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1 Corinthians 6

August 12th, 2012 by Vic

1 Corinthians 6

“Run for your life!”

August 12, 2012

 

This chapter is Paul’s answer to 2 questions he had received, one regarding lawsuits among Christians (1-11) and the other regarding sexual freedom for Christians (12-20).

 

The Greeks were sue-happy people.  In contrast, the Jews felt that lawsuits were blasphemy against the Law of God.  Jews settled their disputes before the elders of the community or the Synagogue.  The Jewish law forbade a Jew to go to law at all in a non-Jewish court.

 

We are like the Greeks.  We have one attorney for every 270 people in the US.  Japan has one attorney for every 5,800 people.  In our state courts last year over 12 million lawsuits were filed.

 

For the Greeks the law courts were one of their chief forms of entertainment.  If they had a dispute, the first attempt to settle was by private arbitrators.  One arbitrator was chosen by each party and a third was mutually agreed upon to be an impartial judge.  If that did not settle the matter they took it to the court of 40.  The court of 40 appointed a public arbitrator and solicited all citizens of the city who were 60 years old.  If that failed they called a jury court.  The jury must consist of at least 201 citizens over 30 years of age.  They were paid enough to buy lunch.  So in a Greek city every man was more or less a lawyer and spent of lot of time listening to legal cases.  They were notorious for their love of going to court.

 

As we read earlier in this letter, the church had the tendency of bringing preconceived ways of doing things into the church.  This Greek love of litigation was repulsive to Paul as a Jew, but he doesn’t just blow them off as a bunch of dummies.  He reasons with them as to how the kingdom of God is to be radically different than the kingdom of this world.  He asks, “Can you really find justice in the jury of the unjust?”

6:1 Paul begins this chapter by asking, “How dare you insult Christ by asking unbelievers to settle a dispute between you and your brother?”  It was common knowledge that public justice was perverted.  Christians should be more righteous in their judgment than the public system.  Shouldn’t Christians be as good at discerning justice as the Jews have been?  Shouldn’t they be better than the Greeks?

 

6:2-6 This phrase, “do you not know” is used 6 times in this chapter.  The reader should know the basic Christian beliefs regarding the coming judgment.  You should know God will be a just Judge.  You should know He is holy.  Those with pure hearts should be most qualified to discern justice.  If you are unworthy to form even the smallest tribunal in your church why does the Scripture say Christians are qualified to judge angels?  Our issues in this life are petty in comparison to eternal issues.  Why are you taking your brother to court?

 

The humblest members of your church should be better arbitrators of Christians than the Greek courts.  Surely there is at least one wise man among you (5) who can judge between brothers.

 

Disputes are a sign of immaturity.  Disputes between brothers are not good.  Disputes taken before non-believers are really bad for the reputation of your fellowship (6).  Where is the love of Christ in these disputes?

 

6:7-11 Paul says there is a defect among you.  Take care of it.  Jesus said, “If a brother sins against you, go and show him his fault… If he won’t listen take 2-3 witnesses… If he still refuses to listen tell it to the church” (Matt 18:15ff).  If he won’t listen to the church then treat him as you would a pagan.  Paul says, “If he continues to sin against you, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:21).”  In the last chapter Paul said, “Hand him over to satan” (5:5).  The one who is sinned against needs to forgive.  He who forgives, wins.  He who does not forgive is beat up by satan.  Lawsuits between brothers can be a ‘lose lose’ situation.  Love and forgiveness overcome.

 

300 years earlier Plato had said, “The good man will always choose to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong.”  The Christian would rather suffer insult than to insult a brother.  The Christian is not motivated to finding justice in the world’s courts and kingdom, but to demonstrate the love of God.  Jesus gave us an example to follow in His steps.  While suffering He kept entrusting Himself to His Father.

 

But rather than being willing to suffer for Jesus sake and trust God, you have become the aggressor.  You are demanding your rights.  You argue, “It’s the principle of the thing.”  You take advantage of your brother.  You have not taken up your cross.  You have endured no hardship.  You assume your sin is harmless.  But what you are doing is not compatible with citizens of the kingdom of God.  Church members are sinning.  God is not pleased (8).

 

Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.  The unrighteous will not inherit eternal life.  When God convicts you of sin, repent immediately.  The Corinthian Christians were surrounded by sinful ways.  Everything in their city tried to inoculate them against the terrible consequences of sin.  Everybody was doing it.  But Paul says, “Stop being conformed to this world’s way of thinking.”  Don’t be deceived (9).

 

There are 10 classes of people mentioned that cannot be citizens of the kingdom of God.  Human nature has not changed.  But as Christians in the church you have been changed by the cleansing blood of Christ.  You have been set apart to be in the world, but not of the world.  “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  The power of God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness is on display in the life of the Christian.

 

The largest building in Corinth was the Temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, where idolatry and immorality prospered side by side.  Idols are usually not made to be a god, but the symbol of a god.  The idol is to make worship easier.  But soon the symbol becomes the god.  Like in our churches when programs or symbols become sacred.  I think maybe it is inaccurate to say that life is sacred.  Do I worship life or the God who gives life?

 

Paul lists the effeminate and homosexuals, which we see on our streets.  In Corinth the thieves were common.  Clothing was part of their financial portfolio.  Homes were easy to break into.  Public gymnasiums and baths were easy pickings to add to your wealth.  The greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers and swindlers are always grasping for more.  The Christian learns that godliness with contentment is great gain.  He becomes a giver rather than a grabber.

 

Paul shouts in victory, “That is what some of you were.”  But God has changed you.  The proof of Christianity is its power to change lives.  The gospel takes men at their worst and makes them children of God.  No man can change himself, but Jesus can make all things new.

 

You were ‘washed.’  You’ve cleaned yourself up on the outside.  This word is only used here and (with baptism) in Acts 22:16.  It is the word used for taking a bath or washing a corpse.  As we remove ‘leaven’ from the church (5:7) to celebrate our freedom in Christ we also remove the filth of our past to glorify God even in our outward demeanor.

 

You were ‘sanctified.’  You have been set apart and cleaned up on the inside for God’s use.

 

You were ‘justified.”  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all involved in your transformation from what you were to what you are.  The Holy Spirit witnesses to your conscience that your sins were blotted out by the blood of Jesus and you can come with favor into God’s presence.  You have turned from darkness to light.  You have turned from idols to the living God.  Trust God, not the corrupt legal system.

 

6:12-17 Now Paul addresses the question of sexual freedom in Christ.  Peter says in 1 Pet 2:16, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.”  Paul says in Gal 5:13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

 

The Corinthians liked to say, “I can do what I want.  I can eat what I want.  I can go where I want.  I’m O.K.  You’re O.K.”  Paul warns the Christians that although we are free in Christ, many good things can steal our freedom.  We must continually maintain our self-control to keep our freedom (12).  As a Christian you are free to become a slave to sin.

 

The Greeks had a proverb to justify sexual license: food is for the belly and the belly is for food.  They felt that humans needed water, food, air, bowel movements, and sex to survive.  These needs will be destroyed by death but their influence on the body has eternal consequences.  The Greek proverb was not accurate.  Food is for the body, but the body is for much more than enjoying food.  God gave our bodies an appetite but did not make the body for indulgence and uncleanness.  The body has a greater purpose than to just satisfy the appetites.  Our body is for the Lord and united with Him.  Our body is not for self-indulgence but to be a clean temple of the Lord.  Our soul is affected by our body and how we satisfy our needs (13).

 

The body will be resurrected and changed to experience abundant life in a new heaven and new earth.  The body is very important.  It is united with Christ.  Christ died to free us from the slavery of sin and purify our temple (14).

 

You cannot bring Christ into an immoral relationship.  If you continue in sin your temple becomes unclean and Christ leaves.  Your mind, soul, and body suffer.  By dishonoring your body, you sin against God.  Once you have sex outside of marriage, you limit your options for life.  The consequences of sin are great.

 

The Christian is united with God by faith in Jesus Christ and receives His Spirit, thus becoming a partaker in the Divine nature.  Why would you trade this for a momentary sensual satisfaction that has no future.  God purchased you with a great price.  Treat your body with respect.  Take good care of God’s handiwork.  Don’t pollute it.  Don’t deface God’s creation with graffiti.

 

6:18-20  Habitually keep running for your life!  Flee immorality.  Don’t look at it for a while and analyze it.  Don’t see how close you can come to sin without sinning.  Don’t reason out the plusses and minuses.  As soon as you see sin, run from it!  Don’t greet it.  Turn it off.  Walk out of the theater.

 

Immorality is a sin against your own body.  Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  As a Christian you are not the owner of your body, but the steward.  You are not your own master.  You are either a slave to sin or to God.  You can choose whom you will serve.  There is freedom in Christ when you follow the instruction manual God has given for abundant life.

 

You have been redeemed from the slavery of sin.  You have been bought with a great price and you remain bought still today.  When we allow God to call us His, He allows us to call Him ours.  We belong to God and He cares for us.

 

Our western world has been promoting ‘free’ love and sex for several decades now.  Has it made marriages any better?  Are people more satisfied?  Is free sex really free?

 

God designed a better plan.  God designed our bodies and declared them good.  Marriage is the boundary for sex.  If you are tempted by anything outside the boundary of marriage, run for your life.  Love is not the boundary that God gave us for sex.  In Proverbs 5 and 6:20ff, Solomon warns his son against adultery.  He knew what He was talking about.  He had a harem of 300 plus 700 wives.  He said it is very important to enjoy your wife.  Marriage is the boundary, not love and attraction.

 

Satan is using the world to distribute his lies.  One preacher I listened to said that 80% of teens who become pregnant will live below the poverty level.  In the 60’s there were only 5 known STD’s?  Today there are over 30 and 30% of those are incurable.

 

You need discipline and self-control before marriage and after marriage.  $1,500,000 was spent on a survey by several universities to find out who had the most satisfying sex life.  I don’t know all the categories in the study, but the ones most satisfied by far were monogamous married women.  God designed marriage for one man and one woman to find real satisfaction.

 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:21)

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  (James 4:7-8)

 

“Flee from immorality!”  It is not what it looks like.  It will mess you up.  You will become less of a person than God wants you to be.

 

If you have sinned against God, the good news is that God hears the cry of a repentant sinner.  He can transform your life so that all things become new.  If you really want to be blessed, follow God’s manual.  Follow the manufacturer’s specifications.  Go God’s way and you will find real satisfaction.  Keep your life serviced and maintained properly and you will get many miles out of it.  You can live a holy, clean life in this wicked world of smut and sin.

 

 

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