"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS"
The Problem Of Religious Division (1:10-13) INTRODUCTION 1. The picture the world sees of "Christianity" is one with much religious division... a. Between Catholics and Protestants b. Between various Protestant denominations c. Between liberal and conservative factions of any denomination d. Between members of the same congregation 2. Many people do not take the problem of religious division seriously... a. Content to perpetuate the denominational names and doctrines that divide so many b. Considering such differences as not important, often praising such diversity as commendable [Yet in the early church, "The Problem Of Religious Division" was not taken lightly. As we turn to our text (1Co 1:10-13), we are immediately struck with...] I. THE SEVERITY OF THE PROBLEM A. IN THE WORDS OF PAUL... 1. Prompting the apostle to beg ("I plead with you, brethren...") - 1Co 1:10 2. Appealing to the authority of Christ - 1Co 1:10 3. For the contention division creates - 1Co 1:11 4. For the impression such division gives - 1Co 1:12-13 a. That Christ is somehow divided b. That their allegiance is to some man rather than to Christ 5. For such division is indicative of carnality and spiritual immaturity - cf. 1Co 3:1-4 -- Paul certainly took the problem of religious division seriously! B. IN THE WORDS AND DEEDS OF JESUS... 1. Jesus prayed for unity among those who would believe in Him - Jn 17:20-21 a. Unity akin to that between the Father and the Son - Jn 17: 21b,22b b. Participating in the unity between the Father and the Son - Jn 17:21c,23a 2. For two reasons Jesus prays for unity among believers a. "that the world may believe that you sent Me" - Jn 17:21 b. "that the world may know that you sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" - Jn 17:23 3. He even passed along glory from the Father to make unity possible! - cf. Jn 17:22 4. He also died to bring about unity between Jew and Gentile - cf. Ep 2:13-16 -- Jesus prayed and died for unity...He certainly took religious division seriously! [How can we who profess to be Christians today take "The Problem Of Religious Division" lightly? If we appreciate the concern of both Jesus and Paul, what can we do about it? In our text, we find...] II. THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM A. SPEAK THE SAME THING... 1. So the apostle enjoins in our text - 1Co 1:10 a. Of course, it is easier said than done b. But this is the goal to which we are to strive 2. The goal is more likely if we heed the words of Peter
- 1 Pe 4:11 a. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God..." b. Let those who teach or preach do so in accordance with the Word of God c. Too many teach or preach their opinions, rather than the Word of God -- I.e., "Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent" B. HAVE THE SAME MIND... 1. Again the apostle so enjoins in our text - 1Co 1:10 a. Those of the same mind will more likely speak the same thing b. Striving to be of the same mind) will help us speak the same thing 2. The "same mind" we should have is the "mind of Christ"
- Php 2:1-5 a. Which results in consolation, comfort, fellowship, affection and mercy b. Which requires lowliness of mind, thinking highly of others, concern for others -- As we develop the mind of Christ, the more likely we will be of one mind C. HAVE THE SAME JUDGMENT... 1. As stressed in our text - 1Co 1:10 a. Where we have the same knowledge, similar processes of reasoning b. Which leads us to the same conclusions on various issues 2. Much religious division is the result of different standards of authority a. Many appeal to majority rule, traditions of men, personal feelings, etc. b. Christians in the New Testament were expected to abide in the apostles' doctrine, as taught in every church
- cf. Ac 2:42; 1Co 4:17; 14:37; 1Ti 3:15 -- Where different conclusions are drawn, someone, somehow, is not submitting to the mind of Christ as revealed through His apostles! CONCLUSION 1. We should not be surprised when people do not... a. Speak the same thing b. Have the same mind c. Have the same judgment 2. We should expect that it will require... a. Time for people to develop the mind of Christ b. Patience and love to give each other time to grow But wherever "The Problem Of Religious Division" exists, we should not rest content. With the same fervency of Paul's words and Jesus' prayer, we should strive to overcome it...!