1 Corinthians 1
Being in the middle of teaching the initial orientation modules for my new class of church planters, I have been thinking a lot about unity and the character and qualities that are going to produce healthy team players and healthy teams. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 we have an example of a very unhealthy team. The root of the problems in the Corinthian church stemmed from them pursuing the same thing Paul said the world pursued, status (1 Cor 1:22). The divisions among them resulted because they claimed status by who their “spiritual” parents were.
When we pursue our own, status, stature, wealth, etc, it only distract us from what our true pursuit should be, the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13) It’s only when we deny ourselves, give up our own pursuits and pursue Christ that we will become what God is looking for! I love how Paul says it in 1 Cor 1:30-31 “In Christ, you have BECOME wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.”
Unity comes from becoming the image of Christ (In him you will become). When pursuing Christ and BECOMING the image of Christ is our focus, it will produce unity, because we are operating from a unified source.
Phil 3:8-11 Paul says that when he pursued Christ and knowing him to the degree that nothing else mattered, he found himself BECOMING righteous. But it wasn’t his own righteousness, it was Christ’s righteousness. 2 Cor 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who who knew no sin (He became sin for us) so that IN HIM we might BECOME the righteousness of God.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-26, if you want to be my disciple you must, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.” This is where unity will come from. Each of us denying ourselves, losing our own life, to find our life IN HIM. (Phil 1:21)
The Corinthian church was dis-unified because they pursued status, and their own name. When we are not in unity, it’s a clear sign that we are not pursuing the same thing. Seems obvious, right? Conflict means 2 opposing sides, both pursuing their own agenda! Unity comes from both pursuing the same thing. God is saying, when we all pursue the same thing, we will become what God wants, wise, righteous, sanctified, and redeemed. (1 Cor 1:30) It seems so simple. So, why is it so hard? Because we don’t want to give up our own pursuits and desires for the sake of God’s.
- I choose today to deny myself, take up His cross, and follow him.
- Pursuing Christ over all other pursuits is what will produce unity and conformity to His image.
- Becoming Christ will only happen when I lose myself to become Christ’s image.