1 Corinthians 12:27 & 1 Corinthians 1:11, Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it and my brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.‘
Through the missionary efforts of Paul and others, the church was established in Corinth. But Paul found it very difficult to keep Corinth out of the church. In fact, out of the 14 Epistles, this letter to Corinthians is very profound. The First part of this letter mainly deals with the Christian conduct in the Church as well as in the society. Singing halleluiah in the church and living a prodigal life in the society is not a Christian life. Paul addresses a variety of problems in the life-style of the Corinthian church; factions, lawsuits, immorality, questionable practices, abuse of the Lord‘s Supper and Spiritual gifts. Corinthians, part 1 can be studied under three topics : 1) Divisions in the Church, 2) Disorder in the Church, and 3) Difficulties in the Church. Now by the grace of God, I want to share the topic ‗Divisions‘ in the Church. Divide and rule is the devil‘s policy! And this is how the Britishers conquered India. India was rich in every level but all those riches turned into a waste land because of this policy…Aliens crossed the threshold and destroyed the peace. This is what happened in the Church of Corinth. The Church was full of gifts and was eagerly waiting for the revelation of Lord Jesus Christ, but slowly and steadily the evil one entered through the crevices and made a big hole out of it…And poor believers did not know that the evil had already set his dominion over them. Besides all these, God revealed me about one household called Chloe. Due to the concern for the body of Christ, they reported to Paul about the divisions in the Church. Wow! We don‘t know the name of the persons, but Paul says ―those of Chloe‘s household. In the midst of contentions, one family decided to stand in the gap and report this serious matter to the man of God! Wow! They did not run here and there and make telephone calls. They did not gossip about the divisions in the church, but rather they approached the right person! – Paul, whom God used to establish this church.
I honor this Chloe‘s household, because they decided to stand in the gap and fill those crevices from where the devil had entered. They had a burden and wanted to see the believers being restored from the devil‘s hand. Remember the opening message of our Lord on the mountain.―Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called sons of God . This family did not make that hole big. In fact they were alert in spirit to fill those crevices. We are the body of Christ, and each of us are a part of it. For by one Spirit, we were all baptized, into one body-whether Jews, or Greeks, whether slaves, or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact, the body has many members. If the foot should say, ―Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,‖ is therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? It is very much true that we are connected to one body but there are diversities of activities and the same God works all in all. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. The believers of Corinth were suffering under the devil‘s scheme of division and no one was concerned about each other. But the household of Chloe‘s realized that they needed to do something about the sufferings of the body of Christ.… Can I ask you brother/sister/pastor, do you pray when someone falls from the grace of God? Or do you make big news?!! I have noticed ,If anyone does not participate in the Holy Communion, then he is the most wanted person! But I say, he stayed away because of conviction. Let us pray for him/her so that they may turn to the Lord, rather than making telephone calls and spreading rumors about that person! The one who stays away from the Holy Communion, because of guiltiness is far better than the one who eats from the table with no guiltiness. I had pain in my legs a few days back, that put me down into full rest on my bed for 1 day. One member of my body was suffering the pain, but all the members of my body responded to that pain of that one member. It was like even my hands, head and eyes all were in pain, They all responded to that pain. God taught me a nice lesson…and He asked me how do you respond when one member in the body of Christ suffers?? Do you spread rumor, or do you sit on your knees? I was speechless!! Because I remember times when I had spread rumors, talking about this brother or that sister!! Oh! I forgot that he or she is also the member of the same body, of whom I also belong to! Oh what a wretched man I am!
How did the Apostle reply to the report ? I 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? What does this show? ‗ We are not natural men. But we are super natural .Natural man will keep jealously. He will keep envy, strife and divisions.
We must not only have burden for the people who backslide from the Lord, but also for those who suffer persecution, nakedness, distress, famine, pressed under situations, helpless etc.
On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me.” Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, “Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me.” These will ask Him, “When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?” And Jesus will answer them, “Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!” We believe, preach, sing but do we have burden for the least ones? James expresses this as ‗faith without work‘…and faith without work is dead. Faith without work is wood and hay, which will be destroyed in the fire….It may look big and expressive but it cannot stand before the fire…But, faith with work is living and it will be tested in the fire and the same finds the reward from the Father.
James 2:14, ‘What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?‘ Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead… Let me share one incident. I remember my dad preaching the same. One day, one lady came to my dad for prayer and said that she was not able to pay the school fees for her children. As usual, my dad prayed for her and gave the word, and tried to send her away…But soon, the Holy Spirit spoke to him to help her with the money, and he gave the exact amount of the fees which was kept for my school fees.
Now there was no money left for my school fees. But God miraculously supplied our need within a few days. My dad‘s intention was just to send her away after praying and wish her good things, but that was not what God wanted him to do…He must have the faith as well as work….Faith is completed when we do the deeds according to the will of God. Further in 1 John 3:17, it says, ‗ If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?…
We have seconds and minutes, and we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds. So let us leave jealously, malice, gossips, strife, divisions and all evil thoughts against our brethren and stand in the gap in those areas where the devil is trying to enter in. Praying with all prayers, and workout our faith with burden and passion, not as men pleasers but as God pleasers, not doing for men but doing for God.