(Part 20)


January 22, 2017

Today’s reading:  1 Corinthians 1:10-17

One big problem in the Church, today as in the time of Paul, was “that there are rivalries among you.” (v.11). One aspect of rivalry is factionalism, where people line up behind this or that leader. “I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’” (v.12). The basic question would be: “Is Christ divided?” (v.13a).

How can we avoid division?

First, we must not lose sight of the fact that we have one Lord and Savior, that we all belong to Jesus, that we are the one body of Christ. We must be centered on Christ, and not on any human leader he appoints. “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (v.13b). Our loyalty is only to Christ.

Second, we must know what is the vision and mission of our community. We must “be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (v.10c). Being of one mind is about vision. Having the same purpose is about mission. If we are all going the same way, having the same objectives, following the one Master, then it will happen that “all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you” (v.10b).

And what is our vision and mission? What are we supposed to be or to do? We have the same commission as Paul, as every Christian. We are “to preach the gospel” (v.17b). We are to be evangelistic and missionary.

Third, we are to preach the authentic gospel, one that is centered on the cross, on which Jesus gave his life in order to win for us our salvation. We do not preach the prosperity gospel, nor a gospel of comfort, nor a New Age gospel, but the gospel of the cross. This is the only gospel that saves. We preach it “so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” (v.17d).

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