It’s All About Dysfunction
This is the first installment in the series. *( I want to remind you that I didn’t actually write this, but I got it out of the Life Focus Bible Study. All other blog entries are my own work.)
We’ve all had situations that have caused conflict within our families, right? Paul faced a family conflict with the church in Corinth–a church he started. His letter to the Corinthians was not casual correspondence, but an attempt to help this church, his family, in their struggle to get along with each other. They were divided, and as Jesus said “…a house divided against itself will fall…” Luke 11:17.
Debate doesn’t usually accomplish anything except get either side entrenched deeper in their views. I remember one time, in 4th grade, I got in an argument with some friends. It lasted for months, and both sides completely forgot what had started the conflict. Have you ever gotten in a debate so heated that you don’t even remember what caused it? It happens very easily. Sometime our passions fog our ability to recognize what is important.
•When Our Loyalties Are Misplaced, We Are Divided•
•1 Corinthians 1:10-12
Paul received word from people in the area that the Corinthian church was having serious problems. Paul actually started the Church in Corinth, so he cared deeply for them and was compelled to help them. The problem? Their loyalties were divided. The people had taken their focus off Christ and placed more emphasis on themselves (just like we do) and the individuals they considered their spiritual leaders. Rather than growing in their faith as loyal Christ followers, they allowed themselves to argue about their loyalties to different human leaders. Some considered Paul their leader, while others chose to follow Peter (Cephas) or Apollos. Some didn’t even choose a leader, but simply boasted that they were followers of Christ. Boasting in Christ is acceptable, but being a full of pride about being a Christian is a sin.
Paul stressed to the Corinthians that it is imperative for a Christian family to be unified. He implored them to abandon their divisions and become like-minded and unified. They need not agree on everything, but should share the same focus. They needed to work harmoniously on what mattered the most–that Jesus Christ is Lord.
•Pride Divides Us•
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
At this time, the population of Corinth was considered fairly wealthy and known for indulging in luxuries. Worldly and material things were the primary focus of the people–even among those in the church. Pride often enters the scene when people acquire earthly goods. This was the case in Corinth.
Paul recognized that the Corinthians’ arrogance and pride was dividing the church. He reminded them of their origin–their lowly status when they first believed in Christ. They needed to remember that, in the days before Christ, they had been without important status, wisdom, or power. There was no basis for their being so prideful or for treating each other so poorly.
These people obviously needed an attitude adjustment. They needed to learn that pride of one’s wisdom, wealth or social standing had no place among believers. God uses His people in their natural lowly states and brings them together in harmony.
•Relying on Worldly Wisdom Will Divide Christians•
(1 Cor. 2:11-13,16; 3:1-4)
Church families regularly go through seasons of decision making that can cause division. Conflicts can be over big-ticket items or seemingly small things. In one church, several members became disgruntled when the building decorating committee chose a dark rose paint color for the new foyer. For some folks, that was unacceptable. Even though a paint color choice almost divided the church, they chose to settle their differences and live with the pink foyer.
No matter how large or small, problems can divide a church when spiritually immature people are involved. Believers should seek wisdom from the Lord instead of leaning on the world’s opinion or the influence of earthly leadership. The influence of the Holy Spirit on believers allows them access to the mind of Christ and spiritual wisdom. Paul told the Corinthians that even though humans cannot know God’s mind, God’s wisdom can be shown through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:11-13, 16; 3:1-4. Paul addressed the lack of spiritual growth among the Corinthian church members. Their immaturity kept them as infants in the faith, armed with only the worldly wisdom they had before they believed. They should have experienced more growth in their faith. This immaturity left the church unable to obtain spiritual wisdom to resolve conflict among the members.
Being a follow of Christ is more than merely believing. We grow as Christians through prayer, Bible study and serving in some type of ministry. Growth is not automatic, but comes through seeking and receiving the Lord’s wisdom.
Like I said, this particular post was out of the Bible study my sunday school class is starting. There will be twelve more of these, a new one each week. All the post associated with this Bible study will have Life Focus somewhere in the title.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading.