One of the greatest threats to ministry
Today we want to gain a better understanding of
– causes of disunity
– actions to prevent and correct divisions
First Corinthians, the first letter to the Corinthian church
Corinth was a thriving city situated along a major trade route. Many merchants and sailors passed through this city. It was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire and one of the richest cities in the world. Corruption and immorality were common.
Paul lived in Corinth 1 and a half years and established a church. Three years after he left, he received a letter from the household of Chloe telling of quarrels among the members of the church. Paul wrote this letter to rebuke the church members. The tone of the letter was loving. First he called them “brothers” and he begged them “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Cause of Division #1: Misplaced Loyalties –
1 Corinthians 1:10-15 – loyalty to man instead of God. Jesus alone is our Savior and Head of the church. We are baptized in the name of Christ
Solution #1: Restore Unity – 1 Corinthians 1:10
Speak the same thing – words had created division, use speech to restore harmony
The same mind – of the same mind – wrong thinking results in sinful words and actions
The same judgments/convictions – the Corinthians had lost sight of their responsibility to work together to honor the Lord Jesus Christ
Cause of Division #2: Pride – 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Pride exalts self over others and fails to submit to God’s authority
Pride separates us from each other and from God
Solution #2: Philippians 2:2-4
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Cause of Division #3: Spiritual Immaturity – 1Corinthians 3:1-4
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal:for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Natural man, spiritual man, fleshly man
Acting the same way we did before we were saved
Failure to study and apply God’s word
Solution #3: Time, study, obedience and self-examination
Results of Division
-A house divided – Matthew 12:25
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
-No group agrees on everything, but differences in opinion can result in hard feelings, strained relationships, and ineffective ministries.
-Obstacle in our attempts to win others to Christ
Neither hot nor cold – Revelation 3:15-16
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
#1 reason for unbelievers not being interested in church