Friday 10th January
I Corinthians 1: 10 – 17
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
We are all different, we are individuals and often see things differently. As Christians we need to be united in what really matters. As a lay preacher I go to many different churches and each has its own traditions and characteristics. What matters is that they all should be following the truth in Scripture and worship the one true God.
A new minister was surprised when during the first part of every service the congregation all sat on the left side of the church and during the second hymn, they all moved to the other side. He asked a few elders about this and eventually it was explained that the only heating used to be a fire on the left side, so they sat near it but as it burned brighter it became too hot so they moved away. Despite having a new central heating the tradition continued.
This might be a slightly ridiculous story but sometimes we can cling to ideas that have no relevance today and no foundation in the truth in Scripture. How many churches and members do things because it has always been done that way, rather than because It is the right way? By following such ideas we run the risk of following the modern equivalents of Apollos or Cephas rather than the simple truth from Jesus.
Paul was warning against anything becoming more important than the truth that the power lies in the cross of Christ. We can follow the example of the early Scottish Congregationalists who held that every congregation is united in their faith, hope, and obedience to the gospel. As the United Reformed Church we should all strive to be united in Jesus and to follow His teachings, as individuals and as a church.
We thank you for the truth that we can find in scripture,
We thank you that we have your Holy Spirit with us to help us understand as we read your word.
We ask you to help us see what matters and lead us to the paths of truth,
Protect us from false ideas and doctrines but keep us on the path that Jesus shows us