Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #212 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 1 today and our focus is on What is the kingdom solution to divisions in the Church along class, cultural, racial, and denominational lines?  We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Saxony Anhalt, Germany – home and burial place of Martin Luther! + parts unknown, Russia, Maharashtra, India, parts unknown Italy, Nepal and Spain, Scotland, UK, Nova Scotia, Canada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Los Angeles, California, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Santa Barbara, California, and Altoona, Pennsylvania. Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Can you hear the sound of my hands gleefully rubbing together? Because for the second day in a row, I’m pumped…Like talking about the Luke 24, I ALSO love the book of 1 Corinthians! Why? well, you’ve got the resurrection chapter in chapter 15, the love chapter in 13, the deepest and most extended teaching on spiritual gifts in the entire Bible in chapters 12 and 14, most husband’s favorite Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 7:5, Paul’s strategy to become all things to all people in chapter 9, and Paul’s teaching about head coverings in chapter 11! (ok, maybe I’m kidding – a little – about that last one.)

One of our verses today reads, “18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. ” 1 Corinthians 1:18, and I had an interesting experience of the truth of that verse today. Yesterday’s episode was all about the resurrection, and I entitled that episode “Undramatic, Unembellished and Completely Reliable: How We Can Reasonably Believe in the Resurrection” I had a few dozen atheists and skeptics on my Twitter timeline today take great exception to the idea that belief in the resurrection is reasonable, and they quickly (and snarkily) told me so. There’s no need to get mad at this sort of thing, but it does help us to remembers that it is God who opens hearts and minds to the gospel of Jesus, and that those who have closed minds and hearts to that same good news will, as Paul notes, consider the message of the cross to be utter foolishness.

Let’s read our passage and then discuss unity.

Paul commands: Let there be NO divisions among you. Here is pastor Tony Evans, helping us to live out this most important command:

If we want our Lord to show up with His powerful presence in the body of Christ, in our communities, and in our nation, one of the first things we need to realize is that Christ did not die for a denomination—He died for each one of us. Yes, preferences and platforms exist. However, we would be far more effective in influencing families, communities, and our culture with God’s kingdom principles based on His Word if we focused on our common purpose. Consider the impact we could have if we linked platform with platform, denomination with denomination, and church with church at those strategic times when a collective impact is needed the most.
Paul resisted disunity in the church because he knew the power of unity. He was surely familiar with Christ’s words…

If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst (Matthew 18:19-20). 

Paul also resisted disunity on the basis of race. When 11:00 on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America, we in the body of Christ have a long way to go toward living out biblical unity….

What is the kingdom solution to divisions in the body of Christ along class, cultural, racial, and denominational lines? Be committed to the truth. Paul said that Peter and the other Jewish believers got into trouble because they left the truth they knew, which was that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28). They left the truth, and that’s our problem today. We need more people who are willing to speak and stand for the truth. Peter was the leader of the disciples. If the leader is not willing to live out the truth, how can we expect the followers to follow the truth?
This hits us who teach the truth of God from the pulpit. A mist in the pulpit becomes a fog in the pew. Racial division has continued in this country because too many pulpits have been too quiet too long. Too many pulpits have been divided too long. Too many pulpits have sought their own individual platforms at the expense of the unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ.

Tony Evans, Horizontal Jesus: How Our Relationships with Others Affect Our Experience with God (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2015).

Good and challenging words from pastor Tony!

Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church, A church in north Salinas, California Church.

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