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1 Corinthians 6





 

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I think the more appropriate title for this book isn't Corinthians, but rather crazy church! You know, these things had to be hard on Paul because this was one of the places he stayed the longest outside Ephesus. He was there for a year and a half, and His extended stay in the city made it painful for him to hear of the problems that had begun to plague the church there. Paul himself had established the church. He had endured much ridicule to preach the gospel. As these two letters make clear, the Corinthian church struggled in Paul's absence.


As we have already seen, Paul is addressing some specific issues or problems inside the Corinthians church, which are bizarre. Now these issues can help us avoid those particular things, but they can also help us with principles that can help direct our life as believers.

We see two major issues discussed in this chapter—lawsuits among believers and sexual immorality.


Let's first look at the issues of lawsuits inside the church. This issue feels like it comes out of the left field because, in chapter 5, he deals with sexual immortality in the church and shifts gears to this topic and back to sexuality immortality. It's possible there was legal preceding stemming from the issue in Chapter 5, but either way, Paul is very clear on his position on lawsuits in the church. In Chapter 5, Paul explains what to do with open immorality in the church, but in Chapter 6, he teaches how the church should handle more minor issues between believers.


Let me quickly give you three reasons why we shouldn’t sue other believers.


  1. If the judge or jury is not, Christians they are not likely to be sensitive to Christian values and principles.

Paul is saying as believers; we have the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, so why should we turn to those who lack God's wisdom as our judge?

  1. The basis for going to court is often revenge; as a believer, this can never be our motive.

Paul actually rebukes the man that was wronged as well as the one who wronged him. First, it is better to accept the wrong or be cheated by a fellow believer and forgive the debt as described in Matthew 18 than pursue it in a legal arena outside the church. Paul called this man to do something hard: to give up what he deserved for the higher good of God and His kingdom. But the wronged man should not think Paul was asking him to take a loss. No one who accepts wrong for the sake of God's glory will be a loser. Secondly, There is no place for dishonest dealing by Christians; how much less place is there for dishonest dealing among Christians? Many people have rejected the things of God and the church because of dishonesty and cheating among Christians. Paul placed this man with the list of people who would not inherit the kingdom. It was a strong rebuke and a sign they weren't a true believer.


3. Lawsuits make the church look bad, causing unbelievers to focus on the problems rather than its purpose.


Instead of using the wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit, which was available to them as believers, they were suing each other right in front of unbelievers. What kind of witness was this for the church? To take their private disputes into the public and pagan domain gave ammunition to those who opposed the church and did not make the church seem like an inviting place. How much better for the believers to live "above" such matters, dealing with them in their own congregation with the help of respected leaders, so that nothing would hinder their witness for Christ in the world?

Now let's look at the second issue here.


Paul, in the previous chapter and in this chapter, brought up the issue of the sexual conduct of Christians. He uses it as a warning to the believers who were wronging others, saying that what you are doing is a sin, just like these examples of people living a life contrary to the word of God.

What you need to understand as you read through this letter is that Corinth was home to the temple of Diana and Apollo, who both employed temple prostitutes to would perform sexual acts with worshippers as a form of worship to that false God. Sexuality was rampant throughout this city. The list Paul gives is not some imaginary list, but rather a list of people's past… He says you were these things, but you have been washed, sanctified, and justified, so once again, another great reminder that if we have a past with these issues, we too can find freedom, forgiveness, and salvation.

Look at that list:

"Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT

Now I do not want to be seen as someone who continues to jump on this issue, but I also know that there is a cultural battle going on about this issue, which is very clearly spoken of in scripture. Here we see two descriptions listed for homosexuality, and both of them are actually a bit graphic in nature, describing their role during homosexual activity being that of passive or active.

Now Paul lists out sexual sins from immortality to adultery to homosexuality. I want to say plainly today that sexual sins are sin no matter where you mentally place them on the spectrum. (sexual fantasy, pornography, any sex outside of marriage between a husband and a wife, and homosexuality) It's all sin!

So as we transition to verse 12, it says, "Everything is permissible for me" - but not everything is beneficial. "everything is permissible for me" - but I will not be mastered by anything.


Just before this verse, Paul made that powerful statement in vs. 11

"Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

1 Corinthians 6:11 NLT


And "That's what some of you were" Did you catch the word "WERE"? You are no longer those things he listed out there. As a believer, you have found freedom from your past life and past sins, no matter what they were.

Some of the Corinthian believers were abusing that freedom and saying the very thing Paul quoted here, "All things are permissible for me." This would most likely be a phrase that Paul would have used when he taught about a believer's freedom, but they were abusing that statement, and Paul brings correction and understanding to it here. Saying just because you can doesn't mean you should; don't let anything master you again. Remember Romans 6, the power of sin, the control of anything other than the spirit, is gone, so why would we return to bondage? These are great principles for us to use when looking at issues not explicitly covered in scripture. Is it beneficial, and will I end up losing control of it?


Sin wants to take you further than you ever wanted to go and keep you longer than you ever intended to stay.


Paul goes on once again, as we heard in chapter 6 of Romans that we are united with Christ and warns us about uniting ourselves through sex outside of a husband and wife relationship.

Paul's warning is strong in vs. 18, "Flee from sexual immorality" Notice it doesn't say, stay and fight. No, it says, run, avoid, FLEE from it.

Then he ends the chapter with the why.

"Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. Sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NLT

Let me encourage you again with Paul's words. "This thing is what you were" You were washed, sanctified, and justified" Know, just like God forgave and changed the Corinthian believers, God can do the same for you even if your struggles were the same.


Also, let me challenge you to fight hard against the culture in this area of your life. Sexuality is such a massive part of our world it can feel like it is everywhere, and you can't avoid it, but consider that Paul wrote these very words to a culture and a city that was founded on the very premise of sex and sexuality, and still told them to flee from sexuality immorality.

God has called us to be different from our world, so be careful where you allow your thoughts, eyes, and relationships to go. Let us be a church Like Paul is calling the Corinthian church to be in this area to remember we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and have been bought with a price.

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dellapietro
dellapietro
Jul 13, 2023

A short chapter with a powerful message that is relevant today and for all time. What a great way to think about one’s self, “I do not belong to myself but to God, and that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Sin normally happen when I made it about me and what I want or deserve. ”Thank you for your amazing insight & understanding of the word. I have much to learn and what better way then through scripture.

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