Things I Think
1. “When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!”(1 Corinthians 6:1–8 ESV)
I am now going to simply teach the Bible simply.
In verse one of the text in front of us, Paul basically says “How dare you do such a thing”?
He reminds the church of their identity and position…that they are positionally righteous people who will be given eschatological authority to judge the world and angels, yet they are going into unrighteous courts to settle their disputes.
He says that this should be a cause for them to be ashamed.
He then asks the real question…is there no one among you wise enough to settle a family dispute?
I say a family dispute because that’s how Paul frames it…within the church we are adopted children of the same Father, spiritual family.
The unspoken implication is that there should be those in that body who are able to mediate such matters within the family, without the aid of worldly counsel.
The fact that there wasn’t anyone in Corinth who could or would speaks volumes about the spiritual state of that church.
Paul further says that the fact that they are taking such actions is already a defeat for them…that it’s better to lose whatever was at stake than to bring this before the public courts.
This statement was nothing more than an echo of Jesus;
““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”(Matthew 5:38–42 ESV)
Why was this such a big issue then and now?
Because when brother sues brother (or father sues sons) it is nothing less than a public denial of the Gospel.
We have been given the ministry of reconciliation through the Gospel… reconciliation of men with men and men with God.
If we cannot effect reconciliation in our own family through the Gospel without unrighteous judges, what do we really have to offer the world?
The actions of those choosing to use the secular courts to settle grievances and the inactions of those in the church that were unwilling or unable to settle these matters biblically both brought shame to the church and caused shame to be associated with the name of Christ.
So it was then, so it is today.
Make your own application.
2. Social media can bring change, but not reformation, to the church. True reformation requires a shared doctrine and practice. I’ll take change for now…
3. One of the interesting possibilities of the information age is that changes in institutions can be initiated from the bottom up instead of the top down.
4.The twin idols of the Western church…pastoral authority and ecclesiastical independence. The scriptures limit one and contradict the other…
5. If faith were anything but a supernatural gift from God I would be an agnostic at best.
6. The most fascinating thing about teaching through 1 Corinthians to me is that the root problem in all the messes that Paul addresses is that the people of God are not aware of or living in their new identity in Christ. We have the same problem today…and I think part of it is due to people not being taught who they are because it could possibly threaten existing authority structures.
7. The Gospel according to Spiderman is that “with great power comes great responsibility”. I’m sick and tired of organizations that want to wield one without embracing the other…
8. My joy meter is pretty low these days…forgive me if I’m not real edifying.
9. I thank God that my church is a consistent blessing to me…I pray the same for each of you.
10. Here’s the edification…despite all the Corinthian buffoonery, Paul still reminded them that they were “in Christ”. Despite ours, we are too.