No Divisions

In the New Testament we are told that the church in Corinth had many problems.  One of these problems was that they were divided.  One reason for their divisions was that they were following men.  1 Corinthians 1:12-13a “Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’  Is Christ divided?”  Jesus Christ is not divided.  We all must be His disciples.  Even today, believers sometimes follow a popular preacher or evangelist or Godly man and a division results between others who follow a different individual.   Within a church, family members may band together and there can be one family group against another family group.  When there is animosity between brothers within a family, there can be a division between the brothers.  There may be differences of opinion that cause divisions.  The devil can use any problem or difference between us to create a division.

The problems and divisions in the church in Corinth were so bad that their assemblies were not for the better but for the worse.  1 Corinthians 11:17-22 “Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.  For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.  For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.  Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.  For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.  What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”  Even as the Corinthians partook of the Lord’s Supper there was carnal thinking and inconsideration of their fellow Christian.

Divisions are often the result of carnal, worldly thinking.  1 Corinthians 3:1-3 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”  James described a similar situation in James 4:1-2a “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”  As long as you have carnal thinking you cannot please God.  Romans 8:5-8 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

So what is the cure for carnal thinking that causes divisions?  The answer is that you must change your thinking; you must change your mind.  Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Instead of looking for the differences and emphasizing the problems or offenses and creating adversarial relationships, realize that you are all members of Christ’s body and therefore seek to be of one mind and develop deep love for one another.  1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;  not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

My encouragement to you is the same as that of the Apostle Paul as revealed in the following passages.  Ephesians 4:1-6 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  I encourage you to work for unity and being of one mind within your congregation, that there be no divisions among you.

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