Perfectly United

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 

10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

NBA Champions

            Have you watched the NBA Finals? Accordingly, the 2023 NBA champion Denver Nuggets waited more than 55 years to win their first championship trophy. The cohesive effort of the Denver Nuggets helped them win games.

            When asked about their thoughts of being the champions, the players realistically credited that team efforts helped them win the game. Talent of each player complemented each other. Their cohesive efforts help them win the game.

As a church, we also participate cohesively. We have to be harmoniously united in mindset and purposes as a church.  It declares in 1 Corinthians 9:25: 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

            How long do players cherish their championship trophy? In comparison, the Lord had prepared for faithful believers eternal rewards that we cherish forever.

            Many individuals may think that they do not need to attend congregational gathering because they can worship God anywhere they like on their own time. Does it please God to avoid church gathering?

It reminds us in Hebrews 10:24-25: 24Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Church worship services and congregational gatherings are opportunities to obey God and to encourage one another by showing love and good deeds. When we see each other, we talk to each other, we help each other, we show love to each other, and we encourage one another to persevere in waiting for Christ’s return.

            Each of us has problems. We can help carry each other’s burden through prayers. Every believer has a unique spiritual gift; we can show love and help one another very uniquely. In a way, we complement what one may need somehow.

1. Complement

10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 

            When you hear the word “Unity,” what could easily come to your mind?

Unity requires harmony. It does not necessarily require that we do exactly the same thing. Unity is exhibited in worship service. Singers have unique voices; various musical instruments are played, but they complement each other. When we sing harmoniously, a glorious melody may become blessing to the Lord.

            The phrase, “perfectly united in mind and thought,” implies harmony among believers. Believers are gifted in every way with all kinds of speech and knowledge; the result should be perfect unity. As a church, we complement each other; we learn and teach one another for harmonious edification among us.

            What did he imply when Apostle Paul appealed in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord? He urged us in the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ to agree with each other in our speech. Our message should promote Christian values. The way we speak should testify to the transformational work of Jesus Christ in our life.

            When we share how the Lord provided solution to burdens, listeners may identify with our struggle, and they will be encouraged to keep trusting him. Or when we share how we handle personal or family concerns, others may learn from it. Personal testimony is essential encouragement, especially to believers.

Mother tongue

You have heard about mother tongue. What is mother tongue? Mother tongue pertains to the first language we use when speak while growing up ever since childhood. There are expressions that can only be more internalized when told through mother tongue. There are humorous stories or statements that can only be deeply understood very clearly when we use our mother tongue.

Do you have a childhood friend? When you speak in your mother tongue to your childhood friend, your conversation is interestingly more intimate. You can understand a message in a more relatable manner through mother tongue. Right?

Similarly, when we talk about how Christ has transformed us personally, we talk about how Christ inspired us to share his gospel, we talk about our struggles and how God solved our problems, those are common languages as believers of Christ. God is praised in our speech. Christ is glorified in our testimonies.

Eventually, we are edified as we grow spiritually mature; we grow more intimate also in our personal relationship with Christ. As we grow more intimate in our relationship with Christ, we internalize his instructions, and we understand more deeply that he wants to bless us even more when he gives us instructions.

How do you personally interpret what Christ declared in John 10:14-16? 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Christ wants us to experience his love and care more intimately. When he says, “My sheep know me,” it is not about head-knowledge of things he does. It is knowledge of Christ based on personal experience. Intimate relationship with Christ can be compared to intimate relationship of husband and wife.

            As husband and wife grow older, their relationship becomes more intimate; they can understand each other even if it is not literally spoken. For instance: The husband may asked, “What’s for dinner?” How does his wife respond? She knows that her husband signaled that he wants to eat, and dinner should be prepared..

            A husband and wife learn to understand the body language of each other more intimately. They understand what their spouse wants, even without any outright verbal instruction; that is called experiential knowledge.

Similarly, we learn more about what Christ wants to do as we grow deeper in our relationship with him. Personally do you know what Christ wants you to do? Seriously pray that you grow more intimate in your relationship with Christ.

            Truly, the instructions of Christ are his impartial ways to bless us when we obey him. Christ is very much concerned of our welfare. Do you believe that?

2.  Concern

11My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

            As opposed to harmonious unity, can quarrel promote Christian values?

Apostle Paul repeatedly mentioned “brothers and sisters” for about twenty two times in his first letter to the Corinthians. What did he imply? What did he expect? Brothers and sisters are expected to care for their welfare as siblings. There could be misunderstanding and quarrels among siblings, but they will still care for each other. The concern of siblings for each other could not be denied.

            Apostle Paul wanted to convey to the Corinthians that he’s concerned for their welfare as brothers and sisters in Christ, when he rebuked them. He wanted them to grow mature spiritually. And he wanted the Corinthians to benefit from his brotherly rebuke. Brotherly rebuke could produce eternal favorable benefits.

            It had declared in Proverbs 27:5, 5Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

Have you openly rebuked anyone? How did they react? Were they angry?

Actually, open rebuke is not easily appreciated? It’s not easily understood. Why?

Pray before you rebuke a person; pray for that person to be blessed with godly wisdom. Or else, he/she will get angry and hate you. Open rebuke is biblical.

            A rebuke is understood and accepted with thankfulness only by the wise.

King Solomon the wisest king of Israel wrote the book of Proverbs. Meaning: It requires godly wisdom for anyone to accept this proverb with openness to learn.

King Amaziah

            Powerful individuals can be misled to think that they know everything.

Let’s try to learn from Amaziah king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 25:14-17: 14When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them. 15The anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?”

16While he was still speaking, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you an adviser to the king? Stop! Why be struck down?” So the prophet stopped but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.” 17After Amaziah king of Judah consulted his advisers, he sent this challenge to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel: “Come, let us face each other in battle.”

            After Amaziah defeated the Edomites, he set up the gods of the Edomites as his own gods; it showed that Amaziah did not recognize that his victory over the Edomites came from the Lord. Amaziah became proud and challenged the king of Israel to face each other in battle, and he was defeated. Why did God allow Amaziah to be defeated? Defeat is a painful lesson for us to learn from.

            The Corinthians had not learned their lesson very well when one says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”They were divided in their opinion about who they should follow. And Apostle Paul rhetorically asked the Corinthians if he was crucified for them.

3.  Crucifixion

13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?

Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

            Apostle Paul wrote specifically to the church of God in Corinth. Previously, he reminded them that they were sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people. Moreover, he added “all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul had implied that all believers everywhere must pay attention to his rebuke, and even the next generations Christians are included.

Christians will certainly face the painful problem of division in the church.

            The church is the body of Christ. Apostle Paul prescribed that unity in mind and purpose should be valuable prevention to avoid church division. When they preferred whoever they want to follow, the Corinthian church was divided. If preference of leader differs from another, it could cause conflict in the church.


            Many years ago, a city mayor proposed that they should build overpass to help ease the traffic problem in the city. The city council rejected it. They said that it is not feasible. After few years later, the next administration built overpass in the city. So, why did the previous city council not want to build overpass as proposed by the previous mayor? Was it because they didn’t belong to his political group?

            For political reason, politicians belonging to the opposition won’t support any good project of the administration. Why? They don’t want the administration to look good in the eyes of voters. Political problems had infiltrated the church. We have to be prayerful. We are reminded in Ephesians 6:10-12, 10Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

            Church split happened in the first century; it happens anytime anywhere. No local church is exempted. We have to be prayerful to have harmonious unity.

            God blesses believers who promote peace and unity in the church. Amen!

            Let’s seek inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

May the Holy Spirit produce fruit of peace in our life and among us! Amen!

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