Sunday School Material 6-29-14: Pursue Unity in Christ

(Haggai 2:23; Zechariah 4:1-3, 6-14; 6/22/14)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Paul urges his readers to be unified in Christ. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be more unified in Christ.

Body:

Read I Corinthians 1:10-12

I. Divided Church. Paul urges his readers to agree with one another. He appeals to them in the name of Christ. Some from Chloe’s household has informed Paul of quarrels. It seems that the division has to do with which leader is being followed - Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ. 

Applications -

- Christian siblings. Notice in vs. 10 of the Sunday School material that the readers are referred to as brothers and sisters. Those who are saved are children of God and siblings of one another.

Furthermore, when there is an appeal made in the name of Christ, those who belong to Christ should stop and pay attention. Let’s work on behaving as Christian siblings who yield to the will of Christ.

Just as a lack of fruit makes a fruit tree subject to punishment, lack of siblinghood and yielding to Christ is subject to punishment.

- Quarrelling. Notice in vss. 10-12 that there was division and quarrelling among those who claimed to be in Christ.

First, there is nothing wrong with believers disagreeing with one another. What is wrong is when the disagreement leads to sinful quarrelling. We are called to lovingly and respectfully work towards living by God’s will with unity.

Second, as in the text, there may be a need for someone to tell the authorities about what is going on. There are too many people who know what is going on but don’t want to get involved enough to report the facts to the authorities. This makes them an accessory to the sin.

Let’s work on dealing with our disagreements in godly ways, which may include reporting matters to authorities who can get to the bottom of the issues at hand.

Read I Corinthians 1:13-17

II. Frustrated Apostle. In our Sunday School material Paul calls the people to think about Christ. Christ is not divided. It is into Him that believers are baptized. Christ is the main event, not who did the baptizing or the fancy words of the preacher.

Applications -

- Human leaders and Christ. Notice in vss. 13-17 that God does use human leaders, but Christ is the main event. This is important for both the followers and leaders to remember.

On one hand, the human leadership should be respected and obeyed. However, it is the respect and obedience given to an ambassador of God, not that which is given to God Himself. Let’s work on keeping the roles of human leaders and God in perspective.

Read I Corinthians 3:4-9

III. Corrected Thinking. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about how Apollos and himself are simply servants. One plants and another waters. But it is God who makes it grow. God will bless the co-workers.

Applications -

- Servants and co-workers. Notice in vss. 5, 9 that Paul and Apollos were servants and co-workers. First, in like manner, every believer is a servant of God.

Servants are called to serve. There are preaching servants, money counting servants, and so on, but we are all servants called to serve.

Second, we are co-workers, not opponents. At our best, we compliment, instead of compete with one another. Let’s work on behaving like servants of God and co-workers.

- The necessity of God. Notice in vs. 7 that without God’s grace, the labor of the servants is in vain. In like manner, after we have given our best in service, if God doesn’t give His grace, our labor will produce no fruit.

This realization should lead to our praying for God to bless our labor. It should lead to us humbly doing our work with a realization that without God, our work is in vain. Let’s live as if we believe that without God our labor is in vain.

This kind of living should include a significant amount of God talk and prayer. There is something wrong when church meetings and ministry meetings never have a mention of God and have very little prayer.

- Serving the Lord pays off. Notice in vs. 8 of our Sunday School material that serving the Lord pays off. Thank God, we can trust God to take care of His faithful servants.

Even when people don’t appreciate our labor and the seeds that we plant or water don’t seem to grow, God has a way of blessing those who are simply faithful.

Let’s work on serving like we are looking to God for our reward. There is something wrong when a person stops serving the “Lord” because they are not getting enough attention from people.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being more unified in Christ. God has much for those who obey His will.

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