1 Corinthians 11:17-19

[17] But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. [18] For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, [19] for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

I recently taught 1 Corinthians 11 to our high school students. Most of our lesson focused on Communion, but in my studies, these few verses stood out to me. The Church of Corinth, who Paul was writing these verses to, was a church founded by Paul less than twenty years after the Ascension. Yet when we read through the letter, we see a church that struggles relentlessly with the things of their world.

This church in Corinth was know for its sexual immorality and for its defiling of worship by adding pagan practices to their Christian walk. All through Paul’s letter, he rails against these issues to the Corinthian Church. When we come to verse 19 of chapter 11, Paul lays out clearly that there are genuine believers and non genuine believers in the church at Corinth. Of course the genuine believers and the non genuine believers are divided.

What we should seek in ourselves is in what ways we have allowed the spirit of this world to enter into our church, homes, and hearts. While idolatry is much sneakier in our day and age than in first century Corinth, have we allowed idols and worldly influence to take hold of our lives? Have we taken on the mantra of today’s age, “self love”, and allowed that to control our daily thought? Have we allowed ourselves to become think less of other believers over political issues that are not Biblical?

We need to realize, just like the Corinthians, that just because we are finding opinions and influence in church does not mean that they are Biblical. We must be careful to search the Word ourselves. When we have answered these questions, we need to repent. Just because it is the “norm” in our world does not mean it should be the “norm” for Christ’s Church.