1 Cor. 1:10

 

In 1917, the Russian Orthodox Church gathered together for its annual denominational meeting. During the course of these meetings the bishops were involved in a heated dispute. A few doors down the street another meeting was going on. The Bolsheviks had assembled together to plot the overthrow of the Czar. This marked the beginning of what we now know as Communism.

So what was the church arguing about while the empire was crumbling around them? Candles—were they to be 18” or 22” long?

Fortunately, that happened in Russia a hundred years ago. I’m relieved to say that similar occurrences would never happen in America. Right!

There have many ridiculous arguments and splits over the years in church groups. We have all heard the arguments over the temperature in the worship center, color of carpet, order of worship, and color of walls.  Let me give a few more that are a little unusual.  I found a list of 25 – I will just give a few of my favorites.

 

*1. Argument over the appropriate length of the worship minister’s beard.

  1. Fight over whether or not to build a children’s playground or to use the land for a cemetery.
  2. A deacon accusing another deacon of sending an anonymous letter, and deciding to settle the matter in the parking lot.
  3. A church dispute of whether or not to install restroom stall dividers in the women’s restroom.

*5. A church argument and vote to decide if a clock in the worship center should be removed.

*6. A 45-minute heated argument over the type of filing cabinet to purchase: black or brown; 2, 3, or 4 drawers.

*7. A fight over which picture of Jesus to put in the foyer.

  1. A petition to have all church staff clean shaven.
  2. A dispute over whether the worship leader should have his shoes on during the service.

*10. A big church argument over the discovery that the church budget was off $0.10. Someone finally gave a dime to settle the issue.

  1. A dispute in the church because the Lord’s Supper had cran/grape juice instead of grape juice.

*12. Business meeting arguments about whether the church should purchase a weed eater or not. It took two business meetings to resolve.

*13. Arguments over what type of green beans the church should serve.

  1. Two different churches reported fights over the type of coffee. In one of the churches, they moved from Folgers to a stronger Starbucks brand. In the other church, they simply moved to a stronger blend. Members left the church in the latter example.
  2. Major conflict when the youth borrowed a crockpot that had not been used for years.

*16. An argument on whether the church should allow deviled eggs at the church meal.

*17. An argument over who has the authority to buy postage stamps for the church.

*18. A disagreement over using the term “potluck” instead of “pot blessing”.

  1. A church member was chastised because she brought vanilla syrup to the coffee server. It looked too much like liquor.
  2. An argument in church over who has access to the copy machine.

*21. Some church members left the church because one church member hid the vacuum cleaner from them. It resulted in a major fight and split.

  1. An argument over whether to have gluten-free communion bread or not.
  2. A dispute over whether the church should allow people to wear black t-shirts, since black is the color of the devil.
  3. A fight over whether or not to sing “Happy Birthday” each week.
  4. An argument over whether the fake, dusty plants should be removed from the podium.

List from ThomRainer.com

 

We wonder why non-Christians are not interested in church. They like Jesus but can’t stand His followers.  I hope you and I are not that petty.

Thomas Campbell believed and taught unity around the New Testament because of his past. Before he came to America he was a minister of the Old Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church.  The name shows the three splits within the church.  I just shake my head but the one that really takes the cake was over a piano bench.

The Holy Creek Baptist church spilt into 4 worship services over the location of a piano bench. They hired people to move the piano bench to the right location after each service.  They hired 4 different preachers – they shared the same building but they would not talk to each other or worship together.  Over a piano bench.

 

Can’t we all just get along? Do we really have to fuse over such insignificant issues?

There have not been any arguments to my knowledge of such petty issues around here but that doesn’t mean that some of you haven’t been upset over such things. First, thanks for not making it an argument.  Second, let it go, don’t be frustrated over issues that have no eternal significance.  Our goal as a church is to make disciples who make disciples not have a comfortable country club.

 

So we must Agree and Live in Harmony with each other, Bearing With and Living in Hospitality.

 

AGREE

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with ONE ANOTHER so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

 

Agree with one another – can we do this? Do with have to agree on everything?  Agree so there are not divisions.  Why do people divide?

A Missionary family left the mission field because of condemnation from other Missionaries. What was the theological disagreement over? Peanut butter.

You see, the Mission field where they went did not have access to Peanut Butter. So, that particular family arranged for a friend to send them Peanut Butter from the States every now and then. The problem was that the other Missionaries considered it a mark of their true spirituality that they did without Peanut Butter. They explained, “We believe that since peanut butter is not available here, we should give it up for the cause of Christ.”

Both were right, it is fine to sacrifice Peanut Butter for the cause of Christ and it is fine to have someone send you Peanut Butter as you serve Christ.  But it is not right to force your liberty onto someone else or to prohibit your liberty onto someone else.

I have said for a long time, “Some may but I cannot.” Then explain why you don’t.

Forcing your opinion on others is what the liberals do.

“We do not believe in guns so no one can have a gun.”

“We believe in homosexuality so you must support us and acknowledge us as a legitimate marriage.”

“We think transgendered persons should be able to use whichever restroom they feel comfortable using.”

I am not going to say you can’t live that way, I will say that choosing to sin in that way is against God and His word and I will not acknowledge homosexual marriage or being transgendered as a special right that I have to accept and promote or make accommodations for.

Some may think that my desire to stop abortions is pushing my beliefs on someone else in the same way as preventing gun ownership.  The difference is I am against the murder of another human life.  I am for the protection of innocent life.  The baby in the womb is a person not a blob of tissue that can be disposed of.

(See people change their mind when they watch a video of what an abortion truly does – https://www.facebook.com/liveaction/videos/10154168301463728/)

 

As American’s we have a moral code and as Christians we have a righteousness code.

We must not force others to agree with us, but we can stand and explain why we believe what we believe.

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians again. What is Paul telling us to agree about?

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.

12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

 

Paul is telling the congregation in Corinth to agree so there are no divisions, so they can be united in mind and thought.

 

The people of Chloe’s household did not agree with the division. They knew that this division was not Godly and they were burdened by the fighting.  Do you have the courage and devotion to see a problem of disunity and address the issue?  Do you see a person or group in sin and have the courage and burden to confront the issue for the sake of Christ and His church?

 

Did Paul, Apollos, or Cephas, teach something different about Christ? This was not a doctrinal issue of following the leader that was teaching the truth.  It was a personality issue of following the leader you liked best.  Christ is not divided and neither are His teachers or His followers.  What unified the Corinthian church was that they had all be baptized into Christ.  If we have been baptized into Christ we are unified under Him.  Then we are united in mind and thought because we have let our mind and thoughts be transformed by Christ and His word.

 

We can agree that Jesus is the Christ and we must follow Him. We are baptized into Him for the forgiveness of our sins and the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. Can we agree on that?

 

Not everyone is agreeable and even with them we must stay unified and bear with them.

 

BEAR WITH

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with ONE ANOTHER in love.

Put up with one another, bearing with is amplifying (explaining) what it means to be patient. We must accept one another for who we are; our weaknesses and faults.  Accept one another out of love.  Love of Christ and love of our brothers and sisters will help us bear with each other.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, being long fused, not short fused.  God is patient with us and we need to be patient with others.  Do you want people to be patient with you?  Do you want God to be patient with you?

Then give others the same grace. They do not deserve it but neither do we.

 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against ONE ANOTHER. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

 

Paul puts bearing with and forgiving together.  Yes, we have grievances but forgive and bear with.  Those in Colossi had legitimate grievances against each other and Paul said bear with and forgive.  The Greek word translated forgive is from the root word for grace.  Give grace as you bear with one another.  Give grace as the Lord gave you grace.  We did not deserve it but He gave it to us anyway.

 

I read a story of a Bible college student who left work early to go home and study for a final exam. When he got to class, everybody was doing their last minute studying. The Professor came in and said he would review with the class for just a little bit before the test. They went through the review, most of it right on the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that he had never heard of. When questioned about it, he said that they were in the book and everyone was responsible for everything in the book. They couldn’t really argue with that.  Finally, it was time to take the test.

“Leave them face down on the desk until everyone has one and I’ll tell you to start,” the prof instructed.

When the turned them over, every answer on the test was filled in! The bottom of the last page said the following:

“This is the end of the Final Exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an ’A’ on the final exam. The reason you passed the test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A. You have just experienced…grAce.”

 

He then went around the room and asked each student individually, “What is your grade? Do you deserve the grade you are receiving? How much did all your studying for this exam help you achieve your final grade?”

 

If you have received grace, why won’t you give grace?

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against ONE ANOTHER. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

 

Is it really that hard to bear with others and forgive them? See others through the eyes of Jesus and you will not have a difficult time bearing with others.  As we bear with each other we will be able to live in Harmony.

Harmony is not the same notes being played together, it is different notes being played together that make a well-rounded beautiful sound.

 

LIVE IN HARMONY

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with ONE ANOTHER. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 

“Think the same way toward each other” is the idea here of the word translated harmony.

That is the context of the passage. But you cannot think the same way as others if you are proud, arrogant, and unwilling to be with others who you think are not worthy of you.  That is the immature thinking we had to put up with in High School.  Putting others down because they did not fit in with the “IN” crowd.

We must have acceptance and appreciation for each other.

 

I am a Prince and you are a Princess not because we deserve it but because gave each of us Grace. I am no better than you and you are not better than me.  You are a sinner forgiven by God and I am a sinner forgiven by God.

 

If either one of us forgets that we may become proud and selfish and start believing that my desires and opinions matter more than your desires and opinions. Then we will not live in harmony because we will be fighting against each other’s wishes and make a hideous noise instead of a beautiful sound.

 

The way we harmonize our lives together is for each of us to be surrendered to Jesus.

 

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Since we are clothed in Christ let’s agree that Christ is who we follow and as we follow we bear with each other and live in Harmony because of Him.

 

If you want to be a part of the beautiful song of God come and be baptized into Him.

Outside of Christ you are just making your own noise that is not pleasing to Christ.