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The Scriptorium

A House Divided

Not what God intends. 1 Corinthians 1

1 Corinthians 1 (7)

Pray Psalm 51.10-13.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Sing Psalm 51.10-13.
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Create in me a clean heart, renew me from within!
Take not Your Spirit from me because of all my sin.
Salvation’s joy restore, LORD, and keep me in Your hand;
thus shall I tell Your strong Word to sinners in the land.

Review 1 Corinthians 1.1-31; meditate on verses 9 and 10.

1. To what had God called the Corinthians?

2. For what did Paul plead with them?


It is the devil’s primary strategy to divide God’s people, first from Jesus and then from one another.

This pattern began in the garden of Eden. Satan divided Eve from God by making her think she could decide what was best for her, better than He could. Then he divided Eve from Adam as the blame game began: “The woman, she…” That tactic of divide and conquer was so successful (in the short term, of course) that Satan continues using it in a multiplicity of ways.

Exhibit A: The churches in Corinth. God called them “into the fellowship of His Son”. Satan divided them from God and fixed their focus on human beings. It was fine with the devil that those human beings were all apostles and real saints. As long as the focus was on them, not Jesus.

Then he divided them from one another by their comparing and boasting and exalting their tribe (vv. 11-13). You can’t have a real Body of Christ if all the members are disagreeing and disputing. If you don’t have a unified Body of Christ, you have no effective witness in the world (Jn. 17.21). And because the members are cut off from one another and the Lord, you can be sure lots of problems will ensue.

Which is precisely what happened to the churches in Corinth.

God calls us into fellowship with Jesus and one another. If working for such fellowship within and among our churches is not a priority for us (Eph. 4.3), then we’re going to struggle to make much headway in seeking and advancing the Kingdom of God.

Oh, and the devil knows this all too well.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Too often, it seems, we use Paul’s glorious Love Chapter as a wedding vow, or Valentine—which are nice indeed and appropriate—but this outstanding essay on love pertains to everyone. This is not a list of ooey- gooey words that apply only to lovers; it is the gritty truth of what all love requires. And it particularly applies to those in the church—the Body of Christ.

Sadly, so many churches are membered by sounding brass and clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13.1).

Real love, the kind Jesus lived out for us to see, and that saved us, is:
Not envious
Not egotistical
Not self-inflated
Not rude
Not selfish
Not easily offended or angered
Not evil thinking
Not glad about iniquity
Always rejoicing in the truth
Faithful in bearing burdens
Steadfast and enduring.
This love never fails (1 Cor. 13.4-8).

Can you imagine a church full of people like that? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? And amazing?

We would be that welcoming Body that the “Christ crucified that we preach” (1 Cor. 1.23) spoke about, when He said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn. 12.32). We would be that Church spoken of by the psalmists, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth…” (Ps. 48.2).

How much of ourselves can we set aside to realize the beauty of God’s Plan for the Church? Because if the church is full of chosen foolish, weak, base, and despised people—you and me—then it will take a huge dose of God’s grace living within us to love one another as Christ loved us: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 15.12). Yes, that seemingly impossible To Do and To Don’t list of Love requirements. Remembering always that, “with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk. 1.37).

Because letting the enemy divide us is not an option.

For reflection
1. How would you describe the unity and fellowship of your church? What can you contribute to making that oneness more vital and vibrant?

2. The place to begin for restoring unity in the Body of Christ is prayer. What opportunities to pray for Christian unity will you have in the week ahead? Make sure you remember to pray for oneness.

3. How is your own fellowship with the Lord? Is anything threatening to short-circuit that fellowship? How should you deal with it?

Fellowship is brotherhood. Just as Paul declares God’s unfailing faithfulness toward us in this regard, so we ourselves must not be found to be faithless or dishonorable with respect to our adoption. Rather we must remain faithful in it. Ambrosiaster (fl. 366-384), Commentary on Paul’s Epistles

Pray Psalm 51.14-19.
Begin making prayer for Christian unity part of your daily supplications. Pray that your church will experience the true fellowship of Jesus and one another. Pray that the churches in your community will practice their oneness more conspicuously and consistently. Ask the Lord to show you what you can do to heal any divisions and enhance the oneness all believers have in Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 51.14-19.
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
Deliver us, from guilt, O LORD, You Who have saved us by Your Word;
and let our tongues Your mercy bless, and sing of Your great righteousness!
Refrain vv. 15, 18
LORD, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

No sacrifice, no offering would You have us, Your people, bring;
but broken spirits, cleansed of lies, and pure hearts You will not despise.

Now build Your Church, raise high the wall of those who on Your mercy call.
And take our lives and let them be sweet sacrifices, LORD, to Thee!

T. M. and Susie Moore 

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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