WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 20, 2020
TOPIC: IS CHRIST DIVIDED?
BY T. O. BANSO
“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:11-13 New King James Version).
Schism or division in the church is a mark of carnality or worldliness. Unfortunately, it is a problem in the body of Christ today, weakening the church and limiting her effectiveness and impact. This is not a new phenomenon. It is an age-old problem.
Paul addressed this problem in the Corinthian church where believers were lining up, so to speak, behind their preferred Christian leaders. Therefore, there was no unity among them. Paul had to plead with them to live in harmony with each other.
Paul said, “For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:11-13 New King James Version). Did you see that?
Is Christ divided? No. But these Christians appeared to be dividing Him among their different camps! Christ is the head of the church and the church is His body (Ephesians 5:23b; Colossians 1:18). The head is one and the body should be one, though she has different parts or many members (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 20).
Jesus Christ remains the head of the church; Christian leaders are not. They didn’t die for any child of God! They are gifts that God has given to the body of Christ. In fact, they are also part of or members of the body of Christ. Jesus has not abdicated His position to them as the head of the church.
Christ is not divided. Christians must not fragment the body of Christ because of their love for certain servants of God, the type of anointing upon them and the nature of their ministry.
The leaders of the early church understood that Christ is not divided. That was why Paul corrected the error in the Corinthian church. He didn’t encourage it. The leaders of the early church worked in cooperation. Each of them didn’t try to create a cult following, that would not allow believers to be open to the ministry of other leaders.
Paul told the Corinthians, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8 New King James Version).
The genuine Christian leaders in the early church worked in harmony, not at cross purposes. Only those who had gone astray or were false ministers worked against the interest of the church; and the church was usually warned to beware of them.
Consider this example of the cooperation and understanding among leaders of the early church: Silas was an associate of Paul – we often refer to Paul and Silas. They worked together in the ministry (Acts 15:22, 27, 40; 16:16-40; 17:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1). But did you know that Silas also related with Peter in ministry?
Peter said in 1 Peter 5:12, “By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (New King James Version). Silvanus is a form of Silas. Some Bible translations actually use Silas instead of Silvanus. Silas was a close companion of Paul, but he also had a relationship with Peter in the ministry. Look at the recommendation Peter gave him in that scripture. He said he considered him “our faithful brother.”
The early Christian leaders didn’t try to build personal empires or cults; they advanced the Kingdom of God by working harmoniously. They didn’t give their followers the impression of a divided Christ.
In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter also mentioned Mark. He sent Mark’s greetings to the church, describing him as his son – in the ministry. The same Mark (John Mark who wrote the book of Mark) also worked closely with Paul (Acts 12:25; 2 Timothy 4:11).
Paul didn’t found the church at Colosse; Epaphras and other converts from Paul’s missionary work did. Nevertheless, Paul, from prison, wrote to the Colossian church, which he had not visited. He corrected the errors in the church and emphasized the headship and supremacy of Christ.
See the kind of a leader Paul was: “I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally” (Colossians 2:1 New Living Translation). Did you notice that he agonized or worked hard for Christians who had never met him personally? His concern was the Gospel of Christ, the advancement of the Kingdom of God, not building an empire for himself or drawing to himself a crowd of people who would follow him, even if they didn’t follow Christ.
Who has bewitched the church that she cannot understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to her concerning unity in the church? Must we have more regard for the servants of God than for the Holy Spirit? Denominationalism must not be allowed to become a barrier to unity in the body of Christ and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Believers must build bridges of love and unity, not walls of hatred and division. Christians should strive to be of one mind (Philippians 1:27, 2:2 4:2-3; 2 Corinthians 13:11). Christ is not divided.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINT: Father, let there be love and unity in the body of Christ all over the world. I repent of lack of love towards any other child of God. I shall not be an instrument of division in the church of God, but an instrument of love and unity.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947