God Desires Unity In The Body Of Christ
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, 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”; 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.
Solidarity in Speech
God has, throughout His word, been consistent in His message to us, as He uses the life experiences of His people to reveal Himself to the world. God has been consistent in His character, and expects us to be consistent as well. If we are being led by the Holy Spirit of God, then we should all be saying the same things about God and His word, for His word doesn’t change.
When we are not in solidarity with what we are saying concerning God, it is because some (or all) of us are not being led by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is not divisive, but rather gathers in unity. It has been said that if several people are tasked to decide something, and all of them go into different rooms and pray, when they come out, they should all have the same answer, for there is but one Spirit of God who we are following. If we have different (contradicting) answers, then we have a problem. It is to the glory of God that there is unity in the body, and unity in speech is one of the outwardly evident signs that God is who He says He is as we live our lives.
Paul further goes on to say that we need to ensure that there is no division among us. The Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are in complete unity and harmony. All three are in unison as they go about their assigned roles and tasks. Each are God, and therefore omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. How can they be One if they are divided?
We are doing God a disservice when we are divided. If there is a difference in opinion on how we are to be doing something, the people responsible need to seek God and ensure that they are seeking to submit themselves to the will of God. It has been said, “United we stand, divided we fall”. It is the desire and life’s work of the enemies of God to sow division among God’s people. In unity, we are able to stand together as a single body against the power and efforts of the enemy:
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Chosen in Christ
In the Corinthian church, there was division by some people because they were proud as to who had mentored them. They considered it a great honor to be mentored by someone of renown, such as Paul, and it became a badge of honor that was causing division among some of the people. Paul tried to remind them that they were to be following Christ, and not men, for they were baptized and chosen in Christ, not in Paul, or Peter, or any of the other apostles.
When we categorize and rank ourselves with each other, we form cliques that cause division in the body. Are we not all parts of the same body, whose head is Christ? Were we not all baptized in Christ, rather than those who mentored us? Paul reminds us to be wary of such division within The Church, for it is easy to be ensnared by the pride of life. Each of us has been hand-picked by God to serve in our appointed roles. We must remember that it is Jesus who is directing His church. When we think that it is we who are directing it, we are not longer submitting to the Holy Spirit of God, but rather to our own passions.
Preach with Power
Paul uses a simple example of this with His own life. Studying under Gamaliel was a great honor for Paul. But Paul, as learned and capable as he was for making persuasive arguments and debating, preached Christ and Him crucified without wisdom or elegance. By doing so, the power of the cross of Christ was made evident in the simple message – God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son for us to be crucified for our sins, that we would be able to be reconciled to the Father. Preaching this message as “God has a wonderful plan for your life”, or using argument or pretense, is to empty the cross of Christ of its power to show the love and compassion that God the Father has towards us.
Although the great commission of Christ – to go forth and make disciples of every nation – is also followed with a command to baptize, the most important part is that disciples are made, and that they follow the commands of Jesus. Obedience to Christ is the hallmark of discipleship, and without that, the rest is merely window dressing. Let us walk therefore in the unity of the Spirit of God as we conduct ourselves each and every day that we may be found in Christ when He returns.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I promoting unity in the church through submission to Christ and one another?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are all-powerful, glorious, and beautiful to behold. I ask and pray this day that You would fill Your people with the desire to walk, talk, and think in unity with the Holy Spirit so that through submission we function as the body of Christ. Please remove division and pride within the body so that we can follow You as You intend for us to follow. Strengthen the body through unparalleled unity so that we would be filled with Your power, presence, and purpose. Help us to seek unity in the body, and to rid ourselves of the desire to be noticed by others, desiring only to hear our Lord and Savior say to us when we finally meet Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Strengthen us for the difficulties ahead, and place the burden of unity and submission upon the hearts of each and every person who is called by Your name and whose name is written in the book of life. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.