Unity in Christ – 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

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.

Destroy Division

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.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – Matthew 10:34-39

Choose This Day Whom You Will Love

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own
household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

Agitation and Accord

From the moment a person chooses to believe God and follow Jesus, their life will be irrevocably changed.  People that they once had great relationships with may now become their bitter enemies.  War will ensue where peace had prospered.  And although we are told that, to the best of our ability, we should be at peace with everyone, we will encounter people who view our change of allegiance from Satan (and the world) to God as a declaration of insanity and hatred towards them.

Many people will not be able to understand that disciples of Christ are not people who are now members of a cult.  In their minds, that is how they are perceived.  One moment, they are drinking, carousing, swearing, doing everything that everyone else is doing (right or wrong), and suddenly they become Mr. or Mrs. “goody-two shoes”, declining to participate in activities once considered dear, acceptable, and pleasurable by everyone else.

In the eyes of the world, you have become an enemy of the state – your very actions now show that not only can you not be trusted because you are changing, but that someone or something has remarkable remarkably changed your life, and in their eyes, usually for the worse.  They don’t want to know what it is, because they may begin to get “sucked-in” and have to give up their way of life.  They may also be concerned that in the grey areas of life that they live, you may now have to “rat them out” if they do something that is a bit unlawful.

In their eyes, you have declared war on them and your relationships.

Family can turn Foul

Even the most stable of relationships can be affected.  Jesus lists several familial relationships that may be strained or even broken because of your sudden love of God:

  • Fathers and Sons
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • In-laws and their children’s spouses

Fully expect there to be some resistance by any who have not given their lives to Christ.  Most people in culture believe that family comes first.  And when you give your life to Christ, they may feel as though you have broken this “unwritten” rule of relationship.  The fact is, when you give your life to Christ, you are – in effect – changing your allegiance from your biological family to your spiritual family.

Love the Lord

Your identity has now moved from your biological family to your spiritual family:

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Additionally, we are to love Christ more than anyone or anything else:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”

In this short passage, it seems to indicate that we must hate our family.  This is not the case!  This is a form of hyperbole – Jesus is merely pointing out that our love for Him should be so strong and secure that our love for our other family members should look like hate in comparison.  We are to love them, but we are to love God even more!

Bear your Burden

This next part of the passage is very similar to the instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples elsewhere:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

We are to bear our burdens and do so with joy.  The Lord God Almighty has replaced our heavy burden of trying to earn our way into Heaven through good deeds (impossible) to merely believing upon the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins.  Grace and mercy are ours if we decide to accept them.  And in doing so, we must be obedient to God and His word, for we do not wish to rebel against the one who gave their lives His life for ours!

And while obedience to God (which some call works or legalism) does not grant entrance into the kingdom of Heaven, it does show that we love God, even more than our very own lives.  For if we love our lives (the way that we want to do things, living in a way that pleases us rather than pleases God) we will lose them.  If we lose our lives (living them in such a way that they are pleasing to God, regardless of the consequences and outcome of that level of devotion to Him) for His sake, we will gain them:

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I living my life in such a way that, by example, it is a powerful witness to how much I truly love God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have given me eternal life through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to live life in such a way that it is a powerful witness to others of You and Your word.  Help me to witness in both actions and words, that both would be in harmony and unity with Your will.  Help me to overcome any sorrow or anger when others who were once considered my friends turn against me because of my love for You.  Help me to have a heart of compassion towards them, and I pray that You will powerfully prepare the soil of their hearts so that the seeds of salvation would take root and flourish in them.  Help me to always remember that You come first, no matter what.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


This blog has been edited for clarity, spelling, and other errors.