Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 27
I CORINTHIANS 4:3 – 6:11 – PART 2
Now back to where we left off in the last lesson, and we’re still dealing with the problems that were besieging the Corinthian Church. They were believers, they were saved, and we’re going to meet them in glory some day, but they had problems. As I mentioned a couple of lessons ago, Paul is addressing them in response to a letter they had written to him asking how they were supposed to deal with these things, and so consequently by Holy Spirit inspiration Paul is just unloading on them. And of course, the reason is the things that were a problem in Corinth in A.D. 60 are the same problems we have today. The human race doesn’t change, and so we still have some of the same problems in our Churches and personal lives as the Corinthians did. Now we’ll start with verse 9 and in these next few verses are some rather shocking statements.
I Corinthians 5:9,10
“I wrote unto you in an epistle (and evidently Paul wrote more than just these two letters to the Corinthians) not to company with fornicators:” (or immoral people.) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”
Do you know what that’s saying? If you were to go through a whole week of life, and never rub elbows with someone who is immoral, or is in sort of a gross sin, you’d have to leave this world. Because it’s impossible, and here we are in Oklahoma, and we like to think that we’re in The Bible belt, but really we’re no different than any place else. And those of you who work in large office complexes, or in a large production facilities, and you’re rubbing elbows with the cross-section of our society then you are rubbing elbows with every one of these classes of people. There are the immoral, the covetous, the wicked, I mean they are the norm no matter where we live. So when Paul says not to have fellowship with immoral people, he said I’m not talking about the immoral people out there in the work place, but rather I’m talking about those who are immoral and members of your church. Just look at verse 10 again.
I Corinthians 5:10,11
“Yet not altogether with the fornicators (or immoral) of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; (for if you’re not going to rub elbows with them then you must leave this world.) for then must ye needs go out of the world. (But now the flip side) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, (don’t have fellowship) if any man that is called a brother (claims to be a believer) be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
So with a fellow believer such as this you are not even to sit down and eat. Now I know this is strong language, but what was the purpose? To make that person feel that he is being set aside and left out. That he is no longer part of the Christian company. And what’s the purpose? To bring him to his senses. Because after all, if a person has been genuinely saved even though he goes out into sin, and if The Lord hasn’t yet taken him out, as we saw in the last lesson, way down deep this person is miserable. He can’t be happy. Don’t tell me that a sinning believer can be happy, they can’t be because they know that they are doing wrong, and The Lord is dealing with them. And then if fellow believers began to shun them it’s really going to come home. So this is the purpose of it all. It isn’t to purposely be nasty or anything like that, but God has got a reason, that if you have a person that is an acquaintance believer and is acting like this, then ostracize him or her for a while, but let them know why. Because the Scripture has admonished us not to have fellowship with those kind of people who claim to be believers, and we’re talking only about believers here. Now verse 12:
I Corinthians 5:12
“For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?…”
In other words, what’s Paul saying? I have no authority to judge the lost world. Here we need to go back to Romans 8:6. We have to understand that this isn’t just one little quirk of Scripture. This is a continuing doctrine throughout Paul letters on how to behave as a believer. I mean this is what it all boils down to, this is practical everyday living for you and I as believers.
“For to be carnally (or fleshly minded outside of Christ, outside of a Salvation experience) minded is death; (spiritual death. They will someday be eternally separated from God if they never step into Salvation) but to be spiritually minded (that is to have Salvation) is life and peace.”
As we saw back in Romans 5 that to be justified by faith is to have the peace of God. Now verse 7.
“Because the carnal mind (the old sinful nature of lost people) is enmity (an enemy) against God: for it (the carnal mind) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
And in that light you’ve heard me say it more than once, and you’ll hear me say it again if The Lord tarries, “You cannot legislate Christian morality.” You just can’t do it. You can’t force the unbelieving world to to live a Christian life. Forget it, because they’re going to go their own way, they’re going to do their own thing, and there’s nothing we can do about it except pray for them I guess. Remember the lost are enemies of God, and are not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can they be. Now verse 8:
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Even if a person is good, if they have not experienced Salvation they cannot please God. Now coming back to I Corinthians we find Paul saying that he can’t have anything to do with the unsaved world. Those immoral Corinthians I have nothing to do with them except preach them The Gospel of Salvation, that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again. And that’s all we can do. All we can do is sow the seed, and we can’t force anything, we can’t push it down their throat, because it’s something that only God can do. Now looking at verse 12 again.
I Corinthians 5:12
“For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? (Now Paul comes back to the believing community) do not ye judge them that are within?”
Now remember we stressed back in Romans that we’re not to judge, and for the most part that’s true. But when it comes to discipline within the believing community, and we are totally aware as the Corinthians were in Chapter 5 of a gross immoral sin, are we just to turn the other way, and say, “I can’t judge!” No way. We are to take the bull by the horns, and we are to point out to that person that they are living in sin. Let me show you a verse in Galatians in Chapter 6, and as I said when I started teaching these letters of Paul, that it was a lot harder to keep people interested in practical Christian living, and doctrine than it is when I teach the Book of Genesis or Revelation. But this is so practical, this is what we need today regardless what happens down the road prophetically.
“Brethren, (Paul is speaking to believers) if a man (or woman) be overtaken in a fault, (in other words a rather gross sin) ye which are spiritual, (in the Church leadership) restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
But you see the average attitude of the Church today when someone falls into a gross sin is they make light of it, they joke about it. Hey have you heard – But that should never be the mindset of the believer. If we hear of a Christian who has fallen into sin, it should just break our heart. We should be burdened and pray for that person, and as he instructs here if you’re in a place of Church authority or leadership you should go to that person and do all that you can to restore them into fellowship. You don’t condemn them, and say so be it. Then Paul says to do it in the spirit of meekness, and not with pride – like, this could never happen to me. Oh yes it could. Because he says next “lest thou also be tempted.” and fall into the same trap. None of us are totally immune, and never forget that. And then verse 2:
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Even these people who are having a time of living a good upright Christian life, bear their burdens, help them to overcome their weakness. Be an encouragement to them, because there’s no need to be a Christian failure, there’s no need to constantly live in sin, these people can overcome it. Now back to I Corinthians once again.
I Corinthians 5:13
“But them that are without (The unsaved) God judgeth. (That’s His prerogative, and never ours. But coming back to the Church environment Paul says) Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Now that is having dealt with them, after trying to get them to recognize their sin, and confess it, and get victory over it, and if they still refuse, and will not, then Paul says to put them aside until they come to their senses. Now we come into Chapter 6, and yet another problem. I mean it’s almost discouraging in a way that this little church in Corinth of born again people brought out of paganism, had turned their backs on idols, and yet they were plagued with problems. But do you know why they’re in this Book? Because we have some of the same problems today. And so this becomes tremendous lesson material for everyone of us, for every local congregation.
I Corinthians 6:1
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, (a fellow believer) go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”
In other words what’s happening? Hey these Corinthians have gotten into a real wrangle with one of their fellow Church members. And instead of taking this matter before the local church body, or maybe to the pastor, and church leaders, the elders, deacons, or what ever you want to call them, where were they going? To the lawyers – to the courts. I was reading a quote I believe in one of Charles Stanley’s book last night, that someone had come to him with a statement, “That whenever divorce comes into the picture, who are the only ones that really profit?” The lawyers. Everyone else gets hurt, everyone else comes into a place of devastation, but the lawyers walk away smiling. And Paul is saying here not to go to the world’s lawyers and to the courts with your problems. Keep them if possible in the confines of the believers. Now of course there comes a point when you may have to go to the world’s judicial system, and I dealt with that back in the Book of Romans. But when it came to mundane things among believers, Paul says, “Settle it within the confines of the local church.” Now verse 2:
I Corinthians 6:2a
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?…”
What do you suppose that’s talking about? The Millennium! This is where I get the idea that yes we’re going to have places of responsibility when The Lord sets up His Kingdom. And we’re going to have responsibility according to the faithfulness you’ve been in this sojourn here on the earth. And yes we’re going to reign and rule with Christ just like it says in the Book of Romans. But here Paul sort of puts the frosting on the cake, and says, “Now look, get practiced up.” That’s what he’s saying. Learn how to deal with problems with people because the day is coming when you will be doing it constantly. You’re going to be ruling over the world, under Christ of course. And so we’re going to have these places of responsibility, and here Paul says, “My land, why can’t you deal with some of these problems within the local Church if one day you’re going to rule the world?” Pretty practical isn’t it? Now continuing on with verse 2:
I Corinthians 6:2b
“…and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”
Now do you know what Paul is saying? The world out there has none of the wisdom that God has imparted to every believer. You and I are unique in that regard, God has imparted wisdom to the believer just by virtue of your being a saved person. You have more common horse sense than the greatest educated philosopher out there in the world, and Paul is driving that home. “Listen you have a wisdom that the world doesn’t have. Now use it.” Now verse 3:
I Corinthians 6:3
“Know ye not that we shall judge (judge here refers back to government or ruling) angels? (Angels are even going to be beneath us. What a position we have waiting for us someday when we reign and rule with Christ, and we’re even going to be above the host of the angels as we reign and rule with Christ on that earthly Kingdom for that 1000 year millennium rule. Then if you have that kind of future) how much more things that pertain to this life?” It’s really something isn’t it? Hey believers we’re somebody when God is in it, absolutely we are. Now verse 4:
I Corinthians 6:4
“If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.”
That flies in the face, doesn’t it? Ordinarily who do we depend on to be the leaders of the church? Well the ones who are most looked up to, and maybe those who have a little more of the world’s goods than the rest of us. But what does the Scripture say? “Hey use the person at the bottom of the totem pole, those that aren’t esteemed as much as the rest, and verse 5:
I Corinthians 6:5
“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? (Now we know that they didn’t have a huge church, but listen they had a pretty good cross section of the society of Corinth who had become believers. But it appears no one was willing to use the wisdom that God had given them.) no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?”
Paul says, “They’re there if you will just give them the opportunity.” But Paul says, “You don’t do that.” Where are they going with their matters? They’re going out into the city judges into the courts.
I Corinthians 6:6
“But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.”
How many times do we read accounts of this kind of doing in our daily paper? And it just becomes a shame to Christianity in general. So you see things haven’t changed. It was no different in Corinth as it is in America today. Now verse 7:
I Corinthians 6:7,8
“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, (Paul is condemning them for their short coming) because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.”
Now in the next verse Paul is going to pick up a new theme, and we’ll finish it today or we’ll pick it up again in our next lesson. And Paul will be dealing with the whole concept of Christian marriage. And it’s important to remember that Corinth was a city of pagans, and most generally in the pagan world there is no real sanctity in marriage. The marriage was just simply a place to have children, but so far as any fidelity, any integrity of the marriage relationship, there was none. There was a story in one of the major news magazines within the past year about the nation of Thailand, I believe it was. And of the rampant prostitution in that country. It was so rampant that the average Thai husband thought nothing of going to a house of prostitution, and this reporter was interviewing one of these young wives. And the question was, “Doesn’t it bother you when your husband goes to one of these places?” And the wife said, “No, because it’s a custom. Mama put up with it, Grandma put up with it, and so on.
Well the city of Corinth was no different, and these people had been saved from that kind of background. But just because they were saved from it didn’t mean that it still didn’t have that pull. Do you see that? So now then beginning with verse 9, Paul is going all the way through Chapter 7, and this is a Chapter I wish I could just leap over because I’m not a marriage counselor by any stretch of the imagination, but again it’s such plain language that we’re going to go ahead and deal with it. So beginning with verse 9 we find:
I Corinthians 6:9a
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?…”
Now you know we have groups that more or less in their doctrines maintain that somehow or other everybody is going to go to Heaven. That there is no such things as an eternal doom for the lost. Well that’s not what The Book says. The Book says even from the pen of this Apostle, “That the unrighteous are not going to go to Heaven.” They will go to the other place, hell. All right now continuing on with verse 9:
I Corinthians 6:9b,10
“…Be not deceived: (and here Paul lists them again. This old Book is right up front, it doesn’t pull any punches, It tells it like it is, and what does it say?) neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Now that’s what The Book says, it’s plain as day, and now verse 11.
I Corinthians 6:11a
“And such were (past tense) some of you: (now that tells you exactly what some of the Corinthians believers had been. It tells you exactly where they had come from. They had been in that whole category of wickedness, at least some of them had.) but ye are washed,…”
From here I wanted to go to John’s Gospel, and pick up this same theme about being washed in John Chapter 13, but we’ll pick it up next time. Paul says that you are washed, what does that mean? You’re clean even these Corinthians who had come out of an abject immoral life style, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them had some of the sexually transmitted diseases that we have even today. But they’re saved, they’re washed, they’re Heaven-bound. So looking at verse 11 again:
I Corinthians 6:11
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.”
Now it’s the same way for people today. It doesn’t matter how vile the background, when we’ve been justified, then we’re “washed.”