Summary: Dealing with disputes, disagreements and grievances - especially those within the church.
SERIES: PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY & HOLY CHURCH:
A Study in 1 Corinthians Applied To The Church Today
II. DEALING WITH OBVIOUS DISEASES
C.) COMPLICATIONS FROM MALPRACTICE
(1 Cor. 6:1-11)
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, March 1, 2009 AM
We’ve been exploring, through Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, what it means and takes to be a healthy and holy church. To help our understanding and application, we have been looking at the church through the prism of its analogy as the Body of Christ. Of course in our society, day and age, you can’t talk about medical prognosis and treatment without sooner or later dealing with the threat and even reality of malpractice complaints!
Where there are accusations of malpractice, there are of course lawyers. And, where there are lawyers, there are of course . . . jokes:
Ken Morley, a burly construction worker, watched in horror as the heavy beam fell from the crane and landed on a well-dressed passerby. Morley rushed to the victim, carefully removed the beam, and said, “Hang in there, fellow. Are you badly hurt?” “How should I know?” snapped the victim. “I’m a doctor not a lawyer.”
Divorce lawyer: “I have succeeded in making a settlement with your spouse that’s completely fair to both of you.”
Client: “Fair to both of us! I could have done that myself. Why do you think I hired a lawyer?”
Will Rogers used to quip, “The minute you read something you can’t understand, you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.”
In the mid-90s the top news story was about Theodore Kaczynski, who sought to end technological advances by terrorizing people with bombs in their mail. After being exposed and arrested, Kaczynski became something of a criminal celebrity and the lawyers all lined up to represent him. At this time, Jay Leno commented: “Lawyers are writing to the Unabomber. They want to represent him on book and movie deals, and officials are trying to put a stop to it. I say if lawyers are giving the Unabomber their return addresses, don’t ruin a good thing. Here’s a problem that can take care of itself.”
So, if we all know and laugh at the problems, corruption and ineptitude of the secular justice system, why is it that so many Christians seek to resolve their disputes through such a system rather than within the church?
This is a problem for us today, and it was a problem for the young Corinthian church. Let us then, learn and be the wiser together!
1.) THE BELIEVER’S COURTROOM (vv. 1-3)
A.) The Challenge (v. 1)
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, begins this section by once again challenging an error of immaturity on the part of the Corinthian Christians.
As before, he uses a specific example but focuses his admonition upon the whole church body.
The central issue Paul strongly raises is this: How dare any Christian trust in the judgments and discernments of an unbeliever – no matter the position or training – over that of one of our own brothers and sisters filled with the Holy Spirit?
Judged for what? Any civil dispute.
Judged by whom? Any believer.
Judged how? Any manner – formal or informal, openly or secretly, in the offender’s presence or behind the offender’s back! Yes, gossip IS a form of judging, however we may try to rationalize it.
B.) The Capability (vv 2-3)
Paul continues the challenge with an important and often forgotten reality.
Who, on this earth, is really most capable of judging a dispute?
The unrighteous who do NOT know, understand, value or hold commitment to God’s words of truth and righteousness? The unsaved who put man’s laws and reasoning above those of the Lord God Almighty – Creator of Heaven and Earth?
OR, the righteous who – filled with the Holy Spirit – DO know, understand, value & hold commitment to God’s words of truth and righteousness?
To put it another way, which is more important: one’s training, qualifications and appointment by men OR one’s training, qualifications and appointment in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit?
After all, does not God’s Scripture reveal that ALL of his redeemed people are to one day judge the world and even the angels?
(Dan. 7:22; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude v.6)
If that is our future, should we not now – in the power and knowledge of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word – be able to settle cases on earth between one another?
And, is it not true that to do otherwise is to declare to everyone that the world is more capable of understanding and judging truth and righteousness than God’s own redeemed and set-apart people?
Do or should the unrighteous who reject and rebel against God have authority over them – especially in areas of declaring what is true and just?