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1 Corinthians 3.1-23; On Divisions in the Church

Loretta was on her school’s cheerleading squad. In fact, Loretta was the squad’s captain. She thought that she had been chosen to be captain because she was better than the other girls. This attitude permeated the squad and the girls often bickered among themselves about who was better than the other one. Sergio was a star soccer player. He was the best player on the team. Unfortunately, this knowledge went to Sergio’s head and he became a little proud and cocky. Sergio’s attitude didn’t sit well with his teammates and affected their ability to work together. Because of their lack of teamwork, the team lost several important games.

There was bickering and divisions within the Corinthian church. Each group thought that their ideas were best and that they were a little bit better than everyone else. Such attitudes affected the quality of life within the congregation and its ability to minister. Paul addressed the problem in his letter. He sought to remove the divisions and end the bickering by pointing out that they were on the same team. People had different talents and abilities and they also had different ministries. Together, though, they sought the same goal which was to share God’s love and grace and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In our communities of faith there are people with whom we have a difficult time getting along. We might not like their attitudes, detest their political viewpoints or envy their abilities. Our first thoughts are to keep separate from them. This adversely affects the community. It is better if we remind ourselves that we are all children of God and we are all playing on the same team with the same goal. We can celebrate our unity instead of highlighting our differences and disagreements.

1 Corinthians 3:1-23

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.