Paul addressed division in the church in his letter to the Corinthians. He scolded them for behaving like people of the flesh, rather that people of the spirit. Paul said he fed them with milk as they were not yet ready for the solid food of the word. He was disappointed that they were still not ready for solid food, but were rather behaving like infants. Paul’s concern was that there was strife and envy among them. “For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human” (1 Corinthians 3:4)? The strife and rivalry was over which apostle each set of disciples followed.
Paul explained that both he and Apollos were servants of God, assigned to lead people to God. He used the analogy of planting, to say that if he planted and Apollos watered, that God received the increase. Both the person who planted the seed and the one who watered it, were working towards the same outcome. Paul drew another comparison between soul winning and building. He stated that if he laid a foundation, that someone else would come along to build on that foundation. Paul cautioned each builder to take care how he built. “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Paul was speaking to the spirit of division, which was present in the church during his time and is still present in our church today. We have to keep in focus the mission and mandate, to build and establish the kingdom of God. Some of us are planters, some are waterers and others are reapers. Some people will lay a solid foundation and another person will build on that foundation. What we need to remember is that we don’t own people. A soul won belongs to Christ and the Evangelist, the Teacher or Prophet are working for God. Souls are won into the kingdom of God, to save them from eternal damnation.
It is difficult that the body of Christ can sometimes be so divided. Some churches forget that whether a member attends their church or another congregation, that the main concern should be that they serve God. The emphasis can sometimes become about gaining numbers, for reasons that are sometimes not genuine. All believers are called to win souls for God and have a mandate, to go into the world and teach all nations about God. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).