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Mid-Week with Christ
January 22, 2020

No Divisions

1 Cor. 1:10-18

 
10 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. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 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.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 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. 18 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.

Prayer for the Day

 
Father of All, You have made us one people in the Spirit through the atoning death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help us by that same Spirit to display unity in mind and judgment, and so show display by our actions what you have declared us to be by your Word. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Many Christians have what we might call a fairytale view of the early church. We look around today and see Christianity marred by division: Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and Pentecostals; Sunday worshippers and 7th Dayers; those who baptize by immersion and those who merely sprinkle; those for whom the 3rd commandment is "Remember the Sabbath Day" and those for whom it is not taking the Lord's name in vain. The list of "divisions" between Christians could go on and on. We romanticize the early church, however, and assume that all these causes for division are new. The early church, we fantasize, was one in the Spirit and in Christ and had a unity that somehow we have lost.

Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth pops the bubble of that beautiful and false idea. "Chloe's people" - a group that followed that woman perhaps? - bring news to Paul of denominationalism in this early church. Some follow Paul, others follow Christ, others follow Apollos. What they are not following is the God whose Son died for them on the cross. If they were, they would remember Jesus' prayer that his people be one, as he and the Father are one (John 17:22). Christians strive for unity in mind and judgment, not division based on one's favorite preacher. 

True Christians continue to strive not for division but unity. But that unity must be found first and foremost in the power and promise of the cross of Christ. There is a word that saves and a word that leaves us to perish, and we want our churches to be built on the former and not the latter.

In chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians Paul will point out that some division is unavoidable. Only let that division happen as an unfortunate side-effect of seeking unity in the cross and Gospel of Jesus. 
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