Me and All My Exes
1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have [a]judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [b]homosexuals, nor [c]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were [d]sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Believers will judge the world one day in the future. If they have this massive responsibility in the future, it is only logical that they can judge on a much smaller scale an issue between two believers.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for [a]a thousand years.
Since the local church makes judgments about things of this life, Paul asks, does it not appoint “those who are least esteemed by the church to judge”? This is biting sarcasm: “Isn’t there a single individual in the entire church who has enough wisdom or judgment to bring these offending parties together?”
But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Some went to the pagan legal system rather than to fellow believers. It was a scandalous testimony. Ex: Ugandan prison
Keep church family disputes within the family. Our root problem is that we demand our “rights,” but if we had our rights, we would be in hell by now. The correct approach is for Christians to submit to their fellow believers in trivial matters. When it comes to a criminal matter (child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse), then it must go to the court.
Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? Paul suggests that it is right at times to receive the wrong rather than go into a lawsuit. Why not allow yourselves to suffer personal loss rather than allowing the testimony of the church to undergo a spiritual loss?
Rather than assert your rights and stand upon your just claims, take the loss. Leave discipline in the hands of the Lord because “Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord.” Two wrongs do not make a right. We do not right a situation by wronging someone who wronged us. All this does is lower ourselves to their level.
1 Peter 2:20-21, 20For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
Worthy to judge those in the church- but you have to keep the plank out of your own eye. Your sin will hinder you from judging righteously. Your judgment will be skewed and unbalanced. We must judge those within the church and handle our own business. It is our job to keep the purity and sanctity of the church body. Otherwise, we can mar our witness. Paul continues,
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [b]homosexuals, nor [c]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul here lays down as in other letters to other churches, that grace does not mean that we can continue to live in sin. The Corinthian’s actions in suing one another is revealing a bigger and more severe issue. If we continue to live a life of sin, we will not inherit eternal life.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The spirit of his warning is the same as that of Jeremiah 7:4, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’”
Do not flatter yourselves that you can be secure on any other terms than those which God has determined and set forth as His standard. Just because the church has lowered their standard, does not mean that God has lowered His. It is the same as it has always been. God sets the rules for salvation, not man. Salvation is of God, not man-made.
Christians often fall prey to the temptation of underrating the seriousness of Scriptures such as these. We want to dismiss the warnings of God and deceive ourselves into believing that we can live as we want, on our terms and inherit eternal life. I believe it is the greatest lie of the enemy: “Did God really say that if you eat this, you shall surely die?”
I know many people who have this mindset. They have fallen into this same deception as Adam and Eve. They think a one time confession has sealed them for all eternity and so they return to the slop from which the Lord has brought them out of, and they justify their sin with grace. EX: RH
There can be no greater danger than that of deceiving ourselves. Christianity is not an outward service, but a spiritual life manifested by holy living. Do not be deceived.
Mark 13:5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
1 John 3:7-8 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Ephesians 5:6-7 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
Paul warns them that it is for these sins that “the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience,” and urges the Christians not to fall back, by being “partakers with them” both of their sin and their punishment, into the gross darkness out of which they had been saved.
The self deception of a verbal assent without any life change is the most dangerous of all.
We cannot operate in darkness and walk in the light at the same time.
Paul warns the church, do not be deceived — either by your vain thinking or false teachings that the Christian name and grace will save you, while you continue in the practice of your sins.
The Corinthians are warned against many gross sins, of which they had formerly been guilty. This is a great warning when we consider that they were addressed to a church that was puffed up by their being above others in wisdom and knowledge. A life of sin committed with intention, and not repented of, shuts one out of the kingdom of heaven. Do not be deceived. Humans are very much inclined to flatter themselves that they may live in sin, yet die in Christ, and go to heaven. But we cannot hope to sow to the flesh, and reap everlasting life. This is the message no one wants to hear.
The Jews understood that they were to be righteous before the Lord but they went about trying to establish their own righteousness. The Gentiles understood faith in Christ, but Paul has to continually tell the Gentile believers that they can no longer live in their sin and inherit eternal life.
Paul reminds them what a change the gospel and grace of God had made in them. The blood of Christ, and the washing of regeneration, can take away all guilt. Our justification is owed to the suffering and merit of Christ; our sanctification to the working of the Holy Spirit; but both go together. All who are made righteous in the sight of God, are made holy by the grace of God.
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
God does three things for us at the moment of salvation: wash, sanctify, and justify. These take place in the moment of salvation, and over the course of our life.
We are at once washed and at the same time in a process of washing- denotes a full cleansing and at the same time separation from our sins. Thus we are made clean from our past sins and separated from that old life of sin
We are at once sanctified and in a process of sanctification- means to be made holy, hallowed and purified. We are no longer a sinner (one who lives in his sin), but we are a saint of God, holy and set apart from the world unto the Master for His purpose
We are at once justified and in the process of justifcation- to render innocent, acquitted of all sin and made righteous
And such were some of you. The Corinthian church was full of exes– the ex-immoral, ex-extortioners, ex-adulterers. Not all were guilty of all of these things, but all were exes of a past life of sin before Christ. A proof of Christianity is its power to change lives. WE are ALL exes, and our mindset has to be this very truth.
I was all these things, but now I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. You will become what you believe. EX: watching Untold about the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow tells the story of the miracle of his birth. His parents continually told him he was a miracle and would do great things. What happens to a man that constantly hears this? He believes it.
Such were some of you. Ex-drug addicts, ex fornicaters, ex idolaters, ex coveters. This is why I do not like labels. My past does not define me. Do not let your past define you, not even your trauma. What you believe about yourself, you will live out. I am a new creation. Period.
Romans 6:6,11 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
11 Likewise you also, [a]reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Ephesians 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
There is supernatural, radiant power in Christianity. Christianity is about regeneration, not reformation. Regeneration is an act of God. It is new birth. We do not change our lives in the first instance by changing our character, but our character is changed by a change of life – a new birth. Conversion makes a visible difference in the lives of Christians. The gospel radically transforms the life of believers.
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
You cannot see the wind- but you see the effects of the wind. I remember my day at the altar and my eyes being opened. I went back and threw out worldly clothing, music and movies. I stopped partying and going to bars. I stopped hanging out with those who did such things. My friend’s bachelor party.
Nobody told me to do these things- I was changed and I could not deny the transformation that took place in my heart and my life.
Some of us have a sense of deep despair when we think of the evil forces dominating the world today. The gospel is the power to change lives radically in the face of overwhelming odds. Men cannot change themselves, but Christ can change them. The power of the gospel and the power of Christ is still the same today as it was for the NT apostles as they fought against the darkness of their days.
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Why would you go back to that which Christ redeemed and delivered you from?
We have everything we need in Him. If anything of my past still defines me; then you have to ask yourself why? I am an ex. I am washed and complete in HIM.