January 23

1 Corinthians 1:10-16

“For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.” vs. 11

Paul evidently knew Chloe from the time when he had lived in Corinth. Now he’s been in contact with some of her associates, and he’s been informed of the quarrels that have caused divisions in the congregation he started there. We can still hear the disappointment in his words. He had proclaimed the good news of Jesus and invited people to become disciples. In his mind it was so simple. These people would from that time forward live as the presence of Christ in their city. They would announce the forgiveness of sins and welcome sinners to their koinonia. Within that community there would be healing and restoration and members would be known for the love they had for one another. His vision was not complicated! What actually happened was breaking his heart! Divisions had erupted in the fellowship! People had lost sight of Jesus and had attached themselves to one or another of the preachers who had been passing through. It was a scene that has continued to plague the Church of Christ. Most of us have experienced division in our congregations, and it always sabotages our basic mission and ministry. We have  complicated the simplicity of the gospel with our doctrines and traditions and embraced denominationalism. Thank God for leaders like Paul who call us back to Jesus and point out the foolishness of our bickering and party-spirit.

Thought for the Day: What causes church divisions?

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