United, Not Divided

United, Not Divided

United, Not Divided is a sermon teaching us that sin causes division. But love can unite. We should as the body of Christ be united, not divided.

Key verses:
I Corinthians 12:12-30

Since the beginning of time, division seems to try and take hold of people. That should not be a shock to anybody how some people want to cause division and problem amongst people. There are divisions for right and wrong, but even more so lately in our society. We tend to cause division whether it is because of a difference in our beliefs, our viewpoints, or our morals. There seem to be more ways people are trying to divide today. What hurts more than that is there can be a division that creeps up in the church or amongst its members especially when it is not biblically based. Hopefully, you will never be a part of a church split. Those things hurt. There are stories of churches being destroyed because of a division within the church. A church’s anchor should be on Jesus Christ. But instead, people try and make it all about themselves. Today, I encourage you to be united, not divided.

I Corinthians 12:12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Divisions cause friction and allow the devil to destroy us. Satan wants division. Satan wants people to be divided amongst each other and even amongst Christians today. How do we stay united and not divided?

There are things that will come up and cause division. Sometimes in churches in this world today, people may do something that God has not called them to do. Every one of us has a certain gift that God has given to us that we ought to fulfill, that we ought to do. Not everyone is called to be a pastor. Not every one of us has been given the ability to play music. But everybody has a role and a function within the church and ought to perform that to the best of their ability. There are things we cannot do because God has not given us the ability to do so. There are things you can do that I cannot do. And why is that? Well, that is between you and the Lord. It talks a little about that at the beginning of I Corinthians chapter 12 about spiritual gifts.

The Church at Corinth

But here in the church at Corinth in particular, they have had a lot of issues and problems, and one of them was this idea of division. We are going to look at the many members in verses 12 to 24. But we should be operating as a united front.

I Corinthians 12:12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

To prepare and hold a church service here does not take one person to accomplish. It takes quite a bit of people. It takes the people who clean, the people who sanitize especially in our pandemic era, people who plan the music, who put the PowerPoint presentations together, who play the music, who leads the music, people to do your children’s ministry, the bus routes. There are a lot of people who are playing different roles for everything to come together. It is not just one person who does it all. If it were one person to do it all, they probably would last a year’s ministry because of being completely burned out.

So, each of us has a different role and function within the church. Some may have more of a leadership position than others, but it does not mean your role in the church is not diminished because of that. You may not be a deacon, you may not be the assistant pastor, you may not be the administrative assistant, whatever the title might be. You may not be the children’s Sunday School teacher, but every one of you has an important role to play in this ministry. That is what the scripture tells us here.

I Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

We are all placed into one body by the Holy Spirit. We are all connected through the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The Holy Spirit comes upon us and causes us to be a part of this one body, this Christian body.

The First Division

Remember Adam and Eve? Things were going great for Adam and Eve and you know the story in Genesis chapter 3. Things were going smoothly. They had one law that they had to keep and that was to not touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they disobeyed, then they would die. One rule. Don’t you wish you only had one rule today? Right now, we are under a few different ones. One of them is having to wear a mask for the pandemic. We must follow certain guidelines that we may not necessarily like. It would be nice if we could just go back to one simple rule.

Adam and Eve had a perfect life, literally. And then came the serpent, the devil. He comes in and says, “Hath God said …” and tells all these things and Eve starts to think about it, “you are not going to die, you will be like Him.” And so, they ate. Did they become God? They became the complete opposite of God and became sinners who needed to be saved by grace.

She was made to believe she was missing out, causing division between God and His creation. Did the devil succeed in that? Absolutely. That is why sin came into the world and death by sin. “So then death passed on all men for all have sinned.” Division has been going on since the beginning of time.

Why are there so many different denominations? Why are there so many different beliefs and doctrines? Why can’t all Christians interpret the bible the same way? Life would be much easier if that were the case. The reason is division. Satan tries to find his way into some churches and places and tries to cause friction and discord amongst the people, because if that person is not saved, Satan will try to keep him away. Satan knows he fighting a losing battle, so what is he going to try to do? He is going to try to salvage as much as he can to come toward him.

Not all the denominations are demonic or Satanic, but if they do not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ or are united in the front that God wants us to do, to preach the gospel to everybody, consider that. Satan knows scripture according to Matthew chapter 4, Luke chapter 4. He talks scripture but he twists it, uses Psalm 91 verses 11 and 12, and takes out one key word but it makes him look like he knows what he is talking about in the bible.

Did you know more people convert to Christianity than breaking and going into a denomination? You hear stories about people who say they used to be this denomination or this background but then they heard the truth and came to trust Christ and converted. How many times have you heard, “I’m a Baptist, I go to this” Normally, it is the other way around because the truth shall set you free. That is what the bible tells us.

We ought to be like Christ:

Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

Philippians 2:6: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”

The Holy Spirit identifies us as God’s.

I Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

If you are saved, God has all of you, it does not matter who you are, your nationality, your skin color, your gender. You are all in the same spirit. The same Holy Spirit saves all. Anybody? It is inclusive. Yet people want to divide that out. They say God hates this or that, but God hates sin. He loves the sinner; He hates the sin.

Members of One Body

I Corinthians 12:14: “For the body is not one member, but many.”

It takes a lot of people to have a church. In Matthew 18 where it says wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst. That is true. Churches need people to operate, as our church today. We have those watching via live stream video because they cannot attend in-person. It takes people and coordination to accomplish this. Even though there are many people together who make the church, divisions can occur.

I Corinthians 12:15: “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?”

I Corinthians 12:16: “And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?”

I Corinthians 12:17: “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?”

I Corinthians 12:18: “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

I Corinthians 12:19: “And if they were all one member, where were the body?”

Your body needs certain functions to move like your feet, your hands, your ears, your arms, your eyes, your senses would have issues without certain body parts. People do go blind or lose a limb. That means the other parts strengthen up and still do things.

Your body needs every single piece, all 206 bones in your body to help you function to the best of your ability. The church needs all its members to function together. That is what the bible is teaching us. You cannot have a member and say, “I’m a hand but want to be a foot.” Every part of your body has a different function that requires it. We must work together in our various roles, abandoning that, is not a good idea.

I Corinthians 12:20: “But now are they many members, yet but one body.”

I Corinthians 12:21: “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

I Corinthians 12:22: “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:”

If you don’t have your head are you going to live? The answer is obvious. There are certain things you cannot live without. Think of your heart, a small organ in your body. But what happens if your heart has an issue? The rest of the body shuts down and passes away. What happens if your brain stops working? All the things that you do are not signaled anymore. Even though there are things in the body that have a small part, they have a big role to accomplish.

You may wonder what your role is in the church. You come and listen to the messages preached. Maybe your role at this point is to hear what role God has planned for you and then you take it out to somebody else. It could be something you are going to see, and I am not going to see. Or, maybe your role is to be kind to a person and show them Jesus Christ because of the testimony you have for them. You do not have to be in a position of leadership where you just come up and preach and teach. It takes a while to put these things together, about two or three hours per sermon.

There are many things that you and I can do, but the thing that we cannot do is be divided. We can’t have jealousy over things we cannot control. Delegation is a great thing though.

I Corinthians 12:23: “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.”

Every part of your body has a function no matter how small it is. There are certain things we can do to help our church; every role is important. Every part that people do in this ministry to help this ministry grow is important.

I Corinthians 12:24: “For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:”

God has made our body come together to be a snug fit, physically speaking, and spiritually speaking. We all have a part in this together. Paul is explaining here that we should not look separate but that we should all work together. Why does he mention that and all these body parts? Because division ruins everything.

I Corinthians 12:25: “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

There should be no division. Schism is a split or gap or divide. Paul mentions no divisions when it comes to the Lord’s table.

I Corinthians 11:18: “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.”

They could not have a division in the church before they took the Lord’s table. It is a high honor and one of the ordinances of the church — the Lord’s supper and baptism. They could not have division before the Lord’s table. The Lord’s table represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the hope we have in Him. So, the church could not have division before that. Our society tries to make people worthless based on who they are or who they believe in. If you are not with them, you are the enemy. If you do no follow that group, you are the enemy. If you listen to that, you are the enemy. And the world wants to create division. Satan loves division.

There Should Be No Division

How can there be no division? When brethren have a burden, we ought to be there for them.

Galatians 6:1: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

When a member does something wrong, we ought to reach out to that person, help them out. So, we have no division. You who are spiritual help another Christian to prevent division.

Matthew 5:4: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

There are going to be people who hate you for what you believe in. But you need to care for that person anyway. Why? Jesus answers that for you:

Matthew 5:45: “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Matthew 5:46: “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”

Publicans were not liked by their fellow Jewish people. Publicans were Jewish tax collectors working for Rome and profited by taking money from their own people. They were considered the worst people of society. But Jesus is saying go above that, go beyond that, and love your enemies. Love the publican, yes, the guy that ripped you off.

Matthew 5:47: “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”

Here is the reason you love your enemies:

Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

If God cares for every person, shouldn’t we? That is what the bible is telling us. We ought to be united, not divided. Is there division going on in the world today? Absolutely. A lot of it is based on their beliefs, but what is the Christian’s response to it? Be faithful, be unified with the brethren, love your enemies, and pray for them. That is the Christian’s response to division.

“But these people are trying to ruin us, trying to shut down our churches.” Pray for them. Maybe they do not see the light yet. But we can still pray for them. We should as the body of Christ be united, not divided. Our world has enough division going on today. Speak up for what is right and do not be ashamed of the gospel. You know it is right, speak up for it. Do not hide. You might get persecuted, but Jesus got persecuted too. You know what is right, you believe it, you know it is scripturally based, then speak out for it. Sin causes hate and friction. But love can bring all things together.

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Charity is love. How do we be united? Caring for one another, uplifting people when they are discouraged or when they are down, and loving our enemies. We cannot be divided. There is a lot of division going on today and the only way to counter that is to pray to be united ourselves. Once the body of Christ is united, we can make a change, but we must believe it and we have got to do it.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: United, Not Divided

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Christopher K. Lewis is the Assistant to the Pastor of West Park Baptist Church. Rev. Lewis helps the senior pastor with various church duties and guiding others to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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