As a church planter, I am starting to understand the amount of energy that goes into building a church that will bring glory to Christ. To even think that within a few years of its launch it could disintegrate because of lack of unity would be heart-breaking to say the least.
This very thing happened to the Apostle Paul with the Corinthian church. He poured himself into this group of people and planted a promising church, only later to learn that the church was falling apart because it was characterized by its lack of unity. They were involved in gross immorality, fighting among themselves, and abusing their spiritual gifts.
Paul writes the first book of Corinthians to address these problems, but it is interesting that he pens these words in verses two through five of chapter one:
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge…”
He called them “saints”? This church was acting worse than the pagans outside of the church. But we see Paul praying for them and thanking God for them, because he sees the potential that this group has if only they would remove their self-centeredness and unite in bringing glory to Jesus Christ instead of to themselves.
Since they have accepted Christ as their Savior, they have been sanctified. They have been set apart for a divine purpose. They are saints; they are holy in God’s eyes. It was not because anything they had done or could ever do, but they were holy because God had saved them from their sins and set them apart for his purpose.
In the first ten verses, Paul appeals to them in an authoritative style by mentioning Christ ten times. It was about what Jesus Christ had done, not what they did. As they focused on Christ instead of themselves they would become unified.
A group who comes together with one mind can do great things for God’s kingdom. This group was rich in speech, knowledge, their testimony, and spiritual gifts (vs. 5). These believers did not come from the church up the road; this was a young church full of new believers. With the spiritual gifts that they had, if they would have only united with one mind focused on Christ, they would have been unstoppable. This church had the makings of a very successful “mega church”, but if these issues would not have been dealt with, they would have been destroyed.
This is where many churches in America are. They are teetering on either becoming used greatly by God or deteriorating from the inside out because their lack of unity. Believers need to realize who they are in Christ. If you have truly accepted Christ as you Savior, you are holy and set apart for God to use you mightily. Do not be self-centered, thinking that it is about what you do–it is about Jesus Christ and what he has already done. What if we were to quit bickering among each other and united with one mind to make Jesus known throughout our cities? What a glorious day that would be. Let’s unite together and pray for this to happen.
1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”