1 Corinthians 1 Lesson

Church Unity

PROBLEMS IN CORINTH

It has been a little more than twenty years since Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and the churches of Corinth are experiencing problems. Paul has received a report that there are divisions among the brethren.  Sometimes our expectation is that there will be no conflict within the church.  If only that were the case!  

Families fight.  

Church families are no exception.  

We fight because we are imperfect people worshiping a perfect God  and things can sometimes get a bit messy.  It is important to understand that fighting among the brethren is not what God wants , and there are steps we can take to become more united with our Brothers and Sisters. That will be the focus of today’s lesson.

CHURCH UNITY

Paul had been receiving reports that there was division among the brethren in Corinth. In his letter, he writes:

  • “Exhort the brethren not to let divisions exist between them, as they are all part of one body – the body of Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Paul’s letter reminds the Corinthians of three things:

  1. They are all on the same team (followers of Christ),
  2. As followers of Christ, they should be of the same mind and in the same judgment,
  3. Christ is their leader.   Not Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or anyone else.  

We will look at these points one at a time, and then the lesson will be yours. 

WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM

If our focus is on God and serving one another, we should all be on the same page.  Consider what Peter wrote in his epistle about the importance of unity:

This verse implores us to be:

  • Harmonious:    "Free from disagreement or dissent."
  • Sympathetic:    "Having feelings of pity and sorry for someone else’s misfortune." 
  • Loving:   Being loving is synonymous with being affectionate and warm. The Apostle John wrote, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters.” - 1 John 3:16. If we truly are seeking unity, we are to be servants of one another, and we are to put the needs of others ahead of our own.
  • Compassionate:  "Feeling or showing concern for others."
  • Humble: "Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance."

When we look to honor God by serving one another, and not ourselves, we become united in a common purpose .

BE OF THE SAME MIND

  • “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.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10.

Christians have a lot in common.   One of the most important things that we have in common is that we accept the Bible as God’s inspired word. We look to the Bible as our primary resource for learning what is right and what is wrong.  The Apostle Paul wrote:

  • “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness." - 2 Timothy 3:16.

God's word is perfect because it contains the unsurpassed wisdom of God!  When we look to the Bible to be our moral compass and for answers to life's questions, we become united in a commonfaith.  

JESUS IS OUR LEADER

Christians are united because we are all following the same Savior. Consider the following three scriptures that speak to the authority of Jesus:

  1. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” - Mathew 28:18,
  2. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” - John 14:6,
  3. “He is the head over every ruler and authority.” - Colossians 2:10.

When we acknowledge Jesus as our leader and look to Him to be our example, we become more united .  

CONCLUSION

Unity in the church is important. As Christians, we are to be the salt of the earth (Mathew 5:13), and the light of the world (Mathew 5:14).

If we are bickering with one another, or not getting along, something is wrong and needs to be corrected. Focusing on the following three things that we have in common is a fantastic way to get back on track:

  1. We are all on the same team (followers of Christ),
  2. As followers of Christ, we are of the same mind and the same judgment,
  3. We all have the same leader in Jesus. Not Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or anyone else.  

We will end today’s lesson with the following two scriptures:

  1. “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” -Philippians 2:2,
  2. “In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” - Colossians 3:14.

Comments

Michael

That's a great question! Everyone wants to be close to God when the bad times come. But in the good times, we can get a false sense of confidence that we can go it alone.

If we puff ourselves up, God will humble us. Sometimes in a very public and painful way. Reading the scriptures to remind us what happened to Job and what can happen to us if we abandon God helps.

Reply
DAVID

A couple of thoughts come to mind. In San Diego our evangelist was a name named Guerimo who was nicknamed the bulldog of preachers. He was very likable, deep in his convictions, and had a larger than life persona on stage. The challenge with that is too many seemingly were more enthralled by Jim than the message. He, being a Man of God, put an end to that; calling out the members and making it clear he would rather see himself transferred than to have any perceived notion that it was his church. It was and is only God’s!
Concerning Job, I love when God speaks: Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge. Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you will answer! The next part is not written but I think it should have been in parentheses that Job probably fainted or worse. What I love about Job is God generally is cryptic in his description of himself (I am the I am)...except here. We experience the sarcasm, the wit, the poetic beauty, the power, and ultimately the love of God for Job and all his people.
To God be the Glory!

Reply
John
DAVID

Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing them David!

Reply
Pat Dermody

The Christians in Corinth were struggling with their environment. They were surrounded by corruption and sin which brought about doubt. Today as we face the coronavirus we may have doubts ...no job, loss of savings, food insecurity, depression, weakening of relationships. We must remind ourselves to stay faithful to God and that He is right by our side. Life is short and live with the knowledge that ultimately He will give us eternal life. To use the vernacular, “ keep the faith.”

Reply
John
Pat Dermody

Amen Pat Dermody! Thanks for your comments!

Reply
John

It's been a while since I have thought about the book of Job. With all of the things going on in the world, it is the perfect reminder to us that God is in charge. When we put our faith in Him, He will bless us.

It is foolishness to put our faith anywhere else.

Reply