1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Introduction: A lot changes when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. Actually, everything should change! The Scriptures tell us that we become new creatures. Maybe you can remember the specific changes that took place in your life, maybe you cannot, but it all did change.
Paul tells the Corinthians that they still have some changing to do. The transformation that begins with receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord is a continuing process that will not cease until we are in glory!
This morning we take a look at three conditions that needed to change in the lives of those at Corinth. We might find that we need to make a few ourselves.
1. How we handle our disputes vv.1-6
a. Corinth had some similarities to our current culture. They liked to sue each other!
b. In those days it was something done for almost “entertainment” purposes. The jury could consist of several hundred people and being able to formulate and articulate a convincing argument was as important or more than the facts themselves. Sound familiar?
c. Have you ever noticed that we live in a sue-happy world?
There are children suing parents.
There are students suing teachers.
There are players suing coaches.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it also gets into the church.
There are Christian neighbors suing each other.
There are Christian teachers suing administrations of Christian schools.
There are churches suing one another.
There are pastors suing churches.
There are churches suing pastors.
d. (Christianity Today)
There was a cartoon in Christianity Today many years ago and the setting was on a Sunday morning. On the church platform is a soloist about to sing a number as the pianist prepares to play the introduction. With microphone in hand, he says, “I’d like to share a song with you that the Lord gave me a year ago … and even though He did give it to me, any reproduction of this song in any form without my written consent will constitute infringement of the copyright law which grants me to sue your pants off … praise God”
e. The problem that Paul addressed the church with was that those in the church were acting just like those who were outside of the church. They were taking each other to court. Paul tells them to stop and also gives the solution to the problem.
f. He wants them to cease from taking their problems before the “unrighteous” and instead to let the saints handle it.
g. Good reasons:
i. They would probably be more likely to work it out without any help if they had to tell others in the church about it.
ii. What is legal and what is done by the spiritually mature is probably two different things.
iii. The testimony of the church would be harmed when the public trial would unmask the greed of those in the church.
h. What he is proposing is that when people in the church have a disagreement instead of going to a secular court, have your brothers and sisters in Christ help out by hearing and deciding the case!
i. Sounds kind of out there doesn’t it. I have never seen it done, but I sure that it should have been done a few times!
j. What would happen if we followed these instructions? When a member owes another member money? One of the complaints that I have heard in previous ministries is that sometimes church people are the last ones to pay what they owe to those in the church that own businesses. Of course it is also possible tat some business owners might take advantage of a brother or sister in Christ because they figure that they can get away with it because they are members of the same church. Neither should happen!
k. If we were to follow this teaching we could expect that people would come and ask for those at the church to come up with a binding decision when there was a dispute that they could not come to agreement on.
l. My guess would be this: if the people involved had enough spiritual maturity to take those kinds of steps, they would probably come to an agreement long before the church had to get involved!
m.Paul makes some interesting statements when it comes to who is qualified to make such decisions.
i. He says that the unrighteous, even if he has a Harvard law degree, is not as competent to judge between Christian brothers.
ii. That whatever the matter is it is not very big compared to the judging that believers will take part in when we judge the world and angels.
iii. That anyone who is Spirit controlled is capable of passing judgment.
n. Would you be willing to submit to the church member’s decision if it went against you?
o. If we are going to walk with the Lord we must be transformed in the way that we handle disputes within and without our Christian family.
2. How we view our rights vv.7,8
a. Paul says that when our focus is upon winning and promoting our rights, we have already lost.
b. As Americans we seem to be enamored with these two goals. We don’t want to lose, at anything, and we want what we perceive to be rightfully ours!
c. We live in a culture that is so bent on asserting our rights. So often we hear:
“I have my rights!”
“I don’t have to take that from you!”
“I want what is coming to me!”
d. What have we lost?
i. Our testimony
ii. Our opportunity for the growth that comes when we lose.
iii. Probably a member of our “family” and maybe even our church.
e. What if the other church member is not willing to listen to an arbitrator at church, should we then take them to court?
f. Paul asks, “why not rather be wronged or defrauded”? In other words even if your case would be definitely winnable, don’t pursue it any farther.
g. We are the one in the wrong when we take it before any judge outside of the church.
h. Paul says that it would be better to lose out financially than spiritually!
i. When we focus on our rights we lose sight of our testimony!
j. Our true purpose is much higher than wrangling over a property line. We should not be more concerned about our rights than being an ambassador for Christ. You see, the real tragedy is not the loss of our rights. The real tragedy is lost people who are turned off to a relationship with Christ because they don’t see how it has made any difference in us.
3. How we see ourselves vv. 9-11
a. Have you ever excused yourself for ill behavior by using these types of statements: That is just how I am. I was this way before you married me and you knew it or you should have known!
b. It is even possible that we might believe such a statement. Actually it is just a way to justify our failure to take responsibility for ourselves.
c. Paul reminds the Corinthians of what they used to be like. Take a look at the list:
iv. Male prostitutes
x. Cheats (Sounds like an interesting church to attend)
d. They are now much different. These former things are to be long gone from their lives as Christians, even in their desire to assert their rights.
e. It all changed one day when they came to know Jesus. On that day they were:
i. Washed – made pure, cleansed, It is great to be clean!
ii. Sanctified – made holy, set apart for special use to and by God.
iii. Justified – declared righteous, guilt removed, set free
Conclusion: I believe that Paul is saying, “be transformed all the way to your wallet and your heart! Put aside your competitive attitude, your arrogance and your rights, and treat each other special because the world needs to see the love of God lived out. You are different now because of Christ and your life should be transformed in every area!”
Has Jesus Christ transformed us to this degree? If not, why not? Do we really know Him? Are we willing to follow Him, even if we are defrauded and our rights are trampled on? To what extent are we willing to obey God?
1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (NASB95)1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?
2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?
5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,
6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.