One Body under Christ Indivisible – 1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 1 to 3 – J Stewart Gillespie

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 1 to 3 – One Body under Christ Indivisible – J Stewart Gillespie – 15092015.mp3



outline notes available for this message:

The pledge of allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ”

I can see Paul with his hand upon his heart, stand at the end of 1 Corinthians chapter 10, have addressed division after division; in chapters 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 to 10 with an aspiration resonating at the same pitch:

‘One Body under Christ Indivisible’

Mind you the apostle Paul has a job on his hands!
We have previously noted the outline and themes of 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians chp 1 vs 31:

1. Wisdom
2. Righteousness
3. Sanctification
4. Redemption


1. Moral problems – chp 5
2. Material problems – chp 6
3. Marital Problems – chp 7
4. Meat offered to idols – chps 8 to 10
5. Meeting problems – chps 11 to 14
6. Miracle of Resurrection – chp 15
7. Money problems – chp 16

Yet if there is ever a sub theme it is surely:

1. Sanctification
2. Unity

If we appreciate the importance of unity in the midst of schism, we will appreciate the significance of 1 Corinthians chapter 11
This is no minor issue
This is no secondary chapter

Chapter 11 is significant in its content and marked by a majesty in its scope:

Commences with Creation (11:7ff)
Continues through with the work of Calvary (11:24-25)
Concludes at the return of Christ (11:26)

The key to unlock the chapter is to be found in a verse that many neglect (11:1)

Outline of 1 Corinthians chapter 11:

1. Leadership (10:33-11:2)
2. Headship (11:3-16)
3. Fellowship (11:17ff)


1. Leadership (10:33-11:2)

Almost every commentator will point out that 11:1 is really the conclusion to chapter 10
EACH of the previous 3 chapters concludes with a personal application of the truth to Paul himself; 8:13; 9:27; 10:33
The truth of 10:33 is a truth / a way of life which Paul has received from Christ; cf. 2 Co 8:9; Phil 2:5ff, and so having taken his lead from Christ (10:33) Paul can conclude 11:1..
Yet 11:1 is not only a fitting conclusion to 10:33 it is also a suitable commencement to 11:2.
We can have confidence in following the traditions and teachings given by Paul (11:2) in so far as we have seen the kind of person he is (11:1); following the Lord with the souls of men his concern.
The evidence that Paul follows Christ is seen in his priorities (v33); “that they may be saved”
Notice in 11:1:

Pauls Mission
Pauls Method

Pauls Desire which informs the whole of the chapter is that in his leadership they might see past him and past all distractions, past the man, past the ministry, past the minister, to Christ (11:1)
Pauls method:

Christ brought Paul to them, that Paul might bring Christ to them, that Paul bring them to Christ.


Maybe we fail in bringing men to Christ because we fail in bringing Christ to them! Paul has the same mindset as John the Baptist, just a sign post pointing to Christ, just a voice in the wilderness; ‘prepare ye the way of the Lord’.

2. Headship (11:3-16)

Notice for being slighted as a peripheral subject, unimportant issue, something which some feel free to dismiss on the transient whims of changing culture, that this teaching is founded on one of the most fundamental themes of the Bible:

Divine Order

Themes underpinning not only 1 Corinthians chapter 11 but the administration of God throughout the Bible:

1. Creation

Note the Order of Genesis chapter 1:

Separation of day and night
Separation of land and sea
Creation of plants
Creation of aquatic life and marine life
Creation of mammals
Creation of man

Notice not only order but authority

Genesis 1:16: “to rule the day… To rule the night”
Genesis 1:18: “to rule over”
Genesis 1:26 “let them have dominion”


2. Human government

1 Samuel 24:6
David 2:37-38; 4:17
Romans 13:1-3


3. Service and commerce

Ephesians 6:5ff


4. Families

Ephesians 6:1ff


5. Marriage

Genesis 3:16ff

1 Corinthians chapter 11 vs 3 not only teams us about the reality of headship; the system of Headship which is integral to all of Gods structures and administrations but 1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 3 goes beyond that and gives us the reason for these structures of headship:

Headship is part and parcel of the character and nature of God Himself.

What God does is a reflection of who God is!

This truth of headship, presented in verse 3 is not not simply there as a general introduction to the subject of head coverings and head ship.
This truth of the headship of Christ, over all, is the goal and object of the chapter!
That each member of this divided, dysfunctional and split assembly might be brought to perfect unity under Christ, as head, that they may be as a church, United, one body under Christ Indivisible.
Verse 3 presents:

1. System of Headship
2. Source of Headship
3. Structure of Headship
4. Symbol of Headship

What is headship?
‘head’ : ‘kephale’ is used in 3 / 4 distinct ways in the NT:

1. Physical head – majority of uses
2. Place / Position / Power / Dignity / Authority – Matt 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:15; 5:23-24
3. One one definite occasion of origin (Colossians 2:19)

Headship is not dictatorship (11:3)
Note the inherent protection of: “head of every man is Christ”
Headship is not restricted to the church “head of every man is Christ”

1. Headship Explored (v3)
2. Headship Expressed (v4-6)
3. Headship Explained (v7-10)
4. Headship Experienced (v11-16)