1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
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.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
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. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 1:1–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Multiplication and Division
Do you know what the first commandment from God was? I’ll give you a hint, it is not one of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment from God comes from Genesis 1:28. The commandment is to be fruitful and multiply. Paul discovered that the church in Corinth was more engaged in division than multiplication, and that while that first commandment was given to Adam and Eve, it is not so different from the last commandment Jesus gave the church “Go make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Strangely enough, the process of multiplication in nature (as opposed to on paper) begins with a moving apart. Cell parts move apart to make space for new cells. Children leave parents and get married in order to multiply and help create grandchildren. This moving apart is less of a separation and more of a making space, because growth in life requires making space. If we do not make space, we limit our ability to grow and multiply. However, throughout this process, we stay connected and pass along identity, even while we are letting go and making room for others.
Division, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Division occurs in nature when we cling too closely. The Corinthians all found a particular leader that they loved more than the others and clung to them. In doing so they created divisions within their family. If I choose to love one family member more than another and cling to them, the others relationships will suffer and divisions will occur. It does not have to be clinging to a person necessarily to which we cling, it can be anything. If I cling to food or drink or some activity as the most important thing, it will create division in my life. You’ve probably seen or experienced families torn apart, marriages broken, children and parent’s abandoning one another, division occurring because of this very thing.
How do we get escape the danger of clinging and the division that follows? Paul tells us in these verses here: Jesus is faithful and it is He who sustains us. We make sure we are connected to Jesus before anyone or anything else - but even in that, we do not cling to Christ… we share Him and trust that He will take care of us. A young child will cling to their mother before they have faith. Once they have faith they have the freedom to move, grow, be fruitful and multiply. So hold onto Christ with one hand and reach out to the other. Hold on to your spouse with one hand and reach out with the other. Hold on to your children and reach out with the other. Hold onto your church with one hand and reach out with the other.
Reflection: What do you cling to with both hands? How are you making room in your life for growth? How are you holding on to Christ and what are you reaching out to?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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