We continue our new sermon series entitled ‘Unity’, with preaching from Nathan Gordon and our (virtual) service led by Richard Sills.
Last week we explored the powerful display of unity in the upper room as the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit. Since that first day of the Church, many other groups were established during Paul’s second missionary journey, in which a lengthy visit to the promiscuous and immoral city of Corinth would see the Gospel received by many in the region resulting in a new church plant.
The report from Chloe’s household – DIVISION IN THE CAMP!
The apostle Paul after around 18 months of preaching, teaching, and nurturing the new Christians in Corinth until he departed, would later receive a report from one of the Corinthian families that in his absence things had more or less fallen apart. Factions had developed, morals were in disrepair, worship had been sold out to idols and the church was now deeply divided. Paul’s response in writing to the church in Corinth was clear, warm, and pastoral as he sought to address the issues and focus their attention back on what matters – serving Christ!
If you had to write a letter of concern about the church like the household of Chloe, what would your letter entail?
when you look around the town of Sittingbourne what comes to your mind?
What troubles you and even makes you upset about the community and nation?
What challenges you about the times we are living in today?
How do you feel when ungodly agendas are pushed to the forefront of society and that which is Christ centred is seemingly overlooked?
- Guard against worldly influence’s – verse 12
- Popularity and competition within the church
- Following man rather than Christ
- The Christians in Corinth were side-tracked in their focus when they should have been evangelising and sharing Christ within their community.
- Unite under the leading of Christ – Verse 12-17
- The Gospel unites us even when we disagree on other minute issues
- Jesus is the head of the church
- Leaders are called to serve and point people to Christ, not to themselves.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV
- Now knowing there is some unhealthy behaviour in Corinth, causing Paul to address it with this letter, why do you think Paul starts his letter off with such a positive thanksgiving for God’s grace given to the Corinthians?
- Describe if you’ve ever been a part of a community where unhealthy competing cliques arose, how did this make you feel and how did you help to address the problem?
- Discuss the difference between loving and following leaders, and exalting them to an unhealthy place?
- Put yourself in the shoes of Chloe’s household and imagine you’re writing a letter about the state of the church and community, what would be your concerns?
- How can we avoid division within the church community over issues that can potentially divide us?
- How old you were when you were saved. What was it like to be an ‘infant in Christ’?
Sermon Title: Lessons from a Church with cracks
Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 [MSG]
Preacher: Nathan Gordon
Worship Leader: Richard Sills