Summary: Paul shared rules for godly living with the Corinthians that relate well for us today as well.
1. According to an Associated Press report from May 17, 2001 student led prayer was going to be allowed at the Washington Community High School graduation in 2001 until the ACLU & senior valedictorian, Natasha Appenheimer, filed a law suit against the district. They won an injunction that banned any prayer at the event. It was the first time in the school’s 80 year history that a prayer wouldn’t be offered at a school graduation. The move was so unpopular that the audience booed the valedictorian when she accepted her diploma. Another student, Ryan Brown, one of the speakers for the evening paused during his speech to pray silently. Then, according to The Peoria Journal Star newspaper, at the end of his silent prayer he feigned a sneeze & the audience in mass responded with “God bless you.”
2. This certainly isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last when the legal system has made controversial decisions when it comes to faith. America has increas-ingly become a country that sues over nearly anything. Some of the stories you may have probably heard about foolish lawsuits aren’t true, but many others are. We are a nation that loves to sue one another.
Cell #1— I Corinthians 6 is found on page 873 of the Bible in your pew.
3. Would anyone like to guess how many lawyers there are in the United States? We have a little more than 1.4 million attorneys in this country. Consider this:
• Americans spend more on civil litigation than any other industrialized country in the world according to a study in the Economic Journal.
• We spend twice as much on litigation as on new automobiles.
• Over 16 million civil suits were filed in state courts in 2002.
• Nearly 80% of physicians admit they have ordered more tests than they believed medically necessary because they were afraid they might get sued if they don’t.
• Just over 75% of Americans say they believe the fear of being sued dis-courages people from doing normal activities.
• But perhaps most telling is the fact that 87% of Americans believe the justice system is used to start legal action with the intention of seeing just how far their lawsuit can go.
• Only 16% trust the legal system to defend them against frivolous lawsuits.
4. What could any of this possibly have to do with this morning’s message? Sim-ple, lawsuits aren’t new. A common problem that was going on at the Corinthian church was that members of that immature church family were suing one another and Paul was deeply troubled by it. Paul has several warnings he wants to pass along to them and to us. If you have found your way to 1 Corinthians 6 let’s read the passage together, let’s start with verse 1 and we’ll read the remainder of the chapter.
New Living Translation,
1 When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit & ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!
2 Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves?
3 Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.
4 If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church?
5 I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues?
6 But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers!
7 Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice & leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated?
8 Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong & cheat even your fellow believers.
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,
10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ & by the Spirit of our God.
12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.