Jesus Out of Focus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul is writing a letter to a Corinthian church that has some issues going on! He starts it by addressing an issue without telling them he’s addressing the issue.
You probably do this with people. If your friend is supposed to be meeting you somewhere and they aren’t there, you call them: “Hey what’s up?” “Not much, just at Java… where we were supposed to meet… 20 minutes ago!”
In the passage we’re looking at, Paul is talking with the Corinthians about the need for unity and the division that exists among them.
God has called the church to be unified. Christians need to be unified to do their best to live for God. We’re called to love one another and bear one another’s burdens. But the church in Corinth, and the church today (not just our church but The Church, Christians and churches everywhere), have a tendency to get hung up on things that aren’t really that important. They let these things cause division when they really shouldn’t.
Can you think of some things that may cause division in churches or between Christians that shouldn’t?
Paul is going to explain where our unity should come from and why divisions in the church are a bad thing.
Read passage and pray
Christians are called into fellowship together with Jesus, so we must fight against division in the church.

The foundation for unity

verse 4-9
The foundation for our unity is what God has done for us in his Son Jesus.
How many country music fans do we have? Well I don’t like country music… so we don’t have that foundation for unity. But all of you who like it have that foundation for unity about the music you like! You probably all have different styles of country you like and different favorite artists, but you all like country music.
Christians, true Christians who believe Jesus is the only way to salvation and that God has revealed Himself and his will to us in his Word, have a common foundation for fellowship together!
1 John 1:1–3 ESV
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Paul is emphasizing things that they have all received from Jesus as Christians. He’s doing it in a way that will show them the things they are divided over don’t make any sense.
But Christians need to focus on Jesus and what He has done for us first and foremost.
What are some gifts that all Christians receive from Jesus?
We should focus on these things and be unified together. We need to be unified with other Christ followers to live in a way that honors God and to be on mission for Him.
What is the value in having close friends who are also Christians? Close friends you go to church with?
So we see the importance of being unified, but we still let division sneak in. For the Corinthians, it was coming from pride.

The problem of division

verses 10-17
Doing things like the world, like seeking pride and status, bring division in the church.
So in Greek culture, which is what the Corinthians were, they loved wisdom, at least what they though it was. They loved people who at least sounded smart!…
When we give our lives to Christ, we must change our way of thinking from what the world has taught us to what God teaches us.
What does the world teach us to think? To value?
We’ve got to think the way that God teaches us in the Bible. To value what He values! We are changed when we become Christians!
Ephesians 4:22–24 ESV
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The Corinthians were trying to one up each other with who baptized them or who preached the Gospel to them or who the best preacher was. This thinking would’ve fit in well in Corinth, but not in the church!
Have you ever had a one-upper friend? Their story or experience always has to one-up everyone else’s? … They always have to have the best thing… Honestly, I used to be this guy a little bit. It’s one of those things where I look back and I’m like, “I was a pain.”
How can pride and trying to be the coolest or most popular create division in a church?
Why is division in the church such a bad thing?
Division happens because the church isn’t focussed on what it should be, and division takes the focus further away. We must be of the “same mind and the same judgement”. That is, focussed on Jesus and the Gospel mission…
The type of unity and selflessness that Paul is calling for here comes only through the Gospel of Jesus. He embodied this in his life…
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