One God One Voice One Body One Spirit One Baptism One Purpose
The book of I Corinthians is a letter that was written by Paul to the people at the church in a city called Corinth. When the letter was written, the church had been active for several years and Paul was beginning to see some things in their gatherings that was concerning to him. So, he wrote a letter to help remind them of who they were, in Christ, and what their role to the watching world should be.
Paul's letter can be summed up in two words, love and unity.
When the church is focused on loving God and loving others, unity is a natural result. Love brings people together and says "you are welcome here". When love is visible in our actions and our motives, then people are empowered to live boldly for Jesus. The watching world desires to be part of what we are doing, and people are won to Christ.
Sadly, the opposite is true when a church becomes self-focused and divisive. There is an atmosphere of negativity and criticism. The church becomes a place of self-preservation. This kind of church is afraid to take risks or engage people outside of it's gatherings. This kind of church is not attractive at all to the watching world.
Corinth had become a divisive and in-ward focused church. They had become disorganized in their worship times. People were fighting for attention and taking honor away from God. They were ignoring or even condoning blatant sin and disobedience. They had begun to elevate some people's gifts above others and assign importance based on talent rather than recognizing the need for all believers to serve together.
If we are honest, every church has struggled with the issue of becoming a church like the one in Corinth. It is natural to think of ourselves first. But God does not ask us to do the natural things. He asks us to do super-natural things through the power of His Holy Spirit. Our dependance on His Spirit is what brings about the ability to love - even our enemies. That "wonder-working power" makes it possible for us to work together, serve together, and worship together - even in our differences. The Power of God's Holy Spirit unites us through what Paul calls the message of "First Importance". Paul says, " Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve." (I Cor. 15:3-5)
We have an opportunity to make a real difference in our world. It does not have to be difficult. If we simply love God, love Others, and serve the World, we will become the church God created us to be. Our testimony will be evident by our love and as a result of our love, the watching world will see our unity. We will become ONE.
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." I Cor. 15:58