Sunday, January 18, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 10 – Lawsuits Among Believers

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 10 – Lawsuits Among Believers
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
We are looking at Paul's letters in order, first looking at Romans, and now I Corinthians.

In Paul's letter to the church congregation in Corinth, he has first addressed their issues over whom to follow, or who is the head of the church. Paul makes it completely clear; it is Christ Jesus, and no one else.

He explains that the teaching and wisdom of God comes from the Holy Spirit, and teachers and preachers are "laborers", whom build on the only true foundation, which is that of Jesus Christ crucified.

Last week we read Paul's appeal and warning to the church because of sexual immorality. This week we read about lawsuits against fellow Christians.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 6:1-11
 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 wronged? 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 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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.


                   I.            DISPUTES WITH OTHER BELIEVERS
a.      Disputes among believers should be handled inside the church.
                                                                         i.      Paul's letter says, "...any of you..." meaning believers in the Corinthian church.

                                                                      ii.      Jewish law has the Sanhedrin (10 commandments and expounded by man with so many laws Jesus rebuked them for the yoke they put on people that they could not keep themselves.)
1.      Laws apply to Jews

                                                                   iii.      Islamic law has the Shariah (Based on the five pillars of Islam in the Quran, and al-mu'amalat)
1.      Laws apply to everyone
a.      steal, get foot or hand cut off
b.     if a married man or woman commit adultery, 100 lashes then stoning to death. (however, I have only heard of women being punished this way...never aman)
c.      If a muslim converts to any other religion, penalty is death.
d.     Zakat (Arabic: زكاة) is one of the five most important aspects of Islam. Zakat means giving charity to the poor. Generally, a Muslim is expected to give zakat as long as they are able. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to help those in need and eliminate inequality.
                                                                                                                                                 i.      Zakat does differ from Christian scripture about helping the poor, Christians help those in need, because they need, not to change the social status and eliminate so called "inequality"...

                                                                     iv.      Christian law has the Ecclesiastical court (Based on teachings of Christ)
1.      Laws apply to Christians


b.     Paul asks, why would you take these matters to an ungodly court for their judgment?
                                                                         i.      The Lord's people will judge the world
1.      This refers to the millennial and eternal reigns of Jesus Christ and His saints

                                                                      ii.      And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial things?
1.      a rebuke to the church in Corinth

2.      They had problems with pride, and would not let even the trivial of offenses go...


c.      I say this to shame you
                                                                         i.      Meaning in the Greek, I shouldn't have to tell you this.

                                                                      ii.       Paul asks, are you telling me that there is no one wise enough among you to judge a dispute between believers?

1.      Pure sarcasm once again from Paul from his frustration for having to deal once more with the seemingly obvious.

                                                                   iii.      But instead, one believer takes another to a secular court, to be judged by the ungodly whose ways are scorned by the church, and your trivial grievances are shown before the unbelievers.

1.      One more excuse non-believers can use against believing.

2.      How are they any different?

3.      In some cases, they are worse than the unbelievers, Paul pointed this out with some of their sexual immorality that even the pagans found disturbing.

                                                                     iv.      These things should be obvious, if one was reading their Bible.

1.      Remember, the church in Corinth had issues with pride, and were becoming overly "spiritual", straying from the word.



               II.            WE SHOULD BE CAPABLE TO JUDGE TRIVIAL THINGS
a.      If we are called by the Lord to judge the world, why can we not judge ourselves and trivial matters?
                                                                         i.      Pride.

                                                                      ii.      This is why Paul states, if you cannot do this, you are defeated already.

                                                                   iii.      Their pride was so great, they could not let even the trivial go without demanding retribution.


b.     Paul even gives examples of how they could have acted as believers to avoid the situation.
                                                                         i.      Why not just be wronged or cheated?
1.      Why should your behavior be determined by others wrongful actions?

2.      Why MUST you receive compensation, apology, retribution, satisfaction for the wrongs done to you?

a.      You do not have a problem with others doing you wrong all the time; you have a problem with pride.

                                                                      ii.      But instead, you cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.


c.      How were they cheating and doing wrong?
                                                                         i.      By going to secular, ungodly courts for rulings against other believers in front of the non-Christian world.

                                                                      ii.      This is one of the poorest examples we can be to the dark world.

                                                                   iii.      Not a light, as we are called, just another shadow of darkness, behaving like the rest of the world.


d.     When a believer does wrong, they need to fix it
                                                                         i.      Disputes between believers, especially trivial ones, should never have to come before the Elders of the church for resolution.

                                                                      ii.      Scripture tells the one who is doing wrong what they are to do!
1.      Jesus says in Matthew 5:23-26 "23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

                                                                   iii.      If you have wronged someone, make it right...keep it out of secular court, and right the wrongs you have done, or God will NOT honor, or accept your offerings.



            III.            IF NOT, THEN WE ARE COMPLETELY DEFEATED ALREADY
a.      If you cannot let go of your pride and forgive the offense, or if you cannot see the wrong you have done and make it right...
                                                                         i.      You are defeated already, and God does not want any offerings from you.

                                                                      ii.      You are labeled by scripture here, a "wrongdoer"


b.     Verse 9 warns wrongdoers...
                                                                         i.      "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?"
1.      Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

                                                                      ii.      If you have done any of these things, you are a "wrongdoer"

                                                                   iii.      If any of these things were done against you, and you ignore Paul, and take these people to secular courts for reward, you too are a prideful wrongdoer.

                                                                     iv.      and you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.


c.      And that is what some of you were...
                                                                         i.      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.

                                                                      ii.      So start acting like it.


CONCLUSION

If someone has wronged you, and it is trivial, let it go so that you can be free of wrong in the sight of God.

Do not let your pride make you believe everything has to be made right when it comes to you, else you may fall into the prideful trap of thinking you are better, or higher than others.

If you have wronged someone, if you have been greedy, immoral, committed adultery, a drunk, a slanderer, or perhaps a swindler or thief, make it right, else you too will be labeled a wrongdoer in the sight of God.

We must be competent to judge ourselves, as well as matters of dispute within the church, if we are to judge the world, and angels (those who have fallen).




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