Temple Baptist Church - 6-13-2012
A. In the first 4 verses of this chapter, Paul deals with the strength of the church through unity. Unity is indeed the “strong man” that Christ spoke of when speaking of a house divided.
1. The cause of division is carnality - 1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
2. The result of division is confusion - James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
B. Paul’s fear concerning division in the church was two-fold: 2 Corinthians 12:20 “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.”
1. He feared finding the people living in carnality and sinfulness. A true pastor or man of God desires only the best for the church and its members.
2. He feared the people finding him in a chastening mode instead of purely loving one. A true pastor or man of God wants to be loving and kind at all times but has the love and boldness to deal with sinfulness when it becomes necessary.
C. The devastation of division is beyond the temporal as it has eternal ramifications:
1. Division destroys the family relationship of the church.
2. Division destroys the mission of the church.
3. Division destroys the testimony of the church.
4. Division destroys the posterity of the church.
5. Division destroys the prayers of the church.
D. In these verses read tonight, we find the mindset that brings about the love and friendship that should prevail in the church. That mindset is having the mind of Christ.
1. The mindset of Christ takes a work in the heart and a mental preparedness.
2. If our hearts are not right with the Lord then we will not be right with each other.
3. If our minds are not biblically renewed, we will not think right spiritually and our relationship with one another will not be right either.
E. Here we find that mindset:
1. The mindset of absolute humility!
a. Royalty became common. In the case of Jehovah God becoming a stable born commoner, we find the greatest act of humility in the universe. “He made himself” shows the voluntary element of the incarnation. God sent His Son but His Son went willingly. We in America, we do not have such royalty as many nations but we too are guilty of having a recognized cast system. Many are born with a “SILVER SPOON” in their mouths while others are born to blue collar workers, share croppers, or just the wrong side of the tracks. It takes a certain amount of humility for all of us in one way or another. I do not care who you are or where you were born. I love you equally and always try to place your welfare above mine.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
b. Rich became poor. Jesus Christ was rich beyond human comprehension as He has prepared for us a city where the street is paved with gold. He owns the universe and, with the same ease, can create another just like it. Too often in our churches, (though we do not like to admit it) those who are financially affluent do get the “red carpet” treatment. Our Lord commended the widow for giving all of her living over those who cast into the treasury out of their abundance. The rich should become as poor in the church as the poorest member. I try to love an treat all the same because it is the Lord that meets our needs here.
c. Master became servant. He who made the feet chose to wash them. He who was prayed to spent sleepless nights praying for His sleeping disciples. He who provided for their food fasted and hungered. On occasion, we have both a boss and one of his workers in the same church. Both master and servant become one. That means that, for the first time, you men are equal to your wives I guess! May the Lord help us to humble ourselves in the sight of God that we man, without show, humble ourselves in the sight of men. The ground is truly level at the foot of the cross.
2. The mindset of obedience!
a. Life became obedient to death! He willingly gave His life that we might live. I believe that one of the greatest acts of humility is when we give up our wants, desires, feelings, and hurts that the life of others will be enhanced. “And exhorting one another” is the key. We have people here with family problems, financial problems, health problems, etc. that need all of the support that we can give to them. The Bible speaks of seeing a brother’s need and doing what we can to alleviate it.
b. The Christ obedient to the cross! Christ not only became obedient to death but also became obedient to problems, persecutions, and various other needs. Life is hard at best and often times cruel. Bad things truly happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I have watch as God’s people have suffered over the years and my heart breaks for them. My family has suffered over the years and it is often hard and seems that the wicked are rewarded for their sinfulness. But I still know that there is a God in heaven that will make all things right one day and, if we trust Him and help one another, we will all come through our trials together.