That there be no divisions among you
1 Corinthians 1:1-17 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God which is in 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:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 just as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you eagerly await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 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. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name! 16 But I did baptize the household of Stephanas also; beyond that, I do not know if I baptized anyone else. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made of no effect.
In yesterday’s text and meditation we saw that Paul warned against division. Romans 16:17-18 says: Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such people are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. Throughout our society and culture, there are many people who seek to divide us. A divided people is easier to control. It should not be that way in the church though. In today’s text it says: Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 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. That does not mean that we all should agree on everything, but that the things that we disagree on should not divide us. We should remain united around the truth of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life,” and Romans 10:9-10: That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. As disciples together, we should remain united in fulfilling His commission in Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We may have different styles of worship and methods of loving and serving, we may be called to different ministries, but we should not be divided. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul says: When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God.
In John 13:34-35 Jesus says: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” One of the greatest hindrances to the church today in fulfilling Jesus commission, is that there is so much division in the church that world does not know who Jesus disciples are. In the text it says: There are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? Surely Christ should not be divided. Our identity should be united in Him. The church should not resemble the world with its hatred and division. Instead, the church should be an example and a light to the world. In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
On the night He was betrayed and arrested, Jesus prayed for His disciples, both those who were with Him, and we who would come to believe through them. In John 17:17-23 Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just 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 also have given to them, so 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 You loved them, just as You loved Me.” Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.