Today’s Scripture: I Corinthians 1:10-17
10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”
13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. 16 (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
The Corinthian church was a mess, and Paul wastes no time calling them out. Apparently, there were some serious divisions in the church. Different members were “identifying” with different leaders. Big problem.
So Paul starts off by setting the bar REALLY high for church-life: “Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” Obviously, Paul had not been to a church business meeting.
Is it possible for a church to have no divisions? It is within the realm of the conceivable that all would be of one mind, united in thought and purpose? If we look at the state of Christianity (and our country) today, we might not think so. And yet, here Paul is almost demanding it.
There are a few ways this uniformity can happen. It can happen when the church is homogeneous: looks the same, thinks the same, maybe even everyone is from the same family. Or, it can happen when there is a dictator pastor who enforces uniformity. Alternatively, a church like that is possible when no one thinks for themselves and let’s the pastor or leader do the “thinking” for them.
But I don’t think Jesus wanted to create a homogeneous, dictator led, non-thinking church. So how do we get the unity that Paul is demanding? It starts with us as individuals.
Notice that the problem in Corinth seemed to come when individuals decided to follow different leaders. This will always lead to trouble. And it happens in churches to this day. People decide (consciously or not) to “follow” someone or something other than Christ. It may be a dictator pastor, a political agenda, a popular theology, or even their own opinions and preferences. When this happens, Jesus is no longer Lord – something or someone else is.
So, unity in the church starts with us. We need to make the decision that Jesus is OUR Lord and nothing else is. This is so hard to do. We’ve been wrestling with it since the start of Christianity! But it’s the only way.
So the question is: what is Lord in your life today?
God it is so easy for us to make something or someone other than Jesus the Lord of our life. We might not even realize when it happens. Help us to see when Jesus has been replaced as Lord and forgive us. May our thoughts and opinions and whole life be submitted to his lordship.