Sermon – June 29, 2014

Community - Letters to the Church in CorinthA House Divided,” by Rev. Mike Holly
Sermon Series: Community – Letters to the Church in Corinth

This morning, our Scripture reading describes a church that is experiencing a polarizing divide of allegiances to different leaders within the church. There seem to be church members at the church in Corinth who followed the apostle Paul and his teachings, other who followed the apostle Peter (called Cephas) and his teachings, and finally Apollos and his teachings. Each teacher was preaching from the same common message from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) as well as from the events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. However, each apparently had different ways in which they taught about some religious teachings and in teachings on how to live together as a Church.

We are taught that the church is called the Body of Christ. We are all connected to one another in his name – we are united together in and through him. Another image given to us by Jesus is that he is the vine and we are the branches. Paul reminds the people in Corinth that being a church means that we are connected to Jesus Christ and his teachings and his way. When we lose focus and follow great teachers or good programs or “the way we have always done things,” we have lost sight of identity as a community of faith.

As we explore what it means to be a community united by Jesus Christ, consider how you might have misunderstood what it means to be a Church.

—Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

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 be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you 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.

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