Want to recognize genuine faith? Watch a church go through a division. Those with genuine faith will rise to the top. Those whose hearts are truly Christ’s will be made evident. Sound strange? Faith is tested by fire. Nothing increases the flames more than factions in a church. Genuine faith will see through all the hyperbole and apply scripture biblically.
But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
If there was anything that the Corinthian church is known for it is its dysfunction; division, carnal sin, and all around selfishness were the norm. We’ve seen a lot of those problems already, but now it is starting to affect the Lord’s supper. What was supposed to be a sacred event had become a lopsided potluck. Some drank so much wine they were getting drunk. Others were going home hungry. Everything that communion stood for was being forsaken in the face of selfishness. Good people were being ignored. Paul chastises them and says what they are doing isn’t communion at all. If they were going to eat and not include everyone they just needed to go back home and eat there. Instead, the church should always be about including those who don’t have anything and loving those who are excluded. The Corinthian church had become so selfish that people were being left out.
Genuine faith is made evident through our actions. First, and most interesting, is through factions and divisions. What? Our faith is made evident when the church is being divided? Too many people leave a church at the first sign of trouble. Others take sides with the power player in the church and forsake the good of the whole group. Genuine faith sees through all of that and does the right thing. Another test of our faith is our generosity. The Corinthians were having communion suppers and bringing more than they needed for themselves and not sharing, while others went hungry. Our faith is made evident by how generous and selfless and giving we are with people. How would we pass these tests if they came along our path? Keep your faith in Jesus Christ by maintaining unity in the church and look out for the good of your brothers and sisters in Christ.