Church of Christ in Jacksonville

Christ’s Spirit spoke to the Christians and throughout the world in 1 Corinthians 1:10,

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

The Church at Corinth was still recognized as being “of Christ” (1 Cor. 3:23), and yet “carnal” and “babes”. They were divided among themselves in which they were instructed to be joined together speaking the same thing in the same mind and the same judgment. The Apostle Paul was guided by Christ’s Spirit to correct doctrine and their motives. Therefore, unity in doctrine is possible being commanded by the Spirit of Christ.

How can we be united speaking the same things with the same mind and the same judgment? The Apostle Paul wrote correcting doctrinal error (1 Cor. 4:17, 11:2) while also noting the necessity of love (1 Cor. 8, 10:23-33, 13:1-3), and having no contentions over cultural customs (1 Cor. 11:16). The Church at Corinth had many problems, which Paul corrected in the scope of being united in the same mind. Remember that in addressing the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul also addressed “with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:2).

Christ’s Spirit spoke correcting these Christians, so that they would be united. The Spirit of Jesus Christ instructed to recognize that baptism is in Christ’s name into one body (1 Cor. 1:11-13, 12:13), to discipline the sexually immoral in the congregation (1 Cor. 5), to reject sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:9-20), to abstain from taking one another to court (1 Cor. 6:1-8), to honor their marriages (1 Cor. 7:1-15), to not eat in places contrary to Christ in idol’s temples (1 Cor. 8, 10), to support their preaching ministers (1 Cor. 9), to avoid contentions over cultural customs (1 cor. 10:16), to partake of the Lord’s Supper together in one place (1 Cor. 11:17ff), to consider the God-given abilities of others (1 Cor. 12), to do everything with love (1 Cor. 13), to worship with understandable words (1 Cor. 14:6-25), to pray and sing with the mind as much as the spirit (1 Cor. 14:15), to keep the assembly decent and in order (1 Cor. 14:26-33, 40), to not allow rebellious women to speak in assembly (1 Cor. 14:34-37), and to believe in the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12-35). Should we also not be united as the Spirit of Christ instructed these first Christians to be united in love and in doctrine? Since all of these teaching of 1 Corinthians matters, then how much do also the Gospels, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and all of the teachings of Scripture matter?

How can we be united in Christ? What can we do? Obviously, Christians can be united by teaching as the Apostle Paul does here to unite. We must always go to Christ, to His words, to His Spirit, to His revelation to His Apostles and prophets (cf. Gal. 1:11-12, Eph. 2:19, 3:3-5, 2 Pet. 3:2, Jude 17). Following the command for unity, Paul noted that they had rejected Christ in pursuing wisdom over the words of His Apostles.

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13).

These words of Apostolic wisdom come from God, from His Spirit. “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10). “We [the Apostles] have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). The foundation must be Christ. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).

How can we united with so many differing interpretations of the words of Christ? Put your faith in God that He can communicate so effectively that even His imperfect followers can be united in the same mind and judgment. Therefore, get rid of the interpretations, the inferences upon inference, the conjectured traditions, and speculative teaching. May God judge those who teach to be faithful servants and stewards of His word (1 Cor. 4:1-5, cf. Jas. 3:1, Gal. 1:8-9). Why are there different interpretations? We stray from the foundation of Christ as these Christian did, and this can endanger our souls. Therefore, let us consider ourselves. Have we turned away from Christ to contentions, to divisions, and to customs other than the traditions of Christ?

“I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” (1 Cor. 3:2-4).

Have we turned away from the ways of Christ (1 Cor. 4:14-17)?

Are these doctrines matters of salvation? These Christians in Corinth were endangering their souls (1 Cor. 3:1, 2 Cor. 7:9-10, 13:1-6; cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-30). Doctrine is essential to salvation (1 Tim. 4:16). They were not united and they were changing the doctrines of Christ. Paul writes them correcting their doctrines. Christ’s Spirit speaks through Paul correcting their worship in the Assembly (1 Cor. 11:17ff, 14) and instructing them to do everything with love (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

For our own examination, look to the Apostle Paul’s instruction about the Lord’s Supper for instance. He referred to our unity in worshiping one God by the bread and the cup (1 Cor. 10:16ff). The Apostle Paul stated, “[K]eep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2). The word “delivered” is the verb form of tradition. In this context, Paul referred to the Lord’s Supper saying, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you” (1 Cor. 11:23). To the Lord’s Supper, the Apostle Paul taught traditions are to be kept just as he delivered them (1 Cor. 11:2). These Christians endangered their souls. Those who neglected the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper endangered their souls by their factions (1 Cor. 11:17-22) and by not discerning the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:27-29). Doctrine does matter, because doctrine and practice are essential to our motives.

In conclusion, the Spirit of Christ expected the Corinthians and all Christians to know the truth and to be united in it. Christ expects us to be joined together speaking the same thing and to be in the same mind and same judgment. This is the union that He prayed for (John 17:21). This is “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). This is the unity of “one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6). We are united in Christ when believing everything that He said, we are one in obedience. If we really love God and love one another, we will obey God’s commands (1 John 5:2-3). Remember the words of Christ’s Spirit,

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.