1 Corinthians 1:10-18
1:10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.
1:11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.
1:12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
1:13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
1:15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name.
1:16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Contention and division in the church is unfortunately something that is all too common. Whether it is taking sides with one pastor, elder or leader or going against another, division is often most caused when people begin to place their leaders on a pedestal instead of focusing on placing all the Glory on God.
No human leader, not even Paul, should be given the loyalty that belongs to only to the Lord. This type of elevation of leadership is what leads to contention, disputes and a divided Church. In this passage, Paul is drawing attention to the fact that his role in the church is deemed worthless to that of what God’s place is. When we look to Christ, we don’t worship Him in “divided” parts. We worship God as the one and true almighty Savior of this world.
Now, this is not to limit the work that Paul did in bringing many to Christ. However, the glory and praise is not to be given to him and his mission was not to baptize a certain group of people. His mission was to bring the Gospel message to those whom God had brought into his path and praise God for all that He’s done. Paul also does not claim to hold any spiritual wisdom that can match God’s. In Verse 17 he speaks of how he was called to preach and bring oneness in Christ among the body of believers.
In today’s world there are so many things that church members can look for to cause division and strife. God’s intention for the church is to be unified and to have one goal in mind: spread the message of the Gospel and do so with the intent of bringing God Glory. Our role is to encourage, edify and uplift one another. Praise God for the work that He has started in your own church and keep praying that God will continue to move and use you in powerful ways to advance, not hinder, the Gospel of Christ.
It is important to remember no man brings salvation; only Jesus. There is no pastor, preacher, teachers, evangelist, televangelist, or mentor that will ever be able to take Jesus’ place. We must be aware also that leaders and pastors are not in competition with each other. We are all part of the body of Christ. When we hurt one Christian or leader then we hurt our own body.
There is nothing to gain by being a follower of Paul vs a follower of Apollos. Likewise, following Joyce Meyer is not going to make your salvation different than the person who was saved at a little no-name church in the country. We are all of the same baptism and of the same body of Christ. We must recognize that we serve Jesus first and not our denomination or our religious grouping.
[Featured image from yearinthebible.com]