- a. The act or process of dividing.
b. The state of having been divided.
I have talked about unity before. In fact, unity is a fairly common topic for discussion. We know that unity is quite important. Well today I'm going to look at the opposite of unity.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
I'm going to start with the first few words in this passage. "I beseech you" The word beseech means a little more than simply asking. It's a bit closer to begging. It shows some sense of urgency. Quite simply, this is a serious request. And, in the name of Jesus. The writer here is pretty serious about wanting to see unity... they sure don't want to see any division amongst God's people. The writer goes on to say that they have heard that things aren't so perfect between some of the people.
In verse 12 we start to read about some of the division that is going on. Some say that they are of Paul, some say they are of Apollos, some say they are of Cephas, and others say they are of Christ. This division that we're reading about is very much like what we see with denominations today. Some might say they are a baptist... some might say they are a catholic... some might say they are, who knows... This is the church today. We are divided. We are one body with many members... but sometimes those many members are quite separate. There is indeed division in the church today.
I love the first part of verse 13. Is Christ divided? Of course He is not. If we say "I am baptist" or "I am methodist" or whatever your denomination may be... does that label define you? Is that part as important as the main factor here, which is Christ... Did that baptist church save you? Did the methodist church save you? (sorry for using them as examples, just what came to mind first). Christ, and Christ alone saved you. And, Did Christ die for the baptist? Did He die for the methodist? He died for ALL... ALL.
And I'd like to say, The baptist church isn't here to create new baptists... the methodist church isn't here to create new methodists. They are both here for the same reason... to bring people to God. And guess what... they are both working for the same team.
It's interesting how players on the same team can let differences get in the way of winning the prize.
Take a soccer team for instance. If each player on the field thinks they are the best, or if they think they are the only ones who know how to score... Well you sure wouldn't see much teamwork would you...?
One thinks one way and the other another way... and before you know it, you not only have a lack of unity, but you have division. Can you picture a soccer game where members of the same team are fighting over the ball? Can you just see them out on the field pretty much giving the game to the other team? Seriously, it wouldn't be a very successful soccer team... no matter how good any of the individual players are.
This is exactly the danger of division.
Friends, I urge you to do all you can to stay united. Avoid division at all costs. In fact, there is a warning about division, more specifically those that cause division. The truth is, the devil is out to divide us. It's one of his tactics. You can bet we will meet people who are out there to cause division. here's what the bible says about them.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
I promise you... you will meet those that are out to divide and destroy. And they can come in and seem like perfectly normal Christians. Anyway, this verse suggest that we mark those that cause divisions... and to avoid them. I'm not sure I understand the whole marking thing in that verse, but the last part makes perfect sense. Avoid them. They are out to divide... why? Well, it's that whole unity thing again. We work together as a team. Guess what? We are in a race... or a battle even. There are teams and we are on the winning team. Our enemy/opponent knows that and will send anyone or anything he can to cause division. Remember the soccer team we were thinking about. If someone could convince them to be divided... what do you think would happen at their next game? You bet... things would not go well. So, we know we don't want to be divided... so, it is quite important that we remember that last part of the verse... "avoid them". Simply stay away from those that seek to tear down the christian community.
Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. Thank you for watching over me and taking care of me. Lord, once again I pray for unity amongst your people... Lord, help us to avoid those that would be out to tear us down and separate us.