Summary: This sermon deals with the matter of lawsuits between believers in a very practical way.
The Church in a Messy World
Take them to Church rather than Court
May 28, 2017
This morning we are going to turn our attention to the first 8 verses of 1st Corinthians 6.
Let’s read them. READ versus 1 thru 8
BTW, I want you to know I am leaning heavily in to Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries for his insights. Peacemakers is a great organization.
Ken Sande, founder of Peacemaker Ministries states:
“America has become the most litigious society on the face of the earth. In the last 2 decades, civil caseloads have increased 33%, which is five times faster than the increase in our population. As a result, new case filings in state courts now exceed 100 million per year. This amounts to one court case for every two adults in the United States!”
Ken Sande, Peacemaker Ministries
Guess when he said this? He actually wrote these words in 1995! The “lawsuit train” has been picking up steam and is now running full out in 2017.
Taking people to court has actually become a national pastime, like watching baseball.
I went to Wikipedia Wednesday and counted 46, yes 46, “court-type” television shows currently aired in the United States and that’s not counting ones in Spanish!
Judge Judy tops the list with 10.9 viewers EACH day.
She currently makes 47 million a year for her show…the highest paid personality on T.V. By comparison Barbara Walters made approximately 12 million as a host on The View in 2014.
Balif- 1 Million per year and he does nothing other than say, “All rise” etc. He’s sort of like the Vanna White of court T.V.
America is lawsuit happy.
It’s sad, but this same mentality is even seen among many Christians today, which brings us to our text, the city of Corinth and the church Paul planted there.
The problem of lawsuits among Christians is what the Apostle Paul is concerned about in 1st Corinthians 6.
Eugene Peterson paraphrases verse one in this manner…
“And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians?”
1 Corinthians 6:1 The Message
As I’ve already stated many times, this letter is very practical and issue-oriented. It has 2017 written all over it! Who says the Bible isn’t relevant! And the problem of lawsuits is only going to get worse as we see the final days approaching. In 2nd Timothy 3 Paul lists a litany of problems that we plague us as we see the last days approaching. One is that people will become unappeasable. They’d rather fight than be at peace.
The Background of Corinth’s Legal System
In order to understand what is going on in this passage it’s helpful to know how normal it was to be involved in the legal system in Corinth. Law-courts were in fact one of their primary amusements…better than going to the movies. It was reality T.V. in ultra-high definition!
Everyone was more a less a lawyer and spent a good deal of their time either listening to or deciding law cases. If a matter could not be settled between two people, they could end up before a jury with several hundred to some three thousand jurors! (Source MacArthur and William Barclay)
Like American’s the Greeks were famous for their love of dragging each other to court.
Let me give you
Today’s sermon in one sentence: If you have an unresolved legal dispute with another Christian take them to church, rather than court.
This is the point Paul is driving at in this passage. The Corinthian believers were guilty of carrying over the selfish attitudes and practices of their culture into their new lives as Christians. God through the Apostle Paul is not only stating that it’s wrong to sue another believer in court, but unnecessary as well!
Before we look at why it’s wrong, I must highlight an…
Important Distinction: Personal lawsuits versus breaking the law.
The phrase “a grievance against” in verse one, translates three Greek words (a noun, a verb, and a preposition) that were commonly used to indicate a personal lawsuit.
At the end of verse 2 Paul calls them “trivial cases” which also indicates personal lawsuits. Paul calls them “trivial” which means “small or insignificant” which is what the vast majority of lawsuits are, once pride is set to the side. They may not seem trivial to you, but they are in light of eternity.
So Paul is talking about lawsuits rather than breaking the law. When a law is broken, such as the molestation of minors, that person should be reported to the police. The issue is jurisdiction. Jurisdictional boundaries may overlap. For example, someone accused of embezzlement has broken both God’s laws and man’s. The church must help the person guilty of this crime, but he or she must also be brought before the courts.