Who hasn’t been embroiled in some church conflict at some time in their life? As we read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we find that Paul himself has been embroiled in controversy:
For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ (v4)
The frustrated patriarch of the Corinthian church had done his best to nurture his spiritual children. He had given them the spiritual milk they needed to start them out in their new life with Christ. But like a father with his children he has turned his back for a minute and when he looked again the children are squabbling amongst one another. I can imagine he wanted to shout at them “grow up!”.
Paul painstakingly points out “we are all on the same side here guys”. Where I plant, Apollos waters. Their quarrelling and taking sides shows they have not grown in their understanding of Christ, but instead continue to overlay worldly values on their life.
Divisive quarrelling is sadly all too common in our Christian experience today. It is no wonder that Jesus prayed specifically about this:
‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
What a powerful prayer! Jesus prays that we might be one! Why? Not for our own sake, but so that the world may believe. Truly we are ambassadors for Christ. This is something we should never forget in our dealings with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The world is watching and this is what Jesus wants them to see:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Let’s continue to strive to be a Community of Grace so that we don’t disappoint Him.