1 Corinthians 1:10-13 - Indivisible
There's only One who can unite our polarized world: Jesus Christ
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Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
10 I appeal to you, brothers, 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, 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”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 30
Q. Do those who look for
their salvation and security
in saints, in themselves, or elsewhere
really believe in the only savior Jesus?
Although they boast of being his,
by their deeds they deny
the only savior and deliverer, Jesus.
Either Jesus is not a perfect savior,
or those who in true faith accept this savior
have in him all they need for their salvation.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul raises the issue of disunity and conflict amongst the believers in Corinth. In this letter Paul also addresses concerns over other issues including lawsuits amongst believers, mistreatment of the poor at the Lord’s table, boasting about spiritual gifts, and the strained relationship between the so-called 'strong' and 'weak.' Each of these areas that Paul addresses highlight the dissention within the church. A lack of unity causes or at minimum contributes to a whole host of issues.
Singled out as a sign of their disunity was the Corinthians divided allegiance. Some claimed to follow Christ, or Cephas (Peter), and others Christ. When Paul came to Corinth and preached the Gospel, he was not looking for followers of himself, but desired for the people to come to faith in and become followers of Jesus.
It is rightly pointed out that Paul was not crucified on their behalf, nor were they baptized in the name of Paul. It is Jesus who was crucified on their behalf, and in Jesus’ name that they were baptized. Instead of creating divisions by aligning with one of various teachers of the day, Paul hopes to see the Corinthian church united in their devotion to Christ.
The church in Corinth is not the only example of believers straying in devotion to Jesus and leaning into an allegiance to someone or something else. In Q&A 30, the Heidelberg Catechism directly mentions the examples of looking for salvation in saints, oneself, or elsewhere. While there are probably not a lot of protestants looking for salvation in the saints, there is still the possibility of repeating the same shortcomings as the Corinthians.
Just as Peter and Paul were the well-known teachers of their day, a similar celebrity exists today around certain popular biblical teachers. There is nothing wrong with being fond of the teachings of Francis Chan, Craig Groeschel, or R.C. Sproul. Where issues can arise is when you forget that they are only human and not above critique.
When I was a senior in high school Rob Bell was at the height of his popularity. His NOOMA videos were particularly popular and some nights after work a few coworkers and I would watch his lessons at the house of a friend who owned the DVDs.
Eventually Rob Bell had a fall from grace when he started publishing works that had, at best, questionable theology. So, what do you do when a biblical teacher starts saying things that disagree with the Word of God? You trust the Word of God, every time. Our faith is in Jesus Christ and in no one or nothing else.
Rob Bell is not the only well-known biblical teacher to let people down. Just in recent years Bill Hybels stepped down from Willow Creek following allegations of sexual misconduct and Mark Driscoll resigned after fostering a 'fear based' environment that led to the dissolution of the Mars Hill church.
What the fall of these well-known individuals highlights is how no teacher today is infallible. Your allegiance should not rest upon a particular church, pastor, or likewise; as Christians our allegiance is to Christ, and Christ alone.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our undivided Savior;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that even though our society is riddled with division that Christians will remain undivided on the truths of God's Word.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Hebrews 10