1 Corinthians 16:19-24 (ESV)
 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.  All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.  If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The Church in Corinth had been called out of a culture of greed, immorality and self-indulgence unto holiness, unity and love. In practice they still looked much more like the city they came out of than like the called out ones they were. They were a gifted church, but not a holy church. They were a blessed church, but not a church of blessing. This letter, by the Apostle Paul, is written to the Corinthian Church to counter that problem by addressing it in two ways. In the first six chapters he addressed two problems, related to divisions and immorality, which had been reported to him. Then in chapters seven through sixteen he addressed several questions, which had evidently been related to him by individuals in the church, matters that were causing fighting and hurt within the church. Much of their culture had penetrated their church and diluted the gospel message and the impact of the church on the city. Much of their immaturity displayed itself in divisiveness and hurt. It is appropriate, then, that Paul closes his letter to them with a display of unity and love.
In the previous short paragraphs Paul spoke with acceptance and respect about Apollos, Timothy, Stephanas, and others. He then sends not just greetings, but “hearty greetings” (1 Cor 16:19) from Asian believers to the European believers in Corinth. His final words curse those who have no love for the Lord, and express his deep love for the Corinthian believers. In case you missed it, the church is to be about love, honor, and respect.
I just had a conversation last night with someone reminiscing about the fact that every church he had pastored had factions within it. Sometimes it seemed as though the only thing the factions cared about what not getting along with the other faction. This is sadly all too true, but it is not how the church is intended to function. I have seen congregations where if one group says the wall is white, the other will insist it is black. We have a disposition to division, but that disposition is not from the Lord.
It is amazing that when a new pastor comes into a congregation, he will often hear grievances about the former pastor, or someone in the congregation before he ever hears what others are doing right. As believers in Jesus Christ, God has called us to set aside our preferences, let go of our grievances, nail past hurts to the cross, and truly love one another. What a difference the church could make in the lives of those who attend, and on the community in which we serve, if we would truly love one another. In John 17:23 Jesus prayed that believers would “become perfectly one, so that the world may know that” the Father sent Jesus and loved the church. What, then, does our division communicate to our world? God forgive us. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let us love as Christ loved.