St. Luke's Church Faribault
9/27/2020
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        Sunday School- All Ages

        October 13, 2019 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        Sunday School for all ages.
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        Sunday School

        October 13, 2019 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        Next Sunday! 9:00-10:00 AM
      • Psalm 133NIV2011

  • 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
  • Goodness Of God
  • How do we find unity in a divided world?
    When we look at social media, or the news it may occur to you that the world is divided. If you talk to your friends, and relatives, it may seem like the world is divided. Even if you look at the church universal, or even in the local church, it appears there is division.
    I think most people will say that the division in general is growing.
    It seems every issue, is associated with a particular side, and people are standing on opposite sides of a great divide shouting at one another.
    Some of the issues are minor, and there is a workable middle ground if people would listen. Other times the issues are very serious, life or death issues. Both groups stand on the edge of a canyon, with no place for a middle ground between them and shout at one another.
    Although we would expect this division to be confined to those outside the church, increasingly we find that division is not confined outside of the church. There is division in the capital “C” church universal, and If that is not bad enough division is also found in the local church.
    Division within the body of Christ is catastrophic. It destroys the faith of believers, and can prevent the gospel from going forward. I would venture to guess that the biggest hinderance to the Kingdom of God, is division in the Church, both universally and locally.
    Does everyone understand the difference in the “universal” church, or Capital “C” church, and the local church?
    The Church universal, Capital “C” church is the churches that attempt to practice the basic tenants of Christianity. We also sometimes use the word “orthodox”, not referring to the denomination like “Eastern orthodox, or Russian orthodox, but referring to the normal or Orthodox, historical beliefs of Christianity.
    Christianity has been practiced for over 2,000 years now, and their are some basic tenants of the the faith that define what is Christianity, and what is not. Like The trinity, the person and work of Jesus Christ in salvation, the Bible, and the bodily return of Jesus Christ. These are the basic elementary beliefs. If we agree on those things we are all part of the universal Church. This is our common ground. We can agree with Christians from all over the world on these things. These are the primary things that make you a Christian.
    Secondly. we have some things that even people who agree on primary things do not agree on, these things are called secondary things. These are things such as the sacraments, like baptism and the Lord’s supper, and forms of church government. These things separate the church into denominations. People in these groups gather together in the local church.
    Although people think this is division, this type of division is ok, as long as we agree to disagree.
    The good news is, that here in Faribault, people from the all different local churches from various different backgrounds agreed to come together as the capital “C” church to pray for our city. They celebrated with a worship service in central park. This also happened Nationally as Christians prayed in Washington DC.
    That is a positive step, however there are still many the issues dividing both the Universal Church and the local churches. When that division occurs within the walls of the local church, it is painful, and destructive.
    You see, a local church has worked hard-- tears have been shed, great sacrifices mentally, emotionally, and physically have gone into assembling a local group of believers in a particular location. Doctrine has been prayed over and studied--- a buildings have been built generations have been born, born again, and died, together under the guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    People, have assembled week after week, and sought the mercy of God Almighty the creator of heaven and earth, Week after week they have flung themselves on His mercy relying on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ God in the flesh for their salvation from sin. They have sought the face of God and his mercy and strength to ride out the storms of life. SO when this group divides it is awful
    How can this be? well It happens! It happens all the time. These days more and more. This division can be catastrophic. How can it be cured? How can it be stopped?
    Well, as Christians, as “people of the Book” we go to our source. Our source of right and truth, The word of God breathed out and without error, and we pray and we ask for the illumination of the Holy Spirit to help us understand.
    pray
    From the Book of 1 Corinthians chapter 3, starting at verse 1.
    1 Corinthians 3:1–9 NIV
    1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
    Each week as we travel through 1 Corinthians we have been looking at the headings in each section to guide us. The heading in the ESV is
    Divisions in the Church
    Paul is speaking specifically about divisions in the local church in the city of Corinth, the Church he is writing the letter to.
    This Church at Corinth had been started by Paul. Paul then left on his missionary journey and the Church had developed problems. So, after about 3 years Paul wrote letters to the Church to help get the church back on track.
    The divisions he speaks of here, right here in these few verses he already mentioned in chapter 1. It centers around two Pastors Paul, who started the church and Apollos. Apollos was a Greek man and a very effective preacher. Paul and Apollos while having different ministries, ultimately were serving one God. Their ministries were complimentary-different, yet the same teachings, and the same mission.
    Apollos was probably more eloquent, while Paul was probably more of a writer, and stronger theologian. Paul was more of a Church planter, and an evangelist and perhaps Apollos was more of phase 2 guy, instead of a vision setter, more of a vision maintainer. I am taking a few liberties, as we do not know for sure, but these are certainly reasonable assumptions.
    Over time, those who loved Paul seemed to want to remain loyal to him. Others who liked Apollos wanted to remain faithful to him. You know how this goes, if you have ever been around a church.
    People do it all the time. I really like when that guy preachers. Or ugh the other guy is here he is so boring. I have heard of churches where pastors were splitting the preaching on an every other Sunday basis. Do you know what happened? 1/2 the congregation came one Sunday and 1/2 the other. So the Pastors had to mix it up to bring the congregation back together.
    It happens, thankfully never been a part of that---but it happens. Now this seems like an inconsequential issue right? Just change up the Sundays. Keep them guessing? But it is not. It is a sign of something deeper. Division among the body of Christ even over matters seemingly inconsequential can be devastating.
    For instance have you been on a team, or have belonged to an organization, or is your workplace big on teamwork? You do team building exercises and you gather together and work together under a common goal. The military is absolutely the best at building a team. They have to be it is life or death right.
    The military is able to bring together men from around the Country some from the North some from the south. All different races, Asian American, African American , Native American, Caucasian American and under one flag they move together as one. The sacrifice together as one, they live or they die together as one.
    The Church does not have only life and death at stake, it has more. The Church has all of eternity at stake. The have a common worldview, a common Book of God’s truth Doctrines has been prayed over, studied and guided by the power of Holy Spirit, imagine how important any division is. SO Paul writes this.
    1 Corinthians 3:1 NIV
    1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
    In Paul’s letters, he has two contrasting people groups. In virtually every letter. Those in the Spirit, and those in the world. That is the saved and usaved. Those going to heaven and those perishing.
    SO Paul says Brothers and sisters---- these are the people in the Church the ones who SHOULD be living in the Spirit-I could NOT address you as people who live by the Spirit.
    That is a Capital “S” Holy Spirit. Living by the Spirit means to be living your life in such a way that God is transforming you by the power of the Holy Spirit. To be living in a way that you are growing in Holiness.
    To be living in a manner consistent with God’s word, faithful in prayer, dedicated in worship. Paul says I cannot address you like this.
    OUCH! That would hurt right? The very thing that unites them, they are not doing?
    So what if I like this preacher and he likes that preacher so what? What is the big deal?
    Instead this church is living as people who are wordly. They are living according to what the rest of the world looks like, They are mere infants in Christ he says.
    An infant in Christ is a brand new believer. Someone who knows nothing about Jesus and his teaching. AN infant in Christ is not going to look like a Christian overnight. They may still have not cleaned up their language, for instance, or they may be involved in other sins like sex outside of marriage. They may still have other habits that God will eventually bring them through as they mature.
    They recognize their sin problem, they see their need for Jesus to remove their sin, they believe He died and rose again, they started on the new path--- but they just began, they have a long way to go, they are an infant.
    Babies of course cannot eat steak, right? This is obvious. They drink milk.
    1 Corinthians 3:2 NIV
    2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
    Babies need milk, and babies are not necessarily bad. Churches need baby Christians it is what keeps the Church alive and growing, without new babies coming in, the church dies. But the whole church can’t be babies, forever they have to grow.
    What is supposed to happen is what Peter talks about.
    1 Peter 2:2 NIV
    2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
    The Babies should crave the milk, so THAT by it you may grow up in your salvation. What is the milk - for that answer let me jump over to Hebrews.
    Hebrews 5:12 NIV
    12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
    Here in Hebrews it is the elementary truths of God’s word. Things like Jesus and His deityty. The cross the resurrection. The gospel in basic way.
    on Screen not read
    1 Corinthians 3:2 NIV
    2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
    The problem is that the corinthian church has been started 3 years ago. They should have moved past milk, and should have been able to tell a little more about right and wrong by now. They should have been living in the Spirit.
    1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV
    3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
    Now there is something that is in the original that we are not picking up on in our language and in the modern mindset. The word YOU in theses verses is the collective you. That means that Paul is addressing the whole church. Let me explain..
    Not everyone in the Church, are truly infants in Christ, there are no doubt some mature believers. It is safe to assume that not everyone is involved in the Paul and Apollos controversy. Yet Paul is calling the whole group worldly---he is holding them all responsible.
    As a young boy, I went to a Catholic School, back in the day. Yep the stories that you have heard about the strict Catholic Schools were true. They are different now, but back then often the whole class was punished for the misbehavior of just a few people, ahem sometimes me.Sometimes the military does this two.
    Paul is saying to the whole group-You ALL have to live by the Spirit-You ALL need to stop being worldly.
    What does that look like? There is jealousy and quarreling among you? Are you not acting like mere humans?
    Wait a minute Pastor...aren’t they all humans? Aren’t they allowed to be jealous, and quarrel here and there isn’t that just part of life?
    Not for those walking in the Spirit. Remember they are supposed to be born again, like it says in John 3. Born NOT of Flesh and Blood but of water AND THE SPIRIt.
    Their minds should be renewed. They should be exhibiting the FRUIT of the Spirit not the fruit of the flesh.
    Galatians 5:16–26 NIV
    16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
    The Church is acting as if they have not been born again at all.
    Paul goes on..
    1 Corinthians 3:4 NIV
    4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
    When there is this division, and the church is not together and united, even in this small issue it is a sign there is a deeper issue at stake.
    The deeper issue is that they are acting as if they have not been born again. They are not focused on the right things. So Paul attempts to change their focus.
    1 Corinthians 3:5 NIV
    5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
    The issue that they are missing, is that both of these men are servants of the LORD. The Lord is the one that has called them. The Lord has sent them there.
    Now watch as Paul will start to changes the focus.
    See the way to get the team back on track is to focus them back on the mission, to unite them under the banner, to pull their eyes to the prize,
    Starting in this verse, and in almost every verse after Paul mentions God. It changes the focus of the team to the Lord. If the team is looking at the cross, they can’t see the things that divide them.
    Here He tells them the mission is from God, in verse 5, and again in the next verse
    1 Corinthians 3:6 NIV
    6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
    Neither preacher grew the Church- GOD grew the Church. Change your focus.
    1 Corinthians 3:7 NIV
    7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
    GOD makes things grow. Change the focus.
    1 Corinthians 3:8 NIV
    8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
    Although God is not explicitly mentioned He is implied. Each of those two Pastors have one purpose what do you suppose that is? God’s purpose. God will rewarded one the rewards are heavenly for their service to GOD-Change your focus.
    1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
    9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
    Three times Paul says God in this verse. The issue of the division isn’t the issue at all
    The issue is that they need to realize that Together WE are in God’s service. The People are GOD”S field, and God’s building.
    SO how do we as a local make sure that WE do not have division. There are SO many issues in the world in our town and in our church we can be divided over. How can we stay united.
    WE need to change the focus. We need to fix our eyes on Christ.
    We must each take on the collective responsibility of our Church growing in Christ. Each and everyone of us here is responsible to be growing in Christ.
    Each one of needs to be filled with the Spirit in a way that we growing. The fruit of the Spirit must be displayed in each our lives.
    How do we do that. We each strive toward holiness. We each seek to destroy the sin in our lives, the discord the jealousy the factions the division. We pray. We ask Jesus to help us We plead with Him to remove them He beg Him for forgiveness.
    We pray for unity, we pray each one of us daily that we will move together LED by the HOLY Spirit in one unified direction with one purpose to further the kingdom of God.
    We pray that God will grow each of us, and transform us by the renewing of our minds.
    Like it says in
    2 Peter 3:18 NIV
    18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
      • 1 Corinthians 3:1–9NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 3:1NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 3:2NIV2011

      • 1 Peter 2:2NIV2011

      • Hebrews 5:12NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 3:2NIV2011

      • Galatians 5:16–26NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 3:5NIV2011

      • 2 Peter 3:18NIV2011

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