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Faithlife

It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You

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Last week we heard

        About the city of Corinth

               And how it was totally corrupt

                       And had a worldwide reputation

                              For being a place of debauchery

                                      And debasement.

We saw that the world had a term

        For what it was like to live

               Like a Corinthian

                       And that it was a huge insult

                              To infer that someone might

                                      Lead a lifestyle that would be

                                             Acceptable in Corinth

We looked at how the world

        Had been allowed to creep into the Corinthian church

               At how, instead of the church being the influencers

                       They had become the influenced.

                              They had let things infiltrate the church…

                                      Things like liberalism, tolerance

                                             Entitlement and partisanship…

                                                     And these things 

                                                            Began to mark the church

                                                                    As wordly…

                                                                           A mark that might

                                                                                   Make the church

                                                                                           Popular

                                                                                                  But not

                                                                                           Necessarily

                                                                                                  Godly

We heard about the giftings of the church

        And how bountiful they were

               And how everything they had

                       They had received from God

                              And it all was to be used for His glory

                                      And not theirs

                                             And we heard about how thankful Paul

                                                     Was that God had gifted them

                                                            so that they

                                                                    Could reach out to the

                                                                           Lost around them

                                                                                  

Probably the most important thing we should have taken

        Away from the first 9 verses

               Was that God gives is everything we need

                       To do what He calls us to do

                              And that we should not only realize that…

                                      But be satisfied with it as well

                                             He gives us all we need

                                                     But that’s all we need…

                                                           

We shouldn’t compare our gifts with others,

        We shouldn’t covet the gifts of others

               We should be happy with what God has given us

                       And realize that it is He,

not our gifts

our jobs

our families

our homes

our spouses

our friends

        or anything else

               that sustains us

                       He sustains us

                              He is all we need.

This week, we’re going to see

        The impact that partisanship

               Had upon the church….

It’s not who you know….It’s Who knows you!

Now remember,

        Paul has just encouraged these people

               And assured them of their place in the body of Christ

                       And in heaven

                              And he’s told them that God

                                      Is faithful to the ones He calls

        Now, Paul says, “Here are some things you need to work on.”

                       And he begins with this….

 

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Paul addresses the issue of unity first

        Because without unity

               The is no body

                       There is no church

                              There is no way

                                      To resolve their differences

And look at the way he begins…

        He calls them brothers…

               He exhorts them in the name of “our Lord and Savior”

                       Not in the name of “their” Lord

                              Or in the name of “his” lord

                                      He says “Brothers….I want to encourage you

                                             In the name of ‘Our Lord’

                                                     We’re together in this

                                                            We all have the same God

We share the same salvation

        We are recipients

Of the same grace

What he’s really implying

        Is that they’re going to get through this

               Because they have a lot more in common

                       Than what separates them

Since Paul has already established

that it is by God’s hand

that things get done….

It will be by God’s hand

        That the problems are resolved

Now there’s a life lesson for all of us here ….

        If we allow Him to…

               God will resolve our differences…

                       We already have what we need to do it

                              All we have to do is use it appropriately

                                      How do we do that?...

        By looking to Him

               For our guidance

               Our counsel

               Our wisdom

               Our direction

Stop and think about it for a moment

        And you’ll see what Paul is saying here

He says, you should all get along

        There should all agree

               There should be no divisions among you

                       You should be of one mind

                              And one judgment

But wait a minute!

        he’s talking about church people here!

                He’s asking them to all be in agreement

                       Hmmmmm…

                              Paul has, obviously, never been to a church   

                                      In our 21st century modern times!

                                             Where information gets around

                                                     At the speed of light

                                                            Particularly gossip, slander

                                                                    Rumor and innuendo!                                          

Maybe Paul doesn’t have to visit us today

        Maybe things haven’t changed a whole lot

               Since the first century church

You know, churches are the same

        Everywhere you go…

               Their all made up of people

                       And most churches are made up of

                              Pretty good people

                                      WBF has been blessed with more than a

                                             Fair share of committed, faithful folks

                                                     But we’re all still people

And people have a tendency to disagree…

They disagree about a lot of things…

               Big things, little things

                       In between size things

                              It’s just how people are….

And  it’s not only in the church that this happens

        It’s the way we live…

               Think about it…

There is constant conflict

        Everywhere we go

               It’s in the church

                       On our jobs

                              In our neighborhoods

                                      Our schools

                                             Even in our homes….

              

And the conflict is always

        Based on someone, it doesn’t matter who…

not getting their way

Then getting upset…

You see, we learn to be in conflict

        It starts early in life…

               When we’re babies and we don’t get something we want

                       Of something we want is taken away

                              We are very vocal about our displeasure…

                                      And as we age…

                                             We may not be as quick to whine…

                                                     But we still get upset

                                                            Over the same thing

                                                                    We want what we want

                                                                           And we want it now!

Yes, conflict starts early

 with rattles, then goes to toys

               then to footballs and dolls,

                       Then to a place on the team

                              Or the cheerleading squad

                                      Then we graduate to the business

                                             And professional world

                                                     Or to the PTA

                                                            Or into politics.

                                                                    We’re always striving

for the things we want

Husbands and wives fight

        Parents and children fight

               Businesses fight

                       Cities fight

                              Even nations fight…

                                      Sometimes they go to war.

You know something?

I think the source of all of our fighting

The beginning of every conflict…

               The root of all disagreements,

arguments

                       Quarrels

and wars…..

                              Is our own tendency

to view ourselves

as the center of the universe

To look at everything around us

        As being there for us

               And when we run into

Someone else who has

                              The same idea about themselves…

                                      Conflict!

It is our own, selfish nature

        That causes us to fight among ourselves

I think scripture is very clear on this…

        One of the overriding themes of the Bible

               Is that man is essentially and naturally sinful

                       And the root of his sinfulness is his own self-will…

From birth to death,

        His inclination is to look out for number one!

               To be…

                       To do…

                              To have…

                                      Whatever he wants

Even believers are tempted

        To fall back into self-centeredness..

               To indulge their self- wills…

                       To work, play and pray in their own self interests

If we are willing to look close enough at it,

the most fundamental foundation of all sin             

Is our own egos, our own insistence

                       That life is all about us

and our happiness

                                      Our comfort

                                              Our desires

                                                     Our way of doing things

Take a look at James 4:

1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

 

(EXPAND on asking and not receiving because…)

 

Again, I say,

        The root of all of our conflicts

               Lies in our own idea that we are

The center of the universe

What a hopeless situation!

        How do we get out of this?

               If we really, really understand how self centered we are…

                       How can we ever overcome

                              Our self centeredness

                                      And enter into the type of unity

                                             Paul is asking the Corinthian church

                                                     To enter in to?

The answer is right there in the text….

 

“…that you be made complete in the same mind…”

 

What mind is that?

        It is the mind we received when we received Christ as savior

               It is the mind of Christ…

You see, it is the mind of Christ

        That will bring us unity

               It is the mind of Christ

                       That will resolve our conflicts

                              It is the mind of Christ

                                      That will restore peace

                                             It is the mind of Christ!

                                                     It is not our minds!

                                                            We can’t do it on our own!

If we are ever going to achieve unity

        Some miraculous is going to have to happen…

               Something supernatural has to occur

                       We can’t do it on our own

                               So we need some help….

There’s some good news here…

        We already have all we need to address this…

               We already have the mind of Christ

                       What is that?

                              What is the mind of Christ?

                                      Do we have His brain in  our heads?

                                             No, but we are in Him

                                                     And He is in us!

                                                            And by virtue of that union

                                                                    We share His heart

                                                                           And His mind

And what a wonderful mind it is!

        What a perfect mind it is!

               It is a mind that was able

                       To lead a sinless life!

                              It is a mind that was able to resist

                                      All temptation!

                                             It is a mind that has perfect faith!

                                                     It is the mind of Christ!

                                                            And it can show us the way!

                              It is a mind so tuned into God’s will

                                      That it was willing to sacrifice everything

                                             In order to remain there

                                                     Even life itself!

        We got it when we were saved!

               We’ll see in the next chapter that we already have it.

                       Now all we have to do

                               Is learn how to use it!

How do we do that?

        Well, we heard last week

               That God has given us His Word

                       So that we don’t have to sit around

                              And guess what He wants us to do

                                      We don’t have to rely on our experiences

                                             (expand on experiences)

So our experiences are good
        God gave us feelings

               So that we could love Him

                       But we need to know

                              That our experiences are not unbiased

                                      That is, they are subject to our interpretation

                                             Of what’s going on

                                                     So the measure of our experiences

                                                            Must be something that is

                                                                    Objective…

                                                                           We have God’s Word

How do we know it is objective

        Because God tells us it’s the truth

               He wrote it

                       It’s perfect

                              And absolute

And in it,

        He tells us how we can achieve unity

               Through the mind of Christ

                       Through the teachings of Christ

                              Through the Word He gave us

                                      And that Word tell us

                                             How to do all this…

        It says we should…

                Serve each other

                       (I came here to serve you

                               Instead of I came here to use you)

Love your brother like yourself

                (I want the best for you

                       Even if it means sacrificing the best for me)

Treat one another as more important

                        (your welfare is more important than mine)

You see, this is the miracle

        Paul was telling the Corinthians about

               That they have the mind of Christ

                       And by learning how to apply the teachings of Christ

                              They can be of the same mind

                                      And enjoy the same blessings

This is why…

        In His high priestly prayer

               Jesus prayed this

John 17: 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

The Corinthian church needed to learn this lesson back then

        Just as much as we need to learn it today.

Moving on…

How did Paul know all this was going on?

              

11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.

 

We don’t know much about Chloe

        Other than she probably lived in Corinth

               Paul mentions her people

                       Some translations use the word household here

We know that Paul is not referring to Chloe’s children

        If so, they would have been named

               By their father’s name

                       It would be contrary to Hebrew custom

                              To name children by their mother’s name

We know that his is not a reference to a church

        Because the phrasing here indicates

               Literal, actual ownership…

                       That would be similar to saying

                              That I, as pastor, owned you as a congregation

So these folks Paul is talking about

        Are, most likely, slaves or servants

               And Chloe is probably a business woman

                       Whose people move between Ephesus

                              And Corinth

Paul, obviously trusted Chloe or Chloe’s people

        Enough to cite their testimony as being accurate

But we should see something else here, as well

        Paul doesn’t mince words here

               He doesn’t give some vague testimony

                       From “unidentified sources”…

                              There is a place and a time for that

                                      But it’s not here, when accusation of sin

And inappropriate behavior are concerned

        And we should conduct ourselves

               In the same manner…

If we’re going to accuse

Someone of something

We should be

Willing to stand behind our statements

        And have our name mentioned…

               It’s a matter of integrity.

If we all had did what Paul tell us to do here…

        It would nearly eliminate any idle gossip

               in the church today.

Paul doesn’t just mention

who gave this report

                He is specific about what the problem is

                       He says…

12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

 

The phrasing and inflection here are everything…

        Paul says that people are bragging about

               Who they have aligned themselves with

                       About who their teachers are

                              About who they follow…

                                      And each name carries greater emphasis

                                             That denotes superiority to the others

It’s like,

        “I am of Paul!”

               “Oh yeah? Well I’m of Apollos!”

                       “That ain’t nothing! I am of Cephas!”

                              “Well, I got you all beat! I am of Christ!”

                                      And that last one denotes exclusivity…

                                             As if they were the only one

                                                     Who was of Christ

                                                            And it made them

clearly superior to

                                                                            The rest

They were all gauging their status

        By who they knew!

               By who they were “friends” with

                       You can just see the discussion….

                              “You know, Paul thought I was his star pupil.”

“Oh, Paul is so yesterday! I have been with the new guy, Apollos!”

“Man, you guys are both out of it…

        There’s a new guy in town…

               He’s got it all together…

                       His name is Cephas…

                              I’m pretty good friends with him…

                                      I call him Peter…

All his good friends know him by that name!”

Oh, you guys are so lame!

        All I want to do is follow Christ.

               I don’t see how you can listen to those guys.

                       They’re so….so…human!

                              I’m much too intelligent

                                      To get my teaching from another man.

                                             I go right to the source!

                                                     Christ Himself!

                                                            I have a special relationship

                                                                    With Him!

                                                                           He tells me things

                                                                                   He would never

Tell you guys!”

Paul lays this out there

        And they way he writes it

               Leaves no doubt in the reader’s minds

                       That this is not acceptable behavior

Then, to emphasize his warning

he asks three questions…

13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

The questions are rhetorical,

        They don’t expect an answer

               As a matter of fact

                       The tone of the questions

                              Infers the answer

                                      The answer to each question

                                             Is, obviously, no!

Paul want them to think here…

        “When did we start divvying up the teaching talent?”

               “Who devised this amazing grading system you’re using

                       To determine who’s better then who?”

                              “When did it become a status symbol

                                      To follow one of these guys…

                                             And when did one of them get more

                                                     Of Christ than the other?”

“Who made the ultimate sacrifice here? Me?”

        “Do you want to recognize me above Christ?

               Can I save you?

                       Did I save you?”

“When we baptize people…who’s name do we use?”

        “Do we use mine? Apollos? Peter’s?”

               “Do you want to stake your eternal future

                       On me?”

What Paul is getting at here is two-fold…

       

The first is the absurdity of making celebrities

out of men who bring the Word of God…

giving them more credit than Christ Himself

The second is the absurdity of embracing one man

        and rejecting another as inferior

               or less worthy

                       and, even worse…

                              rejecting the followers of

                                      another man of God.

                                             Based on personality or fame

                                                     Rather than sound teaching

Now, listen….

All the people mentioned are godly men….

        All of them are mentioned elsewhere with respect

by Paul, an apostle

                       Yet the folks in the Corinthian church

                               Were fighting over who as better

                                     

And the fact is…

This conflict was acknowledging and affirming

               Everyone on the scene but Christ!...

                       Christ was getting lost…

                              Getting put aside…

                                      Given 2nd status!

                                             And it wasn’t just for these teachers…

                                                     It was for the Corinthians opinions

                                                            Of themselves!

You see, there was a second agenda here…

they had embraced this partisanship

        as a way of elevating their own status!

               They had elevated their teachers

                       So they could elevate themselves…

                              Feel good about themselves…

Paul addresses this problem as well…

        He says….

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.

16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.

He says, “Man, I’m glad I didn’t baptize very many of you”

        You’d probably be arguing over that too!

               You’d be telling people, ‘I was baptized by Paul,

so I am really baptized!

        You should think about getting baptized

               By Paul.

                       Just in case Peter’s baptism

                              Didn’t take….

You know, I hear he has a

really bad temper!”

Paul goes on to say, “I really don’t remember very much

        About who I baptized.

Let’s see, I think I can recall a few…

        A guy named Stepahnas and his family

               But that’s about it!

                       That’s all I remember!”

Think how devastating this must have been

        To those who were bragging about

               Their close relationship with Paul!

He didn’t even remember them!

        But that’s how it goes…

               When we put out faith and trust in men…

                       They will let us disappoint us every time!

Then Paul drops this bombshell on them

        It’s obvious that they have been arguing

               Over who the best teacher was

                       And who baptized who

                              And Paul says this…

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

He says, “Baptism is not the issue here!”

        This is not to say that baptism is not important…

                It’s a commandment!

                       We have to obey it!

                              But it should never become a gauge

                                      For how spiritually mature we are.

Paul says, “I wasn’t sent to baptize anybody!

        That’s just a bonus blessing!

               God sent me to share the gospel!

                       To tell lost people about Christ!

                              You guys are missing the point

You’re all bound up by your surroundings!

        In the town you’re in, it’s all about the teachers

               And how well they speak.

                       I’m writing this letter to tell you

                              You have it wrong!

                                      It’s about the message!

                                             And we don’t preach it by persuading

                                                     People to come to Christ!

                                                            If it was our persuasion

Our intelligence…

that

                                                                    Brought people to Him

                                                                           Why would He have

                                                                                   To have died     

On the cross?

The message is powerful enough

        Don’t make it about personalities

               And powerful oration

                       And level of intelligence!

                              And who you know!

Let it be about the one who knows you!

        Let it be about His Son

               And no one else.

                       We’re all teaching the same thing

                              The message comes from one God

                                      And it really doesn’t matter who says it

                                             As much as it matter that it is said!”

You see, this is very much a message for us today.

        Let Paul’s words ring in our ears and our hearts

               From 2,000 years ago

                       And know that God intended for us

                              To hear them today.

The gospel of Jesus Christ

        As about the message

               And not the messenger.

                      

Listen to me…

God knows each one of us

        Better than we know ourselves

               And He will meet every person

                       Who comes into His kingdom

                              At exactly their point

                                      Of greatest need

He knows their situations

        He knows the state of their heart

               He knows exactly what they need to hear

                       And He knows exactly when they need to hear it

He knows all that…

        And He knows this too…

               The power is in the message

                       Not in persuasive words

                       Not in great intellect

                       Not in deep theology

                       Not in the messenger

                              The power is in the message

                                      And the message is simple…

We’ve sinned

        We’re doomed

               God sent his Son

                       To pay for our sin

                              If we repent and believe

                                      And make Him Lord of our lives

                                             God will save us

                                                     And we will live with Him forever…

It doesn’t matter who the messenger is….

That messenger can be you

        Remember what we learned last week

               God has given us all we need

                       To do what He has called us to do

                              And what he has called us to do

                                      Is to be His witnesses

                                             And we don’t have to be

                                                     Theologically educated

                                                            Or brilliantly articulate

                                                                    All we have to be

                                                                           Is willing to be

                                                                                   Used for His

                                                                                           glory

Yes, brothers and sisters

        It’s not about who we know here on earth SLIDE

               That will save the Corinthians or us or anyone else

                       It is who knows us… SLIDE

                              Who has saved us

                                      Who has equipped us

                                              And who will empower us

 And He’s up in heaven….

        And we are His messengers

               Here on earth.

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