Strife And Division In The Church  

I Corinthians 11:19


     The church at Corinth had great potential. They were a large, wealthy, well taught congregation. They had been instructed in the gospel of the grace of God by the Apostles Peter and Paul and the orator, Apollos. They could have done so much good. But they wasted their talents, energies and gifts in fighting petty quarrels. Evangelism, missionary work, the comfort and edification of God's saints, and the glory of Christ, all were forsaken and sacrificed so that men could promote themselves and their followers! With regard to these things Paul says, "There must also be heresies (schisms, factions, divisions) among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." With these words the Apostle teaches us three things.

     1. Satan is always busy sowing strife and discord among those who profess to be the disciples of Christ. Strife and confusion is satan's work. Where there is the most potential for good, he is most active. Though Peter, Paul and Apollos were united in Christ and in the doctrine of Christ, satan sought to divide them. Though he failed to do so, he did succeed in getting lesser, weaker men to divide into warring factions under the names of those faithful men. And this wickedness was maintained and promoted in the name of Christ, with each rival faction claiming to preach the gospel! The church at Corinth was united in only one thing - They were united in being contentious! They wasted their energy and time fighting petty, self-serving quarrels while the world went to hell!

     2. But these horrible evils are not beyond God's control. Our great God, in his infinite wisdom and sovereign goodness, providentially overrules the wicked factions caused by satan to separate his wheat from the tares and his sheep from the goats. He takes satan's devices and uses them for his own defeat and to accomplish the very thing the devil tries to prevent, the everlasting good of his people!

     3. When the dust of division settles those who are true followers of Christ will be made manifest.They may waver in the confusion. But God's saints will not be moved away from the hope of the gospel. When the sowers of discord have had their last fling, the cause of Christ will not be hindered, and believers will still cling to Christ with stronger faith than ever before.


Don Fortner