Summary: Is it worth making our private issues public if it means leaving behind a bad testimony for the church?

“Win At Any Cost?”

I Corinthians 6:1-11


Read Text – I Corinthians 6:1-11

Illustration – “2002 MLB All-Star Game Blunder”

In less then a month major league baseball is going to have their mid-summer classic (the All-Star game). The all-star game is full of great moments:

• 1989 – Bo Jackson leads off the game with a monstrous home run (that thing is probably still in the air)

• 1933 – the first all star game with a man on Babe Ruth hits a home run which is the first home run in All-star game history. It couldn’t have been written any better.

• 1946 – after taking a year off due to WWII – they come back and Ted Williams goes 4-4 with 2 homers and 5 RBI’s.

Then there is the game from 2002. It had some great moments but it won’t be remembered for any of those. Instead of being remembered as a classic it will be remembered as a casualty.

The game was close throughout and after the 11th inning the game was in a tie, 7-7. The problem was that both managers in trying to include every player had used every player and they had no more pitchers to pitch so they had to call it a tie. I can still remember Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, trying to explain his actions in the post-game press conference and at the same time as that was going on fans were still in the stadium throwing cups on the field and shouting “re-fund”, “let them play”, and “Bud must go.”

The problem didn’t end there. Sports radio talked about it for weeks, fans complained about it for months, and the commissioner set up a new rule that the league that wins the game will be awarded home field advantage in the World Series. What they wanted was a winner. They demanded a winner.

That sounds a lot like the attitude that the church at Corinth had.

It’s obvious that:

• The golden rule had become a little tainted

• They had no idea what Paul was talking about later in this book when he said: Love is patient, kind, keeps no record of wrongs, never fails

• They had by-passed what Jesus said in Matthew 5:40 – “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”

Instead they had a “win at any cost” attitude which for them meant “if it means going to court the papers are in the mail.” As a result of this attitude there are three tragedies that take place. Or in verse 4 he says it would be better to pick out someone of little account in the church to give a verdict then to go public with it.

#1 Tragedy – It gives a poor testimony to lost people

I Cor. 6:6

“…One brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!”

Illustration – “Leaving Behind a Bad Testimony”

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the left behind series of books and tapes by Tim LaHaye that have become very popular recently. The books have sold in the millions.

Michael Smith, a writer for wrote, “yet the most successful "Christian" movie in history may end up being the highest-profile case of Christian suing Christian ever.”

Supposedly there was some issues on how much would be spent on the movie. Tim LaHaye wanted the movie to really go big time and there wasn’t as much spent on the movie by the producers as he wanted. What really caught my attention in Michael Smith’s article though was this quote by LaHaye’s lawyer. "This lawsuit is not about money," he said. "Dr. LaHaye is in a place in his life where money is not the issue. They wanted to provide a really strong Christian message."

In other words, LaHaye thought that the more money spent on the movie, the better it would be and the stronger message would come across. I certainly understand his thinking. You always want to put out a good product when it comes to book and tapes. However, I can’t get past the irony in what the lawyer says, “we wanted to provide a really strong Christian message.”

So in the meantime they are going to put out a bad testimony.

It’s what Paul said in I Timothy 4:16

“Watch your life and doctrine closely.”

This verse isn’t so much about having the correct doctrines, even though I think that is important. This verse is about having what you say and what you do match up.

That is what made the life and ministry of Jesus so powerful.


Matthew 5:39 – If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

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Dean Johnson

commented on Oct 20, 2009

Good sermon. Would have liked a little more exposition of the text. Effective illustrations.

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