26 March 2002

When Paul wrote I Corinthians, he wrote to a house divided. Corinth was plagued with many problems causing a rift among God's people. In his opening remarks, Paul beseeched the brethren to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement(1:10)." The words, "perfectly joined together" were words the Corinthians well understood. They were words that referred to the mending of torn fishing nets. Paul was saying to them, "If you want to catch fish, keep your nets mended." Division is satan's greatest tool……it always has been. Since he is no match for the King of Kings, satan cowardly divides families, nations and God's people by lies, deceit and whatever fleshly motive he might generate. Every military leader well knows the phrase, "Divide and conquer" as well as "United we stand, divided we fall." If an army can be divided, they are weakened. How could the U.S.A. have faced Nazi Germany without oneness of mind and spirit? Satan will use politics, race, grace or any thing to divide. One of the saddest statements in the Bible is I Kings 16:21, "Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts". It would only be a matter of time before they would hang their harps on the willows before a chiding enemy. God divided the light from the darkness, but He never divided light from light. He will one day divide the sheep from the goats and put His sheep in one fold. Division is the most used, most effective weapon of our sworn enemy. Let us keep our nets mended. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils by the chief of devils, Jesus said something that should be a constant reminder to net mending. He said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand". This principle applies in a church a marriage, friendships and wherever God has stamped the word "unity". If parents do not agree in the home, the little fish escape Godly advice. It is sad, yet true, satan is always looking for those without the home or parental judgement. So many fall prey to his schemes of division. Teenagers are prone to divide themselves from the home. Satan may use a boy, a girl, or a friend to separate children from loving arms. Let us be wise. At Corinth, Paul knew at least four reasons their Church needed to keep their nets mended: (1)God will not honor a divided house because it was a contradiction to Christ; (2)Corinth would lose their ability to judge and make decisions that would honor Christ; (3) Division would bring reproach upon God's people in the minds of the people around them; (4) It would weaken their testimony. Among the many causes of division at Corinth, it seems that pride was their first and foremost problem. How well Solomon's words applied: "Only by pride cometh contention"-Prov. 13:10a. Some were proud of their knowledge, some their name, some the person who baptized them, some of their standing in the community. They had forgotten they were nothing without Jesus. In Him they were all equal: "joint heirs". How do we keep our nets mended? By keeping Christ first. By keeping His cause, His principles, His authority, His purpose first in our lives. In the first chapter of this letter, Paul used the word Jesus or Christ 18 times. He beseeched them by the name of Jesus, "If you will not do it for Paul who gave his life to preach to you, will you do it for Jesus who died for your sins?" Mending nets was a tedious, tiresome and never-ending process. Each day, when the ship returned to harbor, the nets had to be checked for tears and mended for the next days venture out to sea. That is what Peter, Andrew, James and John were doing when Jesus called them to follow Him. It took a lot of time, yet it was necessary for the success of their occupation. Let us prepare at once for tomorrow! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.