Divisions, Teams, and Defeat
In 1 Corinthians 1, the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church that they should not be choosing sides and boasting about which traveling preacher they will follow. Some are saying they side with Apollos, others with Paul, and others boast but still separate themselves and say they are better than others because they are just gonna follow Jesus!
After all of this talk about divisions among them, Paul seeks to get their focus back where it is supposed to be in their lives: on Jesus.
He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:3031 NET)
They were being arrogant and prideful and fleshy in their love of their preference. They loved Paul, or Apollos, or whatever, even to the point of boasting that they weren’t boasting in taking sides and boasting that they were following Jesus.
Let all boasting, all honor, all attention be toward Jesus.
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God. For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NET)
Now Paul does something really awesome. Since he doesn’t want to downgrade the others, or talk bad about anyone else, he downgrades himself. Basically he is RESETTING that which they originally put their faith in, Christ, and not an amazing teacher!
This and recent church events erupting over preference and pleasure makes me want to swing that crazy pendulum all of the way over and find the place where this happens:
What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NET)
Hear me through on this, I’m not saying this 14.26 stuff happens instead of the awesome huge gathering we have on a Sunday morning, but in addition to it!
I told the Bible Attack League this week, “I get fed every day, and on Sunday mornings I eat out.” This has become my perspective of church on Sunday mornings. All week long I talk to my kids about God. On Sunday mornings they hear it from others (so they can see Mommy & Daddy aren’t the only ones that think this stuff) and do fun stuff around the topic of the Bible.
As for me and my wife, we get to sing songs with a bigger congregation (when we sing during the week there are only 7 in our choir, and that’s only if everybody joins in) and we get to hear an interesting speaker. It isn’t Biblical church, it never can be, and that is PERFECTLY ALRIGHT because we aren’t expecting it to be something it can’t be.
I was talking to some pastors from a church I used to go to on Sunday mornings and used to be a huge part of (and by huge I mean I was employed there, were supported by them for 3 years of overseas work, and got a lot of remodeling help done to our new home when we returned) and we talked about thinking in terms of communities instead of churches.
By thinking in terms of communities you can be at a certain address on a Sunday morning but have a different group of people that you are worshipping and growing with day to day and house to house. If a Sunday morning service doesn’t fit you well, don’t demonize or deify your preference and go away mad! Find a place that fits and keep the other folks in your worship community!