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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Sunday, March 26 2017

Contributor: Alex Alajiki


Last week, we continued our study of the book of Corinthians and examined 1 Cor.5:1-13.
Paul was alarmed by the case of immorality in the Church, such that even unbelievers will be too ashamed to be involved. This was the case of a man in the Church living in sin with his father’s wife and the Church leadership did nothing about it. The admonition to the Church was that sin must be confronted and dealt with appropriately, irrespective of the positions of the people involved.

Today, we are focusing on how Christian should handle disagreements among themselves. The practice of the brethren in Corinth was to take themselves to court before unbelievers. Paul was strongly against such ungodly practice in the Church.
1) Paul’s indictment: 1 Corin.6:1
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

Paul was distressed and blood might be rushing to his face as he writes, “How dare you go to law before the unrighteous when you have a dispute with a fellow-believer and not go before the church?” There are several things that might have made Paul to be greatly disturbed by the conducts of the Corinthians’ Church;
a) Disputes are erupting between believers in the church
b) Believers were turning to the secular courts to settle their disputes
c) Unrighteous (that is, unbelieving) judges are being asked to arbitrate between Christians
d) Disputes are being settled in courts before the curious eyes of unbelieving spectators
e) Disputes were not taken to the church for settlement, where they belong.
We should recall what happened when Paul was dragged before the local Judge by his own Jewish brethren when he started preaching in Corinth (Acts 18:12-16); the Judge threw out the case against Paul, and told them to sort the matter out among themselves because Paul did not commit any crime.

The people who opposed Paul then were not Christians. However, you might expect the Christians in Corinth to learn something from their experience. But in fact, the Christians were trying to get the support of judges whenever they disagreed with each other.

2) The saints will judge the world & angels: 1 Corin.6:2-3

“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?"

It is a modern idea to separate the work of judges and rulers. In former times, ‘to judge’ meant ‘to have legal authority’. So rulers acted as judges, and judges acted as rulers.

The angels are the powerful spirits that God created to serve him. But some angels were not loyal to God. These evil angels control the evil forces that now rule this world (Ephesians 6:12).

a) Saints Judging the world; Rev.20:4, Matt.19:28 “And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”

b) Saint Judging angels(demons); 2 Pet.2:4, Jude 6; “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment”
Jude 6 “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day”

Paul assumes they do know this, and their actions are completely contradictory to this theology. If these saints are going to reign with Christ and participate in the judgment of the world, how in the world can these Corinthians turn now to the unsaved for judgment? If the righteous will judge the unrighteous at the second coming, how can the Corinthian Christians now be looking to a heathen to judge the righteous?, why is it that they are not now able to judge in the trivial matters of this life?

3) Arguments between Christians and how to deal with them: 1 Corin.6:4-6

If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!

Paul, in the light of our Lord’s teaching in Matt.18:15-20 instructed that if a brother has a dispute or an offense with another brother, this should first be addressed personally and privately, one to one. If this does not bring about reconciliation and harmony, then one or two witnesses must be brought along. If this does not result in repentance and reconciliation, then the matter should be taken to the whole church. If the belligerent party does not heed the admonition of the whole church, the wayward saint must be expelled from the fellowship of the church. 1 Cor.2:14-16 Christians Judge with discernment.

4) The right attitude when Christians disagree: 1 Corin.6:7-8

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!

For the competitive Corinthians, life is all about winning and losing. Lawsuits are certainly about winning and losing. Paul makes a most troubling announcement; any Corinthian Christian who takes another believer to court has already lost. Going to court with a fellow-believer is a no-win situation. The better way is to take the loss. Imagine Paul telling us that it is better to be a victim than a victor. Pride prevent many from accepting this view. Following Jesus is a daily journey with your cross (1Pet.2:18-25
We can’t retaliate, but return good for evil (Matt.5:43-48). Seek others’ interest first (Phil.2:1-8).

5) Ungodly behaviours and the new creature: 1 Corin.6:9-11

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

The list of ungodly behaviours here is to show that people who choose to live in this manner care only about themselves. People with these behaviours will not make heaven. Salvation is the process of turning from darkness to light, from death to life, from sin to righteousness. Salvation means that we should never consider continuing on in sin, even though God’s grace is greater than all our sin.(Rom.6:1).

When we were saved, we were completely saved, severed from our past identity and given a new identity. We were washed, cleansed of our sin and our guilt. We were sanctified, set apart from sin unto holiness. We were justified, legally declared righteous through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to us by faith. All of this transpired in the name of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor.5:17).

Paul rebukes the Corinthian saints for failing (or refusing) to resolve their disputes with one another within the church. Paul wants his readers to see the folly of taking spiritual matters before unbelievers, who can have no grasp of the real issues. Paul knows, as the Corinthians should, that the legal system deals with the protection of men’s rights and the seeking of one’s self-interest, while the gospel is about the surrender of one’s rights and the seeking of the best interests of others.

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