Our Daily Bread 18th August 2020 Devotional – Rivals or Allies?
Bible in a Year: Psalms 100–102; 1 Corinthians 1
Key Verse: Be perfectly united in mind and thought. – 1 Corinthians 1:10
Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10–17 (NIV)
Sectarianism Is Sin
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all [a]speak the same thing, and that there be no [b]divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are [c]contentions among you.
12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Insight: Our Daily Bread 18th August 2020 Devotional
The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He prayed for those who would believe in Him: “I pray . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20–21). Paul’s letter to Corinth shows that such unity has always been a struggle (1 Corinthians 1:10–13).
In another letter, Paul noted that differences on peripheral matters are fine. Writing about dietary concerns and the observance of religious holidays, he said, “Each [person] should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). But we must agree on who Jesus is—fully God and fully human; born of a virgin; crucified, risen, and returning for His church; the sinless Son of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Such things are foundational to our faith and serve to unify us in God’s Spirit.
Message: Our Daily Bread 18th August 2020 Devotional
The city of Texarkana sits squarely on the state border between Texas and Arkansas. The city of 70,000 inhabitants has two mayors, two city councils, and two police and fire departments. The cross-town sporting rivalry between high schools draws an uncommonly high attendance, reflecting the deep allegiance each has to their own state’s school.
More significant challenges arise as well, such as disputes over the shared water system, governed by two sets of state laws. Yet the town is known for its unity despite the line that divides it. Residents gather annually for a dinner held on State Line Avenue to share a meal in celebration of their oneness as a community.
The believers in Corinth may not have drawn a line down their main thoroughfare, but they were divided. They’d been quarreling as a result of their allegiances to those who taught them about Jesus: Paul, Apollos, or Cephas (Peter). Paul called them all to oneness “in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10), reminding them it was Christ who was crucified for them, not their spiritual leaders.
We behave similarly today, don’t we? We sometimes oppose even those who share our singularly important belief—Jesus’ sacrifice for our wrongdoings—making them rivals instead of allies. Just as Christ Himself is not divided, we, as His earthly representation—His body—mustn’t allow differences over nonessentials to divide us. Instead, may we celebrate our oneness in Him. By: Kirsten Holmberg
Reflect: Over what nonessential spiritual issues are you likely to allow division? How can you foster unity instead?
Prayer: God, help me to remain focused on You and Your sacrifice for Your people. May I not be distracted by the less important issues but call others to oneness as a community of faith.
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