There’s nothing sadder than internal division and strife within a Church. For Satan doesn’t need to attack from outside the walls when he can use the Body of Believers to annihilate each other. This cautionary verse tells us to be on guard against murmuring, back biting, and back stabbing which can only lead to ruin.
Paul writes to the Church in Corinth about orderly worship. He stresses to them that everything be done in a fitting and harmonious way. (I Corinthians 14:40) When we see disunity within the Body, we know this is not of God…for He is the God of peace. (Romans 15:33) As Believers, we need to be seeking balance and mutual agreement…not causing turmoil and commotion just to make a point. Many a Church has faced divided factions only to self-destruct rather than build bridges of unity. And Satan smiles every time a Church self-implodes rather than attempts to reconcile the Body.
Even the early Church had problems with Church division, and here Paul was pleading with them to unite rather than split into factions. For if you think about it, if the local Church can’t come together and become one voice…how do we expect the world to follow suit? When Jesus called those first disciples, He told them to “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) And if you look at the other meaning for the Greek word for “perfectly united”… it means to mend or repair broken nets. Now anyone knows you can’t catch fish with torn nets…so how can the Church expect to follow Jesus and be fishers of men when their nets are shredded with division and strife? We as a body of Believers need to become perfectly united together, and mend our nets.
Nothing divides a workplace or a Church more than grumbling, complaining, and gossip spreading. Suddenly you have one side pitted against another…flamed by second-hand information, false assumptions, and passive-aggressive behavior. My mantra during all the years I managed large medical staffs used to be, ” I will act, but I refuse to react to you running in my office tattling on someone else.” Satan loves to divide and wound groups of people who were once one happy family. So ask yourself the next time someone grumbles and murmurs against another to you, “Do I want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution?” For it’s so much easier to talk about a person than to talk directly to them.
There was Church division in Corinth…some followed Apollos, some Peter, and some Paul. All three were Godly men…all three were preaching the Gospel. So where could there be the disagreement? Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew that was converted to Christianity and tutored by Aquila and Priscilla in areas of the faith he was ignorant of. While Peter was one of the original twelve Disciples that had witnessed firsthand the work of Jesus. Finally there was Paul, a Jew and persecutor of the Christians until that fateful day on the road to Damascus when the Lord confronted him. All three were passionate about the Lord and the desire to evangelize. But they all came from different backgrounds and different life experiences, and their preaching styles showed it. Thus Paul exhorted the Believers to be joined together in Christ and the Gospel, not divided apart by man and subtle nuances.