Lawsuits Among Believers (1 Corinthians 6)

March 26 2023

Speaker: Eddie Francis

Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 6

Amen. I always hope that you enjoy the singing as much as I do. And sometimes when I’m up here and I see Malik going at it, malik starts to sweat. I mean, he really gives when he sings. So very grateful for you, Malik, and for all the singers, and it’s just great to be together. And I want to echo what Marcus said and what you heard in the video. Guys, we don’t have to worry about fear showing up at church. We don’t have to worry about this being a dangerous area or any of the kind of things they’re going through. And it just helps me to be reminded that we don’t need to take for granted what we have. And it helps me to know that we really need to pray for them because it’s a tough situation. So thank you for the video. Thank you for the help that it is for all of our hearts. We’ll continue our journey in first Corinthians. All right? And here’s the thing. I want to say something to you, and you know I always endeavor to be very honest. Sometimes when we give you our little living water challenges, you hear them in the moment, and then you go through your week and then you think, I didn’t do anything with last week’s living water challenges.

It’s real easy to just hear it, and we know it’s good, but we don’t do a whole lot with it. So I’m going to give you something that will make it easier for you to not feel guilty about not doing the Living Water Challenges, okay? When you listen in this setting, try to take away one thing. Regardless of whether it’s the Living Water Challenge, just take away one thing. I believe the word of God changes our lives. I think it makes a difference in our lives. So I want you to go for it and do that. So that’ll be our new way of approaching. If you do the Living Water Challenge, then on Easter Sunday, we will give you a gift. We will give you a prize. We’re going to give you money. No, we’re not going to do that. We are not going to do that.

All right, let me remind you of where we have been. This is kind of the outline that we have followed thus far in Corinthians, of course. Chapter One, Paul gives his greeting to the Church. And then from chapters one through four, he begins to help them with various cures for their situation.

He gives them a cure for their disunity in that section. Last week, he gave them a cure for their tolerance of sin. And we’ll talk about that just briefly again today. And then today we’re going to hit. He gives a cure for disputes and for the licentiousness that was going on in the church. And we’ll talk about what licentiousness is. These guys were proud of themselves. They thought they were doing great. I think they really believed they had the heart of Paul. And so they had this supposed spirituality going on in wisdom. And yet Paul said, but guys, you don’t get it. You are really messing up when it comes. You have got horrible divisions because of your pride. You’ve got outrageous sin going on in the Church, something that the world doesn’t do, and you’re proud of it. Then he’s going to hit. And now you got lawsuits among believers, and you’ve got this distorted view of what I’ve taught you about freedom in Christ. In other words, they had a lot of bad stuff going on, and yet they did not get it. They didn’t get it completely. And so last week in chapter Five, I reminded you of the horrific sin.

You had a man who was sleeping with his father’s wife, a form of incest that the world didn’t even get into. They said this is horrible. Paul says it’s horrible, and he gives us a solution. He said, Throw the guy out. Get him out of your fellowship. He shouldn’t be there. And there are reasons for that. A little leaven, leavens the whole lump. It’s discouraging for other people. But he also says, so that this guy will be saved. We want him to be saved. Get him out of your fellowship. And one of the big things I said to you last week that I’m going to say again, this was not something that was confined to just the leadership. The leadership, we aren’t the only one that should be looking out at the fellowship and at the sheep and saying, okay, here’s a concern. Every member should be doing that. Every single person here should care enough to say, hey, bro, I noticed this. How are you doing? What’s going on? We all must get involved. We are our brother’s keeper. All right? That’s what God expects. And I will say this, I believe the reason why a lot of people are slow to give their heart to God is because they don’t want anyone involved in their life.

They want to continue in their sin, and they want to do it so that no one knows about it. Well, I’ll tell you now, if you visit with us, we are the family of God. We get involved in each other’s life. There are too many scriptures that talk about one another for us to be alone. So we don’t do that here. I hope you’ll be comfortable being a part of this fellowship, because we want you to be. Now, today we have two divisions, the bottom two that we’ll hit, going to talk about the disputes they were having in this licentious living that was going on. So let’s go ahead and read our text for today. First Corinthians chapter Six Follow me along. If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life? Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the Church?

I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers, but instead one brother takes another to court? And this in front of unbelievers. The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wrong? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul here talks about how these Christians have fights with each other. They’re fighting against each other, and they’re going before nonchristians to referee their disputes. It’s bad enough that they had lawsuits, but they were actually going to court and taking advantage of each other.

If you look at what Paul says there in verse eight, okay, I’m going to make sure the slide is where I think it is, all right? But he says, instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. They were actually going to court to defraud their brothers and sisters. They were using the world system to defraud. In general, we don’t know tons about what the courts were like in Corinth, but we do know what it was like in Athens, in Athens, Greece. And one of the things that Paul says about these guys is that when it comes to civil law well, let me start with Roman criminal law. Roman criminal law was basically it was relatively fair and objective. But when it comes to civil law, generally speaking, judges and even juries expected to receive something to get a favorable judgment. Okay? They might some sort of quid pro quo, if you will, for that favorable judgment. And so they might expect you to give a little financial gift with some strings attached, some sort of promise payment. They might also expect you might get a debt paid based on their status socially and then their influence, or it may be a new business opportunity that will come your way.

In other words, they were crooked. You would get judgment, but based on what you could pay for it. And this kind of thing, it was a crooked system. And Paul says, how dare you guys. How can you even think about going before a court that’s not just expecting to receive justice? It didn’t make any sense. Now, Jews ordinarily did not go to public courts. In general, they had the synagogues that you can go to. You would go to the elders of the village, or you would go to the elders in the synagogue to get these kinds of things resolved. They believe in more of a family spirit than a legal approach to things. They actually considered it blasphemy to go before the world’s courts because they believed in the word of God. And you say, okay, well, how does that work? Well, the idea is that as a believer, you believe God is sufficient. You believe his word is sufficient? You can go to the Bible. You can get an answer to everything that happens in life, whether it’s financial or legal or something with the family or social or cultural. The Bible has all the answers.

That’s what we tell all our friends in the world, come to church. God will take care of everything you need in your life. The reason why they considered it blasphemy is that, okay, you tell me god can solve everything. You say the word of God is it? But you’re coming to us to settle your problems. And so it didn’t make any sense at all to go before a pagan court when you say you believe that God’s way is enough.

Now, in those courts, like in Athens, that was a big deal to them. The legal system was one of their chief entertainments. They really got into it all right, but not the Jews. And so let me tell you a little bit about what it was like. If you had a situation, you would go to arbitration. The idea is Gil would find someone to be his arbitrator, carlos would find someone to be his arbitrator, and then they would agree together on one more arbitrator that could act as an impartial judge. And then they try to work out their situation. If that didn’t work, then they would go to what’s called a court of the 40. And I want to study this one out even more. But they would go to court of the 40 and then they would have public arbitrators assigned to the case. If that didn’t work, then the next step would be a jury situation where for small cases, you would have 201 people involved in your jury. Now, 201. So there’s no tie, all right? You got to have the one extra. But if it was a big case, you could have anywhere from 1000 to 6000 people in your jury. So if you go to Athens, chances are whoever you run into is involved in the legal system, because anybody 60 years old, basically they had to be involved. There was no choice but to do it. And so you got this situation where naturally some of these people, once they get converted, they come into the church. What did they bring with them? Their same mindset about the legal system. It’s okay to do this. That’s what they’ve grown up with. And they will bring that into the church. And Paul says, guys, with your background, you’re from the Jewish heritage, this should be revolting to you, even the idea of doing this.

And Paul tried to help them to see that. Here’s the thing about their system that I thought was really pretty cool. The Romans actually accept the Jews way of dealing with issues. You remember what they said to what Pilate said to Jesus when they brought Jesus so he could crucify him? He says, Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law. Why? Because the Romans would accept their decision. They didn’t have to be there. There was no reason for Jesus to be before Pilate because it should have been settled in house. But because they said Crucify, crucify, that’s why they said, we have a law and we can’t put him to death, so you got to do it for us. But the Romans would accept their judgment. And so that’s another reason why Paul said this is bad. Now, here’s another reason why it was really bad. Verse two and three. He says, do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things in this life?

And I read that. I thought, man, we’ll judge the world and we’re going to judge angels? Not meaning individually, that I’ll get to say, okay, you go to hell, then you can go to heaven. You go to hell, then you can go, no, not like that. But you get to judge alongside Jesus. Here are a couple of references for you. Matthew 1928 Jesus said to them, truly, I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones. Doing what? Judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 2 Peter two. Verse four. For if the God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for what? For judgment. Now, if we’re going to judge some angels, that’s a big deal now, and there’s some bad angels and there’s some okay angels, I guess we won’t have to judge the okay angels, but the bad angels will be there and we’ll have a say. Is that, yeah, Jesus, you need to fry that one right there. I mean, just get him out of here.

But the main point of this when he says that is Paul’s making it clear that they shouldn’t have to bring their situation before trivial people and sinful people. He said, you’re going to judge the world, you’re going to judge angels. Why can’t you take care of this? And the very fact that they had these issues with each other showed that they had forgotten their identity in Christ, who God had made them and their promised future, that they would be part of the judgment of the world. Now, Paul also says here, the fact that they have lawsuits mean that they are already they’ve already condemned themselves. They were falling well below the standard that Christians should live by. They had a problem with a lack of love. That’s why First Corinthians 13 is in there as well. They needed to be taught about love. That’s the message that we get in that chapter. Here’s what Plato had to say. Plato said, the good man will always choose to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong. If a disciple has even the remotest tinge of the love of Christ in his heart, then the attitude that we take when we have disputes is one of forgiveness and love and compassion.

The Bible says, as far as it depends on you live at peace with all men, that should be our mindset. You know what? Yeah, you did me wrong. And yes, I have a right to be upset, but you know what? I’m going to forgive you. He says, Why not rather be wrong? Why not be cheated? I remember once having a bump with my wife in our relationship. Things were not going well. We were arguing, going back and forth. And finally I got with a brother that I trust, and I said, look, here’s what’s going on. And I started telling all the reasons why Lapatic was wrong. And he basically helped me to see, but how’s that working for you? Because you could state your case and you could win. And then that court of law maybe, but you’re losing the war. You may be winning a skirmish, but you’re losing the war. And his brother said, Eddie, why not take it? Why not be wrong? That’s what Paul is trying to help them with. And he goes on to talk about in verse five about how he says, is it possible there’s nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute?

He said, Guys, you got people there who can help. And the thing is that maybe a young Christian and this is something to consider romans 1514 says you’re competent to counsel each other, but even if you have the newest disciple, you can put them in the middle of that dispute. And they can probably be wise enough to say, I just learned a little bit, but maybe we ought to pull somebody else. We can do it in the church. We can work out our problems. That’s what he’s trying to say. He said, you should be able to call on someone because God has shamed the pride of this world, and he’s given us wisdom so we can learn. But here’s the thing I want to do for you right now. I started wondering, what is it like in the legal system? Some of you have been to court, some of you have been a part of arbitration. I’ve been a part of both at various times. But I thought it might be helpful for us today to hear directly from someone who is a part of our legal system. And he’s an incredible brother in Christ, a man that I’ve loved for many, many years.

And I’m really thankful to be able to call him my brother and my friend. So I want us to give a very warm welcome to Guy mentor, because Guy is going to talk to us. Guy is the county attorney for Marion County, Florida, but I’m going to let him tell more about himself and share some things with you. And I hope you leave here with some stuff that will help you and how you think. So. Guy come on up.

Well, thank you, Eddie. Eddie and Lepatic and I go back a long way, even before they were married, and back to our Gainesville days at the University of Florida. Have a lot of good memories from those days. The great thing about college is you have a little bit of freedom, you got your car, you got your place, but you really don’t have much responsibility. So it’s a total dream. You’re really not dealing with real life. Okay, so we’re talking about lawsuits. If you’ve studied the Bible for a while, you know that the whole idea of legal issues, legal standards, lawsuits, runs throughout the Bible, from Genesis all the way through Revelations. So for instance, in Hosea, Ten says, they will say, we have no king because we did not revere the Lord. But even if we had a king, what could he do for us? They make many promises, take false oaths, and make agreements. Therefore, lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field, and it’s not much different today. Speaking of the legal system of Jesus day ancient Rome. This is from Edward Gibbons the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

So it’s talking about these guys that rose up to prominent positions. And it says, in the practice of the bar, these men had considered reason as the instrument of dispute. They interpreted the laws according to the dictates of private interest, and the same pernicious habits might still adhere to their characters in the public administration of the state. The honor of a liberal profession has indeed been vindicated by the ancient and modern advocates who have filled the most important stations with pure integrity and consummate wisdom. But in the decline of the Roman jurisprudence, the ordinary promotion of lawyers was pregnant with mischief and disgrace. The noble art which had once been preserved as the sacred inheritance of the patricians was fallen into the hands of Friedman and Plebeians, who with cunning rather than with skill, exercised a sordid and pernicious trade. Some of them procured admittance into families for the purpose of fomenting differences, of encouraging lawsuits, and of preparing a harvest of gain for themselves or their brethren. Others, recluse in their chambers, maintain the gravity of legal professors by furnishing a rich client with subtleties to confound the plaintiff’s truth and with arguments to color the most unjustifiable pretensions.

The splendid and popular class was composed of the advocates who filled the forum with the sound of their turgid and loquacious rhetoric careless of fame and of justice. They are described for the most part as ignorant and rapacious guides who conducted their clients through a maze of expense, of delay, and of disappointment, from whence, after a tedious series of years, they were at length dismissed. And when you say they, which they? Well, the lawyers, after they had sucked their clients dry of money, they dismissed their clients. And when the clients patience and fortune were almost exhausted. So that was the legal system that’s kind of talked about in First Corinthians chapter six. It’s the same legal system today.

But not all lawyers are like that. Not the whole legal system is like that. As Eddie said, I’m the county attorney for Marion County. My office represents the Board of County Commissioners and 1700 employees for Marion County. We handle all kinds of lawsuits legal issues, contracts, real estate acquisition, civil rights claims, constitutional law claims, all kinds of stuff. I previously served as the county attorney in Charlotte County, the general counsel in Sarasota County, head of litigation in Volusia County, and in Seminole County. I’ve tried more than 65 jury trials in state and federal courts and handles appeals in Florida Supreme Court and federal 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia over the years. So it’s getting a little old now.

So anyway, I don’t have too much time here, but I’ll dive in with a few thoughts about this passage. Jesus likes to get people to think. In Matthew 21, verse 28, he talked about the two brothers. He sent one out to work and the guy said, I won’t go. But later he changed his mind. And then the other one, he said he would go, and then he didn’t go. But he began that passage with what do you think? Meaning the audience. And so Jesus is always trying to get us to think about our life. How are we going through life? He wants us to not be superficial in how we go through life. In Proverbs, Chapter One, he says, how long will you simple ones love your simple ways? We need to not just be simple people. We need to be people that are willing to dig into the Bible to understand the foundations for our faith. And why are we living the way we live? What’s the basis of our beliefs? Why do we think we’re going to go to heaven?

We went through this in the first service. I didn’t actually know I was going to do this twice. That was my mistake. But attorneys that do trials, sometimes they have what they call mock juries. And so you’ll actually bring in a group of people to act like jurors before your actual case goes to trial. And you’ll basically go through a dry run with that group and they’ll tell you they think your case stinks or not. And the idea of that is, hopefully you can make adjustments and improve your presentation in the real thing.

So maybe my first presentation this morning was my Mic jury. Anyway, I was talking about this morning. Some of you might go into the Hallmark store and get a Hallmark card with Charlie Brown. Or maybe you’ve seen Charlie Brown Christmas. One of the Charlie Brown cartoons often would have Lucy set up in her little booth, and it was a booth to provide psychiatric service for $0.05. So Charlie Brown comes up to her and she says, charlie Brown, the trouble with you is you. Trouble with you is you. So then I mentioned another old comic strip. Some of us old timers can remember this stuff, but there was a comic strip called Pogo, and it was a bunch of little animals. And so this one guy, Pogo, is on a boat and he’s looking for pirates or something, and he’s looking through the telescope. And the quote was, we have found the enemy and he is us. And actually, that quote came out or was repeated in a critique of the American approach to the Vietnam War at one time. So sometimes humor has deeper meanings for us.

So here we are in First Corinthians six, you’ve already been defeated. We don’t want to be in that situation. If you end up in court, it really is an indication that something has gone off the rails a lot sooner than that. And because we’re human beings, because we’re all fallible, because we’re all sinners, that could happen to any of us. As I shared, I’ve been a disciple for, let’s see, this October will be 40 years or no, 50 years. Boy, I didn’t eat my blueberries this morning. That’s what happens to you. So a long time. And my wife and I have been married 39 years this year. We’ve been through some really tough patches. We were separated for a while, and by the grace of God, we made it and are still making it. But here’s just a warning for all of us. So it says in First Corinthians six, don’t take your disputes to the civil courts. What do they know? And sometimes they know more than people in the church know. Sometimes they may have different insights. In my work as a county attorney, our government is subject to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, which is known as the Public Record Law. We’re subject to chapter 286, Florida Statutes, which is the government and the Sunshine Law.

And that means that every act, every decision of the government has to be conducted in a duly noticed public meeting. Public gets to see what we’re doing, why we’re making decisions. Under the Public Record Law, the public has the right to come into our building and demand to see any document they want to see. They could literally ask for a copy of every document we have in the building as long as they’re willing to pay for it. But now there’s a bunch of exceptions to that that have come up over the years. But I work in an environment that is highly regulated and notwithstanding all the horrible things you see on the news, and there’s plenty of problems in America, I’d rather be here than with Vladimir Putin and his group. But having said that, saying that, the people in the courts, they don’t appreciate spiritual things, which is true. But when I was going through this difficult patch in my life, I actually had a friend in the church who had known me for years, came up to me one day and said, I was separated from my wife at the time. And the person said, well, are you dating now?

And I was kind of shocked, and I held up my hand and said, no, I’m still married. I was just shocked. Just because somebody is in the church doesn’t mean they’re always going to be able to give you good advice. And some of us may have experienced that before, I don’t know. Now, on the flip side of that, you notice I didn’t say who that was. On the flip side of that, I will say who this was. I was sharing with Jack Wilson, who’s a great brother one day and just where we were at and my discouragement about our circumstances and had a very brief conversation with him. And in a nutshell, he was just really encouraging me to just have faith, to not give up, have faith, to keep going. And as a result of that, that was a spur to me and my wife. Let’s give it another try and so let’s approach it from a different standpoint. And we did. Even since then we’ve had our challenges, but we’re doing much better. My point here for all of us about this theme, I’m not here to give you legal advice. My point is actually one of the things a good attorney will try to do is not wait until their client is already being sued.

One of the best things an attorney can do for you is to try to keep you from getting sued in the first place. What they call preventive law, to give you good advice and counsel to help you do things the right way, help you to not get into these legal vines. And so we need to, again, not be simple people. We need to understand that life is difficult in general. I mean, we saw our brothers and sisters from Haiti. I’m glad I’m not there right now. They didn’t ask to have that situation brought on them. But that’s what they’ve got to deal with right now. I don’t think I know anybody who has just a smooth sailing life right now. It’s just whether you’re in the church or not in the church, life is difficult. Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world. So my point here is that whether it’s working at your marriage, working as parents, working in the church, it requires effort, it requires humility, it requires the heart of being a peacemaker. And in the first round, I was sharing about my tendency to love, to engage in magical thinking.

My wife, like Lepatic is watching an episode of The Dog Whisperer and she said, Honey, you know, it really wasn’t until I saw several episodes of Caesar Milan working with the dogs that I really understood you. Now don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t calling me a dog, but she was talking about the emotions and all that stuff. That is a true story. And I like to think I have a sense of humor, so I can go with that. But anyway, so in First Corinthians six, a couple of other things and I know my time is running out here. It’s easy for us to get logical and use our rational mind. But when attorneys are dealing with trials, we understand that most of the time the jurors are going to make their decision based on emotions and then they are going to rationalize their emotional decision later. And somebody said, the heart has reasons that reason knows nothing about. And that’s our emotions. Sometimes you can’t understand why you feel the way you feel. But if we are going to be effective in dispute resolution, and that’s, to me, what’s the most important about this. I don’t care if you have the perfect marriage, the perfect spouse.

You’re going to have disputes and you really don’t want to sweep them under the rug. You don’t want to get into the silent treatment or whatever and just ignore them. You want to humbly, patiently, lovingly, find ways to work through your disputes and not just the logic of it. Lisa, my wife, would say to me, don’t bring that lawyer cross examination stuff home. Kind of like Eddie’s story. And it didn’t work too good. I’ve got a good case here. It didn’t work too good anyway. I would say to me, there might be some situations where you might need to go to court. I’ll wrap up with a little practical episode, and that is, be careful with how you go through life. A lot of people don’t realize this a very common thing. Maybe to somebody, maybe in the church says, hey, can I borrow your car? I need a car this weekend, or whatever. And wanting to be compassionate with maybe a young single brother or something. You loan out your car. Well, that’s all well and good, but what if they go out and wreck your car and that’s your only way for you to get to work and you go talk to your friend in the church and they really don’t have a solution for you?

So there are some real things in life that it’s great for us to have a black and white rule in one verse in the Bible. But sometimes you need to get help. You need to talk to people, need to get a deeper understanding of what’s going on. I caution you, if you’re ever in that situation somebody wants to borrow your car, find out if they have auto insurance themselves, even if they don’t own a car, find out if they have a valid driver’s license. If you hire somebody to come work on your house and they’re not qualified to work on your house, that may be a problem for you. So this is where I’m saying don’t be simple minded as you go through life. We’re all a mess. I’m a mess. And I think that’s to the glory of God, that what’s different about us. What’s the distinction about God’s, people and the world is that in the world, people you have problems in a relationship and they say, well, it’s disposable relationships. Just divorce this person and get another spouse or whatever. That’s not the way the Church is. The Church wants us to work through issues and to reach resolutions, not for me to win something, but for the glory of God.

So I’ll leave you with that. Thank you for your time.

Well, I felt like that would be good. And Guy, thank you so much. I consider Guy and Lisa to be friends of the Francis that we’ve known for many, many years. And here’s the thing. If the advice you felt like was helpful, then put your money to pay Guy as you go out the door, okay. And we’ll make sure that gets to him. I was glad Guy says something about, okay, when is it appropriate to pull in the legal system? There are certainly times for that. But the one thing I wanted to give to you is that revenge is not something that we as disciples do. Romans twelve makes that very clear. It says, do not take revenge. Leave room for God’s wrath. Guys, God’s heart for us is that we should want to be wronged. Yeah, it may not feel good, you may not like it, but that’s a better approach to take. So when it comes to a cure for selling disputes like the title for this section, I would say you got to remember that you are son of the living God. You got to commit your cause to Him and continue to pray.

Look to God for help with whatever the situation is and then bring your dispute before church leaders. Matthew 18 talks about that. Be willing to do that. Trust God and leave it up to Him to make it up to you. He will do that. He has a way of making things right when we don’t. So make pleasing God and having an unselfish attitude. Make those things your priority. And then lastly, just remember that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. We are different. We’re part of the family of God. We’re part of the kingdom of God. And God, we need a lesson about dispute resolution. We really do. Because I hear a situation, a husband who might limit how much he’s going to put up with his wife. I’ll draw a line here and I’ll say this far and no farther. No, you can’t do that. Husbands, wives, you got to forgive us knuckleheads. I mean, there are times when Lepatic would start talking to me in our younger marriage and I used to kind of have to say, okay, I’m not on the couch so you can’t ask me 17 questions.

It’s kind of like I just didn’t want her to go in the counselor mode. I don’t do well with that. But wives you got to forgive us. You got to be forgiving. I’ve seen and I know of a situation where the wife feels a certain way and she will not budge. She will not budge. That’s wrong. You got to be willing to change. A situation where a daughter refuses to forgive her parents. You can’t do that. Bible says if you don’t forgive, then God won’t forgive. Or a father who it won’t work well with his son. You just got to remember your brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re the family of God. You’ve been called out of darkness into God’s light. He’s giving you a new standard. He’s giving you his word. He’s giving you great relationships with people who can help. We have got to live that way. Now, one other thought I want to share with you about First Corinthians six, and this is very important. He talks about all of these sins. These are sexually immoral, now adolitators adulterers. Many have sex with men, thieves, greedy, drunkards. All of these people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

These verses give a list of sins that represent habits and patterns. Okay? We’re not talking about one time situations. I want to make that clear, because if you look over and we’ll get to this in a minute. In Ephesians four, there was a body of knowledge that the early church learned just like we teach people before they’re baptized. There are things that people need to understand before they are baptized. And that’s what he’s talking about here. And Paul in first he’s simply reminded. He said, don’t you know, guys? Don’t you know, guys? Don’t you know? You were taught this. You were taught this. This is what you learned before you got right with God. Look at what he says in Ephesians four. He said, that, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul simply reminds them that you learned a different way of life when you studied before you got right with him. And I think this is very important, because I hear people I hear the preachers on TV and on radio. It says, okay, all you have to do is right now accept Jesus into your heart, and God’s love will flow into you, and you’ll be a changed person. And I say, well, what about what Paul just told us in Ephesians four about changing your life? What is this new lifestyle that God expects? And here’s the thing I think most people kind of know when they’re sitting in the pews like you, they sort of know what it is. I remember reaching out to a guy way back when i. Was in the dorm and this guy said, I can’t become a Christian because Belinda won’t like it. I’m thinking. Okay. Who’s Belinda? Belinda was his girlfriend and they had a sexual relationship and they didn’t want to change that. People know. People know. But you see, when we help people know God, we have to tell them, here is what God expects of you. I would be horrible if I didn’t tell you the truth about his expectations and the list of sin he gives here.

These are a couple of places that you could just kind of study out. Hebrews Ten talks about you don’t deliberately continue to sin. First John. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning. You see, the real test of whether you truly know God is a changed life. You should be growing. You should be becoming more and more like Christ. But if there is habitual sin, if there is a continued practice of sin, I would really question, if I were you, if I ever made a genuine decision to follow Jesus. I had a good friend who actually told me this, and some of you know this, but I had a good friend who said, you know what, Eddie? Two years ago I accepted Christ in my heart. My life never changed. He said, A year ago, I accepted Christ in my heart again. My life never changed. But then the more we got to talking, the more I read. You didn’t do what God calls you to do. There is a body of knowledge that we have to share with people. So this list of sins that he talks about in Hebrews, the sexually immoral, the idolaters, adulterers men who have sex with men, thieves, greedy, drunkards, and you could throw in drug users, he doesn’t give an exhaustive list.

There are other sins that we could add to this. Nor slanders, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. You can’t be much clearer than that. God is pretty straightforward. If you live like this, you won’t be right with God. Okay, let’s read this last section before we take communion. First Corinthians, chapter six, verse twelve. This is the section where they were taking advantage of the freedom that Paul had taught them and they were using it to sin. Verse twelve. I have the right to do anything you say, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but I will not be mastered by anything. You say food for the stomach, and the stomach for food. And God will destroy them both. The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. Let me read that one again. The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. You can’t imagine how radical it was for them in Corinth to have Paul say this, because it was a sex crazed society. There were prostitutes all the time all around that place. To be a corinthian meant just a horrible life that you were living.

So for Paul to say this, this is pretty radical, but he meant what he was saying. Verse 14 by his power, God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never. Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said the two will become one flesh, but whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All of the sins a person commits are outside the body. But whoever sins sexually sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? Who is in you whom you’ve received from God? You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Now, that’s a lot of reading, but if you get nothing else from it, just grab on to verse 20. You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body. Back then, the Greeks kind of looked at the body and said, the body is wicked is bad.

One proverbs said, the body is a tomb. So the idea of the body being bad could lead to either. That was the view that the Corinthians took. They took what Paul said about freedom in Christ. It says, okay. You’re free in Christ. And they took what the world said about the body being kind of useless anyway and said, okay, if I’m free in Christ and the body is nothing, then I’m free to do whatever I want. I can do whatever I want. And Paul says your attitude is wrong. And this word licentiousness simply means, and I’m going to read it for you. They lacked moral discipline and restraint when it comes to sexual conduct. They were out of control. And Paul asked three questions to kind of help him with this. When they all start with, do you not know? Verse 15 do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself, trying to help him to think right? Verse 16 and 17 do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? Verse 19 and 20 do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you’ve received from God?

You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Paul is pretty clear here. He said, you’re God’s person. You’re God’s daughter. You’re God’s son. You should live that way. And he makes one last appeal to him. He says, okay, God’s spirit here dwells in you. You are the temple of God. And so your body is sacred. Your body is absolutely sacred. Your body is not your own. It belongs to Jesus Christ. Okay, enough on that. So your Living Water challenge and again, you get a prize on April, on Easter if you do it. The cross is to be gratefully embraced as God’s gift for righteousness, holiness, and redemption. What is your attitude toward the cross of Christ? Where do you need his power in your life? You got to really just grab on to the fact that God has made a difference for you and really live by the cross. First Corinthians one, verse two. As we get ready to take communion to the Church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just like our brothers and sisters in Haiti, just like our brothers and sisters around the world, we’ve been sanctified in Christ. And guys, big picture. Let’s settle our disputes in a Godly way. Let’s go to each other. Let’s try to work it out. Matthew 18. Let’s go to leadership. That’s why we’re here. We can help. It’s been sad, some of the things that we’ve had to deal with, but we will help. There is a way that God intends for us to do things, and it’s because of the cross. We do things a certain way because of the cross. So as we get ready to take the bread and the wine, I want you to just remember that, okay, we’re here for you. If you’re not a disciple, if you know you’re not right with God and you know you have knees, you want to live a transformed life, you know you’re not there, then let us know that. Because just like we were helped, we pass that along to others. We can help others. But if, as a Christian, you know that when I read that list of sin, you thought, okay, there’s some areas where I’m messing up here real bad.

It’s time to come out of the darkness in the light, get some help. That’s why we’re here with your brothers and sisters in Christ. We will help you with that. So let’s go ahead and pray and take communion. Father in Heaven, thank you so very much for the opportunity to be here today. Thank you for your word. Pray, father, that is that lamp that guides us and gives us power to do what you called us to do. Thank you for our time together and continue God to impress on our hearts this amazing forgiveness that we have through Your Son. And I pray that we’ll live that way every single day that just like we’ve been forgiven, we will pass along that forgiveness to those who hurt us, who have done things to displease us. Help us to pass that along, that same forgiveness. Thank you that we can take the bread and the wine. The body and blood of Jesus, bless us now as we do that and thank you so much for this opportunity. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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