A Beautiful Mess: Church Fighting (1 Cor. 1:10-17)

  • Quick review of the situation at Corinth
    1. What kind of town was Corinth?
      • Roman city on Greek peninsula
      • Double port town
      • Rich pagan culture, few Jews
      • Famous for immorality
    2. What kind of church was at Corinth?
      • Mostly pagan background
      • Lots of resources/economic diversity
      • Lots of errors
    3. What problems do we know the Church at Corinth was dealing with?
  • Review 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
    1. Do a surface reading of the text.
      • What is Paul talking about?
      • What is the problem?
      • What does Paul want them to do?
    2. How do we fight for unity as a church?


  1. Stay Focused…
    1. v.10 – “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
    2. What is a schism?
      1. Examples of local schisms (style of music, too much purple)
      2. Famous church-wide schisms
        • Orthodox/Roman schism over “filioque” (Roman church added “and the son” to the Nicene Creed without getting consensus – The “Great Schism”)
        • Catholic/Protestant schism over free grace (Protestant Reformation)
    3. SIDE ISSUE (don’t bring up unless somebody asks)- are Protestants “schismatics” because we have denominations?
      1. In one sense, yes. The churches are not as unified as we should be, and as we will be.
        • We only understand in part, and there are some issues that we have to agree on to function as a local church (baptism, church government, leadership roles)
        • It’s always our goal to cooperate as much as possible with groups we disagree with.
        • Other issues touch on the nature of the gospel, and we just can’t cooperate at all.
      2. In another sense, no. One day we will all be completely unified in every sense, but we are already unified now, in the Spirit, and with the Gospel.
        • Protestant means “according to conviction”. We believe nobody should be forced to submit against his conscience. We cooperate where we can.
        • Technically, the Roman church is schismatic when they deny that groups who don’t toe the line with them aren’t Christians.
    4. How is it possible for us to all say the same thing? By staying focused.
    5. Who were Chloe’s people?
    6. What factions do we join in at Crossroads?
      • “We need a nursery” faction?
      • Old Members vs. New Members vs. long-term visitors?
      • Do we separate by GCMs?
    7. Do you have a preacher you identify with (“follow”), more than your own congregation?
      • John Piper?
      • John MacArthur?
      • John Calvin?
      • John the Baptist?
      • Anybody else named John?
      • Matt Chandler or Francis Chan…
    8. Why do people tolerate nonsense divisions in the church?
    9. What is mission drift?
      • What is the mission?
      • What are some concrete ways we are tempted to drift?
      • What second tier (or lower) issues are you tempted to make “of first importance”?
  2. …On Preaching the Gospel
    1. v.17b – “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,”
      • How can Paul say this when Matthew 28:19 says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…”?
      • How are we to make disciples and subsequently baptize
      • This is a statement about focus
      • 2 Timothy 4:1-5
    2. Timothy and Paul are both high-level leaders in the church. What about people with day jobs? Should we also preach?
    3. Is the gospel only for preaching to non-believers?
    4. What does gospel preaching do for Christians?
  3. …In the Power of the Spirit.
    1. v.17c – “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
      • What’s wrong with “eloquent wisdom?”
        • Refers to rhetorical skill, like a politician
        • Not necessarily based on hard facts
        • Can always be over come by more eloquence later
      • What determines whether the cross of Christ is powerful or foolish?
      • Who brings the salvation that was completed by Jesus at the Cross to efficacy in a person?
    2. What is the Holy Spirit doing in us?
      • How has the Spirit helped you (personally) stay focused?
      • How has the Spirit helped you (personally) be effective in evangelizing?
      • How is the Spirit currently working in our church?
      • How is the Spirit currently working in our GCM?
      • Has the Holy Spirit moved in/spoken to anybody about the way ahead for our GCM to advance the mission?
    3. Make time to pray as a group and plan to pray or fast later individually about the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Author: KB French

Formerly many things, including theology student, mime, jr. high Latin teacher, and Army logistics officer. Currently in the National Guard, and employed as a civilian... somewhere

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