1 Corinthians 1:10-17 This is the passage we shall be considering in the Growth Groups this week.
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. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 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.”
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! I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its
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.
One of the saddest things about the history of the Church world-wide has been the ease and frequency of division. Groups of believers with just slightly different interpretations of the Bible have broken away from local churches and formed fresh congregations. It is not unusual to find several different church denominations on the same main street of a town. So Jesus’ prayer for His followers is unequivocally clear and is here reinforced by Paul:
‘be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.’ In fact Jesus saw this kind of unity as being at the heart Mission when he prayed ‘I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.’ A recognisable unity among Christians would be the most powerful witness of the reality of Christ’s presence and power, and it would draw people to faith. There is no doubt in my mind that the multiplicity of divided congregations is the single biggest hindrance to the growth of the Church.
Probably the most effective Christian evangelist of the past century was Billy Graham, who died earlier this year. There were two outstanding features of his ministry, one was the clarity and faithfulness of his presentation of the Good News, and the other was the way he drew Christians from all denominations to work together in Mission. This was more than just some organisational unity, he conveyed the urgency of working together united in thought and purpose to see Christ honoured as people turned to Him in faith.
Pray for similar unity amongst Christians in our day and age.