Perfectly Joined Together

Posted by on Apr 24, 2005

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

April 24, 2005

Sunday Morning

“Perfectly Joined Together”

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Introduction:

 

A.   Before I begin to deal with this morning’s text, I want to say that diversity in a church is a good thing.

1. In other words, the fact that we are all different is not a bad thing. The fact that we have different…

-personalities,

-gifts and abilities,

-likes and dislikes,

-ideas and opinions about some things,

is not necessarily a bad (negative) thing.

2. In fact, it is a good (positive) thing.

3. This is why when God created us, He made us all unique.

4. Did you realize that there is no one else in this world who is just like you? (Thank the Lord!)

5. This is also why when God saved us, He gave us all different spiritual gifts.

6. Let me say it again, diversity in a church family is a good thing.

7. Can you imagine how boring (monotonous) this church would be, not to mention how dysfunctional this church would be, if we all were identical, if we all had the same…

-personalities,

-gifts and abilities,

-likes and dislikes,

-ideas and opinions about everything?

8. And so, let me say one more time, diversity in a church family is a good thing!

B.   But having said that, let me also say that when our diversity causes divisions within the church family, that is not a good thing.

1. Apparently, this is what had happened in the church at Corinth.

2. Notice again Vrs. 10-11 of our text, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment….For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.”

3. That word “contentions” in Vrs. 11 comes from the Greek word “eris,” which literally means “quarreling” or “wrangling” or “debating.”

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. About what were they debating?

2. The answer is found in Vrs. 12 of our text, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”

3. Apparently, they were debating about who was the best preacher (minister).

4. One group within the church argued that Paul was the best preacher.

5. Another group argued that Apollos was the best preacher.

6. Yet another group argued that Cephas (Peter) was the best preacher.

 

D.   One Bible commentator described these different factions that existed in the church at Corinth like this.

1. He said, first of all, you had your “loyalists.”

2. They liked Paul because he was the one who founded the church and probably had personally led many of them to Christ. One can understand why these believers might feel a sense of loyalty to him.

3. But you also had your “stylists.”

4. They liked Apollos because of his style of preaching.

5. According to Acts 18:24, Apollos was a very “eloquent” preacher, and apparently his oratory skills had garnered him quite a following in the church.

6. A third faction that existed within the church were the “traditionalists.”

7. These were Jewish converts who liked Cephas (Peter) simply because he was the apostle to the Jews, in other words, his ministry was primarily a ministry to the Jews.

8. And so, you had these three factions within the church at Corinth, there were the…

-loyalists (they liked Paul).

-stylists (they liked Apollos),

-traditionalists (they liked Peter).

 

E.   Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying.

1. There is certainly nothing wrong with believers within a church family having different preferences, whether it be preferences in preachers or preferences in something else.

2. However, when we allow our personal preferences to take center stage and cause divisions within our church family, then we have a real problem! (Amen?)

3. And that is exactly what had happened in the church at Corinth.

4. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. I realize that it is not football season, but we all have our favorite football teams, don’t we? Some of us are Redskins fans. Some of us are Cowboys fans. Some of us have pledged our football allegiance to the Ravens, or the Steelers, or the Eagles, or perhaps some other team. But we all have our favorite football teams, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if I am so sold out to my team that I won’t speak to Bro. Flanagan because he happens to like another team, then I have a real problem! Amen?)

 

F.    Now this raises yet another question.

1. How can we guard against allowing our personal preferences divide us and cause a serious problem as far as the fellowship of our church is concerned?

2. I believe Paul answered this question in our text.

3. The first thing that we can so is to keep our minds and our hearts focused on…

 

I.       Our Messiah.

 

A.   Did you notice, when we read Vrs. 12 earlier, that there were actually four factions within the church at Corinth?

1. I’ve already mentioned three.

2. First of all, there were the loyalists (Paul).

3. Then there were the stylists (Apollos).

4. Then there were the traditionalists (Peter).

5. But according to Vrs. 12, there was at least one more faction within the church.

6. Let’s read it again, it says, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”

7. Who were these believers who said, “We are of Christ.”?

8. I believe that they were those believers within the church who refused to become “people followers,” but instead kept their minds and hearts focused on Christ, which is what we all ought to do. (Amen?)

 

B.   Why should we keep our minds and hearts focused on Christ?

1. Because He is the One Who died for us.

2. He is the One Who…

-came down from heaven,

-was nailed to the old rugged cross,

-shed His precious blood for our sins!

3. Notice again the questions that Paul asked in Vrs. 13 of our text, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”

 

4. In other words, Paul said, “Why are you putting me on a pedestal? I didn’t die for your sins! Apollos didn’t die for your sins! Peter didn’t die for your sins! Jesus is the One Who died for your sins! He’s the One Whom you should be putting on a pedestal!”

 

C.   Paul went on to say in Vrs. 14-15, “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;…Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.”

1. (Illus.- A few years ago I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch with a preacher brother. A lady whom I recognized as someone I had led to the Lord years earlier and baptized, walked up to us and spoke to me. She had a friend with her and she said something to this effect, “I want you to meet Pastor Withem, he’s the preacher who saved me.” When she said that, I just cringed!)

2. I imagine that’s how Paul felt when he heard about the faction in the church at Corinth who had bestowed upon him “sainthood.”

3. It’s no wonder that he said, “I’m sure glad that I didn’t baptize many of you. If I had, you probably would have made me into a “god.”

 

D.   Notice again the first question that Paul asked in Vrs. 13, “Is Christ divided?”

1. The answer, of course, is, “No!”

2. The Bible says in Eph. 4:4-5, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;…One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”

3. What Paul is saying is this, “Since Christ is not divided, since He is one Lord, believers within a local church should be of one mind and one heart.

4. The best way to accomplish this unity is for each one of us to keep our minds and our hearts focused on our Messiah.

 

E.   A second thing we can do to guard against divisions within our church is to keep our minds and our hearts focused on…

II.      Our Mission.

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1. As a New Testament church, as a local body of believers in Christ, what is our primary mission?

2. According to Acts 1:8, our primary mission is to be a witness for our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Listen to what Jesus told His church just before He ascended back into heaven, He said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

4. Now how are we to be a witness?

5. While there are a lot of ways to be a witness, the best way is by preaching.

6. Isn’t that what Paul said in Vrs. 17 of our text?

7. He said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach.”

8. Now this does not mean that baptism is not a part of the Great Commission, because it is, but what it does mean is that our primary mission as a New Testament church is to preach, or to be a witness for Christ.

 

B.   What does this have to do with guarding against division in our church?

1. If we will keep our minds and our hearts focused on our mission (being a witness for Christ), it is highly unlikely that we will let our personal preferences divide us.

2. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. I am so proud of the men who make up our men’s soul winning ministry. Almost every Tuesday afternoon, and Thursday evening, and Saturday afternoon, we have men from this church out in our neighborhood knocking doors and being a witness for Christ. While we have had a few problems along the way, such as being chased by dogs, having doors slammed in our faces, and having Bro. Still thrown out of Jefferson Memorial Hospital, there’s one problem we have not had. We have not had any contention, any quarreling, any wrangling, or any debating among the men who are a part of that ministry! Isn’t that amazing? Know why? Because these men have their minds and their hearts focused on something far more important than promoting their personal preferences or agendas! Amen?)

 

C.   Do you know what I have learned from being a pastor for over 30 years?

1. The people who create contention and cause division in a church, in other words, your troublemakers (and every church as them), are not believers who have their minds and their hearts focused on the church’s mission.

2. They couldn’t care less about being a witness.

3. They couldn’t care less whether or not people get saved.

4. All they care about is…

-getting what they want,

-promoting their own personal interests,

-carrying out their own personal agendas!

5. These are Christians who will get all up in arms and will fight you over the silliest things, things that won’t matter one bit a hundred years from now, yet they don’t care enough about their own neighbor’s soul to walk across the street and tell him about Jesus.

6. There’s something terribly wrong with that picture!

 

D.   And so, one way to guard against divisions within our church is keep our minds and hearts focused on our mission. (I’ve never seen a believer who was busy trying to win people to Christ cause problems in a church. It just doesn’t happen!)

 

E.   A third way to guard against divisions within our church is to keep our minds and hearts focused on…

 

 

III.    Our Message.

 

A.   I will just mention this briefly.

1. Notice again what Paul said in Vrs. 17 of our text, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:”

2. Not only is it important that keep our minds and hearts focused on our mission, it is also important that we keep focused on our message.

3. What is our message?

4. Our message is “the gospel.”

5. The good news that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

 

B.   I’ll tell you something else about troublemakers.

1. They are not believers who spend a lot of time in God’s Word. (If they have a devotional life, and they probably don’t, you can be sure that it is sadly lacking.)

2. How do I know that?

3. I know because believers who spend a lot of time reading and meditating on God’s Word are spiritually minded, and spiritually minded believers do not create contention and cause divisions within a church.

4. Turn with me to 1 Cor. 3:3 and notice what Paul said about these Corinthian believers, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

5. It is clear from this verse that the troublemakers in the church at Corinth were carnal, not spiritual Christians, which means that their minds and hearts were not focused on the Word of God.

 

C.   The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isa. 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:”

Conclusion:

 

A.   Let’s notice one more time Vrs. 10 of our text, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

1. How can we accomplish this?

2. How can we speak the same thing?

3. How can we be perfectly joined together?

4. How can we guard against creating contention and causing division within our church family?

5. By doing three things.

6. First of all, by keeping our minds and our hearts focused on our Messiah (Jesus).

7. Secondly, by keeping our minds and our hearts focused on our mission (being a witness).

8. Finally, by keeping our minds and our hearts focused on our message (God’s Word).

9. If each of us will do these three things, there will never be any serious contention or divisions within this church!

10.   However, if any of us fails to do these three things, there is a good possibility that one day Satan may use us to stir up trouble.

 

B.   (Prayer & Invitation)