“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought…One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13
This is a passion plea written from a pastor to his people at a local church. We hear there is division in the group caused by some who align their faith with a specific person. Not everyone agrees with each other and some in the church even engaged those conversations in a way that had led to division. People are drawing battle lines and choosing their loyalty, to some person vs. another.
The plea here is to not lose focus on what the church is the body of Christ. The church should be a group of people following after Jesus with all of their hearts, minds and souls. You notice there is no suggestion of following a person or thing outside of Jesus as a central purpose of the church. This argument had reached a fever pitch and word got out about it through the grapevine to the broader community.
Paul’s (the author) reminder is that the church is based on Jesus alone. There is no one or no thing that should ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Jesus when talking about the purpose of the church. Not another person or leader, not a program, not a method, not anything. You may sit next to someone who votes for another party, lives in a different neighborhood, shares different hobbies and passions in life. You may serve alongside someone who thinks your hobby is silly, who is quirky and annoying, or who wears perfume you are allergic to. What holds it all together is not any of those things, but only Jesus.
The church in Corinth thought they were on different teams, some for Cephas, some for Paul, others for Apollos, but Paul reminds them, you are all on Jesus’ team. We hear this in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” We are one big, dysfunctional, broken, caring, loving, and wonderful family.
- What are some modern issues that can divide Christians?
- How can you help keep Christ at the center of all things?
- How would you handle someone who says, “I am for Paul or Cephas?”