Soon after the apostle Paul established the church in Corinth during his second missionary journey, the church began to experience division among its members. People argued about all kinds of things, even who was baptized by whom, and the first letter to that church addressed many of those issues directly. But in the first few verses of that letter, Paul practically begged the church to get along with each other. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul wrote: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
“Agree with one another.” “Be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Easier said than done, right? Don’t forget: it’s an election year, too. For whatever reason, agreement within the church has always been a problem. In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul reasoned that much of what we argue about is distractions (1:22). While Paul wrote to correct specific problems throughout the rest of the letter, he stated that God’s purpose for the church was to focus on Jesus (1:27-31). That’s where we must agree, “perfectly united in mind and thought.”
While it might be nice if Christians could agree on how we “do church,” it is essential that we agree upon Jesus. Ephesians 4:11-16 shows us that the church, including its leaders and programs, are expected to build up the body in unity, in agreement “in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.” Not only that, but these verses point out that it is this agreement in Jesus that binds the church together as one body with each individual member doing their work within the body.
So, in a season of political divisiveness, in a culture driven by rabid individualism, the church must be vigilant to seek and maintain unity within the church. All of this should lead us to understand that our starting and ending points are Jesus and that our course of action is directed by Jesus. We must agree on this. We must encourage each other in this. We must hold each other accountable in this.