Pastor Mark Dever has a message from 1 Corinthians up on the audio portion of the 9Marks site. I listened to it last week.
He entitled it A Biblical Vision for the Church. Essentially he argues that the church exists for God and that the thing that should constrain us more than anything else in terms of our participation in a local church is that perspective.
From that starting point he goes on to articulate from various places in the epistle how the local church is to be three things: holy, unified, and loving. He reasons that because God Himself is these things, which he shows from the text as well, we should reflect these things in our churches.
It means we can’t afford to overlook things like church discipline.
It means we can’t fragment into divisions that center on various personalities.
It means we ought to bend over backwards in deferring to one another in showing love.
He finishes with how the gospel informs all those things. He pleads with the listener to evaluate his church in these terms.
It’s a worthwhile investment of about fifty minutes.
Check it out. You can listen to the audio here.