DIVIDED CHURCH AHEAD?
Whether it is money, status, position in the Church, religious hierarchies, pastoral preferences or personal biases, there are factions that exist in our churches, and they are fatally dividing the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:10, says, “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. Verse 11. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.”
1st & 2nd Corinthians: Some “Not-so-Key points”:
(1) Things were not going so well for the (New Testament) Church in Corinth
(2) It seemed like the people in the Corinthian Church had rejected the Apostle Paul’s teachings and had rebelled against Paul’s authority
(3) Paul had to make a “painful visit” to the Church in Corinth. After his visit, Paul wrote the Church in Corinth another letter with “great anguish and tears”
*As a result, the Church at Corinth wanted to reconcile with Paul.
*Paul then wrote another letter, we know as Second Corinthians, to express his love and commitment to the Corinthian Church
*The Church in Corinth repented of their arrogance (sins), and reconciled with Paul
NOTE: Corinth was known for its excessive moral decay. The word “Corinthian” was used by the Romans for someone who was immoral and excessive in that immorality.
The shipping trade made many people rich. But there were many more poor people in the city. There was a chasm between the two groups. These people did not socialize with one another.
The people in the Church at Corinth reflected the city and society in which they live. They practiced worldliness of the excesses of wealth, selfishness, arrogance, moral depravity and rebellion against authority.
The people could not or would not detach themselves from the world they lived in, and they were having problems shaking off the ways they lived before they were introduced to Jesus Christ. And, they were bringing the world into the church.
The church at Corinth was racked with divisions. The factions were a reflection of the different beliefs and backgrounds the people had before becoming Christians. The Bible speaks frankly about divisions within the church.
It is not much different from the Church of today.
Whether it is money, status inside and outside the Church, religious hierarchies, pastoral preferences, personal bias, there are factions that exist in most churches in America today, and they are dividing the Body of Christ.
Reconciling the Church
(1) Paul begins to approach these problems in 1 Corinthians – this problem of sinfulness – with a greeting to “the church of God that is in Corinth,” in which he offers thanks for the faith and strength of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 1:2).
(2) Next, he immediately begins to list and address the problems that plague that church.
The first problem, to which he devotes almost four chapters, concerns factionalism within the church.
(2a) Paul stresses that each preacher of the Gospel is merely a servant of Jesus, and that all believers should be united in Jesus. The faithful should put aside their differences and remember that “all things are yours. . . . You belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:23).
(2b) The place of the preacher is not to establish themselves as leaders among men; instead, “people should think of us as servants of Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:1).
(3) Paul speaks of the regulation of spiritual gifts in the church of believers. There are many instances in the Corinthian church of people prophesying and speaking in tongues.
These spiritual gifts are important because they help to strengthen the community. All Spiritual Gifts, and all believers, are indispensable to the church.
But Paul prioritizes prophecy, with its clarity of message, over speaking in tongues, which is generally indecipherable and therefore cannot provide instruction to the community.
(4) He charges us to “keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13–14).
God’s model, God’s remedy, for the divided Church is that
- You – as “living stones” – are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, and
- you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,
- So that you will proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
Our Lord is calling us to GET BACK ON MISSION – “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
The time is short, and the workers are few, indeed.
Your Brother and Friend,
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