Lawsuits Among Believers – Corinth

1 Corinthians 6. 1-11 (audio sermon)

Believer fights believer? What’s that? Paul says that when there are lawsuits among believers they are defeated already. Christians should not go before unbelieving judges with internal problems. Rather we should follow Christ’s instructions on reconciling brothers. Click the arrow to play –

Speakers notes follow –

Lawsuits Among Believers?

1 Corinthians 6. 1-11

Politicians use media for gain – promote self – put down opposition

Insult in washroom – apologize in newspaper – William Beverbrook & Edward Heath

Corinthian context – wealthy in Corinth – use publicity for social & political clout – no TV, Newspapers – public gatherings – court rulings

The world was in the church – bro took bro to court – divisions

Paul shocked (1) ‘do you dare to take (a dispute) before ungodly’ (unbelieving judges) – (2) trivial cases – not criminal issues – just hitting back at someone you don’t like

‘Do you not know’ (2-3) knowledgeable Corinthians! – Lord’s people will judge – world & angels

‘Do you ask for a ruling’ (4) ‘from those whose way of life is scorned in the church’ local judges corrupt – took bribes – considered status in imposing fines

‘Say this to shame you (5) is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough’ Corinthians?

‘Instead one brother takes another to court – and this in front of unbelievers!’ (6) – Kenya – church problems – pastor fights pastor – media captures it! Shameful! Church problems not for world’s consumption – they turn it against God

‘The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you are defeated already’ (7) – forget outreach – witness is finished!

‘Why not rather be wronged – cheated?’ (7) Good question! – not saying be a doormat – where is the sacrificial love of Christ?

Man (Bill) who forgave his grandmother’s murderer (Paula) – sacrificial love

‘Instead you yourselves cheat – your brothers’ (8) – probably bribing judges

‘Wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God’ (9) Neither list – sexually immoral (men who had sex with men) – idolaters – swindlers – slanderers – you were those – but washed – don’t return

So two things emerge – (1) Corinthians to quit habit of litigation for gain – (2) Unbelieving courts no place for church disputes

How do we apply this?

We dont have litigation problems to this degree – occasionally a bro takes a bro to court – If small issue I question the need – were church options exhausted?

Follow Jesus in Mt 18. 18-17 for disputes – “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”

– Just the two of you – one or two witnesses – church leaders – disfellowship

Real criminals to be reported – murder, rape, big theft, fraud – even believers – locally elected judges used court as political arena

When the church is slow to convert (Corinth) or is converted by the world (State churches) – Christians behave like unbelievers, even involve them

Paul – Corinth in AD 50 – New York (Alicia Keys)

Roman colony 100 yrs – previously elite Greek city – destroyed 146 BC – rebuilt 44 BC- (map)

Initially soldiers only – trade grew – wealthy Greeks settled on slope of 545m Acrocorinth (pic)

Wealth evident in church – court litigation attitude – not associating with poor at Lord’s Supper – funds for Jerusalem poor – pride in wisdom & knowledge – appreciation of Apollos oratory ability

Culture – Istmian games famous – Many gods 16 temples – Aphrodite & Poseidon prominent

Two ports with joining canal – Rome rebuild Corinth to secure surrounding sea

Church started while preaching in synagogue – ruler (Crispus) saved – then another (Sosthenes) division – met separate (Ac 18) Paul there 18 months initially – later Apollos continued – popular

‘Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works’ (Ro 16.23)

Corinth source of much grief for Paul – personal attacks twice – individual then false apostles (2 Corinthians) – Clement (95 AD) indicates disharmony continued after Paul

The Real World – poster – divisions, immorality, pride, disorder – yet gifted, hearing, generous – we are a real church too

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