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1 Corinthians 6

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MARCH 8

SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 6

After a few days away from church and from writing these devotions, it is good to be back and it is good to be getting back into a routine.  I appreciate our other pastors taking on the devotion responsibility for the last few days.  They did a remarkable job that will undoubtedly force me to “up my game”.

It is easy to shake our heads in unbelief as we read through this letter to the Corinthian church.  We often find ourselves wondering how one of the early churches that wasn’t that far removed from the founding of the first church could have been such a mess.  But a mess it was.

Churches can be messy.  On one hand, they should be.  Anytime a church is doing what she should be doing and new believers are flooding into the church along with the not-yet-redeemed, there are always going to be challenges (opportunities).  On the other hand, churches should not be messy because the supposedly mature Christians in the church are creating the problems.  That is the case at the Corinthian church.  It is the case at a lot of churches today.

As he has done throughout this letter, Paul continues to go right at the problem.  He charges headlong into the issues, states truth, and then calls people out to get them to repent and redo things the way God has always intended.

The first issue that Paul addresses here is the fact that church folks were taking other church folks to court.  They were suing each other.  His point is since Christ followers will have incredible authority and remarkable responsibility (e.g. judging the world and judging angels), they surely should be able to resolved disputes among themselves.

It is important to understand that this is not a rebuke of the court system.  In Romans 13, we find where government, including courts, are ordained by God.  Paul himself appealed to the court of Caesar.  In other words, there is a real need for a good judicial system particularly for criminal cases but even for very difficult civil matters.  But Christ followers should not be hauling each other into court over every little trivial matter.  They should be able to resolve their differences either among themselves or with the help of the church.  Never doubt that when Christians take Christians to court, especially those who attend the same church, the world laughs and mocks and is convinced that we really are just a bunch of hypocrites.

From there Paul plunges headlong into another difficult matter.  In verses 9-10, he creates quite a laundry list of the former lifestyles of some of the folks at the Corinthian church.  Paul makes two powerful statements.  One, those who practice those kinds of lifestyles will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  In other words, people who choose to live any of those kinds of behaviors are not going to heaven.  Never doubt the redeemed are changed people.  Not perfect but changed.  Christ followers are capable of committing almost any sin.  But Christ followers cannot and will not live a lifestyle of sin.  When we are saved, there is always going to be undeniable evidence of our salvation.

The second powerful statement is found in verse 11.  Paul says, “Such were some of you”.  He was writing to people who once lived those kinds of lives.  But they had been washed, set apart, and justified in the name of Jesus!  That friends, changes everything!

Because we have been changed, we should flee all kinds of immorality.  In particular, Paul ends this chapter talking about sexual immorality.  We are changed when we are saved.  Even our ownership changes.  Paul ends this chapter by telling us that we are no long our own.  But we have been bought with a price.  So we should glorify God in the way we choose to live.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 Corinthians 5

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7

BY: RON MAXFIELD

SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 5

One of the most difficult areas of living by the Word of God is how to react to those who live outside the behavioral standards of God’s Word both in and outside the Church fellowship. Chapter 5 of I Corinthians presents how we deal with those inside and outside the Church.

We are given a case of incest in this chapter that the Apostle Paul describes as, “a kind that even pagans do not tolerate.” In this world of “anything goes” we face the dilemma of appearing intolerant by standing for the Biblical standards of morality.  We must understand that Corinth was the most morally corrupt city in the Roman Empire. They are the prototype of today’s culture and just like the early Corinthian Church, we have to deal with the reality of being in this world but not of it.

Paul makes it clear that the Corinthian believers should not in any way appear to condone the behavior of the sexually immoral man in that church. They were urged to put him out of their fellowship so that he would be subject to the destructive power of Satan without restraint. It is important to note that Paul in verse 5, does not remove hope of restoration from him as he emphasizes that by the destruction of his “flesh”, his spirit may be saved in eternity. To dis-fellowship is not to remove his salvation.

The Christian is not encouraged to be rude or abusive to one in such a sinful state but to make it clear that that behavior is not acceptable for a “brother “in the faith and that he, like the rest of us, must live within Biblical standards. This is not to give Christians the right to criticize or isolate others within the Church for a difference of opinion. The issue is sin, not personal taste.

  Paul also states that we cannot expect people outside the Family of God to live by Biblical standards.  This chapter emboldens us to maintain a healthy, loving association with a lost and dying world where they are. Not as we expect them to be. Today’s world has redefined the term “Tolerance.” Webster defines tolerance as, ”a lack of opposition for beliefs or practices different from our own.” We are expected today to outwardly show approval for things that openly defy Biblical morality.

That was the line that the Corinthian Church had crossed. Paul mentions in verse 2 that they were “proud” of the way they had allowed the sin issue to go ignored.  As Christians we cannot isolate non believers.   We would never have an inroad to share the Gospel if we distance ourselves from them.  But, we will never have credibility in the eyes of a lost world if we make a stand for Biblical principles yet appear to approve or excuse sin within our ranks.

As you ponder this chapter that so mirrors our life and times today, think of ways that you may have judged unbelievers in the past and know that that judgment belongs to God and God alone. Repent and see them as Christ sees them, people who need love and encouragement and pray for opportunities to speak the truth of the Gospel to them.

Also, pray for that brother or sister who has embraced sinful behavior that is destructive to them and the body of Christ. You may have to let them go for a season and avoid making yourself an enabler to them.  But, let the Lord’s discipline run its full course in the choices they make so that they may know His restorative power in due time.

Posted by Ron Maxfield with

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