United or Divided?

1 Corinthians 1:10‭-‬25 ESV

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Paul was writing to the church of God in Corinth, trying to bring them to unity. Today there is still much division among different churches. In fact I've had people tell me that if you don't belong to the denomination named, Church of God then you are not really part of God's church since that's what's in scripture. I read an interesting fact about churches of ancient Greek. The word church was not a religious term. It was used as a term for an assembly of people gathered together for a specific purpose usually to discuss state issues. Paul was making it clear that he was talking to the assembly of people gathered together for the purpose of worshiping God. A church dedicated to God rather than a church of state issues.

It has always bothered me how divided different churches are, how am I supposed to know which one is the right one to be part of? While there are many different ideas concerning our walk with Jesus and what we feel is right, it doesn't seem to me that many of our differing ideas should divide us. Many times, in fact, I wonder if it may be necessary to have differing opinions or ideas. I have a very good friend who deals in millions of dollars while I deal in dollars, often maybe even just nickels and dimes. He is very adamant that God expects us to pick up our bootstraps and work hard at doing what is right as far as temptation and not sinning goes. He may need that kind of discipline in order to be successful in his career. In our conversations I have told him I can't do it or even try to do it in my strength. I would fail every time. In fact when I finally decided to believe and follow Jesus, the first thing I had to do was say, I'm going to quit trying. Whenever I had a sin issue or temptation I struggled with I had to turn it completely over to Jesus and allow Him to take care of it. My trust was totally in Him. You may be able to find scripture to support either side but it doesn't seem to me it should be something that divides us. This is just one example of having a differing opinion on something.

I have pretty much decided to be willing to listen to other Christian brother's and sister's thoughts. I will have to decide what is right in my own life and as long as we all can agree with the absolute truths of the gospel, of Who Jesus is and what He did for us on the cross, I choose to be united with them rather than divided even though they are sensing some differing ideas about what the Holy Spirit is saying to them. He has a different purpose and plan for each of us and it may be He needs to work on us differently which will cause us to see some things differently. All that really matters to me is who you believe Jesus is and who we are in Him. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit to convince or convict.

by Ken Edgerly

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