I Corinthians 1:10-17

Steve Viars June 11, 1991 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

- we're moving our study of I Cor. to the Wednesday evening
  services
- we're actually had two messages on this book already on a
  couple of Sunday night's ago
- you remember we said that the Corinthian church was filled
  with problems, yet Paul began by talking to the Corinthians
  about God's grace
     - charis - unmerited, undeserved, unrepayable favor and
                goodness

- he talked to them about God's grace in the past by sending
  them an apostle and by making it possible for them to be
  called saints immediately when they trusted Christ as
  personal savior
- he talked to them about God's grace in the present by
  enriching them with all the gifts they needed
     - to serve
     - and to please him
     - and to minister effectively in their city
- he also told them about God's grace to them in the future,
  when, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will be
  confirmed blameless before Him

- so God's first words to individuals who weren't pleasing
  him were to remind them of his grace, in hopes that they
  would be so moved by his grace that they would change and
  grow

- now, we're going to move into a new section tonight where
  Paul is going to "go after" the first problem in the
  Corinthian  church, and that is the problem of divisions in
  the church
- let's just read a couple of verses to get the flavor of
  what's about to be said
- READ 1:10-11

- I'd like to make a couple of introductory comments about
  these verses and then we'll study them directly

Introductory Comments

  1) This section on unity actually goes for 3 and a half
     chapters.

    A basic outline of the verses would be:

    I. Basic Commands About Unity - 1:10-17

   II. Be Unified By Having The Right View of the Gospel
       1:18-3:4

  III. Be Unified By Having A Right View of the Ministry
       3:5-4:21

 

- now, obviously, it will take us a couple of months to get
  through that much material
- that doesn't mean that every night the subject will be unity

- there's a lot of great sub-themes in these verses that
  we'll look at
- but throughout the section, Paul will tie his ideas back to
  the theme of the unity of the church, and so we'll do the
  same thing from time to time

  2) Its great to be able to speak about unity in a setting
     that is "unified."

     - I want to be sure I've said for the sake of anyone who
       has just started coming, that there is great unity at
       Faith Baptist church
     - can you imagine what it would be like for a pastor to
       be speaking at a church where there was disharmony and
       disunity, and every time he mentions a principle from
       the verses, someone thinks, "he must be talking about
       me", and "he must be thinking of me."
     - I can't imagine what that would be like

   - so its great to be able to speak about unity in a
     setting that’s unified
      - however, I think we need to say this - "the seeds of
        disunity are present in all of us."
      - that will become more apparent in coming weeks as we
        study the sources of disunity, but we definitely need
        to study these verses because "unity today does not
        guarantee unity tomorrow."

3) the last thing I'd like to do in an introductory way is
   that I'd like us to attempt to summarize these 8 verses
   together
- let me tell you where I'm coming from

- one of the things we try to accomplish, especially in
  Sunday school and in the Wednesday evening service is to
  teach principles of Bible study that can help us better
  understand God's Word as we study it corporately and
  individually

- recently I heard an interview of a Bible teacher who said
  that when he's studying Scripture, he seeks to boil down a
  section of verses into 1, 2, or 3 simple sentences that
  summarize the main point the Bible writer is seeking to
  make

- that may not be new to you - maybe it is, but I'd like to
  do that with verses 10-17

   I. Be Unified
  II. You're (the Corinthians) Not Unified
III.  Here's Why You Should Be Unified


- tonight, we want to focus the rest of our time on verse 10
  where Paul says "Be Unified"

- we'll see in this verse 4 principles that will help us
  maintain unity

I. Be Unified Because We're Brothers (and sisters)

    - what I'd like us to notice in this first point is the
      way Paul addresses this topic
    - he's not avoiding the problem, sweeping it under the
      rug
    - but the way he addresses it is still gracious

    A. he makes an "appeal" to them

       - depending on the translation you have, verse 10
         begins with "I beseech you" (or exhort you, or
         appeal to you")
       - this word is the same one that is used to describe
         the Holy Spirit in verses like John 14:16
         (Comforter)
       - its the original word parakalew
           - para - to come alongside
           - kalew - to call or to say
       - Paul is saying, even though this is a serious
         problem and I'm going to address it directly, I'm
         still going to do it in a loving fashion
       - I'm making an appeal to you

       - An excellent parallel passage is in the book of
         Philemon, in verses 8 and 9, where Paul says to
         Philemon, "Though I have enough confidence in Christ
         to order you to do that which is proper, yet for
         love's sake I rather appeal to you."

- he also communicates that by the way he addresses them
- INPUT?

    B. addresses them as brothers

        - "even though you're messing up - we're still part
           of the family"
        - we're brothers and sisters in Christ and I'm going
          to handle this situation in a way that keeps that
          truth in its possible place

- principle is this - even when someone else is hindering
  unity - we must deal with them in a way that facilitates
  unity - not makes the division greater

- see, some of us are like a "blocking fullback"
- you know what a blocking fullback does, don't you?

- the front line blocks first (they make a small hole in the
  line
- then its the blocking fullback's turn
- he comes blasting through that little hole in an attempt to
  make the hole bigger so the running back has a big hole to
  run in


- isn’t this true - some of are like that when it comes to
  problems
- there's a certain size problem - but when we're done -
    WOW - because we didn't handle it in a kind, gracious,
    manner in line with these principles
       - the truth is that when we're done, the problem's
         bigger than ever

       - now its true that we may handle it in line with
         these principles, and because of the other person's
         sinful response, the problem is bigger than ever
       - there's not much you can do about that

       - but shame on us if we make the division greater
         because we contributed more sin to the problem

- illus (Procop letter)
   - version #1 - we're sorry that the problem occurred.  If
        there's anything that we need to change, we'd love to
        talk to you further about it.

   - version #2 - the way you responded to this problem was
        at best unprofessional, and at worst unloving and
        ungodly.  If this is indicative of the way you handle
        other situations in your life...etc.

- a good question to ask about this passage on unity is - do
   I deal with problems in a way that contributes to unity,
   that makes it easy for the person to repent and come back
   into the unified flock
     - or am I more like a stick of dynamite, blowing holes
       wherever I go

INPUT (if time) - what are some leading statements or phrases
       that would be in line with these principles?

II. Be Unified Because Of His Name

    - verse 10 says, I exhort you, brethren, by the name of
      our Lord Jesus Christ

    - it would be good to note next to that: "see verse 9"

    - INPUT - what from verse 9 goes along with this point?
        (in fellowship with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ)

    - INPUT - (if time) - If you were going to put Paul's
        argument into a sentence, how would you say it?
        "You ought to be unified because...."

   - let me suggest several points

    A. you can't be in fellowship with Jesus if you're at
       odds with the people in Jesus' church

       - see, here's individuals who have gotten involved in
         all kinds of divisions in the church
       - they've even got their slogans - "I'm of Paul", I'm
         of Apollos"

- INPUT - now let me ask you this question - if you went to
  one of those individuals and said - Now how's your
  relationship with the Lord, what do you think they would
  have said?

    - "Its really going great" (in fact, one group even said
      - we're really spiritual - we're of Christ according to
        verse 12)

    - (or, how's your relationship with the Lord - "what's
       that got to do with this?")

- counseling illus (rate your marriage, your performance in
  the marriage, your relationship with the Lord)

    - Paul is saying - I want to appeal to you, in the name
      of Jesus Christ, in the name of the one with whom
      you're supposed to be having fellowship with
         - you need to factor your relationship with Him into
           this problem
         - you can't be in fellowship with Him and be
           divisive in the church

- Paul also appeals to the name of Jesus because Jesus owns
  the church
- "upon this rock I shall build my church"
- "All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth"
- He's the "chief cornerstone"
- He's the "captain of our salvation"
- Paul told the Ephesian elders - "shepherd the church of God
  which He purchased with His own blood"
- He's running the show-because the church belongs to Him

    B. The church belongs to Him

        - now you might say - what does this have to do with
          unity?

        - answer is - you wouldn't break something up if you
              really truly believed it belonged to the Lord

        - Illus (Sid Fort) - first weekend in Trenton, 19
              years old, ready to start as their weekend
              youth pastor, attend a church function,
              elderly gentleman wanted to get me aside and
              tell me about the pastor's faults!

              - what was missing in that man's thinking?
                 - he needed to be appealed to in the name of
                   Jesus
                 - you are being divisive
                 - this church doesn't belong to you
                 - you to think long and hard about the fact
                   that what you are messing up belongs to
                   the Lord Jesus Christ

    C. "His Name" involves His will

    - another idea we need to put under this concept is that
      when Paul talked about in the name of Jesus, he was
      talking about "Jesus' will in this situation"

    - in what other area are we familiar with the concept of
      "in Jesus name" or in the name of Jesus?"
        - the formula for prayer
        - we're to pray in Jesus name
        - that doesn't mean, like some folks wrongly think,
          that the Lord has given us a kind of heavenly credit
          card, and we ask for what we want, and then we pull
          out the card and say - in Jesus name "He will pay
          for it"

    - that’s not the point of that phrase at all
    - when we pray in Jesus name - we're saying - "all these
      requests are subject to the approval of the Master.  I
      only request these things if they are the Lord's will
      for my life"
    - I'm praying in Jesus name

- Paul is appealing to the Corinthians and saying - you need
  to be unified
- you need to be less concerned about your will and more
  concerned about the will of our Savior

- his will, his desire, is the unity of the church

- in fact, He prayed in the garden repeatedly that the church
  would be one
- John 17:11 - "...Father, keep them in thy name, the name
      which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as
      we are one."
- 17:20 - "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for
      those also who believe in me through their word, that
      they may all be one."

- point is - Paul is appealing to them in the name of Jesus
    Christ because a person who is being divisive in the
    church is more concerned about his/her will than they
    are in the will of the Lord Jesus
- and that is a serious issue

- illustration - deacon who was upset with the pastor (not
      over any kind of doctrinal issue) - tried all kinds of
      ways to undermine the pastor and cause divisions in the
      church
    - hired a woman to pose as a counselee after the morning
      service, come into his office, talk to him for a
      moment, scream, tear her blouse, and run out of his
      office into the crowded church foyer

    - that’s obviously an extreme example - but you ask - how
      could a person get so divisive?
    - how could a person get so far removed from God's will
      in a given situation?

    - because he was so bent on accomplishing his will
      instead of the will of the Lord

- we ought to be unified because we're brothers and sisters
  in Christ
- we ought to be unified because this is the Lord's church,
  it belongs to Him and when a person is divisive, he's
  dividing something that belongs to the Lord


III. Be Unified By Speaking The Same Thing

    - in the NASB, the next phrase in the verse says "that
      you all agree", but literally, the phrase reads the
      way the KJV puts it - that you speak the same thing

    - now we're not talking about being robots or clones
    - there's a great assortment of gifts and personalities
      in our church and every church
    - we saw that in the skits the other night (develop -
      the ladies who sang) (I couldn't do that - point is -
      there's a lot of differences and variety)

    A. Speak the same thing doctrinally

    - but, when it comes to doctrine - we're to speak the
      same thing
    - we are to be one minded
    - its not simply a matter of agreeing with our lips but
      believing something different in our hearts
    - In the Corinthians case, we're talking about holding
      firm to the doctrine delivered to them by the apostles

    - In our case, we're talking about holding firm to the
      truth of the Old and New Testaments

    - see, that’s why its so important for our church to have
      a doctrinal statement
    - that binds us together
    - when a person joins, he or she is saying that I agree
      that this is what the Bible teaches
    - this is what I believe about Christ, about the Holy
      Spirit, about the Scripture, etc.

    - can you imagine what it would be like if we weren't all
      speaking the same thing when it came to the doctrines
      of the Bible?

    - now, I know that its fashionable in the world for free
      thinking and everybody to have different opinions and
      we all just respect each others opinions, etc.
    - there may be certain contexts where that would be
      proper
    - but that won't work in a church

    - There are churches around that try to have a real broad
      umbrella where folks hold all sorts of different
      doctrines and still try to have a church
    - where individuals believe different things about the
      inspiration of the Bible, different things about
      abortion, different things about salvation and baptism

    - that will not work
    - that will cause divisions quicker than anything
    - Paul say - "speak the same thing" - I want you all to
      agree

    - and every so often, we have individuals who want to
      become part of our church but believe something
      different about a major doctrine
    - that just won't work

    - we have folks who visit for a few weeks and then go
      somewhere else, and that’s not all bad
    - Faith Baptist Church isn't for everybody and it
      shouldn't be for everybody

    - it’s one thing if an individual says - "I was raised in
      a church that believed such and such and can you
      explain why you believe differently?" – that’s fine
    - but for the individual who says
        - well, I don't think the Bible is inspired
        - I think you have to be baptized in order to be
          saved
        - I think we ought to have a woman pastor
           - and there are a number of folks like that who
             who believe those kinds of things and aren't
             planning on changing - in fact they want us to
             change

   - after a period of time - we would lovingly encourage
     them to find another place to fellowship where the
     beliefs are more compatible
   - the reason for that is what Paul is saying here - you
     can't have unity in a church unless people are "saying
     the same thing" - in agreement doctrinally

    B. Otherwise there will be division

        - Paul says, I don't want you to have divisions
          among you
        - divisions - the word "schismata" - its the same
           word Jesus used when He said that you don't put a
           new patch on an old garment - because the new
           cloth will pull away and cause a worse "tear or
           rip"-a schismata

    - Paul says - I don't want those in the church - God
        doesn't want those - and we can prevent them by
        "being in agreement doctrinally" - by speaking the
         same thing
- the last point Paul makes in this verse is:

IV. Be Unified By Not Being Satisfied Where You (We)
    Currently Are

    - Paul says, "be perfectly joined together (or made
                  complete, be perfectly united)
    - that word is translated "restore" in other places in
      the Scripture
    - Gal. 6:1 - "If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye that
        are spiritual restore" that person

    - like mending a broken bone
    - or repairing a torn fishing net

    - become more unified, be "perfectly joined together"
    - now you might say - "well, I can see why Paul would
      say that to the Corinthians - their unity obviously
      needed to be repaired", but why did you word this point
      in a way that indicates we need to do this as well
    - you said earlier that there is a lot of unity at Faith
      Baptist Church
    - Why fix something that isn't broken?
- the answer to that is - Comparatively speaking, I think
  there is a great amount of unity here, but like every other
  area of the Christian life, God wants us to be growing in
  unity as well

- "be perfectly joined together" - "Be made complete" (in
   your unity)

- we shouldn't view this subject with the thought - "if its
  not broken, we shouldn't fix it"
- because to some degree, our unity is broken

- it was broken at the fall
- it was broken as soon as they admitted a sinner like me in
  the membership, and a sinner like you

- while we may have achieved a good measure of unity, without
  question the Lord would say to us just like every other
  church in the world - "I want your unity to improve"
- the Psalmist said - "behold, how good and how pleasant it
   is for the brothers to dwell together in unity"

- Paul says, I want you to do that:

    A. in the same mind

    B. in the same judgment

      - in other words, both internally and externally

- point tonight has been - God wants our church to be unified
  and growing in unity

- we ought to be unified because:

    I. We're Brothers
   II. Because of His Name
  III. By Speaking The Same Thing
   IV. By Not Being Satisfied with where we currently are

- let me ask you to consider this question as we close - what
  effect do you have on the unity of the church?

       - are you involved in thinking that could lead to
         disunity?
       - are you involved in words that could lead that way?
       - are you involved in actions that violate these
         principles?

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brothers to
  dwell together in unity"

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video