SUBJ: Christ as the basis for such
unity as is the design of God for His people and the need for us to be
protective of it and so to cultivate it in all we do.
AIM: That we might ever seek together
a unified approach to Christ alone and that we might strive together in
seeking to do His will.
INTR: There are many topics in
scripture in which it would be easy to say that this does not pertain to
me. Whatever we find addressed as a problem in scripture we either have
or need to guard against.
1. There is no question, as we have said
before that there were problems with the church at Corinth. Like other
such things they are here for our examples.
2. Even as these things
are addressed at the outset, Gospel principles are clearly set forth. We
do well to observe specifics and to hear the Gospel in the remedy.
Often the negative statements we hear, and there are several here, they
serve to inform the eye of faith in the right way.
THESIS: The lack of unity invariably
turns the focus away from that which is most important - the Gospel. We
would learn of Gospel expectations and seek the person of Christ that
they be found in us and among us.
I. A call to unity (vv. 10-11)
1. Paul would enforce these words "by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
judging that such would have weight with them who evidently loved the
Lord even it distracted by divisions.
2. While the word unity is not
contained in this verse, it definition is in view.
1) No division
2) Perfectly joined is one word meaning mended
together or fitted together - See Ephesians 4:16.
3) The same mind -
internally (Let this mind be in you) and the
4) Same judgment - as to
outward expression and a united effort.
3. These they had lost sight
of, and we should be protective that we maintain that way before Him.
4. The aim of Christ was ever to unity "love one another as I have loved
you." And see, And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the
world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name
those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John
5. There was no denying the claim.
II. A call from
division (vv. 12-16)
1. The specifics of the problem are called out
in vv. 12-13 and had to do with a split following obviously owing to a
misplaced emphasis that led away from the Gospel. Anything that takes
our attention from Christ will lead to disfunction.
2. Paul's first
rhetorical question says much and redirects attention toward Christ:
1) Is Christ divided supposes that one of those mentioned were
presenting a differing view of Christ or that He might appear in one
capacity to one and something different to another.
2) Paul assures
that salvation lies in not man (he could not conquer death) but in
3. If Christ is not divided, then we must have:
Then we must see the unity of Christ with the Father and the Spirit and
with Himself in every revelation of Himself to men.
2) We must have
unity with Christ in being submitted to Him, loving Him, and being fully
devoted, and obedient to Him.
3) There will be unity in Christ as we
find ourselves together with "Christ in you" collectively and
4) Unity with each other - with our focus on Him how
could it be otherwise.
4. The prophet Amos wrote: "Can two walk
together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)"
1) Not only do we see
agreement between us and God,
2) We also experience agreement with
each other about God and His claims on us.
5. And we are ever
reminded of the words of the Psalmist: Behold, how good and how pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalms 133:1)
is good and pleasing to God in that this is what Jesus died and rose to
obtain - it is a sweet savor of Christ.
2) It is good and pleasant
for us for the same reason; it confirms the success and application of
the redemptive work in us, and the experience is one of true joy.
And see Ephesians 4:3-6!!
III. The primacy of the Gospel call (v.
1. The first matter of concern is the preaching of the Gospel.
2. Where that is the issue, unity will be the order of the day.
1) That the cross be made of no effect - That is, the
evidence of a crucified life be lost from view,
2) And the glory may
be in something else for which Paul could make no allowance.
unity of mind and spirit occurs where Christ and Him crucified and risen
again is the main thing.