Today’s selected reading is found in the first New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first four chapters of this New Testament book. I have to admit that I have long been fascinated with the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints—particularly and especially the first epistle which was written unto this congregation. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to truly understand the nature surrounding the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints it is necessary to turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. It is within this particular chapter we are brought face to face with the narrative, the timeline and the events surrounding the apostle Paul’s time in the city of Corinth. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things surrounding the narrative of Paul’s time in Corinth is that the city of Corinth was one of those cities where he spent an incredible among of time laboring, toiling and working among the saints which were there. You cannot read the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts and not encounter the labor and the work the apostle Paul had given himself to in the midst of this city of Corinth—this labor and toil despite the fact that it would in Corinth he would experience a tremendous amount of persecution, opposition and affliction from the Jews. In fact, it would be in the city of Corinth we find one of the most powerful assaults and attacks on the apostle Paul from the Jews. So severe was the assault and attack from the Jews toward and against Paul that he would at that point in time powerfully declare that from that time onward he would go unto the Gentiles only. It would be there in the city of Corinth the apostle Paul would experience a severe opposition from the Jews—one that would cause him to shake the dust off his feet and purpose to preach only unto the Gentiles. What’s more, is that it would be in the city of Corinth the Lord Jesus would appear unto the apostle Paul and not only instruct him to not fear, but also instructed him to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom and concerning Himself, for He had many people in that city. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:1-11).
As you read these words—not only will you find that the apostle Paul continued, and laboured, and wrought, and toiled, and worked there in the city of Corinth for a year and a half, but there were many in that city who believed on the Lord Jesus. Not only would the Lord appear unto Paul by a dream in the night declaring unto him that He had many people in the city, but there were also a great number of people which heard the word which Paul preached and believed and were baptized. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to these words, for despite the fact the apostle Paul had spent eighteen months—a year and a half—laboring and toiling among the Corinthian saints and church, he would write and pen such a bold letter and epistle unto them. The apostle Paul would indeed write such a strong and such a powerful letter unto the saints which were at Corinth, for not only was this church and congregation a divided congregation, but they were also a carnal congregation. It is when you read the words found in the opening chapters of this epistle that you can and will be brought face to face with the tremendous reality that the apostle Paul could not write unto these saints as spiritual, but as carnal because of the division(s) and schism(s) that were present among them. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to this reality, for when the apostle Paul took to writing this epistle unto the Corinthian saints he was writing to a carnally minded and divided congregation. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this truly captivating and astonishing reality, for it brings us face to face with the fact that when the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints he was writing unto them as those who were divided within, between and among themselves. In all reality, I would dare say that this epistle written unto the Corinthian saints not only has direct application to many churches among us within our culture and society, but it also speaks directly unto this nation as well. We are a nation that professes that we are “one nation under God,” and that we are “indivisible,” and that it is “in God we trust,” and yet the truth of the matter is that we have never been more divided than we have been and presently are right now.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this epistle and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the powerful truth and reality that this epistle not only has application for the Church and the body of Christ, but it also has direct application to the nation in which we are living. Anyone who has paid attention—even to the slightest degree during the days in which we are and have been living—can and will agree that we have never been more divided than we are now. With that being said, I would dare say that we have perhaps always been divided, yet that division has never been so clearly seen as it is now. What’s more, is that I would in fact state that division seems to take on an entirely new level during these days within the culture and society we are living. Not only this, but I would dare say that we have never seen division as strong and as powerful as we have over the past four years or so. Oh I do feel it necessary to state that division and schism has always been present among us within this nation and within our culture and society, yet it has perhaps never been more clearly seen and perhaps never been as visible as it has been during these past four years. Not only this, but having just come through what has perhaps been the most controversial and contentious election I have ever witnessed in my lifetime we have encountered a truth and reality we cannot and must not ignore—namely, that we have never been more divided than we are now. It is blatantly obvious that we are divided across partisan lines, we are divided along racial lines, we are divided across denominational lines, we are divided along gender lines, and we are divided across socio-economic lines. It is absolutely impossible to deny this particular reality, for it has been and is staring us in the face beyond measure and cannot be ignore. Try and try as we might to ignore the schism and division that is and has been present within our culture and society, the truth of the matter is that division seems to characterize this country more than anything else. Not only this, but I would say there are three major battlegrounds this nation is fighting on right now—three battlegrounds which we dare not, which we cannot, and which we must not ignore. The first of those battlegrounds is confusion, as there has perhaps never been a time when we have been more confused than we are now. The second battle ground is that of chaos, as we have perhaps never seen as much chaos in our streets and cities than we have now. Finally, the third battleground is that of division and schism, as have perhaps never been more divided than we are now.
The more I think about the current state of this nation and country during this generation is such that is without a doubt characterized by chaos, by confusion, and by division—a reality which there would be very few who would actually be hard pressed to debate and dispute. In all reality I would dare say the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints is not only an epistle written unto the Christian church, but it is also an epistle that is and can be written unto a “Christian” nation. I write the word “Christian” and include it in quotation marks because despite how many of us actually think and believe that this nation still is a Christian nation—the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. Oh it is true that our currency brags and boasts about “in God we trust,” and it is true that we pledge allegiance making the declaration that we are one nation under God, however the truth of the matter is that we are undoubtedly the furthest thing from being a Christian nation. We must needs realize and recognize that you don’t have to be a nation that is committed solely to an entirely different religion such as many of the nations in the Middle East. You don’t need to be a nation that is committed and devoted to the religion of Islam and the false god Allah to be a nation that is not only not “Christian,” but also a nation that is post Christian. There would be many who would think that in order for this nation to be one that is not Christian we need to be a nation that is entirely and altogether sold out on a strange, false and foreign god, and yet the underlying truth is that this simply is not the case. We would be incredibly naïve and remiss to think and consider that just because this nation does not bow down and worship at the shrine and religion of Allah, or any other false god that it is impossible for us to be a nation that is both non-Christian and post-Christian. What’s more, is that it is very possible and very likely to declare of this nation that despite all our churches, despite all our denominations, despite all our Christian radio stations, despite all our Christian television programs, despite all our Christian bookstores, and despite the Bible and Christian colleges that are found present among us, we are very much a nation that is not only on the verge of being non-Christian, but is also on the verge of being post-Christian.
As I read the words which are found in the first New Testament epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints I can’t help but be drawn to the fact that it is perhaps one of the most pertinent and necessary epistles that has direct application to the generation in which we are living. It is true we can agree that we are living in the Last Days, and that the dangers, the snares, the traps, the lies and the deception, and that the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the first epistle written unto Timothy, the words which are found in the third chapter of the second epistle written unto Timothy, the words which are found in the second and third chapters of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter, as well as the words which are found in the epistle written by Jude paint a powerful picture of days in which we are currently living in as a whole. Despite that fact we must needs recognize and understand that while it is indeed true we are living in the Last Days and that these various portions of Scripture point to the widespread deception and falsehood that is prevalent among us, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the first epistle written by the hand of the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth is an epistle that has direct application to the Church present within America—and not only the Church which is present within America, but also for America itself. A DIVIDED CHURCH WITHIN A DIVIDED NATION! There is not a doubt in my mind that if you want to truly understand the culture and society in which we are living within this generation you must needs acknowledge that there is a divided church within a divided nation. We dare not, we cannot and must not argue and dispute the fact that this nation is indeed divided, and this nation has been divided for quite some time. Not only this, but there exists within this nation a divided church that is divided along some of the very same lines the nation itself is divided.
It is with all of this in mind that we must needs recognize and pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within this epistle, for the words written and recorded in this epistle weren’t written to heathen, nor were these words written to sinners and those who did not know the truth. The words which are found within this epistle weren’t written to those who did not know the truth and those who not only did not hear the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, but also did not believe the gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus the Christ. We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words which we find in the opening verses of the first chapter bring us face to face with the truth that the apostle Paul was indeed writing unto a body of believers who had believed in the Lord Jesus the Christ, and those who had been baptized. We know from the book of Acts that there were many in Corinth who believed in the Lord Jesus and who were baptized, and that the apostle Paul spent eighteen months laboring among and pouring into the brethren, the saints and the disciples which were present in the midst of the city of Corinth. For a year and a half the apostle labored intensely, fervently, passionately and zealously among the saints and brethren which are found in the city of Corinth. Eventually, however, the time came when the apostle Paul left the city of Corinth as his time of ministry among them had drawn to a close. The apostle Paul would indeed labor among the Corinthian saints for a year and a half, and he would indeed establish a body of believers and a body of saints within that city, however, it would come to pass after he departed from the city that he would have to write an epistle unto them—and not necessarily an epistle of encouragement and exhortation, but an epistle of correction of that which they had allowed to be present within and among them. Before we get into this we must needs realize and acknowledge that the apostle Paul was indeed writing unto saints, unto disciples and unto followers of Jesus the Christ, and unto the brethren which were present in the city. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the opening chapter of this first epistle beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, UNTO THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH IS AT CORINTH, TO THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS, CALLED TO BE SAINTS, WITH ALL THAT IN EVERY PLACE CALL UPON THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, BOTH THEIRS AND OURS: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift: waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:1-9).
These words which we find in this passage of Scripture highlight and underscore the tremendous reality that this epistle wasn’t written unto heathen, nor was this epistle written unto sinners. This epistle was indeed and was in fact written unto those who were sanctified in Christ Jesus, those who were called to be saints, and those who with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. What’s more, is that this epistle was indeed and was in fact written unto those who in every thing were enriched by God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in all utterance and in all knowledge. Not only this, but the apostle Paul would also go on to write how the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them, so that they came behind in no gift. The apostle Paul would then go on to write and speak of the awesome truth that this church and this congregation were waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who would confirm them unto the end, that they might be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even still, the apostle Paul would go on to write how the faithful God had called these saints and these believers into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ who is our Lord. If there is perhaps one thing that is important when reading the words which are found in this passage it’s the emphatic and powerful declaration and emphasis the apostle Paul concerning Jesus—not only that Jesus was indeed the Christ, but also that Jesus was the Lord. There are four different times within the first nine verses of this epistle where you find the apostle Paul referencing and speaking of Jesus as being the Christ, and not only being the Christ, but also being Lord. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to this, for in order to understand that which was so absolutely vital and critical within this epistle, and that which was indeed and undoubtedly the most crucial for this body of saints and disciples was Jesus not only being Christ, but also being Lord. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is to the degree and measure that Jesus is both Christ and Lord that we are able to truly rise above the divisions which would seek to creep in among us as deadly assassins seeking to utterly destroy, ruin and wreck us. With this particular truth in mind it is necessary that you now turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the tenth verse:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other” (1 Corinthians 1:10-16).
THAT YE SPEAK THE SAME THING! THAT THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU! THAT YE BE PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER IN THE SAME MIND AND IN THE SAME JUDGMENT! THERE ARE CONTENTIONS AMONG YOU! [Speaking the same thing, be perfectly joined together, have the same mind, have the same judgment!] (I WOULD THAT THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU, YET I HEAR THAT THERE ARE CONTENTIONS AMONG YOU!) CONTENTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH! DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH! SCHISMS IN THE CHURCH! YOU ARE DIVIDED! THERE IS NO UNITY! WHERE IS THE UNITY? WHERE IS THE FELLOWSHIP? HOW DID THE FELLOWSHIP OF UNITY BE DISPLACED AND REMOVED FROM AMONG YOU? [THE TREMENDOUS IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING THE SAME THING, THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF BEING PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OF THE SAME MIND AND IN THE SAME JUDGMENT] (Philippians 2) (Acts 2) (Acts 4).
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common, and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35).
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (Philippians 3:1-18).
WERE TOGETHER! HAD ALL THINGS COMMON! CONTINUING DAILY WITH ONE ACCORD IN THE TEMPLE! THE MULTITUDE OF THEM THAT BELIEVED WERE OF ONE HEART AND OF ONE SOUL! HAD ALL THINGS COMMON! THAT YE BE LIKEMINDED! HAVING THE SAME LOVE! BEING OF ONE ACCORD! OF ONE MIND! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these passages, for that which we find here in these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the demonstration and manifestation of unity within the church and body of Christ. You cannot read the New Testament book of Acts and not encounter the powerful truth that the early church experienced a supernatural and sovereign grace upon them to not only dwell in unity, but also to enjoy fellowship and community with each other. It is actually interesting when you think about that word “community,” for essentially the word can be understood as “with unity,” thus denoting that if you want to truly dwell and abide in community with others you must needs be willing to commit yourself to being with unity among others. I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the most difficult things within many of our churches, and perhaps one of the most difficult things within the body of Christ is to have all things common with our brethren as we give ourselves to being with one accord. What’s more, is there is not a doubt in my mind that there are many who find it incredibly difficult to be of one heart and of one soul and having all things in common. When the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Philippi and spoke concerning being likeminded, and having the same love, and being of one accord and of one mind it was a powerful invitation—not only an invitation to experience unity, but also to experience fellowship and community. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest detriments to true fellowship and relationship in the midst of many churches in our generation is that of the matter of division, strife, contention, and the like. We cannot, we dare not, we must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and tremendous reality, for it is absolutely and entirely true that the single greatest need within and among the body of Christ is that of unity, and one of the greatest—if not the greatest hindrances to unity is that of division.
As you read the words which are found in the opening chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints which were at Corinth you will find the apostle Paul instructing them to speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among them. What’s more, is the apostle Paul also instructed them that they be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. The apostle Paul would go on to write unto them how it was reported unto him how there were contentions among them, and how there were great divisions in the midst of them as one would declare they belonged of Paul, as others would declare they belonged unto Apollos, as others declared they belonged to Cephas, and still others declared they belonged to Christ. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the words which are presented here, for within these words the apostle Paul reveals division within the church at Corinth—perhaps not across partisan or political lines, but across something that has tremendous significance to what we find within our generation today. If there is one thing we must needs reveal and understand when reading the words found in the opening chapter of this epistle it’s that one of the greatest dangers and detriments facing the church which was at Corinth was that of the “party spirit.” I sit here writing these words today and I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest dangers that has always faced the church—one of the greatest dangers that still faces the church of Jesus the Christ—is that of giving oneself unto and giving oneself over to a party spirit. It is during this time in which we are living—especially having come through perhaps the most contentious and controversial election that has ever been manifested within this nation—we are perhaps more divided than ever across party lines. You cannot read the words which are found within the opening chapter of the New Testament epistle of First Corinthians and not encounter and come face to face with the fact that within the Corinthian church there was indeed this party spirit—this spirit that would align oneself with and align oneself unto one particular individual. When the apostle Paul wrote the words found in this epistle he wrote to address this party spirit as there were those who aligned and identified themselves with the apostle Paul, while there were others who aligned and identified themselves with Apollos, or still others of Cephas, or even others with Christ. Pause for a moment and think about how incredibly dangerous this truly is when you take the time to think about, for with these words we are brought face to face—not only with contentions, strife and divisions within the Corinthian church, but we are also brought face to face with one of the sources of that division which is that of a “party spirit.”
The more I think about and consider the words which are found in the opening chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that the very same thing that was present and manifested within the Corinthian congregation is one of the greatest dangers and threats facing the Church today in this generation. We would like to think that political and partisan lines do not run through the Church and body of Christ, and we would like to think that the colors red and blue do not find themselves present within our church, and yet the truth of the matter is that we would be incredible naïve to think and consider—even for a moment that political and partisan lines don’t run through—and not only run through, but also run deep within the churches of this nation today. We would be incredibly naïve and even deceived to think and consider that partisan and political lines do not run deep and run through many of our churches today. Oh I would absolutely love to know how many within and how many among our churches actually voted in this past election—and not only how many voted in this past election, but how many voted blue versus those who perhaps voted red. There is not a doubt in my mind that we are living within and during days of tremendous division, tremendous contention, tremendous strife, and tremendous unrest—even within our churches and within the body of Christ. We would like to think that there is absolutely no division, and that there are no schisms present within the body of Christ, and yet the more I think about this concept of division the more I am brought face to face with the fact that just as deep as division runs within and through this nation, so also does it run deep within many of our churches as well. There is not a doubt in my mind the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints has direct application for this generation in which we are living, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that this nation has never been more divided than it has before. For quite some time there have been different political parties present within our nation as there are those who align themselves with the Republican Party, while there are others who align themselves with the Democratic Party. There are those who would choose to align and identify themselves with the views of a certain political party, and when it comes to the time of elections and voting they manifest those opinions and views at the polls.
Even as I sit here this morning and think about and consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth I am brought face to face with the tremendous fact that this nation has never experienced division as it has now, as we could scarce declare and state that we are truly the “United” States of America. Oh it is true that others might still call us as such, however, the truth and underlying truth of the matter is that we are actually anything but united. Try and try as we would to dispute and argue this truth we must allow ourselves to encounter the harsh reality that never at any other point in history has this nation and this country been the antithesis to what it has long proclaimed and declared of itself. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a great and present need within and among us to come face to face with the undeniable truth that there is indeed a powerful division—and not only a powerful division in the singular sense, but a powerful division in the plural sense. We ought not think and somehow allow ourselves to believe any other way, for to do and to think such a way is absolutely false and is not at all based on facts, nor based in reality. The apostle Paul took to writing a letter unto the Corinthian congregation because of his hearing reports of the contentions, the division and the strife that was present within and among them, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that while we might be called to write an epistle unto this nation, we have a great responsibility to speak unto this generation and speak unto this nation concerning the deep divide(s) which are present within and among us. What’s more, is that as I previously wrote—I am absolutely and completely convinced that three of the greatest battles, conflicts and struggles this nation is facing right now are those of confusion, those of chaos, and those of division. If you pay any attention to the news you will find that we have been continually barraged and inundated with the massive number of protests and civil unrest which took place and was present within this nation. Ever since this global pandemic emerged within the earth there have been more protests and greater civil unrest than ever before within this nation. It is absolutely impossible to look at the condition of our nation and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that we have been facing continued chaos, confusion and division for the better part of this year.
It is with all of this in mind I feel it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the third chapter of this New Testament epistle, for it is as you come to the third chapter of this New Testament epistle that you will find and experience and even deeper and an even greater manifestation and demonstration of the division that was present within and among the church which was at Corinth. Within the first and opening chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth you will find him writing concerning contentions which were present among them, and his instruction that they be of the same mind and of the same judgment. It is when you come to the third chapter where you find something that seems to be intrinsically linked and connected to the division that was present in the church. As you read the first and opening verses of the third chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing unto them and declaring that he could not speak unto them as spiritual, but as unto carnal—even as unto babes in Christ. Moreover, the apostle Paul would go on to write how he fed them with milk, and not with meat because there unable to bear it, nor even at the time of the writing of this epistle were they able. If and as you continue reading the words which are found within the third chapter you will find the apostle Paul taking this a step further and emphatically writing unto the church which was at Corinth that they were carnal—and not only that they were carnal, but they were carnal because there was envying, there was strife, and there were divisions present among them. Furthermore, the apostle Paul would go on to ask them point blank and without holding anything back if they were not carnal and were not walking as men because of the envying, the strife, and the divisions which were present among them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the first verse of the third chapter:
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, we are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:1-9).
BUT AS UNTO CARNAL! YE ARE YET CARNAL! ARE YE NOT CARNAL, AND WALK AS MEN? ARE YE NOT CARNAL? It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for not only does the apostle Paul speak of the carnality within and the carnality among the saints which were at Corinth, but the apostle Paul also intrinsically links and connects it spiritual immaturity within their hearts and within their souls. There were four specific and four distinct times within this passage of Scripture when we read and find the apostle Paul using the word “carnal” as he spoke unto the Corinthian saints, and he even opens this chapter with the emphatic declaration that he could not speak unto them as spiritual, but rather as carnal. It would be in the initial and opening verse of this chapter the apostle Paul declared unto them that he could not speak unto them as spiritual but as carnal, and it would be in the third verse the apostle Paul would actually declare unto them that they were indeed carnal. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to these words and how the apostle Paul used them, for what you find within this chapter is not only an emphatic declaration of carnality among and within the body of Christ, but you also find present within this chapter the direct link and connection between carnality and immaturity. What’s more, is that not only do you see an apparent link and connection between carnality and immaturity, but you will also find within this epistle a powerful declaration that the ultimate and underlying reason for their carnality and immaturity was because of the envying, because of the strife, and because of the divisions which were among them. We must needs pay close and careful attention to that which is found and written here, for there is not a doubt in my mind that one of the truest marks and signs of spiritual immaturity is not even necessarily carnality alone, but carnality as manifested and evidenced as it pertains to strife, to envying, and to divisions which are present among us—and not only present among us, but also present within our hearts . We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for we would be incredibly naïve and deceived to thinking and believing that these types of realities cannot and are not manifest and visible among us within our churches. In fact, I would dare say that to think and believe such a way is incredibly deceptive and dangerous should and if we allow ourselves to be given over unto it.
The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found within the first epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truth that this epistle has a tremendous application for the generation in which we are presently living. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth have direct application for us within this nation and within this country—particularly and especially now at this particular point in history. Oh we must needs pay close attention to this truth and this reality, for one of the greatest dangers that has faced this nation over the past four years—and not only over the past for years, but within this year as a whole—is that of division. I must admit that I am not as experienced, and I am not as aged, and I might not be as knowledgeable as others among us might indeed and might in fact, however, I can honestly say that this year has perhaps been a year that has not only been marked by a pandemic, but this year has also been marked by chaos, by confusion, and by contention. What’s more, is I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest platforms for this division, and that platform where it takes center stage is that of social media. If you use Facebook, or if you use Instagram, of if you use TikTok, or even if you use Twitter you will find this division, you will find this contention, you will find this chaos and confusion present within and throughout it. You cannot log into whatever social media platform and not encounter and come face to face with just how deeply divided this nation truly is—and not only how deeply divided this nation is, but how friendships and relationships have been severely and tremendously tested during this time. You cannot open up any social media platform and find a powerful spirit of division that is present within the hearts of many. The recent election aside—we must needs recognize and understand that this nation has experienced a tremendous amount of strife, contention, division, envying, and outright carnality as a means of the pandemic, as a means of police brutality, and a various other host of issues which have been at center stage and at the forefront during these days and within this generation. It is absolutely impossible to live within this generation and not be saturated and inundated with just how deeply divided we all are, and how that division does not stop at the threshold of the church door. Regardless of how much we would like to think and believe that this division, this strife, this contention, this chaos, this confusion, and the like somehow stops at the threshold of the church, and somehow stops outside of the pews within our church buildings, we cannot ignore the absolutely undeniable truth that it is nonetheless just as prevalent within the church as it is within our cities and streets.
If there is one thing that truly strikes me when reading the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints in this passage of Scripture it’s the intrinsic and apparent link between carnality, spiritual maturity (or the lack thereof) and division which is and can be present among us. The more you read the words which are found within this epistle the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth that carnality takes center stage and is played out in its truest and ultimate form in the midst of division—and not only in the midst of division, but also in the midst of strife, envying and contention. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that where there is division there is absolutely and without a doubt certain to be strife, malice, contention, envying, and the like. I would dare say that it is impossible to speak of division without and apart from also at the same time speaking concerning strife, concerning gossip, concerning malice, concerning envying, concerning offense, concerning bitterness, concerning offense, and the like. Now I will not say that division is the underlying root cause for that which has been presented here, but I will say that where there is division you would be hard pressed to not find these other manifestations present there with it. More often than not if there is division—regardless of whether it’s division in the church, or whether it’s division in the home, or division in our cities, or division in our neighborhoods, and the like—there is sure to be contention(s), there is sure to be strife(s) and there is sure to be a whole host of manifestations that demonstrate just how deep that division truly does run within and among us. It’s worth noting that in the third chapter of this first epistle which the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth he directly linked carnality and spiritual immaturity with divisions, with envying and with strife. Oh we cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this, for you cannot speak of strife, you cannot speak of envying, and you cannot speak of divisions without also speaking of carnality and being carnally minded. What’s more, is that you cannot speak of envying, strife and division without and apart from speaking of spiritually immature. CARNALLY MINDED, SPIRITUALLY IMMATURE! I am going to be incredibly bold here and emphatically declare of myself and concerning you who might be reading these words, and declare that if you are one who is given over to much division you are one who is not only carnally minded, but you are also one who is spiritually immature. If you are one who gives yourselves to envying, and if you are one who gives yourself to strife you are one who is on a dangerous path of being carnally minded and being spiritually immature before Christ. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. FOR TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE. BECAUSE THE CARNAL MIND IS ENMITY AGAINST GOD: FOR IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:1-11).
With these words in mind I also invite you to consider the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words which we find here in this fourth chapter are directly linked and intrinsically connected to the words which we find in the first and third chapters of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints—and not only concerning that which was written unto the Corinthian saints, but also that which was written unto the saints which were at Rome. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. DO ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dweleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore h saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto you humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw night to God, and he will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” (James 4:1-12).
WARS! FIGHTINGS! LUSTS THAT WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS! YE LUST, HAVE NOT! YE KILL, AND DESIRE TO HAVE, AND CANNOT OBTAIN! YE FIGHT AND WAR, YET HAVE NOT! BECAUSE YE ASK NOT! YE ADULTERERS AND ADULTERESSES! FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD! [FROM WHENCE COME WARS AND FIGHTINGS AMONG YOU?] [YE FIGHT AND WAR]! Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that the words we find in this passage of Scripture must be carefully considered and understood, for if there is an additional passage that must be read in conjunction with the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints at Rome, as well as the words which are found in the first and third chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints which were at Corinth. In the first chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints of Corinth the apostle Paul writes and speaks of contentions, while in the third chapter he takes it a step further and writes concerning envying, strife and division. What makes this truly intriguing and interesting when you take the time to think about it is when you come face to face with the words which James wrote concerning wars and fighting(s) among the brethren. If there is one thing we must needs realize and recognize when considering the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James it’s that he wasn’t writing unto sinners, nor was he writing unto heathen, but rather unto brethren and unto the saints of God. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found within the fourth chapter, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest demonstrations and manifestations of division—and not only division, but also to be carnally minded—is that of engaging in war(s) and fighting(s) with those around you. What makes this reality even more intriguing and interesting is when you think about the fact that if you have paid any attention at all to the events which have taken place within and throughout this year you will find that there has been a tremendous amount of civil unrest—and not only civil unrest, but also violence, protests, and the like. We cannot ignore and think for one moment that wars and fighting(s) are not and have not been manifested among us—both within this nation during these times, and even within the Church and body of Christ.
As I sit here and think about how the apostle Paul opens the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints I can’t help but be brought face to face with the tremendous truth that while he was indeed writing unto those who were carnally minded, and while he was indeed writing unto those who were not spiritual, nor those who were spiritually mature, he offered them a tremendous hope. We dare not and must not think and consider that despite of all the division, despite all the contention, despite all the envying, and despite all the warring and fighting that has taken place among us does not have any type of remedy and does not have any type of fix. We cannot and must not think that we are simply relegated to strife, to envy, to contention, to division, and to carnality and being carnally minded. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that there is hope in the midst of the warring and fighting, and there is hope in the midst of contention and strife. There is absolutely and without a doubt hope in the midst of envying, in the midst of the chaos, and in the midst of the confusion. Please note that this is just as much true within our churches as it is within our nation, within our streets and within our neighborhoods, within our places of employment, and within our homes. We dare not and must not allow ourselves to think and believe for one moment that there is no hope in the midst of division, for as you read the second and fourth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts you will not only find one-hundred and twenty, but quite possibly no less than three thousand souls being in one accord, having all things in common, and being of one mind and one heart. What we must recognize about this, however, is that there is absolutely no man who can truly and ultimately work and produce this within the hearts of men. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within this nation at this particular time is that there has not been a single individual who has risen up among us and thus united the hearts and minds of those within the country. I have yet to find a single man or woman who has been able to step into the racially charged atmosphere that has gripped countless cities within and throughout this nation and bring peace, affection, compassion and unity in the midst of it. Show me you who might be reading these words who among us has stepped into the various protests, the various acts of violence, the various fighting(s), and the various warring(s) that have taken place among us, and has brought peace, rest, affection, unity, and love. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we would be hard pressed to point to any single individual who has been able to truly bring peace into the midst of these situations and circumstances—and not only this, but you also find that during some of these times the means that was used to bring order was not necessarily compassion, affection, unity, love, and the like, but rather the National Guard and scores of police officers armed to the teeth with means of protecting them and subverting the unrest that has so plagued our nation.
SHOW ME A MAN! I SOUGHT FOR A MAN! If there is one thing I am absolutely and completely convinced as I write these words it’s that I charge you who are reading these words to show me a man among us who has been able to step into the midst and step into the midst of all the unrest, all the chaos, all the confusion, all the noise, all the division, all the strife, all the wars, and all the fighting that has taken place among us, and in the midst of such manifestations has brought peace, has brought rest, and has brought unity in the midst of it. I have yet to find a single individual who has been able to step into these situations and circumstances and bring peace and rest without and apart from the threat of violence, and without and apart from the threat of force. If and as you look back over the events which have taken place within this nation this year you will find that more often than not the unrest, the chaos, the warring and the fighting that has taken place among us has not been met with peace and rest, nor has it been met with affection and compassion. Instead and rather, the chaos and the confusion that is and has been present among us has been met with threats of further violence, and further demonstrations and manifestations of force and power. Oh we dare not and must not miss this incredibly important and powerful truth, for if we are to truly understand the words which are found within this epistle we must needs recognize and understand that there has yet to be a man who has been able to step into these racially charged situations, step into these politically charged situations, and step into these chaotic and confusing situations and actually bring peace and rest in the midst of it. This nation has indeed been thrust into complete and utter turmoil this year—the pandemic aside. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I am absolutely convinced that not even the President, nor even the “President-elect” has been able to enter into these situations and enter into these circumstances and truly bring peace, and truly bring rest in the midst of it. With this being said, I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the first and second chapter of this epistle, for the words which find here bring us face to face with what I am absolutely and completely convinced is absolutely necessary during these times. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the seventeenth verse of the first and opening chapter of the epistle:
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Breeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:17-25).
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling, and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
PREACH THE GOSPEL! THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS! THE POWER OF GOD! I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND WILL BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT! WHERE IS THE WISE? WHERE IS THE SCRIBE? WHERE IS THE DISPUTER OF THIS WORLD? HATH NOT GOD MADE FOOLISH THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD! FOR YE SEE YOUR CALLING, BRETHREN! NOT MANY WISE MEN AFTER THE FLESH, NOT MANY MIGHTY, NOY MANY NOBLE, ARE CALLED! GOD HATH CHOSEN THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO CONFOUND THE WISE! NOT WITH EXCELLENCY OF SPEECH OR OF WISDOM! WITH YOU IN WEAKNESS, AND IN FEAR, AND IN MUCH TREMBLING! NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN’S WISDOM! DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER!
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the awesome and incredible truth that is found within these chapters, for the underlying hope for this nation during these unprecedented days in which we are living is not and cannot be found in the strength of men, nor even in and with the wisdom of men. In fact, I would dare say that much of our opinions, much of our thoughts, and even our voting is based on the wisdom of men and the strength of men and has very little to do with the wisdom and strength of God. What’s more, is I would even dare say there are those within the church who are looking unto the strength of men, who are looking unto the wisdom of men, who are looking to voting for a specific candidate to help address the issues which are plaguing this nation, and yet they fail to recognize the incredible importance of what is found in the twenty-sixth verse—“For ye see your calling brethren.” The question I must needs ask is whether or not you truly do see your calling—the calling that has been placed upon your heart and life in the midst of this generation. Do you think it is by coincidence that you were born when you were born and that you are alive during these times? Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that we have a great need to recognize that the true and ultimate answer for this nation is not in who votes at the polls, but who steps and enters into their calling. If we are placing all our hope, if we are placing all our trust in elections, in elected officials, in the voting process, and in the promises men make according to the wisdom and strength of men without and apart from stepping into our calling and fulfilling that which the Lord Jesus Christ has indeed called us to then we are sorely deceived and have missed the point. In all reality I am absolutely convinced that what this nation needs is not more officials being elected into office, nor even someone new sitting in the Oval Office, but rather men and women stepping up and men and women stepping into their calling. If you are one among us in the body of Christ who is looking to a man who help solve the crises which are facing this nation—I urge you, I implore you, I intreat you to stop and to do so immediately. There is not a doubt in my mind that the single greatest hope for this nation right now is not men and women who are elected into office based on the wisdom and strength of men but rather in those who know their election in God and who have worked and continue to work to make their calling and election sure.
It’s actually something quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that both calling and election were intrinsically linked together, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that within and during this generation, within this culture, within this society, and within this nation in which we are living, there is not a need for more of the same as what we’ve had in the past. If we are looking unto men elected into office—men and women who operate according to the wisdom of men, and according to the strength of men—and we are looking unto them to somehow fix and solve that which we are presently facing during these days and during these times we are both naïve and deceived, and are in need of a serious reality check. We dare not, we cannot and must not think for a moment that anyone else other than those who are willing to step into their calling are able to truly make any difference and impact in the social climate of this nation and of this hour. It is absolutely necessary that we not only see the calling that is placed upon our lives, but also that we are willing to step into that calling and begin operating in what the Lord has ordained and appointed for us. During times when a political election is front and center stage in the midst of this nation there is one election that is and has been overlooked, and that is our election and the election of the saints and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely and completely convinced that during these times there is a great need within our midst for the saints and brethren to not only see their calling, but to also know and make our calling and election sure. It is absolutely useless and pointless to even think for a moment that those who are somehow elected into office based on the opinions of men according to the wisdom and strength of men can fulfill and accomplish that which the body of Christ has been called to do. OH dear brother, dear sister—it is absolutely necessary we recognize and acknowledge the fact that what this nation needs is men and women who are not only willing to step into their calling, but who are also willing to enter into the realm of the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. During times when so much emphasis is placed on the wisdom and strength of men we must needs understand that God desires to bring to naught the wisdom and strength of men, and desires to highlight, showcase and show off the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. What’s more, is that there is a great and powerful need among us within this hour and within this generation for the cross of Jesus Christ to take center stage—the cross of Jesus where He wasn’t crucified on the left with two thieves crucified on his right, nor crucified on the right with two thieves on his left.
CRUCIFIED IN THE MIDDLE! I find it absolutely remarkable and astonishing that when Jesus Christ was crucified, He was crucified in the middle, and was crucified between two thieves. Even in the death of Jesus Christ we find Him being crucified in the middle—essentially being crucified between two opinions. There was the one thief who railed against Jesus the Christ there upon the cross, while there was another thief who actually cried out for mercy before and unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh we must needs acknowledge and understand this truth, for it brings us face to face with one of the most vital and critical needs that is present among us today—namely, that we have not been called to be crucified on the right, nor have we been crucified on the left. Instead and rather, we have been called to be crucified in the middle between two opinions. What’s more, is I would dare say that the cross of Christ has never and will never operate on the far left, nor has it ever and it will never operate on the far right. The cross has its greatest strength and its greatest power in the middle—in that place between two opinions and between two ways of thinking. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are not only willing to walk in the middle, but also whether or not we are willing to be crucified in the middle. Are we able to walk, to live, and to die and be crucified in the middle that the cross of Christ—that which represents the power, the strength, and the wisdom of God above and beyond the wisdom and strength of men? Are we willing to live, more and operate in the middle—and not only operate in the middle, but operate in the middle in, with and by the demonstration of the Spirit and power. There is absolutely no room within the heart and mind of the Christian and believer in Christ for partiality, for favoritism, and for leaning to one direction versus another. The single greatest calling we have been given as the saints, the disciples and the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ is to not only be neutral in our thinking, but also to live and operate in the middle. What’s more, is that it is in the middle where we find Jesus, and it is in the middle we find the cross of Christ among us in our midst. Oh we dare not and must not think and believe even for a moment that the underlying answer to what is facing our nation right now is not for men and women to see their calling—and not only to see their calling, but to step into, walk and operate within that calling. Moreover, there is a great need for men and women—as they are walking in that calling—to walk on neutral ground without showing any partiality and favoritism, and to live, move and operate in the middle.
The cross of Christ has its greatest effect and its greatest impact in the middle, and it has never and will never be found leaning to one side or one direction more than others. Heaven help us if we think we can somehow operate in and to the left, or in and to the right, and are unwilling to move and operate in the middle. There is without a doubt an absolute great need in this culture and society for neutral Christians who are willing to walk, live, operate and be crucified in the middle, for it is there where the cross of Christ is manifested. It was during the days of Joshua when he called a nation and people to choose them that day whom they would serve; it was during the days of Moses this servant of God set before them life and death and implored them to choose life; and it was during the days of Elijah when he asked and confronted them with how long they would halt between two opinions. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we live, when we move, when we operate, and when we are crucified in the middle there is absolutely no room for any division, nor is there any room for any schism within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds. When we choose to allow ourselves to be crucified in the middle we are actually aligning ourselves aright, and are aligning ourselves with the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that there is absolutely no room for compromise within our hearts and our lives, and that we must indeed and must in fact choose this day whom we will serve, and must needs choose life over death. There is a great need within and among us this day to devote our time, our effort, our strength and our energy in not only seeing our calling, but also moving and operating in that calling as those who are crucified in the middle—crucified in between two opinions in a place of neutrality without partiality, without favoritism, without division, without contention, without strife, without dissension. It was the apostle Paul who admonished that the saints of God lift up their hands without wrath and without dissension, and we must needs recognize and understand this as being a great need within our hearts and lives—and not only within our hearts and lives as individuals, but also as the body of Christ. Oh that we would truly come to terms with the awesome and powerful reality that there is no division in Christ, nor is there any division in the cross of Christ, and that you will find both Christ and the cross in the middle—and not only in the middle, but also on level ground. Additionally, there is a great need to recognize that above our citizenship within this country we have an even greater citizenship in heaven. Not only this, but we must needs recognize that we have been called into a kingdom and into kingdom living above and beyond any democracy or system of this world. Oh that we would be men and women who are crucified in the middle as we realize and recognize that are citizenship is in heaven and that we have been called to move and operate within a kingdom—even a kingdom that is manifested in the earth regardless of democracy, tyranny, or any other form of political and natural means where the strength and wisdom of men is highlighted and given greater value and worth than the wisdom and strength of God.