believers, the body of Christ.
"saints" "Saints" (hagioi) is theologically related to the OT term "holy," (kadosh) which means "set apart for God's service" (cf. ; ; ; ; ). It is plural in the NT except for one time in Philippians (4:21), but even there, it is used corporately. To be saved is to be part of the covenant community of faith, the family of believers, the body of Christ.
God's people are holy because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus (cf. ; ; ). It is God's will that they live holy lives (cf. ; ; 5:27; ; ). Believers are both declared holy (positional sanctification) and called to lifestyle holiness (progressive sanctification). Justification and sanctification must be affirmed together!
SPECIAL TOPIC: Saints are called to UNITY
"with all who in every place" Paul uses this phrase to remind the Corinthian believers that they are part of a larger church family. They do not have the right to uniqueness or special treatment. They must conform to the whole body of Christ in doctrine and practice (cf. ; ; ; ).
"call on the name of our Lord" This refers to becoming a Christian (cf. ; ; ), but also to continuing worship (i.e., the OT use of the name, cf. ; ; ). Here it is a present middle participle, which describes a moment-by-moment faith relationship with Christ (i.e., similar theologically to Paul's "in Christ") and an emphasis on an individual's volition. See Special Topic at .
"their Lord and ours" This is another phrase that implies the unity of all believers and churches. Jesus is Lord of all the Christian congregations, which includes Corinth. Paul identifies himself and Sosthenes with the believers at Corinth in this phrase. They need to be reminded that (1) they are one of many congregations and (2) that Paul is one of them and for them!
1 Corinthians 1:3 NASB95
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and Peace: a common greeting used by Paul, Peter as well as John. Theologically grace always precedes peace, but both are found only in a faith relationship with Christ (i.e., both corporately and individually).
R.C.H. Lenski observes that “grace is always first, peace always second. This is due to the fact that grace is the source of peace. Without grace there is and can be no peace; but when grace is ours, peace must of necessity follow.”
Theologically grace always precedes peace, but both are found only in a faith relationship with Christ (i.e., both corporately and individually).
Both "grace" and "peace" come from the Father and the Son. The Father and Jesus are linked grammatically as one unit (i.e., one preposition, but two objects).
Both "grace" and "peace" come from the Father and the Son. The Father and Jesus are linked grammatically as one unit (i.e., one preposition, but two objects).
1 Corinthians 1:4 NASB95
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
We must realize that even in troubled times, with troubled people, and in troubled churches we must give thanks to God:
In verses 4-9 we should be aware of an expansion of the things Paul thanks God for in the life of this troubled church. An introductory thanksgiving was a culturally expected element in first century letters. There is no thanksgiving in the introduction to 2 Corinthians (nor Galatians).
1 Corinthians 1:5–7 NASB95
that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Corinthians 1:5-
1 Corinthians 1:5 NASB95
that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,

Speech, knowledge, spiritual gifts. Paul clarifies for the Corinthians the basis for his regular thanksgiving (1:4) and it is related to the spiritual gifts that God has given to them, especially speech, knowledge, and spiritual gifts (Greek = logos/gnosis/charismata), cf. 8:1; 12:8; 13:1–2.

1 Corinthians 1:6 NASB95
even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,

Since there was a very large wealth gap in Corinth, Paul emphasizes that riches are found in a life of following Christ; Christ’s gifts are what matter.

1 Corinthians 1:5

It’s likely that because of this, believers in Corinth were drawn to the ministry of Apollos; he was knowledgeable and eloquent (Acts 18:24–25; 1 Cor 1:12; 3:4–5).

Since there was a very large wealth gap in Corinth, Paul emphasizes that riches are found in a life of following Christ; Christ’s gifts are what matter.

1 Corinthians 1:5

It’s likely that because of this, believers in Corinth were drawn to the ministry of Apollos; he was knowledgeable and eloquent (Acts 18:24–25; 1 Cor 1:12; 3:4–5).

1 Corinthians 1:7 NASB95
so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul affirms that these spiritual gifts…are given to men by God!
Reality Check
Spiritual pride was developing in the Corinthian church (cf. ). They were glorying in their gifts and performance instead of in Christ. It was God who gave them these very gifts. There was/is no room for human pride (cf. ). See SPECIAL TOPIC: BOASTING at .
Ephesians 2:9 NASB95
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The knowledge Paul is alluding to is not theoretical knowledge, nor academic knowledge, but Christian truth and how it applies to life (cf. ; ). Human knowledge builds up, but God's knowledge edifies and leads to peace and harmony in the Christian fellowship. Oh how we need God's gift of knowledge in the church today!
Utley rightly points out:
The term "gift" is charisma. This word is related to the term "grace," charis, which emphasizes that the spiritual gifts are given by God for the common good (cf. ,). They are meant to glorify Christ, not the Spirit or the individual Christian (cf. chapters 12-14). All of the gifts needed were present in the Corinthian church as they are in every church (cf. ). God has abundantly provided (i.e., strong double negative connected with "lacking") for His people during the interim between Christ's two comings through the Holy Spirit's ministry.
Charismata ("grace-endowments") are sovereignly distributed by the Holy Spirit (), enabling each believer to play their role to edify the Church. Sixteen of these endowments of grace ("gifts") are listed in and .
Note: 5486/xárisma (plural, xarismata, "charismata") are often referred to as "gifts" ("spiritual-gifts"), but are more accurately (literally) "grace-endowments." This Greek term emphasizes the divinely intended results from sharing God's grace. Spiritual gifts are always about the Lord – glorifying Him alone!

The Corinthians were tempted to become puffed up by their gifts of “knowledge” and of speaking “in tongues” (8:1; 14:23). Paul needs to rebuke them for their self-centered and loveless misuse of those gifts (12:14–26; 13:1–3, 9–13; 14:4–5), but he does not deny or minimize the spiritual gifts they have received (v. 7).

1 Corinthians 1:8 NASB95
who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:
:
1 Corinthians 1:9 NASB95
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:8–9 NASB95
who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1

Blameless (Greek = anegkletous). This term comes from a judicial context in which those accused of wrongdoing (see Rom. 8:33) have been declared by the judge to be blameless or innocent. Other uses of this word are found in Col. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:10; Titus 1:6–7. When Paul emphasizes being blameless in a moral or religious sense, he often uses another terms, amemptos (Phil. 2:15; 3:6; 1 Thess. 3:13) or amemptos (1 Thess. 2:10; 3:13; 5:23).

Day of the Lord. Paul’s expression, “Day of the Lord,” is a familiar one in the Old Testament (Isa. 13:6, 9; Jer. 25:33; Ezek. 7:10; 13:5; Joel 2:1, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18–20; Obad. 1:15; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Mal. 4:1) and refers both to God’s judgment and to the day of salvation. It plays an important role in Paul’s understanding of God’s judgments and rewards as well, but for him this is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ or the day of Jesus Christ

Look back to verse 6; the term "confirm" was used. The Corinthian church needed to be stabilized, to be constant and unwavering. This is one of the main purposes of Paul's letters to them. Christ's gospel was confirmed (i.e., ) and they will be confirmed by God's help (i.e., ). In Paul wants their love for God to be confirmed.
The term "confirm" was used in . This church needed to be stabilized, to be constant and unwavering. This is one of the main purposes of Paul's letters to them. Christ's gospel was confirmed (i.e., ) and they will be confirmed by God's help (i.e., ). In Paul wants their love for him to be confirmed.
Paul wants their love for him to be confirmed.
The Bible has two seemingly paradoxical truths about the believer's relationship with God.
1. It is covenantal in nature; therefore, it involves an initial and an ongoing faith and repentant response. We must be diligent to maintain our relationship.
2. It is secure in God's faithfulness (cf. ). No one can steal our relationship from us (cf. ,; ; ). Security and perseverance are both biblical (cf. , and ). They are the two necessary aspects of "covenant."
1 Corinthians 1:10 NASB95
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.
1 Corinthians 1:
Notice they are all to agree. légō (originally, "lay down to sleep," and later used of "laying an argument to rest," i.e. bringing a message to closure; – properly, to say (speak), moving to a conclusion (closure, "laying it to rest").
legō is the root of the English terms "legal" and "intelligent." Both literally mean "summarize (collect up) into a final opinion," i.e. bring to a conclusion; "lay to rest".
And the text states that they must come to the conclusion that within the church at Corinth there be no divisions among the believers.
NO DIVISIONS - [skis-ma]
Definition: a rent, as in a garment; a division, dissention; tear or division. Here it relates the sense of a division of a group into opposing factions.
Paul's desire for this church reflects Jesus' prayer in ,, "that they may be one, even as We are." This is also the thrust of . Unity, not uniformity is crucial for a healthy, growing, Great Commission church (cf. ). Lack of unity results in blinded minds (cf. ; ; ).
Philippians 1:27 NASB95
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
,
Paul's desire for this church reflects Jesus' prayer in ,, "that they may be one, even as We are." This is also the thrust of . Unity (not uniformity) is crucial for a healthy, growing, Great Commission church (cf. ). Lack of unity results in blinded minds (cf. ; ; ).
John 17:11 NASB95
“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
John 17:21–23 NASB95
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. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 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.
Philippians 1:27 NASB95
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Reality Check
Ephesians 4:1–6 NASB95
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Notice what I said earlier...Unity, not uniformity is crucial for a healthy, growing, Great Commission church. Lack of unity results in blinded minds.
In regards to this, what are churches across the U.S. and the world focused on?
Unity or Uniformity? May God have mercy on us today!
Utley points out that:
These divisions were based on
1. believers' personal preference for certain leadership skills (i.e., rhetoric)
2. believers' pride and jealousy over spiritual gifts
3. believers' recognition of economic categories (i.e., rich and poor)
4. believers' prejudice over social rank (i.e., slave and free)
5. believers' racial pride (i.e., Jew and Gentile)
6. believers' jealousy or pride over marital status (i.e., married and unmarried)
7. believers' pride over intellectual prowess (i.e., first century educational elitism, sophists)
The Today's English Version (TEV) translation has "completely united with only one thought and one purpose." That purpose is the Kingdom of God, the gospel, the Great Commission, personal holiness, not personal biases, preferences, or agendas!
Utley rightly relates this to today’s church:
“In many ways this emphasis on arrogance, pride, dogmatism, and personal preference describes the modern church's denominational confusion. Each group claims to be number one following their human leaders (i.e., Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, etc.). Each group thinks they exclusively reflect God's mind. Oh, the continuing need for humility and teachability. All those who continually call on Jesus' name are His church!”
Does this not describe the church today? I see this across the American church, posted on blog after blog, website after website, sermon after sermon...
In many ways this emphasis on arrogance, pride, dogmatism, and personal preference describes the modern church's denominational confusion. Each group claims to be number one following their human leaders (i.e., Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, etc.). Each group thinks they exclusively reflect God's mind. Oh, the continuing need for humility and teachability. All those who continually call on Jesus' name are His church!
Where is the Unity? I see division after division!
Paul goes on to explain the divisions he is addressing.
1 Corinthians 1:11–17 NASB95
For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 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.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 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.
What is the real purpose for Paul? And I would say for each of us! Preach the Gospel! Share the gospel with those around us; not some tricky, crafty message; but rather the plain and simple Full Gospel of Christ! Including sin, death, our need, and the bloody cross of Christ!
1 Corinthians 1:11 NASB95
For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.
1 Corinthians 1:12 NASB95
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.”
1 Corinthians 1:13 NASB95
Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:14–15 NASB95
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.
1 Corinthians 1:16 NASB95
Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
1 Corinthians 1:17 NASB95
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.
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