The first indication we get of the church being divided is found in 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Because of quarrels or arguments, these believers began to separate themselves and identify themselves by their favorite teachers. The Corinthians were Gentiles and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. (Galatians 2:8). Apollos was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures.” (Acts 18:24). Cephas, of course, was Peter the Apostle. Some said they were of Christ, as if to say the others were not of Christ.

Paul addresses this again in 1 Corinthians 3:3-9, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Here, he states the ultimate reason for their division. They were CARNAL and walked like men. What does this mean? It means they were acting like unsaved men. They reacted to problems by becoming jealous and quarrelsome. This is not of the Lord! Jealousy and strife will destroy proper Christian fellowship and oneness. It causes division, even as it did here in Corinth.

In the Lord’s prayer before His crucifixion, He prayed extensively that we might be one. We read in John 17:11, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that THEY MAY BE ONE, as we are.” He also prayed in John 17:21-23, “THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY MAY BE ONE, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” We are in truth ONE in Christ, yet we do not display that to the world. We continue to display division, strife, and jealousy.

Let’s read Ephesians 4:1-4, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” Notice that we are not asked to create unity. We are asked to KEEP the unity that the Spirit had created. True unity is that which is established upon the truth of who Christ is, what He has done, and what He is to the church, which is His body.

How do we do this? Do we join ourselves with every person or group that names the name of Christ? Unfortunately, NO. Not everyone one who names the name of Christ is a true believer. In order to honor the Lord, we find we must separate from such ones. 2 Timothy 2:19-21 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” In order to maintain true unity today, we must separate from that which dishonors the Lord and “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22). (238.10)