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[thoughts] Unity Through the Cross (May 29 - June 4, 2006)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 3786 subscribers. Thank you! ... UNITY THROUGH THE
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2006
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 3786 subscribers. Thank you!

      (1 Corinthians 1:10-24)


      Years ago, a missionary friend commented to me, "Corinth was
      the problem church of the New Testament." That seems accurate
      to me. That said, I do not believe the Corinthians were
      necessarily unique in that. In fact, I think our modern-day
      congregations are no less "problem churches" than was Corinth.

      Notice what Paul wrote about these Christians in his
      introduction. "...The church of God...sanctified in Christ Jesus,
      called to be saints" (verse 2). "...Ye come behind in no gift"
      (verse 7). "...Brethren" (verse 10). Considering this was a
      "problem church," the witness of Scripture about them strikes me
      as absolutely amazing...and heartening.

      Yet, despite their calling, their gifts, and their position before
      God, they were divided. It would appear that they recognized
      their calling "to be saints" but missed their calling "unto the
      fellowship of...Jesus Christ our Lord" (verse 9). Could it possibly
      be that they thought they could fellowship with Jesus in the
      absence of fellowship with each other? Could it possibly be that
      we would think the same thing?

      In 1 John 1:7 we discover that our fellowship with Jesus brings
      us into fellowship with each other: "But if we walk in the light,
      as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another...."

      Contentions and divisions in the church ought to concern us
      deeply. Not just because they produce stress and uncertainty; not
      just because they make us uncomfortable and insecure --
      fractured fellowship with one another points to a perilous
      spiritual condition! Contentions and divisions may well indicate
      weak fellowship with Jesus. They may signal to warn us that we
      have indulged in walking in darkness. Do not lightly dismiss
      fellowship problems!

      Can you imagine this kind of talk going on in your local church:
      "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of
      Christ"? No wonder verse 10 records this passionate appeal: "I
      beseech you...that ye all speak the same thing." No, Paul didn't
      wish they'd all just parrot the same party line. He wanted them
      to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
      same judgment."

      Well, back to the 21st century, back to your congregation, and
      back to you in particular. So you couldn't imagine yourself
      talking like the Corinthians did above. I don't recall talking that
      way myself. Or have we? Think about it a bit. Have you ever
      demeaned or criticized the ministry...with the exception of one?
      Is there anyone in the congregation that in your eyes can
      practically do no wrong?

      Welcome to Corinth! Now read the lesson again.


      "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus
      Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no
      divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in
      the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10).

      That has a message similar to that found in Philippians 2:2 --
      "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love,
      being of one accord, of one mind."

      I suspect that refers back to Philippians 1:27 -- "Only let your
      conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that . . . ye
      stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the
      faith of the gospel."

      So we must share this similar sentiment and ambition: Our lives
      will be consistent with the Gospel. On that we will stand fast, for
      that we will work together. We will know no lesser purpose.

      This kind of likemindedness loudly, clearly, and insistently calls
      us to be of the same mind in our humble consideration of each
      other, in our humiliation for another's benefit, in our unflinching
      commitment to the Gospel, and in our desire to put Jesus
      absolutely first.


      Thanks again for subscribing!
      Mark Roth

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