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1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 6 Print E-mail

1 Corinthians – Chapter 6

Sunday Evening Service

October 21, 2012, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

The apostle Paul has been away from the Corinthian church for 3 to 5 years.  During that time the church has been without consistent leadership.  It wasn’t that Paul didn’t teach them properly, he surely did.  It’s what they did with his teachings once he left them on their own while he returned to Antioch.

 

They soon began to mix Paul’s teachings with their own carnal instincts, desires and philosophies.  As word of their abuses reached the apostle, he found it necessary to write them, dealing with one problem after another.

 

At the start, it was the matter of looking to human wisdom rather than God’s wisdom.  Then came the problem of divisions in the church, wrangling over which group leader was superior.  After that, he had to deal with immoral behavior in the church---and now still another problem---taking fellow Christians to court.

 

6: 1-2: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do you not know that the saints shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”

 

Surely you know that God’s people will one day rule the world.  If the world is to come before you in judgment, how is it you feel incompetent to handle trifling matters?

 

The Corinthian Christians have a tendency of quarreling among themselves.  One would expect this in a church splintered into divisions, with each group putting forth its own leaders.  There is bound to be constant bickering, jealousy and competition, when leaders are pitted against each other. This explains why some believers felt safer going to outsiders to settle their disputes.

 

 Among the Jews, it was a rule that if an Israelite had a grievance against another Israelite, he must not take his cause to a Gentile court.  Jews had their own court system throughout the Roman empire.  Paul is not saying that the believers couldn’t get justice in a pagan court, only that it is not the place to seek justice.  It doesn’t make sense to submit themselves to unbelieving judges.

 

We see this truth today as we have more and more unbelieving judges making laws in the United States of America that are contrary to the laws of God.

 

Besides the scandals created by airing their dirty laundry before the eyes of the pagans, there was another more serious reason for not going before heathen judges.  The courts of those days had certain formalities in which they invoked the favor of their pagan deities and all who were in attendance were required to participate. 

 

Paul is peering ahead to the time when the Lord will take over the kingdoms of the world and establish His rule over the nations.  The Saints of God will sit on thrones of government judging those who rejected Christ.

 

Revelation 11:15: “The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

 

1 Cor. 6:3-4: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?  If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.”

 

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that angels are servants of the saints (Heb. 1:14).  “Are they (the angels) not ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”

 

Psalm 103:20:  Bless the Lord you his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word.”

 

The least mature Christian is better qualified to judge church government than pagan judges.  “You would be better off to select men of lesser standing in your assembly and set them up as judges, than going before pagan judges.”

 

6: 5-6: “I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?  No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren.  But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.”

 

There is a lot of feeling in the apostle’s words here.  He feels the business of one Christian taking another to court before Gentiles is very serious.  In chapter 4, he said he wasn’t trying to shame them.  There he was talking about their pride in their human wisdom.  But now, instead of pride, He wants them to feel shame.  “In the face of all this wisdom you claim to have, how come there isn’t anyone among you wise enough to deal with these trifling cases?”

 

There is something even more shameful about this practice than the testimony it presents to the pagans.  A larger concern is how it appears to God.  A church is in bad shape when the members feel they have a better chance of getting justice from nonbelievers than from their brethren.  With this practice so widespread, it appears no one in the church cared what God things about this evil. They are acting as if God won’t honor those who trust Him.  This kind of behavior points to lack of faith.

 

6: 7-8:  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another.  Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.”

 

A legal victory may be a spiritual defeat. Even if a Corinthian were able to persuade the pagan court to decide in his favor, he has lost.  If he should get a judgment against a brother, he hasn’t won anything. 

 

On the other hand, were two Corinthians to agree to have their dispute arbitrated by fellow Christians, the apostle would applaud that.  Paul would insist that brothers should be more interested in each other’s spiritual growth, than fighting for temporal gain.  In such cases Satan, who is behind all such suits, is the clear winner.

 

The world laughs at such counsel, saying, if you live by that theory, everyone will take advantage of you and you’ll end up a pauper.  On the other hand, God says “Give no thought to such things.  Trust Me and I will take care of you.” 

 

Most of us are somewhere between the two extremes of demanding our rights on the one hand and trusting in God’s faithful provision on the other.  Christian maturity comes as we find ourselves increasingly denying the ways of the world and more and more living to please the Lord.

 

I have learned the path way to the “Court of Heaven”.  It is there that I plead my case and those who wrong me.  In Heaven, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ.  I’ll take my chances with the justice of the Just Judge over pagan judges.

 

6:9-10 “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

Paul is not saying a Christian can be unrighteous.  That is a spiritual impossibility.  He is speaking here about the realm of the power of the Kingdom of God.  Believers are sons of God by birth and as such, have the nature and righteousness of God Himself.  As we mature in Christ, our carnal nature of sin falls away and as Overcomers, we walk into the realm of the Holy of Holies, the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.  “That which is in heaven will be heavenly on earth.”

 

This is the exchanged life, where it is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives within me.

 

The Christian life is a battle against sin.  Once we have overcome the power of sin in our own life, then we go to battle for others.

 

It would be impossible to be an overcomer without something to overcome.

 

With the words, “such were some of you”, the apostle touches on the life-changing power of the gospel.  To go from what these Corinthians were, to what they are now, is nothing short of a revolution.  When Paul began preaching in Corinth, he faced some of the worst possible prospects.

 

Through no merit of their own, they are now the sons of God and covered in His precious Blood of righteousness.  These are also Holy Spirit filled Christians operating in all nine-gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 

Paul has now finished his discussion on lawsuits and returns to the matter of sexual immorality.  The apostle was a great exponent of Christian liberty, but he knew that freedom has its limits.  Some of the Corinthians were carrying their freedom too far, ending up being trapped in their excess.

 

If we keep in mind that Corinth was sex city, it is easy to see how unrestrained freedom could lead some of the Corinthians to feel it was alright to visit the temple prostitutes.  What’s more, it was a big part of the Corinthian culture.  Social culture and being politically correct covers sin to make it appear normal.

 

6: 12:  All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

 

The thrust of Paul’s counsel in these passages is “glorify God in your body.”  The focus is primarily on the body.  The Corinthians obviously had either picked up or developed the saying---“All things are lawful for me.”  Paul’s emphasis on Christian liberty did teach them they were not bound by any of the religious restraints of the Jewish code.  Coming from a background of self-indulgence, it was a natural step for them to go from liberty to license.  Thus they placed no limits on their liberty, feeling they could use their bodies any way they wished. 

 

6: 13: “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them.  Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”

 

Now I am preaching to myself:  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food.  However, both the stomach and its food are temporary and God will one day destroy both.  Neither will be found in eternity.  So don’t live to eat, for you can be mastered by food as well as anything else.  When it comes to sexual sin,  the same things holds true.  You can be mastered by it and that’s terrible.  The body was made for the Lord.

 

In the mind of the carnal Corinthians, they viewed the satisfying of their sexual desires as natural as eating food when you were hungry.  They saw nothing shameful in following their natural instincts.  They didn’t see how anything they did with their bodies could have any effect on the soul. 

 

6:14: “ God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.”

 

The centerpiece of Paul’s theology was the resurrection of the Lord.  The point here being that He arose exactly the same person who dies.  In similar fashion, the believer will be raised up and he will be precisely the same person he was before he died.

 

In the resurrection, though we will have glorified bodies, the person who stands before the Lord has been shaped by the ebb and flow of his earthly passions.  I am in expectation of a body similar to the one I had at 21. 

 

6:15-17: “Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot?  God forbid.  Do you not know that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two says He shall be one flesh.  For he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

 

Sexual relations is a blending or joining of two living entities.  The redeemed man (husband) is a living entity in Heaven and the redeemed woman (wife) is a living entity in Heaven.  The marriage is a living entity in Heaven.  If a man is joined to a prostitute outside of the marriage bond, then he also becomes one with her.  Thus he/she becomes one with her.   The born again believer is one with Jesus. 

 

Jesus Himself spelled out the union of Himself and the believer with these words, “In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). 

 

The life of Jesus indwells the believer.  To have His life, we must have him.  In this way, we become one Spirit.

 

6: 18-20:  Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornications sins against his own body.  What know you not that body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?”

 

This is why you must run from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a man can commit, Is outside his body, but the one who commits sexual immorality, sins against his own body.

 

Paul says “run”.  Make it a habit to run from this evil.  Having already assigned the word body to the entire personality of the believer, an idea unique to Paul, he says this sin blasts the very roots of man’s being.  He’s not saying this is the worst sin that can be committed against one’s body.  However it is the one sin in which the body is involved that can damage the person inside the body.,  It is the only sin that unites him with another person and injures his fellowship with the lord.

 

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  These are Spirit-filled Christians to whom Paul is preaching.  These are Spirit-filled Christians who are committing these sins of immorality.

 

When God ransomed the world with the death of Jesus Christ, it was a once for all payment.  As a result, the Lord is our new owner and we are His slaves.  He holds the exclusive right to our lives.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from KJV – I entered into the labors of C. S. Lovett’s Lights on 1 Corinthians.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those whom I entered into their labors.

 
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