Read sermon notes Welcome to Calvary Crossroads

Document Sample
Read sermon notes Welcome to Calvary Crossroads Powered By Docstoc
					  Why We’re Immature: DEMANDING OUR OWN WAY—1 Corinthians 6:1-11
    When I graduated from Bible College in 1986 I was married with one child and we
were planning for another. Going straight into the ministry right then was not
feasible for us so I enrolled in a paralegal course at UCLA Extension so I could at least
get a better-paying job than driving forklift for Kwikset in Anaheim.
    If you had a bachelor‟s degree and placed high enough on the entrance exam they
accepted you into the program. God was gracious to me. The class was mostly
comprised of legal secretaries who wanted bigger paychecks and people who hoped
to some day go on to law school.
    We spent a little time on criminal law but almost all of our time was spent on civil
law. I.e., we learned everything there was to know about the litigation process:
what constitutes a cause of action; how a lawsuit is filed; what is a tort and what is a
breach of contract; what were the statutes of limitation; how jurisdiction and venue
were determined; how a summons is served; what deadlines existed; the discovery
process; rules of evidence; deposing witnesses; various pretrial motions; settlement
conferences; summary judgments; affidavits; trial timetables and procedures as well
as post trial motions. It took a year to complete this course and I was „this close‟ to
taking a job with a mid-town law firm before Tish and I realized that if we didn‟t
leave Los Angeles soon after our second child was born, we might incur such living
expenses as to not be able to leave for some time, and I might never enter the
ministry that God called me to. So I never actually worked as a paralegal.
    But I share all that to say that I got a glimpse at an entirely different world in 1987. I
learned how people use the law to get what they want. Some people use the law to get
what they need and because there’s so much injustice in the world, it’s a good thing we
have legal remedies for them. But in so many cases people use the law to get what they
want, not what they need.
    I‟ll never forget the very first class. A trial lawyer in a pinstriped suit stood before
us and uttered an old adage that will stick with me forever: “He who goes to law
takes the wolf by the tail.” He then elaborated on that theme. He warned us to tread
very lightly with the law and the legal system. He cited, in case after case, situations
that involved people who got more or less than they bargained for when they sued
someone or else didn‟t take getting sued very seriously. You could hear a pin drop.
    If you’ve ever been involved in a lawsuit then you know firsthand that court is not for
the faint at heart. There are no guarantees. There’s no telling how a judge or a jury may
rule, and thousands of dollars can be spent and ultimately wasted trying to effect an
outcome that never happens and/or leaves one with a bitter taste in one’s mouth. It’s as
though God doesn’t mind that it’s that way.
    Listen to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about letting things reach the
point that judges, courts and lawyers get involved. It goes right along with that
instructor’s warning. *** Matt 5:25- Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is
taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you
over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown
into prison. *** [26] I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last
penny.
    They didn’t have bankruptcy in those days. You didn’t get to keep your house. You
went to a debtor’s prison if you couldn’t pay your debts. You stayed there until you
worked off your debt or found people to raise money for you. But Jesus was saying that
everyone needed to chill when it came to how far they thought they wanted to go in a
legal dispute.
    Dale Foreman is a local attorney that is running a radio spot on AM-560, 900, and
1340, that almost sounds like he‟s turning away business. Essentially he says that
during tough times more lawsuits are filed because money is tighter and everyone
wants to make sure they get what they have coming to them. But instead Foreman
says people should try to work things out away from the courts, even using unheard
of things like kindness and forgiveness.
    I know an attorney that goes to the same gym I do and this wk I asked him how this
economic downturn has impacted him. He said he is a criminal defense attorney so he
doesn’t handle civil matters like divorce, child custody, or personal injury. But he did
say that every attorney, including him, has job security right now because when money
gets scarce people in general start cutting corners and bending rules and taking things that
don’t belong to them, either criminally or by tort or breach of contract. He also said
alcohol and drug usage go up when times are tough, too, and people who become
addicted will sink to almost any level to get money to buy drugs..
     So what we’re about to read in 1 Corinthians 6 is as relevant today as it was in 55
A.D. The Corinthian Christians were mostly Greeks, not Jews. Jews for centuries had
learned to handle their disputes using the Jewish elders in the synagogues. But the Greek
Gentiles had grown up trusting the city council, the local judge, to handle all their
disputes.
    So when two Christians had a beef, rather than settle it inside the church using the
elders’ wisdom and judgment, they aired their issues at the city judgment seat where
unbelievers were treated to an ugly spectacle of Christians behaving badly.
    Paul said this was simply unacceptable. It was immature; it was unspiritual. So in the
middle of a discussion on sexual sin in which they were making Jesus look weak in front
of the watching world, Paul departs for just a moment to talk about how battling their
financial and domestic disputes out in district court also makes Jesus look weak. Then he
would return to the issue of sexual sin. But the question we’re asking this morning that 1
Cor 6 provides the answer for is this:
    What difference does it make if you’re a Christian and another Christian injures
you in a way that is legally actionable? Let me ask it another way: What does it matter
to you that the person who wrecks your car, or scalds you with hot coffee, or has a
swimming pool in which your child drowns, or doesn’t shovel his sidewalk and you slip
and break your hip on it, or owns a business that didn’t build a safe enough deck, or owns
a tree next door that falls on your house—what difference does it make if that person is
also a fellow believer? You could sue him or her or them. Or, you could do nothing. Or,
you could try to get compensation but through some other way besides court.
    Let’s see how God’s word answers that by reading 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 together:
    *** 1 Corinthians 6:1- If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it
before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? *** [2] Do you not know
that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not
competent to judge trivial cases? *** [3] Do you not know that we will judge angels?
How much more the things of this life! *** [4] Therefore, if you have disputes about such
matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church. *** [5] I say this to
shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute
between believers? *** [6] But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and
this in front of unbelievers!
    *** [7] The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been
completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
*** [8] Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
    *** [9] Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male
prostitutes nor homosexual offenders *** [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards
nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. *** [11] And that is what
some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
    What difference does it make if you’re a Christian, and another Christian
injures you in a way that is legally actionable? Well, first of all,
I. *** MATURE CHRISTIANS SOLVE THEIR DISPUTES AMONG
       THEMSELVES AS A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD THAT CHRIST
       EQUIPS THEM TO BE A LOVING FELLOWSHIP (1-6).
   A. Again, Paul confronts the whole church for being unspiritual, not just the 2
      litigators. He gets to them momentarily, but first PAUL TELLS THE
      CHURCH THAT RATHER THAN LOOK TO UNSAVED JUDGES TO
      SOLVE THEIR CONFLICTS, THEY SHOULD SETTLE SUCH CASES
      AMONG THEMSELVES.
       1. He was incredulous that they were okay with airing their dirty laundry in
           a civil court where, as far as he knew, there were few, if any, Christians.
           *** [1] If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the
           ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
       2. If the embarrassment to Christ wasn’t enough, it was that they were
           nowhere near as wise as they should have been. They stood to inhabit the
           Kingdom of God some day where they would rule and reign with Christ—as
           co-heirs—and yet they displayed the spiritual aptitude of kindergarteners. ***
           [2] Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to
           judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? *** [3] Do you
           not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
       3. He said when it came to being equipped to handle matters of offense,
           forgiveness, judgment and reconciliation, even the least capable person in
           the church by the world’s standards should possess the skill to mediate
           and arbitrate matters like dollars and cents. *** [4] Therefore, if you have
           disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in
           the church. *** [5] I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody
           among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? *** [6] But
           instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of
           unbelievers!
   A. PAUL SAID RATHER THAN LOOK TO UNSAVED JUDGES TO SOLVE
       YOUR CONFLICTS, SETTLE THESE KINDS OF CASES AMONG
       YOURSELVES.
   B. TODAY THERE ARE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES ALL OVER THE
       COUNTRY THAT OFFER CHURCHES HELP IN MEDIATION and
       ARBITRATION. Their aim is to help Christians settle their disputes using the
       very things Christ equipped them with. What kinds of things?
           Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace-makers,” Matt 5:9. Paul said: *** Rom
       12:18- If is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
       Jesus also said: *** Matt 5:40- And if someone wants to sue you and take your
       tunic, let him have your cloak as well. *** [41] If someone forces you to go one
       mile, go with him 2 miles. Peter wrote: *** 1 Pet 2:23- When they hurled their
       insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead,
       he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. *** [24] He himself bore our sins
       in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…
       Paul wrote: *** Eph 4:32- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving
       each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. And finally, he penned these
       words: *** Col 3:12- Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
       clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
       *** [13] Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
       against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
            What difference does it make if you’re a Christian, and another Christian
        offends you in a way that is legally actionable?
 I. *** MATURE CHRISTIANS SOLVE THEIR DISPUTES AMONG THEMSELVES
        AS A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD THAT CHRIST EQUIPS THEM TO BE
        A LOVING FELLOWSHIP. On the other hand,
II. *** CHRISTIANS WHO AIR THEIR DISPUTES OUTSIDE THE BODY FAIL
        AT THE MOST BASIC LEVEL OF THEIR FAITH (7-8). They’re not just
        making the body of Christ look bad. They’re failing at being the body—a living,
        functioning body of Christ.
   A. PAUL SAID THE ROOT OF THE CORINTHIANS’ DECISION TO
      LITIGATE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH RATHER THAN WORK THINGS
      OUT INTERNALLY WAS THEIR CARNAL, UNSPIRITUAL ATTITUDE:
      THEY DEMANDED THEIR OWN WAY NO MATTER WHAT THE
      COST. *** [7] The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have
      been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be
      cheated?
          They were takers instead of givers. They were fighters rather than
      peacemakers. They were greedy rather than generous. They were fraudulent
      rather than honest and sincere. *** [8] Instead, you yourselves cheat and do
      wrong, and you do this to your brothers. Nothing’s changed after 20 centuries.
   B. After surgery, Charles Utley of San Diego discovered a swollen bump on his
      backside. It didn't subside as he healed. Utley soon discovered that his
      surgeon had left a sponge behind while sewing him up.
          Rachel Zimmerman, in The Wall Street Journal says, "Even when doctors
      make mistakes this egregious, they customarily refuse to admit it, lest they
      encourage patients to sue." It‟s called "defend and deny."
          But Utley's doctor did something astonishing. "I was responsible," the
      surgeon told him. "I apologize for this." Utley decided not to sue, explaining
      that his doctor had "honored me as a human being." Other doctors and
      hospitals, The Journal reports, are also discovering that "an authentically
      offered apology" does wonders heading off lawsuits. Patients, they‟re finding,
can accept the fact that doctors are fallible. What infuriates them—and drives
them to seek revenge—is when doctors say, "What sponge? I don't remember
any sponge." i

    In November 2003, a sale on DVD players at a Florida Wal-Mart created a
rush of shoppers that apparently resulted in a woman being trampled.
    Patricia Van Lester had her eye on a $29 DVD player, but when the siren
blared at 6 a.m. announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-yr-
old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers. "She got pushed
down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants," said Van Lester's
sister. "I told them, 'Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!'"
    Paramedics arrived and found the victim on top of a DVD player and
surrounded by seemingly indifferent shoppers. Van Lester was flown to a
medical center for treatment.
    Wal-Mart officials called to apologize and offered to put a DVD player on
hold for Van Lester. Spokesperson Karen Burk commented, "We are very
disappointed this happened. We want her to come back as a shopper."
    Later it was discovered that the injured woman had a history of similar
claims. Van Lester had collected thousands of dollars from several previous
alleged incidents of injury. ii

    Meanwhile (from the Denver Post), Taylor Ostergaard and Lindsey Zellitti
wanted to bless their neighbors. On July 31, 2004, the 2 teenaged girls
decided to bake cookies for their neighbors rather than attend a school dance.
    After baking the cookies, the girls set out late that evening. They left the
fresh-baked goods only at houses with the lights on. It was 10:30 p.m. when
they pounded on the door of one home. The 49-yr-old woman inside didn‟t
answer the door, but she did experience an anxiety attack over the late-night
visit. After a trip to the emergency room the next day, the woman decided to
sue the girls. And she won.
    The judge awarded the plaintiff $900 to cover the emergency room visit.
The woman said she wanted the girls to learn a lesson, because they should
not have been out late at night running from door to door. “Something bad
could have happened to them,” she said.
    After the story was published in the Denver Post, hundreds of readers
were outraged that the girls were sued for dropping off a plate of cookies and
a paper heart for their neighbors. Thousands of dollars poured in to help the
girls pay their fine. Their story was reported on national news programs, and
the girls appeared on the Saturday edition of Good Morning America. As a
result of the publicity, a fund has been set up for the girls' college expenses.
Interested donors even had the option of contributing to the “Never
Forgotten” Scholarship Fund for Columbine High School students.
    The girls were rewarded many times over for their act of kindness. The
saying “No good deed goes unpunished” is not ultimately true. Even if our
attempts to bless others are rejected and unrewarded in this life, God will one
day bless us. iii
    We’re not surprised that there are people outside the body who lose sight of
what’s most important in life. But when people who belong to the body cannot
see the bigger picture, then we are all the weaker for it.
    What difference does it make if you’re a Christian, and another Christian
offends you in a way that is legally actionable?
  I. *** MATURE CHRISTIANS SOLVE THEIR DISPUTES AMONG THEMSELVES
         AS A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD THAT CHRIST EQUIPS THEM TO BE
         A LOVING FELLOWSHIP. On the other hand,
 II. *** CHRISTIANS WHO AIR THEIR DISPUTES OUTSIDE THE BODY FAIL AT
         THE MOST BASIC LEVEL OF THEIR FAITH. Therefore,
III. *** THEREFORE BELIEVERS MUST CHOOSE TO MAKE THE MATURE
         CHOICE NOW FOR A GREATER INHERITANCE RATHER THAN THE
         SELFISH CHOICE NOW FOR A LESSER ONE (9-11).
   A. PAUL SAID THEIR SWINDLING and DEFRAUDING OF EACH OTHER
      WAS NO LESS OFFENSIVE TO GOD THAN ANY OF THE OTHER SINS
      GOD HAD WASHED THEM OF. Furthermore the quality of their afterlives
      with God would be negatively affected by the selfish choices they made in this
      life: *** [9] Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
      Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor
      male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders *** [10] nor thieves nor the greedy
      nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. ***
      [11] And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were
      sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the
      Spirit of our God.
   B. Many Christians assume that homosexuals, idolaters, fornicators, drunks and
      adulterers will all wind up in hell because they think inheriting the kingdom
      of God is the same as going to heaven when we die, but it’s not. Heaven is a
      gift; ruling and reigning is a reward that is given based on how faithful we
      are.
           And if inheriting the kingdom were the same thing as going to heaven then
      many Christians should be very concerned because Paul said being greedy or
      slanderous or dishonest in business would land them in the same boat as the
      fornicators, drunks and homosexuals.
           We could even expand that list. Listen to Paul’s list of inheritance
      disqualifying behaviors in *** Galatians 5:19- The acts of the sinful nature are
      obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; *** [20] idolatry and
      witchcraft [okay, we’re down with those, right?]; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits
      of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions *** [21] and envy; drunkenness,
      orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will
      not inherit the kingdom of God. Is Paul saying we can’t go to heaven if we
      commit these sins, even after Jesus has washed us and cleansed us (Eph 5:3-5 has
      a more condensed list but says the same thing)?
           No, in all 3 cases the context shows that the idea is not condemnation and hell
      but disqualification from some of the privileges that await those who surrender
      this life here and now to God for a greater life with Him in glory.

CONCLUSION:
Paul is simply saying that suing each other rather than showing grace is a sign that we are
not mature spiritual champions but rather immature unspiritual also-rans. Shall we pray?
i
  William Falk, The Week (5-28-04)
ii
    "Woman Knocked Over by Trampling Shoppers," CNN.com (11-29-03); "Trampled Shopper Is Injury
Prone," CBSnews.com (12-5-03)
iii
     Electa Draper, Denver Post (2-4-05 and 2-6-05)

				
DOCUMENT INFO