“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11 NIV84)
Paul’s fundamental presupposition about the division within the Corinthian church is simply stated in our verse for today. He is telling the Corinthians that as long as we (Paul, Apollos, etc.) build upon the same foundation (Jesus), then we should be at peace and unified with one another. Paul reminds us all that too often we place our focus and attention on the wrong thing. The Corinthians were guilty of placing too much attention and authority upon individual leaders of the church, like Paul and Apollos, instead of THE leader of the Church, which is Jesus Christ.
A church faces two dangers when focusing on the man rather than the message of the man. First, as mentioned earlier, we tend to depend too much on the human being before us rather than the God who gives the human being His message. The second danger is that we stray away from the original foundation, because when we focus too much on the individual we fail to realize when he has moved away from the foundation of Jesus Christ. This is how false teaching and heresy develop within the church. Only by staying focused on the foundational truths of Jesus Christ can we avoid the errors so many churches have experienced. Jesus is the foundation, the base upon which all our doctrines and practices must be based, and He is the head, the leader and directer of His church. We pastors, teachers, leaders and believers are simply servants who obediently live within those two layers.