Tuesday, February 15, 2011

By the Authority of our Lord. . .Live in Harmony With Each Other

1st Corinthians 1:4-13NLT
   4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
   10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” 
   13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!

Spiritual pride is a terrible enemy to the members of the Body of Christ in all local churches. Anytime we start thinking that we are 'pretty cool' as Christians go, then we are in danger of falling into the trap of pride. It will ensnare us and destroy our good testimony that came by faith in Jesus Christ alone. We deserve NO praise for anything we do-- it all goes to God because HE made the good possible in us. When another praises us we should reflect that glory back to God.  It sounds as if Paul is complimenting the Christians at Corinth here but he was not. They had written him that they were better in faith than he and knew more about Christ's truth than he did. So, Paul responds in humility quoting their own words, but then later he catches them in their own prideful trap by pointing out their gaping sinful failure as a church.

When our church IS functioning properly, it is only because "God has enriched your church in every way." God gives us spiritual gifts for the purpose of our work in the Kingdom to which HE calls us daily. He equips us with these spiritual gifts. If you feel called to a task you can trust on faith alone that God will grant you the various gifts of abilities you will need to make the right kinds of things happen when you wait upon His time table. You can trust that HE will "keep you strong to the end. . . ." Why?

We in the churches that honor Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, King of the Universe, Mighty God, Everlasting Father--we are in partnership with God. Can you believe that? God has invited us to be his Jr. partners in his firm-- the Kingdom of God.  He has entrusted us with important tasks, and called upon us to walk in his ways, imitating Christ as we go.  Therefore, among us in the body of Christ there should be unity. 

So gently Paul closes the trap from verse 1-4, and points out that pride, arrogance, hostility, and such unchristlike emotions have sullied the reputation of Christ's body there in Corinth. But Paul does not shame them, rather he simply teaches them more about the unity to be derived when we are properly joined to Christ and to each other.

How can you reinforce Christian unity with someone where it is needed today?

Your servant in Christ's unity

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