First Corinthians chapter number 1, we're going to read the entire chapter, you're going to follow along silently while I read. Starting in verse number 1 the bible reads, "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. 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. 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 stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks 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. 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."
Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, Lord, we thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity that we have to fellowship together, dear Lord, in this great camping trip. God I pray that you would please bless the time tonight. I pray to you please fill me with your spirit and your power tonight, Lord. Help me to preach this sermon in your spirit. I pray to you please just help us all to have ears to hear and hearts understand what you'd have us to learn tonight. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
The part of the chapter I want to focus in on here in first Corinthians is a part where Paul's talking about those contentions that are among you. Some of you are saying "I'm a Paul, and I'm of Apollos, and I'm of Cephas." They're following their specific leader and their making a lot out of that one person and they're starting to have fightings between themselves about the doctrine. He's basically saying "Look, did I get crucified for you? Did I die and pay for your sins? We're all supposed to be followers of Jesus Christ. We're all following that same message and that same ultimate leader." We shouldn't be arguing, and contending, and fighting among each about what this one pastor says versus that one pastor. Look, we're all working together, we're all on the same team here.
What I'm going to be preaching about tonight is contending versus contention. I know they're basically the same word. There's certain times where we ought to be fighting, and then there's certain times where we're not supposed to be fighting. We're going to go through some examples of when is a good time to fight, when is not a good time, what's appropriate, what's not appropriate. What he's rebuking the Corinthians for here is this contention, this fighting where they're not in unity. Let's look at some of these verses, in verse number 10 he says, "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." His goal for the church is saying "Look, we all need to be unified. We all ought to be coming together in the unity of faith. We all ought to have agreement and believing the same things, the same pure doctrines from God."
Obviously sometimes people have a difference of opinion and you're going to have some contentions. What they were doing here, it says in verse 11 "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." Contentions are fightings, there's fightings and disputing going on within the church. This is being brought up as not being a positive thing, this is a negative mention of fightings going on within the church. He says "This I say," in verse 12 "that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." He rebukes them saying "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" Then he goes on about "I thank God that he hasn't baptized any people, just a few people."
He's going out preaching the gospel, getting people saved, but he doesn't even want people being so hung up on the fact that they're the convert of Paul and trying to use that as clout and saying "You just had Peter get you saved or get you saved or get you baptized, but was saved by Paul." None of that really matters because it's Jesus Christ who saves you. We ought to make sure that we are within the church without these great contentions, because where the contentions start is where it's going to be lead the inroads, ultimately it could be church splits and a lot of nasty things happening. Especially with this church, as you begin to grow and you're getting more and more people you've got to watch out for that contention. You already have your pastor that's there teaching your church.
I know a lot of people here probably listen Pastor Huminez, probably listen to Pastor Romero or maybe some of my sermons online. Look, that's all great. I listen to all these same preachers too, and it's great there's a lot of doctrine, but when you're in your church the pastor is leading and guiding that church. We need to make sure that you're not bringing in these [inaudible 00:07:29] "Well this pastor said this thing and he" you can believe what you want and believe the truth. You obviously should be convicted about the truth and what the bible says, but ultimately you don't need to be going around arguing within the church especially about smaller things. What they're arguing about here "I'm of Paul and I'm of Apollos" what does that even matter anyways? That has nothing to do with the truth of the word of God. That's just making more out of a man than you ought to make out of a man.
We ought to keep the doctrine pure and believe what the bible says about that. Turn your bibles if you would to Proverbs, we're going to look at some wisdom from the book of Proverbs about contention, about some negative fighting besides just fighting within the church. Let's look at Proverbs 13. Proverbs 13 verse 10 says "Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." Oftentimes what happens is people start getting a little bit of knowledge. Knowledge can puffeth up. When you start learning a lot about the bible, and I've seen this happy, people get newly saved or they get on fire. They start hearing some real truth and get some real meat from the bible. They get excited about it. It's something that's great, and you're starting to grow, and you start to feel like ... I've seen this too many times, people start to get puffed up. Maybe they're coming from an area or from a church where really not much teaching was going on at all.
You start to learn a lot, you start to learn things that you'd never heard before but it's a truth and you're starting to see it in the bible. You start thinking "Man, I know so much. I know more than my old pastor knew. I know more than everybody else at my old church knew." You start getting lifted up in yourself thinking that "I know so much" and I've seen this happen again too many times. Especially with younger Christians, people who just start getting to this maybe 6 months a year. Hearing this from people who haven't even read the bible cover to cover one time yet saying "I know more than my old pastor knew." Look, maybe your old pastor was watered down. Maybe your old pastor didn't preach what he was supposed to preach, but to say that you just know more than him, that's a pretty bold statement to make anyways.
The bible says that "Only by pride cometh contention:" usually when you get too lifted up in yourself, in your own wisdom or your own knowledge it can lead you getting into a lot of fights and a lot of arguments. That contention could come for completely the wrong reasons. It's because you're full of yourself and you think that you know so much and you're going to tell everybody the way things are. You've got to watch out for that and keep humble and use humility because ultimately what is the knowledge going to serve? The bible talks about in first Corinthians 13 about having charity. Your knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. What is the reason why it's a good and it's important to have wisdom and to have knowledge? Ultimately it's so that you can use that knowledge and that wisdom to help other people out.
It's that loving charity that you use for other people and you can instruct and help, not just start fights and prove why you're right and they're wrong. The Christian life isn't about a big debate saying "I'm going to win this debate because I'm smarter than you." It's about showing people "Hey look, God's word say this. You need to change change this in your life" or "This is what God wants us doing, hey let's get motivated, let's do what God tells us to do." That's how you can use that wisdom in a way where you're using charity and helping somebody else out. Look at Proverb 17, you're in 13, just flip over a few pages to chapter 17. Verse 14 the bible reads, "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with." Another negative example of saying "Look, don't get into these vain arguments, and fights, and contentions." Leave off with it.
Then Proverbs 18 verse 6 the bible reads "A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes." We need to avoid foolish contentions, vain arguments, fightings that aren't going to bring any good, they're not going to do anything but just be a waste of time. This is something you got to watch out for even when you go out soul winning because there's going to be people out there of other denominations, people who are really entrenched in their religion, and they're going to want to try to argue with you. They're going to try to debate with you. Maybe it's a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon, or whatever and they're going to try to get you there. You could probably kill them in a debate, you probably could. You've got to watch out for that fleshly temptation of being "Oh man, I know the bible so much better" because what's that going to do? Ultimately all you're doing is wasting your time. You're getting involved in a foolish contention.
The bible says "avoid foolish questions" in Titus 3 it says "and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." You don't need to be getting into these arguments about the law and about what God's word says. If someone isn't going to listen to you, the bible says "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;" Don't waste your time, you don't need to win the argument with them because in their mind you're not going to win anyways regardless of how much scripture you show them. It's a waste of time, it's vain, and that is a contention you don't want to be a part of. That's not to be confused with someone who is listening, but maybe they have different beliefs and they're asking you questions and stuff. People can believe different and as long as they're listening to you and accepting what you're saying.
That's why they say a man is a heretick, a heretick is someone who's teaching false doctrine and is just sticking to it and you can't teach them. That's a heretick, that's someone who's going to try to teach you. When you knock on someone's door and say "Hey, can I show you how to be saved?" And they're like "Let me tell you how to be saved." You don't need to deal with that because they need to be taught, you're not there to be taught. These are some of the contentions and the fightings that we need to avoid. Turn if you would to the book of Jude because now I'm going to switch gears a little bit. We have to reconcile ... If you hadn't noticed this in the past there are admonitions to contend, contend for the faith. There's things that we need to be doing, we need to get into a fight. Then there's also like we just saw here these verses that say avoid those contentions, don't be getting into those kinds of fights.
What is it? Do we fight or do we not fight? It's all about fighting at the right place, in the right time, in the right fight. We want to get in the right fight, not get in the wrong fights. Turn to the book of Jude right before the book of Revelation all the way at the end of the bible. Jude, look at verse number 3, bible says "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The bible's telling us here now "Look, you need to contend, you need to fight for the faith." He's saying "It's needful for me to write this unto you that you need to fight for the faith." Then he tells us why. Why is it that we need the fight for the faith?
Verse 4, For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." There are false prophets, there are false teachers out there and they're going to be creeping into the church trying to persuade you of a false gospel. You need to stand firm, and when that happens, when someone comes in and tries to tell you "No salvation's by works" or "No, you need to be baptized." You need to fight for the faith. You stand up and say "No, that is not true. We're not going to have agree to disagree on that. That is not true, that's false. I'm going to fight for the faith." More often than not when you see these fighting in the bible and the admonition to fight and to contend it's always about the faith, it's always about that salvation. It's always about the things that are critical and key in the church.
We also, when I talk about getting involved in the right fight, the fight of the faith, the fight about the core doctrines, the fundamentals, those are the important things to be fighting about. We need to make sure we don't get distracted by getting involved in all kinds of other fights. I've noticed there's a couple different types of people. There's those that really like to fight and get into fights and it's the way they are. They love getting in fights, man it's just something about them, they like getting in that fight, like getting into those arguments. Then there's people that don't want to get involved in a fight at all. They'll do anything, just kind of avoid fights, and that's usually been more of the type of person I've been. Yeah, I'm not quick to get into fights. I'm not a big fighter, but both people you need to watch yourself.
If you're real quick to get into fights you got to be careful that you're not getting invovled in all kinds of fights and wasting your time getting involved in things you don't need to be in. Look, there's a lot of battles going on right now. There's battles in politics, there's battle over all kinds of different things you can invest your time in. A while back before I ever decided that I thought I might want to be a pastor I wanted to do something good in this world, make a change. I was thinking that the right fight to get involved in was politics and the political arena. It didn't take very long to realize that that wasn't the right choice. If you really want to make true change ... On the surface it looks good and the world will tell you "Oh yeah, you want to make change, get into politics, get involved with that and reach people that way."
No, you need to get straight to their heart. The only way you'll get straight to the heart is through the word of God with the actual truth. Not man's philosophies on the right forms of government, no. If you ever want to know anything about government go to the bible for that. Go to the bible for all of your answers. This is what we need to learn and this is what we need to learn, and this is what we need to get through to people. If you want to evoke some change and from the wickedness of this society, it doesn't matter whether it's a republican, or a democrat, or a libertarian or whoever in the oval office. If the heart of the people is wicked, and if people are going to go about and continue to sin and accept homosexuality and everything else in this depraved society, if it continues to get worse God's judgment's going to come regardless of who's in office. There's nothing that's going to change that except getting through and reaching people with the word of God.
This is the only way we're going to see any type of change, the change that's going to matter is through God's word. We need to make sure that we're not getting distracted with all these other fights that you could be getting involved with. Stick to the true and important fight. If you're someone who likes to fight a lot use that to get involved in the right fight. If you're someone who doesn't like to fight at all, you need to change that a little bit too because there are times when you do need to fight. You do need to stand up. You can't just back off or shut your mouth and just be silent where everything around you is going wicked. You need to be able to stand up and contend for the faith. First Timothy 6 reads verse 12 "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
Turn if you would to Ephesians chapter 6, I'll read for you from first Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 2 the bible reads "But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention." When you preach the gospel of God, contention's going to come. You don't need to worry about going out and finding the fights, the fight will come to you. We need to make sure that we're getting involved in the right fight. You'll notice over and over again, fight the good fight of faith. Be strong, contend for the faith. The gospel of God comes with much contention. It always revolved around preaching the gospel of God. This is the right fight to be involved in. This is what's going to bear fruit, this is what we need to be focused on in being ready to fight.
Ephesians 6 is going to tell you how to be ready and it gives you lots of great wisdom and information. It talks about the armor of God and we need to be prepared. Who wears armor? It's a soldier's going to wear armor, someone's who's getting ready to go into battle is someone who needs to wear armor. The bible tells us in ... Look at verse number 10 of Ephesians 6 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." See our battle's not a physical one.
You say "I don't like to fight, I'm not very strong." Don't worry about it, you don't have to use your fists. This isn't that type of a fight. You don't have to be able to wrestle someone for 10 minutes. That's not that type of fight, it's a spiritual battle. We need to be equipped for this battle because the fight's coming. Look, whether you want to choose to fight or not it doesn't matter the fight's coming to you. If you're going to do what's right by God the fight will come to you, you need to be prepared. We need to get the helmet and the breastplate of righteous and our feet [shawed 00:21:05] with the ... What? The Preparation of Gospel of Peace, thank you. I didn't get my armor ready today, it's a helmet or something. We need to get everything in order, get in your bible, know the word of God, be ready to contend.
Because it's a spiritual battle it's going to be using words, it's going to be using ideas, it's going to be using the thoughts and ultimately the word of God. We need to understand this book, and know it, and be ready for that fight. We also need to make sure that we're avoiding the contingents within church, and the fighting, and the things that's going to divide and split. You need to be unified in the faith and contending for that faith. Being able to persuade others and not allow the devil to attack you and get you down. With all this fighting, all this talk about fighting it can be weary. Turn if you would to the last place we're going to turn, Psalm 56. Psalm 56, because in any type of fight, if you've ever done any boxing, or wrestling, or have gotten invovled in a fight you know it's physically exerting. You could go for like 30 seconds and you feel like you're ready to die.
You can sit here and say if you've never before "30 seconds, come on?" No, you shouldn't. Get in a wrestling match or something for 30 seconds, it's a long time. You exert a lot of energy. It can wear you down. Honestly, a spiritual battle, a spiritual fight it also can wear you down. Anyone who's gone soul winning for a considerable amount of time know this when at the end of the day you go out for 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours of just preaching the gospel, it drains you. It drains you in a different way. It doesn't drain you exactly the same way of going to the gym for 5 or 6 hours, but you feel exhausted. You get drained, it's spiritually ... It's hard to describe, but if you've done it you know what I'm talking about. You could just go to bed, man you could sleep for a long time because you are just drained from that type of work and doing the work of God.
We need to make sure as the fights come, and as the world gets more and more wicked, and there's fights around us, fightings on all sides as it were. As the world becomes more perverted, and disgusting, and your coworkers, and family, and friends, and these other people, acquaintances that you know start coming at you because you believe the bible. It's becoming less and less acceptable to be someone who actually takes the word of God literally and believes what it says to be the truth. The fightings are going to happen more and more frequently. We need to make sure also we don't get so weary that you quit. The worst thing you can do is quit the fight and get out of it. Psalm 56 is a great psalm to help encourage you to stick with it and not to get too weary.
Look at verse number 1 of Psalm 56. "Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil." When he says wrest my words, they're wrestling with them, they're changing them, they're twisting what he says. He said "People are going to take your words and try to take them out of context and try to change the meaning of what you're saying because they're your enemies, because they hate you. They're trying to get people against you." He said "all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul."
People had it out for David because he stood for the Lord. People will have it out for you, too. The evil wicked powers of this world have it out for you. Verse 7, "Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God. Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." David knows and is taking his rest and his solace in the power of God. No matter how weary you may get, no matter how much the fighting seem to be so bad, we have a powerful almighty God that we can turn to and completely rely on to fight our battles for us. When we think that we can't go any further God will do it for us.
Look at all the story from the children of Israel in the Old Testament. Who is it that ultimately fights their battles for them when they're winning, when they're right with God? God is always the one getting the credit for winning the battles for them. God is the one that does it, God's the one ... It's not their own strength of their flesh that wins the battles, it's God's strength. God has enough to carry us through. When things get bad we need to retreat to God. Even if everybody around you forsakes you and you seem like the fightings are coming all ends, we know for a fact that we have a powerful God and we need to rest and trust in his strength. Make sure when you spend your time, the fight's going to come. We need to be prepared for the fight. Get ready. Ready more in Ephesians chapter 6 about the whole armor of God and get your spiritual defenses ready.
Make sure you're getting involved in the right fights. Don't get sidetracked and distracted with things that don't matter. Don't get too involved with these things. There's so much silliness online about the nephilim and the flat Earth and all these other things. Honestly we can laugh about it, and I laugh about it, but some people take that stuff so seriously that it's like a cause for them to have contention with people and it's going to drive them apart. That is not right. That is not something that you need to be fighting over and getting so worked about that it's causing a contention within the church. Just as much as "I'm of Paul and I'm of Appolos" is no business causing contentions within the church. Get involved in the right fight and don't waste your time on all this other nonsense.
Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father we thank you so much for these words of wisdom from the bible, dear Lord. I pray that you please strengthen us for the fight that faces us, oftentimes on a daily basis, dear Lord. That you would help us to have the wisdom and discernment not to get involved in things that don't require our time that we shouldn't be spending any time with dear Lord. That we would use our precious to serve you and to contend for the gospel dear God. In Jesus name we pray, amen.