Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Sin God Hates Worst of All
(Based on sermon by Jonathan McLeod--outlined, expanded and modified by Stanley Sherman)
INTRODUCTION:
A. We've been studying in our Bible class the epistle Paul wrote to the church
at Corinth (I Corinthians), and the problems they were having.
1. To make this book live for us today, let me ask the question: “Have you
ever found a Christian group that doesn't have any problems?”
a. If so, don't join it—you'll ruin everything; because all of us, every
person has their own weaknesses and faults.
b. And, since a church is made up of imperfect people, every church
will have problems.
(1) Some of them are visible and others are not seen on the surface.
(2) For instance Proverbs 26:24-25 says, “Whoever hates disguises
himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart. When he
speaks graciously believe him not. For there are seven
abominations in his heart.” (NESV)
2. However, before we look at this letter to the Corinthians, let's turn to
Proverbs 6:16-19: (NESV)
There are six things that the Lord hates (detests), seven that are an
abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that
shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that
make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and
one who sows discord among brothers.”
B. As we now turn to our text, I Corinthians 1:10-13, think about these 7
sins which God says He hates—that he detests the most, above all other
sins; and as we read, I want you to notice which of these sins were being
committed by these Christians in Corinth.
DISCUSSION:
A. I CORINTHIANS 1:10-13 (READ) Let's dissect these verses:
1. In the King JamesVersion, Paul starts his pleading in these words,
Now I beseech you...”
a. The New American Standard Version renders it, “I exhort you...
b. The Phillips Version says, “I beg you...”
c. The Amplified Version says, “I urge you...”
d. All of these phrases convey survival urgency of crucial importance!

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2. “Now I beseech you, brethren,...”
a. The very title by which Paul addresses them is an exhortation to
unity.
b. When you hear the term, brethren, you think of a group all headed in
the same direction with a common purpose.
3. “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...”
a. In COLOSSIANS 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do
all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the
Father by Him.”
(1) To do something in the name of Jesus is another way of saying
to do this by His authority.
(2) Whatever Paul was going to beseech them as brethren to do, was
directly the Will of God through the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit.
b. I also like the way the Phillips Version renders this part of the verse:
by all that our Lord Jesus Christ means to you”.
4. “that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions
among you.”
a. The word for divisions is schisma. It means there should be no
open break, no fracturing of the church--which is done by
fighting, by gossip, by tale-bearing, by criticism, by hatred or by
bitterness and unforgiveness.
b. Problems between brethren can be and must be resolved between
brethren for the sake of the unity of the body of Christ.
5. The next phrase in our text is this: “but that ye be perfectly joined
together...”
a. The words “perfectly joined together” are translated from only one
Greek word, katarizo.
b. This word can also be translated united (NIV) or made com-
plete (NASV) or framed (Hebrews 11:3) or prepared (Heb.10:5)
and even mending as in Matthew 4:21 when Jesus saw James and
John and Zebedee “mending their nets”.
c. Jesus wants Christians in this congregation to be perfectly joined
together—
(1) as perfectly as the sun, moon and starts fit together,
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(2) as perfectly as God formed the body for Jesus to use,
(3) and as perfectly as a mended net is.
d. The Lord does not grow a church plagued with problems--simply
because the net is broken and, like fish, they get away.
e. Be perfectly joined together—just as a fish net is woven together...
6. “In the same mind and in the same judgment
a. The term, mind, which is within, refers to things to be believed.
b. The term, judgment, is displayed outwardly in things to be done.
c. So the Holy Spirit says that in all that a congregation believes and
does, there is to be unity.
7. “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them
that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among
you.(11) [The NIV says “quarrels”; the Amplified says “factions”]
or cliques.
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.” (12)
a. Divisions were caused by believers following different leaders of
the church.
b. They formed cliques around certain men.
(1) In one group were the proud pupils of Paul;
(2) In another the adoring admirers of Apollos;
(3) And then there were some who like Peter, or Cephas, and they
formed the chummy cult of Cephas.
c. We know quite a lot about Paul.
(1) He was an intellectual;
(2) He was brilliant and courageous;
(3) But apparently he was not attractive physically. His body
bore the scars and effects of his many beatings and harrowing
experiences.
(4) He didn't claim to be a great speaker, and on one occasion in
Troas, a young man named Eutychus, fell asleep during one
of Paul's long-winded sermons and fell out of the third loft.
d. Peter was fiery, and even though weak at first, he had become a
rugged and captivating preacher of the gospel;
e. Apollos was a great orator—one of the great preachers of the
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early church.
(1) He was not an apostle; but, he had been given much recogni-
tion.
(2) If he had lived in our day and time, he would have been on
the lectureship circuit or have had his own TV program.
f. All three of these men had strong personalities and great
talent, but they did not cause the divisions.
(1) They equally all contended for the faith.
(2) They maintained the unity of the Spirit.
(3) They were not seeking promote themselves or be popular.
(4) They all exalted Jesus Christ.
g. I can imagine how these cliques or fan clubs reasoned with one
another.
(1) The Paulites probably boasted “We're followers of Paul
and therefore have a greater credibility. Everyone knows
Paul is the greatest doctrinal preacher, and that's the only
kind to have.”
(2) The second group probably would retort, Apollos is our
man. Everyone knows that he can preach circles around
Paul, and that's the kind of man we need in the pulpit if
we're going to attract the masses.”
(3) The third group probably reasoned, “We back Cephas
and you can brag about doctrine and eloquence all you
want, but there's no one that's as down-to-earth and practi-
cal as Peter. Why, he'd appeal more to the common man.”
(4) The fourth group, probably more spiritually mature than
the other factions, yet perhaps a bit haughty, might piously
reply, “We're of Christ, and therefore look to no human
preacher to lead us and feed us.” And, therefore, they
would be very skeptical of any preacher that came along.
8. Over the years, I've encountered and dealt with many similar church
cliques.
a. Most all of them are always composed of spiritually weak Christians
who have lost sight of Christ's plea for unity and the importance of
being of one mind and one purpose.
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(1) Some are bored with the gospel and are looking for more
progressive pastures, so they look for teachers and preachers who
will tickle their ears, and like them, do not endure sound doctrine.
(2) Others have their own agendas that rank higher than the peace
and unity of the body. They will gladly split the church to have
their way.
(3) Several years ago I interviewed with a congregation in Tucson,
Arizona, about a preaching position. Once I arrived, I discovered
that the church was on the brink of a split. I literally had to
interview with each of two strong factions vying for control; and,
obviously I decided that would not be a healthy place to be.
Neither side was willing to yield and heal the rift.
b. Cliques often develop over the selection process for a new preacher.
The story is told about a congregation going through a preacher selec
tion process. The search committee was composed of elders and
deacons.
(1) They had received a lot of resumes and were split over which one
to decide upon.
(2) The deacon who brought the mailed in applications for the
committee to review was beginning to lose patience, after seeing
the committee reject applicant after applicant over some minor
fault.
(3) He saw that all the committee had lost focus and was in need of
soul searching.
(4) At the next meeting he asked to read another letter of application:
Dear Brethren. Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should
like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've
been a preacher with much success and also have had some
successes as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I've been
a leader most places I've been.
I'm over 50 years of age, and have never preached in one
place for more than 3 years. I'll have to admit I've had to leave
town after my work caused some problems. And, I've even been
in jail a few times, but not because of any real wrong-doing.
My health isn't too good, though I still accomplish a great
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deal. The churches I've preached in have been small, though
located in several large cities.
I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in towns
where I have preached. In fact, some have even threatened me
and have been attacked on occasion. I'm not too good at
keeping records. I've been known to forget whom I have
baptized...”
(a) One of the elders interrupted the deacon and said with
exasperation, “Why are you wasting our time with a resume
like that? Who would possibly want to consider a sickly,
trouble-making, absent-minded jail-bird? Are you crazy?!
Who had the nerve to send us that application?”
(b) The deacon replied, “The Apostle Paul”.
c. I know of some congregations I would say wouldn't even hire Jesus
Christ Himself. They would say that “although He has some good
sermons, He's too negative. He talks about sin all the time
and preaches more about hell than any other preacher in the Bible!”
B. Paul concludes with a heart-rending question in verse 13. “Is Christ
divided?”
1. One writer, John Gill, commenting on this question said of Christ:
His human body was not to be divided; a bone of him was not to be
broken; the seemless garment he wore was not to be rent asunder; nor
is his mystical body, the church, to be torn in pieces by schisms and
divisions.”
2. Paul continued his questions in verse 13: “Was Paul cruicified for you
or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
3. The answer to these questions is “NO!”
a. Paul did not preach one Christ, Apollos another, and Peter another.
b. There is but one Lord and Savior and one gospel.
C. I think you can begin to see how important it is to stay with and follow the
pattern that Christ has for His church. The body is so fragile.
1. The church is not a democracy, where its spiritual direction is
determined by the vote of the majority of the congregation.
a. That would open the door and invite politics...
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b. and the possibility for all kinds of atrocities.
2. Neither is the church run by a board of self-appointed directors.
3. Neither is the church a dictatorship. There is not a boss in the Lord's
church.
a. In fact the Holy Spirit told the elders through Peter, “Shepherd the
flock of God that is among you, serving as overseers, not by com-
pulsion, but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, not as
being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the
flock.” (I Peter 5:2-3)
b. There is no place for a boss in the Lord's church.
In 3 John 9-11, we have an example of a man who set himself up
to be a boss in a congregation of the church.
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-
eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come
I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us
with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does
not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting
them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil,
what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil
is not of God.”
3. Christ designed the leadership and decision making of His church to
be among a plurality of spiritual men, equal in position, which he
calls shepherds, or elders.
There is no authority for a board of
a. When evangelists were sent out to congregations, which did not
have elders to shepherd the flock and deacons to serve the flock,
(Titus 1:5-11) they were to appoint willing men who met the
qualifications that the Holy Spirit sets forth in I Tim 3 and Titus 1-
men who were already, before becoming elders, demonstrating
spiritual leadership ability—who were examples of morality and
purity, who were teachers, hospitable, even tempered, having a
good reputation in the community in which they lived, who were
not eager for personal financial gain and such. Men who were
faithful, active in leadership and totally committed to Jesus and
His church.
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b. Go to I Tim. 3 and Titus 1 to read in detail the qualifications for
elders and deacons and their wives.
c. The point is, the ones to be chosen to make the spiritual leadership
and final decisions for the congregation were to be the men who
could be elder material or close to it if they desired it. Titus and
other evangelists were to appoint such men desiring to protect and
shepherding the flock by there knowledge of the Word of God.
d. In the absence of elders, the church functions with men who come
closest to the qualifications until the day when qualified men can
be appointed to serve in that capacity.
e. Acts 6 also shows that deacons appointed to serve the material
needs of the congregation and ministration to widows and others
were to be spiritual men of good report and who were qualified.
D. So then, How then did the Corinthians get into their power struggle
and create this 4-way division?
Why were there contentions among them?
1. PROVERBS 13:10 says “Only by pride cometh contention...”
Another version says, “Pride leads to arguments.” (NLT)
2. The arguments among the Corinthians over which group as superior
was caused by pride, and along with it the quest for dominant
influence in the congregation.
3. In I CORINTHIANS 3:4 Paul continues-- “For when one says, 'I am
of Paul' and another 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal?” (like men
of the world with low character).
E. So, What sin does God hate the most?
1. God hates the sin of sowing discord among the brethren above every
other sin.
2. Why?
a. Because it distracts from the work of the church and
b. threatens the unity essential to the functioning of the body.
c. It's based on the pride of personal feelings and lust for power, and
opens the door to Satan's further quest for dominance and
destruction.

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CONCLUSION:
A. Nearly 50 years ago there was a man who had a dream of establishing a
congregation of the Lord's church dedicated to reaching out with the
gospel through preaching and person evangelism--
that would always stand firmly for truth in an eroding environment of
worldliness and error, and accomplish great work for the Lord.
l. He and his wife had a piece of property with an old school building
standing on it, which he freely donated to that end.
2. He shared his dream with other visionary Christian men and their
families.
3. His name was Earl Fisher, and along with his wife, Pearl, the Coburn's,
the Finley's and others began meeting in this building on July 25, 1965.
a. Ernest Coburn was the first preacher and Ed Finley the first songlead-
er.
b. And a congregation was planted that served Junction City, Harrisburg,
Monroe and the rural tri-county area dedicated to the mission of
evangelism and standing like a lighthouse as the pillar and ground of
the truth from this location from generation to generation until Jesus
comes again!
c. Others, caught this vision. In 1967 my brother John began sharing
the preaching with Ernest and served during the years that he attended
the University of Oregon.
(1) I had the occasion to come out during this time to preach one
Sunday, bringing a classmate who was an atheist with me from the
University, Jeff Gollupe. He was very impressed with the wel-
come he received, the friendliness and fellowship of the
congregation, and I believe that helped set the tone for his
continued interest in studying the Bible with me and investigating
Christianity.
(2) By the way, the pulpit back then was located at the other end of
the auditorium and the entrance to the building is where the
library is now located.
d. In 1971 my father and mother caught the vision of the Lancaster
congregation and dedicated their remaining years on earth to this
congregations vision and goals. He added the dimension of a
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radio program to proclaim the message from Lancaster over a large
area of the valley, and that program continues to this day.
e. It was during the 70's that the Lancaster congregation helped sup-
port our mission work in Canada, and we would come down from
time to time to hold week long gospel meetings.
f. In the early 1990's we joined with the Lancaster vision to continue its
goal of evangelism and keeping the lighthouse of truth reaching out.
So most of my life's work has been entwined with the vision of this
congregation.
B. As we stand on the threshold of this new year, with the prospect of a
surge of population expanding into our area with the new state hospital
being completed, and supporting businesses bring families into our area;
1. Let's renew our dedication to the vision our Lord gave us for this area
and stand united in the cause of Christ.
2. Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your
good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
3. Let's keep Lancaster's lighthouse lamp radiating Christ and the
Christian example to others until Christ comes to take us home.





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