I Corinthians 1:10-17 #2

Steve Viars June 18, 1991 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

- we're studing the book of I Cor. and last week we began
  looking at the first problem Paul addresses in this needy
  church.
INPUT - what was the problem? (disunity, disharmony)

- let's read these verses again and remind ourselves of how
  Paul addressed the subject
- READ 1:10-17

- last week we came up with an outline on the board of these
  verses in an attempt to summarize the verses in short
  memorable sentences

  I. Be Unified
II. You're Not Unified
III. Here's Why You Should Be Unified

- (we're going to continue to use this outline over the next
   period of weeks)

- we were able to begin studying that first point, where Paul
  said:

I. Be Unified

    A. Because we're brothers and sisters in Christ

        - he appealed to them instead of ordering them
        - he called them brethren

        - see, he wasn't like the blocking fullback whose job
          it is to make an existing hole bigger
        - we've got problems, but we're brothers and sisters
          in Christ and we're going to deal with these
          problems in a way that keeps this truth central in
          the discussion

    B. Because of His Name

        - he appeals to them in the name of Jesus in verse 10
        - you've been causing divisions in the church as if
          it belonged to you
        - there' something seriously wrong with that
        - I appeal to you in Jesus' name - this church
          belongs to Him
        - and if you really believed that - you be a whole
          lot slower about breaking something, or causing
          divisions in something that belonged to Him

- now there are two more important things that Paul says
  about being unified in verse 10
- let's look at them


    C. 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

    - (illus - Mark Gunstra - Kris asked him to cut blocks of
         wood) (I'm not good at that - not patient enough)

    - so obviously we come from a variety of backgrounds,
      many of us have been in other churches, we all have
      different gifts and abilities
    - there's great variety in our church - and that’s
      healthy and that’s right
    - that’s why the Lord uses the image of the body to
      describe the church
    - a body doesn't work well if its all arms, etc.
    - we need each other

- however, Paul still says, "speak the same thing", and he's
  talking about:

   1. Speak the same thing doctrinally

    - 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

    - Now, 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
    - be unified by speaking the same thing doctrinally

    - 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

    - its 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

    2. 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

    3. good questions to ask ourselves concerning "speaking
       the same thing"

        1) Do I take positions on issues that really don't
           matter?

           - some folks are going to have difficulty obeying
             what this passage is talking about because they
             regularly take positions on issues that really
             aren't important.

           - not talking about a lack of convictions - not
             talking about ignoring beliefs and clear
             teachings of the Scripture
           - but there are some issues in Bible study and
             Christianity that are debatable, that can't be
             proven, and really don't matter anyway
               - and therefore -there's no real reason to
                 take a strong position on that issue,
                 especially if doing so is going to weaken
                 the unity of the church

            - example (superman illustration) - often, when
              you're studying the Scripture, there are
              different interpretations of various verses
            - now, I want to be careful
            - the Bible is very understandable, and by using
              principles of Bible study we can normally
              understand exactly what the Lord could
              communicate

            - but there are certain verses that we can't
              speak to with absolute certainty
            - you read one writer and he says one thing, you
              read another and he says something else

            - let me give you an example
            - please turn over to I Cor. 4:6 - "and these
              things, brethren, I have in a figure
              transferred to myself and Apollos"
            - some writers say that Paul is referring back to
              what he's just been speaking about at the end
              of chapter three - in other words - I've been
              using our names as examples to illustrate my
              point

            - other people say that I Cor. 4:6 actually
              refers all the way back to the verses we're
              studying in chapter one
                 - and what Paul is saying is that there
                   weren't really groups that were saying "I
                   am of Paul", and "I am of Apollos"
                 - but there were different groups with
                   different names attached, and Paul was
                   just inserting his name, Apollos' name in
                   as an example

            - that obviously affects, to some degree, the way
              we're going to discuss the verses in chapter
              one
            - in fact, I've heard some Bible teachers say -
              Don't say the groups said they were of Paul, or
              of Appolos - because when you get to chapter 4
              you're going to be embarrassed

- the problem with that is - you can't know that for sure
    - you can make some educated guesses
    - but you can't know for sure
    - and it really doesn't matter anyway

- but there is a potential problem, especially for folks who
  have been around our church a long period of time
- INPUT - what's the potential problem in these kinds of
     issues?  (that pastor or some other teacher had taken a
     different position)

    - what should I do in those situations?
    - (ask pastor, and see what position he took)

- I'm not talking about compromising doctrine - or not
  thinking and studying and being a Berean
- but the bottom line is - unity is very important - and
  there's no reason to take a strong position on issues that:
    - don't really matter
    - can't be proven anyway
       - and in the process disrupt the unity in a church

- and we need ourselves tonight - Am I that kind of person?
- Are you so opinionated that you hold every position on
  every issue with the same degree of certainty even if it
  causes divisions?

- Questions? Comments?  Balance?

        2) Do I "feed on" contentions?

            - some folks love a good fight
            - the soap opera industry caters to individuals
              who love ongoing fights and arguments
            - some folks just love to argue

            - in fact, I've known individuals who I heard
              arguing about an issue one day on one side of
              the issue - and then arguing another day with
              another person on the same issue - except this
              time they were arguing the other side!

            - see, some folks just feed on contention - and
              that kind of individual will have great
              difficulty doing what this passage of Scripture
              is saying (speaking the same thing)

        3) Do I impersonalize issues?

            - here's what I mean with this one
            - some folks like to discuss problems talking
              about "they did this" and "they said that"
            - "Those folks over at the church--they said we
               need to dress modestly"
            - "They never let us do this...or that"

            - in those kinds of conversations, I always want
              to ask - "Who?" - "Who is the they"
            - it seems to me that some folks find it easier
              to be critical and contentious if they don't
              use names

            - using names might make them feel guilty
            - they know they shouldn't talk about this person
              or that person
            - but they enjoy the contentions - so they just
              impersonalize them

            - do you do that?

        4) Do you "get behind" decisions that the
           congregation has made and view them as the will of
           the Lord?

           - see, as Baptists, we believe in congregational
             government
           - we believe that because we believe the Bible
             very clearly teaches that
           - congregational government says that because
             every believer has direct access to God, every
             believer's vote is important

        - now we don't vote on what the Bible already says -
          because God has communicated his will through his
          word
        - but when it comes to business issues - we encourage
          each other to study the Scriptures, listen to
          recommendations brought forth by the leadership
          that the church elected, and then vote the way you
          believe is right

        - there's nothing wrong with asking good questions
        - nothing wrong with making comments and giving
          input, but once that vote is taken - congregational
          government says that that decision is the will of
          the Lord

        - and therefore, even if the vote didn't go my way -
          its now time to get behind it
        - its now time for me to speak the same thing
        - because unity is at stake

    - Do you get behind decisions that the congregation has
      made and view them as the will of the Lord?

     5) Is unity as important to me as it is to the Lord?

        - Jesus prayed repeatedly in the Garden of Gethsemane
          that the church would be united, that it would be
          one
        - the Psalmist said - "Behold, how good and how
          pleasant it is for the brothers to dwell together
          in unity" (Psalm 133:1)

        - and I think its interesting that we're talking
          about "speaking the same things", because often its
          that "off the cuff" comment
        - that careless conversation - that causes disunity

        - death and life are in the power of the tongue and
          the person who thinks thoughts, or say words, or
          performs deeds that lead to disharmony has revealed
          a problem in the heart (unity is not as important
          to them as it is to the Lord)

-the last point Paul makes in this verse is:

D. 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 - Comparitively 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?

- Sunday night - we were talking about ways the Smiths had
  impacted us
- I think this is another area we could have mentioned
- Doc and Mrs. Smith, in many ways, contributed to the unity
   of our church

   1) loved the Lord and loved his church and wouldn't cause
      disharmony because they believed deeply that the church
      belongs to Jesus

   2) had genuine submissive spirit to the church leadership

   3) hands their hands on the plow - were pushing hard -
      and folks who are pushing the plow seldom cause
      disunity in a church

   4) confronted when necessary so that the unity would be
      real and genuine instead of shallow or superficial

- but they are gone for a couple fo years - and I believe it
  would be wise for the rest of us to consider how we're
  going to step in and improve and increase our commitment
  to unity here

"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