I appeal to you, dear brothers, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the assembly. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” --1 Corinthians 1:10-12Following a human leader instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.
After reading the New Covenant several times, I can say that the scroll of First Corinthians, particularly the first four chapters, brought the worst sin an assembly could ever commit caused by spiritual pride-- the sin of sectarian, division, or schism. It is important to note that Paul, the apostle, dealt with this problem first before going into other details. We know, by reading the next chapters, that there were many problems to be dealt with in that assembly. There was even a gross sin of somebody sleeping with his father's wife. But by focusing on the embryo of sectarianism in the assembly, he emphasized the gravity of this sin.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul, after proving his apostleship was not from him but from a divine call from the Master, established the one true foundation of the assembly--the Lord Jesus Christ. It is neither him nor Peter nor Apollos. He rebuked the Corinthians from dividing the body of Christ and following human leaders. I believe that this is crucial for the foundation of the assembly and for the future persecution and affliction of many believers who choose to follow the New Covenant teachings instead of gathering under someone else's name.
It is not surprising that Paul pointed out this sin of sectarian above all others in the Corinthian assembly knowing the grave effect of it. Paul focussed first in the sectarianism that he deemed the most important and urgent matter. He knew that the most destructive sin is the sin of pride. Pride that caused believers to lift a human being above Christ, to make another head aside from the one true Head, and to divide the local assembly or worse, to destroy it completely and make a clerical organizations. It was a small embryo of sectarianism in the time of the apostle Paul. Now, sad to say that this embryo has flourished like mushrooms growing everywhere around us. If only all believers would open their Scriptures and follow what is written. Go back to the time of Paul and know what the Lord says about division and sectarianism through the apostle's letter.
5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
--1 Corinthians 3
Remember that the Corinthians at the time did not have the New Covenant to rely on. They only listened to the words spoken by the servants of the Lord. Thank God because we now have this letter to rely on for the problems that we face today. May the Lord preserve us away from spiritual pride so that we will follow only Him--the one true Head of the assembly--and nobody else.
To know more about the Lord's local assembly and following the one true Head, click HERE.