• Matt Beaney

#438 (15/9/21) - UNITY IN CHRIST AND THE CROSS (1 COR. 1:13-16)



This week our devotions are based on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.

'Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptise any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptised anyone else.)' (1 Corinthians 1:13-16)

The mass of an object determines its gravitational pull. The Sun is large enough to hold our solar system in its orbit. For a church to be united it needs something big enough at the centre. Jesus is big enough to truly unite us.


UNITY IN CHRIST UNDIVIDED

This church were uniting around and being divided by worldly allegiance to different leaders. They had put men at the centre. In response, Paul asks, ‘Is Christ divided?’ If Christ is truly central, we will not be divided because He cannot be divided!

Our relationships in the church reflect Jesus. Our divisions reveal a divided Christ. This, of course, is nonsense! Christ cannot be divided! If our Lord cannot be broken up, His people should reflect this unity.

Christ is not divided in His person, but He is also not divided in His love and devotion to every one of His people. Likewise, His people should reflect Jesus’ love given equally to all of them.


UNITY IN THE CROSS

This church were putting leaders at the centre as if these men were their Lord and Saviour! Paul asks the question ‘was Paul crucified for you?’ The idolising of leaders is to raise them above Christ. Jesus, and no human leader, is our Saviour. Remembering that we share the same and only Saviour creates harmony.


Right thinking about the person and work of Christ creates unity; He is united and He is our Saviour and we are to reflect this in our relationships. Do your relationships reflect a united Christ? Do your relationships reflect that we share a Saviour?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued in our series in 1 Corinthians. The title of the message was, 'OUR UNITY REFLECTS JEUS'. Overcoming worldly disunity by an application of the gospel is a big theme in this letter.


Please read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.


1. AN APPEAL OVER A COMMON PROBLEM.

Broken relationships were common in Corinthian culture. Christians are called to reflect the character of Jesus and His Kingdom rather than their broken culture. Therefore, unity must be eagerly pursued, and the skill of overcoming relational landmines must be learnt.


2. AN APPEAL TO FAMILY

Paul addresses the church his family. He appeals to them as ‘brothers and sisters’. Family is something that we stick with. We don’t treat church membership and unity lightly.


3. AN APPEAL IN JESUS' NAME

Paul appeals for unity ‘in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Paul is speaking on behalf of Jesus and he knows that it’s Jesus’ will that they pursue loving unity.

Let’s also remember that the church represents ‘the name of Jesus’ and so our relationships in the church reflect on His character for good or bad!


4. UNITED THROUGH HEALTHY THINKING

Harmony is maintained through healthy thinking. We are urged to ‘agree with one another in what you say’. This unifying speech flows out of being ‘perfectly united in mind and thought’. Bad - culture-inspired - thinking leads to poor speech and disunity. Good - Jesus-centred - thinking leads to healthy speech and harmony.


5. HARMONY THROUGH HEALTHY DIVERSITY

Paul speaks of their dividing and quarrelling about leaders. Each leader has a different background, different gifts and a different history with the church that was creating an unhealthy celebrity culture.

However, we are to understand that harmony and strength are created by the variety of gifts in the body of Christ and her leaders.


6. OUR UNITY REFLECTS JEUS

The church is to be like an orchestra. The beauty of the music is in the variety of instruments. Jesus in our conductor. He's the composer. May our music reflect Him to this world that needs Him.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?

2. Do you have any questions about this text?

3. v.10 - How does unity in mind and thought help to maintain unity?

3. v.11 - Have you ever experienced division over leaders in a local church? (Please be careful not to spread gossip with this question).

4. v.13- Why does division in the church cause Paul to ask 'Is Christ divided?'

5. v.14 - The title of Sunday's message was 'Our Unity Reflects Jesus'. What do disunity and unity reflect about Jesus?

5. SIV

Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?


Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in you diary.







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