I Corinthians 1:12

Dr. Steve Viars June 25, 1991 1 Corinthians 1:12

- we've been studying Paul's letter to the Corinthians, a
  church that was a strategic position for effective ministry
  yet had allowed so many problems and difficulties to come
  into the church that they had lost their effectiveness

- Paul began the book not with an angry tirade, instead he
  began by speaking to them about God's grace to
- in verse 10 he began addressing the first major problem -
  that’s the problem of disunity in the church
- we've studied this paragraph as a whole and we've also
  studied verse 10 in detail - in the time we have
  tonight I'd like us to look at verses 11-12 and see One of
  the Great Hindrances To Unity

- READ 10-12

I. Why is Unity in the Church So Important?

    (ask them to read verses that were previously assigned -
     before or after, depending on the way the verse is
     listed in the point))

    A. (John 17:20-21) - Jesus prayed for it

    B. Brings glory to God - (Eph. 4:3)

       - Paul's been talking about the glory of God in Eph.
         3, and he says - now walk worthy of the vocation to
         which you were called - Here's how you can show
         God's glory-"Endeavor to keep the unity of the
         Spirit in the bond of peace"

    C. Allows a church to single-mindedly pursue the goals of
       evangelism and discipleship - (Phil. 2:2)

    D. It is good - (Psalm 133:1)

- unity is obviously very important, but the Corinthians
  didn't have it

II. What Were The Corinthians Doing To Disrupt Their Unity?

    - you could describe this several different ways, but the
      we're talking about them "pitting people against one

    - now in this case (as is often the case), the
      Corinthians are seeking to pit church leaders against
      one another

    - saying I am of Paul, I am of Apollos,....
    - of course Paul started the church, Apollos was the man
      Paul sent to be the next pastor
    - we're not sure who Cephas was - it might be Peter - and
      possibly some folks who had been saved under Peter's
      ministry were now in the church

    - but the bottom line is - they were causing disunity in
      the church by pitting people against one another

    - see, "I'm of Paul" (and therefore I'm not of Apollos)
      or "I'm of Apollos" and (therefore I'm not of Cephas)

- now let me ask you this

III. What Does God Think About This Kind of Behavior?

    A. He hates it - Prov. 6:16-19

       - these six things does the Lord hate - ...a false
         witness that speaks lies, and he that soweth discord
         among the brethren

    B. He is angry about it - Psalm 7:11

        - "God is angry with the wicked every day"

- I think we need to say strongly that God hates this kind of
  divisiveness.  He hated it when it was happening in the
  church at Corinth and He hates it when it happens in His
  church today.

- let's talk about how this often comes about today:

IV. How Does This Normally Come About Today and What Should
    Be Done?

    A. Divisiveness often occurs today by individuals
       criticizing persons to a third party

        - see, that’s what was happening in the church at
        - no one was going to Paul or going to Apollos and
          speaking to them directly about this matter

        - in fact, Paul didn't even know about it (no one
          wrote him a letter.  No one visited him.)

        - he had to hear about it from visitors from the
          house of Cloe

        - often times in churches in 1991, individuals are
          divisive by going to a third party who's not a part
          of the problem or the solution and being critical
          of another person

- Now, praise the Lord that the Scripture has given us clear
  guidelines on how to handle that kind of situation

what principle(s) governs this sort of behavior?

    B. Scriptural principles

        1. "Criticizer" must be sent to the person they
            believe wronged them

            - Matt. 18:15-18

                - "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass
                   against thee, go and tell him his fault
                   between thee and him alone, and if he
                   shall hear thee, thou hast gained the

                INPUT - (very important question) - if a
                person comes and begins to criticize another
                believer to you, (since its the person's
                responsibility to go speak to the one who
                wronged them), what can't you do?  (sit there
                and listen)  - develop - WHOA!

        2. It's imperative that the whole church be committed
           to this process

           - Jesus says later about the church discipline
             process that the church must all speak the same
             thing in these situations because what they bind
             on earth has been bound in heaven

           - that’s why Paul said in verse 10 that I want you
             to have unity by speaking the same thing

           - when we get to chap. 5 and see the way Paul
             tells the church to handle the incestuous man,
             he tells them all to respond the same way (its
             imperative that the whole church be committed to
             this process)

            - later in II Cor, he's going to say that the
              incestuous man repented because the church was
              united - they said the same thing corpately and

- here's why that’s so important - people who are divisive
  in this fashion will often zealously seek out a sympathetic
    - they desperately want someone to side with them, and
      I've even heard of individuals actually going through
      a church's phone directory calling anybody and
      everybody trying to find someone who will take their

    - at that point that person doesn't need a sympathetic
      ear - they need a loving church family that encourages
      and expects them to handle this kind of situation
      according to the Scripture

- I think we all need to look at a passage like I Cor. 1 and
  ask, Am I having a positive impact on the unity of the
  church because I'm committed to these principles?
    - or have I set myself up as being wiser than the Bible
      and listening when I ought to be sending that person
      back to the appropriate individual?

- there's one more issue we need to address in this verse,
  and that is -- the Corinthians were doubly guilty in this
  situation because the people they were pitting against one
  another were church leaders

- what principle has God placed in his word that
          protects the church's unity, especially with
          reference to the criticism of pastors?  (I Tim.

        2. Don't receive (entertain - NIV) an accusation
           against a pastor without witnesses

- see, the Scripture makes it clear that it is wrong for you
  or I to listen to criticism or complaints that someone
  would be making about a pastor
- the Bible is very clear on this

- if a person has a problem with a pastor - they are to go to
  that pastor
- if they are not satisfied, they can request to meet with
  the deacons and the pastors

- but anytime a person goes and spreads criticism to others
  in the church - they are sinning - they are being divisive
- anytime someone listens to that kind of person - they are
  sinning - they are being divisive by allowing it to go on

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

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

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