The Division of the Church

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- Last week we started looking at the intro into the book of 1 Corinthians. And we took the time to look at the location of the church and the culture of the church of Corinth, because these things would have a huge role in what happened in the church
- Remember that the City of Corinth was both an important and wealthy City in the Roman empire. And some of the reasons were because ….
1. It was a trade route
- Because of the dangerous area of water to travel , boats would come to one of the ports and unload and carry both cargo and boats over the 4 mile piece of land. This made the place have a lot of people , and a lot of business, money (pic 1&2)
2. It was a Religious Place
- The City had (2) main temples that people would come to worship. The temple of Apollo and the temple of Aphrodite.
3. It was a place where the Isthmenian Games were held
- 2nd most important games to the Olympics. This brought many people from all over every other year. This brought a lot of money and an influence of many different cultures.
Culture of the City
- Now because of these things, the City had a certain culture. The City was a place where everything was allowed. There was a diversity of beliefs, a diversity of cultures, of practices , of philosophies…… Remember that Athens was some 50 miles away which was the intellectual center of the Roman empire. (pic2)
- they enjoyed and accepted different philosophies, different opinions , they welcomed the different beliefs and thoughts
- this was passed on to the city of Corinth. They had adopted the same freedom in thoughts and opinions, different viewpoints on truth.
- Their was a sexual freedom in the City, a place like Las Vegas//// where everything goes. Noting is illegal.
Affects on the Church
- The reason that this is important is because of the influence that this culture had on the Church of Corinth. The church was to be set apart and was to influence the culture around it for Christ, but instead…. The church began to allow itself to be influenced by the culture around it.
- Rather than the Church being different from the culture, the church was just like the culture.
-this is the reason Paul was writing this letter. It was to correct the church. To get them to refocus their attention back to the central message that changed their lives….. the gospel message.
The Deconstruction of the Church
- Our Theme for this book is The Deconstruction of the Church. And the reason is 2 fold. 1 is because the City and the church were both brought to ruins. You can go today and see the old ruins of the City. (pic 3&4)
- But also because the Spiritual Deconstruction that took place. The allowing and adopting of worldly philosophies into the church is what destroyed their faith.
- And we talked about how this is the same thing that you see today. There is a worldly system that is attacking the church of God, that is trying to push its worldly philosophies, its thoughts , its beliefs on us… and there is a danger of allowing these things to influence our thoughts and hearts.
Deconstruction – the two main things that describe this word today in society is….
1. Critically question traditions and practices
2. Rejecting the authorities that speak of behalf of a certain subject.
- This applies to spiritual deconstruction as well. The thought of having to question everything I believe in, question if God is real, question if the bible is real and to reject those in authority.
Some Worldly Philosophies in our world today that are causing the Spiritual Deconstruction of our Faith
- CRT- is a worldly philosophy that says all white people are racist and that they have to have a social conversion to fix this. They have to admit and repent of being racist. Society and schools are pushing you and I to be “woke” or awaken to the fact that we are racists.
- Intersectionality once you have been awake to your own racist ways… it will open your eyes to see other minorities being taken advantage of and your need to rescue them or help the social cause.
- Women oppressed by men, gay people oppressed by straights, non religious oppressed by religious, kids oppressed by adults, rich oppress the poor, etc…..
- So you see a movement and a fight to remove these people or institutions that are oppressors, get rid of cops, get rid of the bible, get rid of anyone who doesn’t think like us( cancel culture). A fight to make everything equal.
- Gender Fluidity – that there are many genders not just a boy or girl.
- No absolute truth- the thought that truth is relative, no one truth but many truths.
- These are some of the philosophies that the culture around us believe and they are trying to get us , the church to adopt their way of thinking and believing. And the sad truth is that many Christians have began to buy into this things and they have adopted these thoughts.
- These things are something to keep in mind as we start looking at the book of 1 Corinthians and as we start to apply this book to our lives.
- We are going to be looking at this book at little differently than we have other books. We are going to look at it with the theme in mind of The Deconstruction of the Church, more of a topical study, rather than studying it in an expository manner, or verse by verse.
- So the first thing we want to look at as causing the deconstruction of the church is…. The Division of the Church.
DIVISION, noun S as z. [Latin See Divide.]
1. The act of dividing or separating into parts, any entire body.
2. The state of being divided.
3. That which divides or separates; that which keeps apart; partition.
- this word speaks of taking a body, or a group that is one….and causing it to be separated, to keep it apart.
- in the military world there is a strategy that is called Divide and Conquer”.
Divide and Conquer is a sociopolitical-exopolitical-militarization tactic to gain and maintain power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into smaller pieces that have less power than the group that is implementing the warfare strategy for takeover.
- So this tells us that it is a warfare strategy to takeover. And you do this by breaking up or separating larger groups into smaller ones, or by causing a large united group to become many divided smaller groups., because they are less effective this way and you can keep or gain power over them.
- This is exactly what was happening in the Church in Corinth, the enemy had began to cause division in the church, and the sole purpose was to divide and conquer. To gain power over the church and to over take it.
- Now this was not only the strategy the Satan was using with this church, but you see this same tactic today in our world.
- We face the attack on two different fronts. We are being attacked by the world and its philosophies. They make a charge to divide those who agree with their philosophies and those who don’t . This is where we see the cancel culture. If you don’t agree with the large majority on gay marriage, gender fluidity , CTR, Intersectionality , political views etc….. then you are canceled.
- But then we are also attacked within our own body of Christ, the church as a whole. The enemy attacks us from within to get us to be divided.
- So in order to discuss what divides us we have to first look at what unites us.
A. A Common Faith (v.2)
- In v. 2 Paul gives us insight into both who we are and what the problem can be
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are [a]sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours
- Paul in addressing who he is writing to (believers) gives us insight into who we as believers are.
1. We are Sanctified- to be made holy,. Set apart
- This is who we are, God has called us out of the world and has set us apart for His purpose.
2. We are Saints – same word, set apart, to be made holy, different
- Paul is writing to the church, which is the collection of people who all have been called out of the world, who have been set apart, who have been called to be different, who have been placed into the kingdom of God and in the family of God. There is a certain expectation of how we are supposed to live in light of who we are, we are to be holy or set apart.
- Now at the end of V.2 Paul tells us that the church is “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”.
- There is both a distinction and affirmation of who the church of God is and what makes us the church of God.
- The church of God is “all” people who call upon the name of the Lord. This distinction is, all who call upon His name.
- The assumption can be that the church is a collection of people who hold the same religious practices of their faith, who come from the same denomination , who have the same philosophies to church, who have the same interpretation of the bible……
- Yet what Paul is telling us is that what makes up the church is not the building, not the same practices, not the same philosophies , not the same interpretation of scriptures……. But he tells us that the church of God are all who call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
- now within the large group of people that are God’s church who confess that Jesus is Lord, you have many different view points, different philosophies to ministry, different tastes to worship or teachings, different view points on the end times etc…… things that are differences that make up the smaller groups of denominations and churches…..
- yet while there may be small differences , the main thing that unities the church is the common faith we have in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
B. A Common Reciepent of God’s Grace (v. 4-9)
-grace speaks of a gift. God giving us what we did not deserve. When we all placed our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we received His grace….
- His gift of salvation (eph. 2:8)
- His gift to know God
- His gift of eternal life, which we eagerly wait for His return
- His gift of fellowship with Him
- These are the things that millions of Christians around the world have in common. This is the reason you can go to another state and meet Christians for the first time and feel like you’ve known each other forever, because of the common faith we have in Jesus and the common grace we have received from Jesus’ work on the cross.
C. Common Perspective (v. 10)
- Paul tells the believers to ….
a. Speak the same thing
b. Have the same mind
c. Have the same judgement -
a personal opinion or judgment formed in (by) an active relationship, the result of direct ("first-hand") knowledge.
- The thought Paul is making is that there should be a unity in the way we think , the things we say and the conclusion or convictions we have. These things are not to be based on our own opinions or our own experiences or our own thoughts ….. but should be because we view the world through the lens of the bible, or through God’s through. Paul tells us “by the name of the Lord Jesus”
- It is the name of Jesus , His death and resurrection , His love and grace that He has given us and the truth of God’s word that should cause us to be knit together, or united, because we view things differently.
- Yes we won’t always agree on things, we may not like the same music or the same movies, we may not like sports, etc….. but we are one body , one people united by what Jesus has done for us.
- And one of the things the enemy will always do to divide and conquer is to point out the differences you have with a person. Focusing on the differences will keep you from recognizing the common things.
- This is what the world does today to you and I, and this is what we can do to those around us. Even here at our church , in our youth group.
- Look around, who do you hang around with? People who like the same things you do, people who think the way you do, or dress the way you do…….and we can often look down and exclude people who are not like us.
- These little differences can become huge problems that cause division in a group of people. And this is exactly how Satan will work within a church, he will cause us to focus on the small things.
- The way people dress, the way people teach, the type of worship a church may have…. And we can tend to separate with people who are like us and exclude those that are not like us. This is what was happening with the church in Corinth.
- Paul had heard from Chole’s household that there were divisions in the church. And Paul tells us what the main cause of division was.
- People were being divided into groups of who baptized them, or who their leader was.
- It would be like you guys here saying, well I follow jay’s teaching only because he is older and he does crossfit…. Or I follow Chad because he is tall and funny, or I follow Brian because he does worship or teaches super long lol, or ben because he is super cool etc…..
- That is what the people were doing. They were creating factions within the church in Corinth. And Paul is trying to get them to understand how foolish this is. He tells them that he didn’t baptize many and is glad because the real reason he came to them was not to baptize but to preach the message of the cross/.
- As we have mentioned already what can separate us or divide us is….
1. Difference in thinking
2. Difference in behavior
3. Difference in likes or dislikes
4. Difference in appearance
- See you and I can have differences with people including the world that do not think like us and still be effective in influencing them. We can have differences with fellow Christians and still be united if we are able to do the following.
1. Remember to Walk in the Spirit ( Gal. 5:16)
- What often causes us to look down upon people who are not like us is the selfishness or the pride within us. The thought that I am better than that person is so I can treat them different or I can exclude them.
Galatians 5:19–21 NKJV
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
James 4:1–3 NKJV
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- What is needed is for us to daily spend time with God in his word and in prayer, allowing him to fill us with his spirit, it is then that we will be able to deal with people even if different , in a kind and Christ like way.
Galatians 5:16–18 NKJV
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:22–26 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
2. Remember who you really are
A sinner saved by Grace
Ephesians 2:1–2 NKJV
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Romans 3:23 NKJV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- We once walked like the world did. In complete ignorance of God in our sins.
- We are all sinners, there is no difference from the people who know God and the people who don’t know God, we are all sinners….. the only difference is that I received God’s grace and he has forgiven me. But if it wasn’t for God’s grace I could be doing things just like the world
3. Remember Who God is
- God is a God of love, of compassion , of forgiveness, of Grace, of second and third chances, he is the God of transformation.
He looks at people not as who they are, but as What Jesus has done for them and what God will do in them and through them, He sees potential.
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