Friday, June 19, 2009

Devotion - Who Do You Follow?

Good morning my friends. I thank you for your prayers. The weather forecast has changed dramatically and we are suppose to have no rain as of 8 am today to next Thursday. So the car wash is on. It is always so encouraging when God responds to our specific prayers.

This morning we are looking at 1 Corinthians 1:10-19 and with this I stand and applaud Apostle Paul or give him props or whatever it is that we do these days to show our agreement and appreciation. There was a problem in Corinth. Well there were several problems but this was the first:

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 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." vv. 10-12

I can almost hear the pain Paul felt as he wrote this. Of all the silly things people can use to divide themselves and cause problems, fighting over ministers has to be the silliest. This is point on in the Word of God because it is still a silly problem today.

There is no doubt that our nature causes us to be attracted by complimentary personality types. There are some people who we will be better friends with than others. But this does not de-value our other friends and it is only pure laziness on our part if we do not put in an equal amount of effort on all of our friendships. Now apply this same thought to ministers, pastors, leaders in our life.

There are certain people of authority that we will respond to better because their personality clicks with us but we would be foolish to de-value the importance of the other authorities in our life. God blesses us with a variety because each person brings into our life something that we need. Remember this passage from Ephesians 4:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. vv. 11-13

Isn't it ironic that the instruments that Jesus gave to us to bring us into a mature unity would be used by us to bring in division. All because we find some leaders more likable than others. We are such a vulgar bunch of children. I wonder if we will ever get going on this road of maturity? It certainly upset Paul:

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:13-17)

What are leaders? They are nothing more than messengers, agents, workers of the King. They do not deserve any glory or recognition other than the respect deserving one in service to the King. One is not greater or more important than another. Each has something unique to be added to your life, knowledge, experience. It is the King who is important. It is the King who we lift up. It is the King who we follow. It is the King who we love. And if this is not true then we will see it in our lack of unity.

If you cannot understand this then reflect on what Paul asked, "Was Paul crucified for you?" Insert the name of any one leader that you have alligned yourself with. Was he or she crucified for you? You see, we do not need any kings, especially such limited ones as we see people setting up in their churches. We already have a King and he is incredible. There is no other that can be compared to him.

I am not saying we do not need leaders, pastors, evangelists and such and I am not saying we throw off the authority Jesus has given to them. The Word is clear in saying that we need them. But we cannot afford to miss out on what Jesus has given us just because we are more attracted to one than to the others. We need it all. However, don't boast about any of them. What they are and what they have is only by the grace of the Father. They are only servants of our Servant King. Honour them but do not glorify them. And please, do not allow this to be a source of division in the Body of Christ.

We will return to this later but for now, for today, praise the Lord for the variety of servants he has surrounded you with and show all of them your appreciation for their faithfulness in their service to Jesus.

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