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Friday, November 25, 2016

No Competition in the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:12)

"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."

Sibling rivalry in the church destroys relationships in the body of Christ. There should be no competition among church leaders themselves or between followers. Sibling rivalry in the body of Christ indicates immaturity. It was ugly in the 1st century church and it is just as ugly today.

Some believers are more known by their mimicry of noted Bible teachers that they follow than who they are in Christ. They are the "mini-me" or "spiritual clones" of certain noted Bible teachers and only read the books of those men whose theology they align themselves with. They are quick to categorize others by their theological bent and if they don't agree with their pet bullet points then they are either adversarial toward them or they ignore them altogether.

Paul addresses this in the early church and simply calls it immaturity. There is room in the body for variety and differences as long as the foundation is Jesus Christ. He is the great constant. Paul's antidote for spiritual immaturity is to pursue Christ; not through the slant of a particular author's eyes but through a deep and abiding love for the Word of God alone and a willingness to embrace the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ, not human doctrines, is the message Paul declares must be preached. Anything less leads to spiritual elitism and division.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
1 Corinthians 1:1-4:21
  • How does Paul describe the church of God in Corinth?
  • Even though Paul has a high regard for the church what problem does he point out? What does this tell you about the church?
  • What was the source of their quarrels?
  • What does he say should be the central message of the church and how should that message affect the church?
  • What is central to the Jews? Greeks? the Church?
  • What are the characteristics of worldliness?
  • What analogy does Paul use to describe the importance of unity among believers?
  • Why is the church's foundation so important?
  • How does Paul describe his and Apollos' relationship?
  • How does Paul view his position in the church?
  • What does Paul teach, by example, about church leaders?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to show you how central the cross of Jesus Christ is in your words, in your witness and in your life pursuits.