Summary: There are so many choices in life. How can I know the choices I make will honor God? And why should I do that anyway?
December 9, 2001
1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 12All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
While I was out scavenging for artifacts for the Tour of Bethlehem this week, I went to a local pharmacy to get frankincense and Myrrh – the real stuff!
You talk about authenticity; we’ve got it this week in Bethlehem. Actually the pharmacist took a whole lot longer than you would expect. He took a lot of time just looking up some of the information about those spices. We learned a lot more than we needed to know.
These were the gifts the wise men gave to baby Jesus. And why did they bring them? They brought them to honor him. And that is what our message is about in today’s text…choices that honor God.
This passage is Paul’s fatherly advice to a young congregation of folks who had kind of gotten off the mark. They started well, and God had blessed. They had exhibited all the wonderful spiritual gifts, and they had experienced a great deal of power from on high; many wondrous and miraculous things had happened. But, like most of us, when we “get full of ourselves” they had fallen off the straight and narrow.
The congregation had really gotten off the mark somewhere along the line, and Paul wrote this letter to get them back on track. That’s a corrective for us today as well.
You might say, Preacher, it’s Christmas. Can’t you preach on happier themes? Folks, I can think of nothing happier than if all of us were making choices that honor God.
This chapter is all about Christians and their behavior, especially towards one another. Paul had heard that in Corinth Christians were taking other believers to the courts. He said it ought not to be that way.
Someone has estimated there are over a million lawyers in this country. I have a friend who has had a great many dealings with lawyers – almost all of them bad! He said to me one time: Russell, what would you call a thousand lawyers buried in the deepest part of the ocean? Answer: A good start! Well, there are a lot of jokes like that.