When we were young and in elementary school we learned how to add, subtract, multiply, and DIVIDE. Division comes in handy as we live out our daily lives. When you are in the kitchen cooking, the recipe you have may serve far too many people. You wisely divide the ingredients in half in order to yield a more suitable serving size for the number of people you have in your household. When you are out on your boat fishing, you divide out your bait, putting the right amount on the hook in order to attract the particular fish you are trying to catch. In these uses, division is a very positive and helpful thing to humans. The type of division I will examine today is anything but positive. It is positively harmful to people and to the mission of the church. We, as Christians, are to avoid this type of division at all costs for in so doing we protect the fellowship of the church and are able to stay focused on our mission, the Great Commission.
10 I 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. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas]”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 1 Cor 1:10-16 NIV
First, let me make the distinction between division and differences. We are all very different. We have different personalities, skin colors, backgrounds, levels of education, levels of economic prosperity, tastes in music, food preferences, etc. Differences such as these should not divide. Differences make life interesting. It would be very boring if we were all alike!
What then is division? When we divide, we separate something into smaller parts. In some things such as recipes, or fishing bait, it is great to be able to divide. When playing basketball it is awesome to be able to divide into teams and enjoy a good game. On the other hand, with human relationships, especially in the family, workplace, and the church, division becomes extremely detrimental very quickly.
When division occurs, people separate from one another. When people separate from one another it becomes impossible to accomplish worthwhile goals that require teamwork. This is because teamwork can only occur when people are together and there is good communication. Our goal is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. There would be terrible consequences if this goal were not fulfilled. Many people would not be able to find the hope, salvation and eternal life that God offers through Jesus Christ. This is why we as a church must remain unified around our faith in Jesus Christ, our love for one another, and our commitment to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The tire company, Michelin, at one time adopted the slogan, “Because so much is riding on your tires”. In using this slogan, they were attempting to convince the consumer that if you purchase Michelin tires you are looking out for your family’s safety. A good slogan for the church would be “Because so much is riding on our message”. This is because the welfare of so many people is riding on us fulfilling our mission to take the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world.
Let’s get united, and let’s get busy because God has work he needs us to do. In order to accomplish this work we have to be together. May we never forget the command that Jesus gave to his disciples. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35 NIV.