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Steve Zeisler - January 1, 2012

The Danger of Divisiveness

Unlike most of Paul's letters, 1 Corinthians does not follow the pattern of beginning with theology and moving to application. Here the apostle offers God thanks for the Corinthian believers and then appeals to them to change a pattern of division and jealousy. Followers of one leader claim superiority over others. The way forward is to recognize that Jesus' cross destroys all boasting and that all believers have equal standing in Christ.

Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17

From Series: "Moving on to Maturity"

Leadership is crucial. All human societies - nations, cities, sports teams, schools, businesses, families - need capable leadership in order to thrive. The church of Jesus Christ has a unique calling with respect to leadership. Jesus said, "I will build my church." He is not just a well-remembered founder whose portrait gathers dust. Rather, raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, he is the living 'head of the body'. Saints who lead in the church are stewards not bosses. They are responsible to discern the 'mind of Christ' not run things as they deem best. Confident dependence on the Spirit counts for more than a forceful personality. Love-in-action is more persuasive than academic credentials. A servant's heart carries more influence than a loud voice. The life and writings of Paul are a great place to turn for lessons in Christian leadership. Having once persecuted Jesus' followers, his apostleship was both unexpected and often resisted. After his conversion, Paul's passion for the gospel sometimes overflowed the channels of humble dependence. He had enemies that hounded him and undermined his ministry. He learned that his best was not good enough and that lasting influence came from dependence on Another. Paul's tumultuous relationship with the church in Corinth offers us insight into the nature of godly leadership. This sermon series will consider the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians. All around us is a din decrying failed leadership, championing false hopes and promoting excessive fear. The goal of this series is to see with greater clarity how to trust and obey, confident in the Spirit, moving forward as light bearers in a world that is growing darker.

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