BE PERFECTLY UNITED
Father God, may your Spirit cleanse my heart, use my gifts, and perfect the offering of myself to you.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–17
A Church Divided Over Leaders
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verses 11 and 26; and in 2:1; 3:1; 4:6; 6:8; 7:24, 29; 10:1; 11:33; 12:1; 14:6, 20, 26, 39; 15:1, 6, 50, 58; 16:15, 20.
- 1 Corinthians 1:12 That is, Peter
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you guard against cliques in your church? We all naturally tend to gravitate toward those we like, or who are like ourselves, but how do we ensure that everyone is included?
God takes unity in the church very seriously. It was the subject of Jesus’ prayer for all believers on the night before he died. In John 17, Jesus prays that ‘all of them [those who believe in Jesus] may be one,’ just as Jesus and the Father are one, ‘that they might be brought into complete unity.’
Tragically, Jesus’ prayer has not yet been answered – the history of the church is littered with arguments, disagreements, splits, and factions. Our own experience of church may well include hurt, anger, and upset, as people have fallen out with others and divided into ‘us and them’ groups.
The Corinthian church appeared to be divided into at least four factions, and engaged in a sort of spiritual ‘one-upmanship,’ claiming allegiance to Paul, Apollos, Peter (sometimes called Cephas) – or Jesus. You can almost sense Paul’s exasperation as he tries to deal with this in these verses (vs 12,13). They are united in Christ! I wonder how his appeal for unity was received by the Corinthian church.
Is there someone that you struggle with? Can you think of some reasons to thank God for that person? Why not drop them a line telling them what you appreciate about them? Pray that God would help you to become more united.
Lord, I pray for myself, my church, and the Church. May the servant-heart prevail, and may our love and unity show to the world the difference you make in relationships.
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