Summary: This is the seventh of a series of sermons based on scriptures where a rhetorical question beginning with the phrase "Do you not know. . ." is asked. This sermon deals with the rhetorical question asked in 1 Corinthians 6:2. "do you not know that the sai
Series: Do You Not Know?
Sermon: God’s People Will Judge
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:2-8.
How do we handle grievances against one another in the church? That is the issue at hand in these verses from 1 Corinthians. In first century Corinth, as well as 21st century America, sometimes it’s handled just plain wrong. The truth of the matter is that we are sinners, we make mistakes, we do things wrong sometimes. And sometimes, when we mess up, we injure others in the process. How do we make things right that we’ve messed up? How do we make things right when we’ve been wronged? Fortunately, God’s word has some very clear teaching about what we should and should not do when we’ve been wronged.
Let me add this disclaimer. Tonight, my lesson is restricted to dealings between two people who are Christians. I am not providing legal advice or advice on disputes involving non-Christians. I am offering scriptural counsel to people who are Christians who may be involved in a dispute with a fellow Christian.
What not to do.
We should not; we must not take our Christian Brother or Sister to court. In our country, we have one of the finest legal systems in the world. In fact, one of the primary purposes of government is to provide justice to its citizens. In this country we actually have two court systems. We have a criminal court system. The purpose of the criminal court is to provide justice for its citizens by punishing law breakers. I do not believe that Paul is referring to this type of court case. If someone has committed a crime, we as citizens of this country have an obligation to appear in court and testify to the truth, even if that truth might lead to the conviction of a Brother or Sister in Christ. We also have a civil court system. The purpose of the civil court is to provide justice for its citizens by providing some sort of compensation or relief to those who have been wronged by another. This, I believe, is exactly what Paul was referring to in the passage read earlier. We live in a very litigious society. Lawyers on TV are actively soliciting clients who will:
•Sue their boss because they were injured at work. Sometimes this is justified. But the commercials villainize every employer as a scumbag, who’s only concern is how to exploit his employees. Example: Company doctor, “Back to work!” Nurse, “But Doctor, he’s dead!” Doctor, “Light duty.”
•Sue their doctor because they were given bad medical care.
•Sue the manufacturer of some product that was either dangerous or failed to live up to its promises. Warning on Superman costume: “WARNING: Cape does not enable wearer to fly.” Disclaimer on car commercial: “Fictionalization. Car not suitable for underwater use.”
It would be better if we could settle our grievances peacefully, and acknowledge our wrongs and attempt to right them. But, that is not always possible. Sometimes, we just don’t see things the same way.
We should not settle our disputes in TV substitutes for our civil courts. Today we’ve got: The People’s Court, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Mathis, Texas Justice, and a host of others. People acting like idiots before judges…or at least they used to be before launching their television careers…judges who are not much more dignified than the plaintiff or defendant.
Is it really worth it to win our case before a judge of no account and lose our case before the judge of all the world? Paul tells the Corinthians, “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you.”
What to do.
When you are in the wrong, try to settle things Brother to Brother. Jesus had this advice (Matthew 5:21-25). 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.