Title: Relationships Inside the Church: Judge One Another
Text: 1 Corinthians 5&6
Introduction: Ps 119.18 –
In April 2017, Two women came to church – one was late (which seemed to be her modus operandi) the other was early (as too, was her MO). The late lady was a busy lady. She seemed to be successful in the eyes of the world – a County Commissioner and employed at the local state university. The other lady was punctual, hard-working, and of retired age.
There was a rift between the two women who both had responsibility within the church. One area they worked together was that they both prepared the Lord’s Supper. If I understand the situation, their church would have different folks prepare the Lord’s Supper – I suppose like a rotating service.
On this particular Sunday, the younger woman was late as usual. The older lady had grown tired of the younger woman’s inability to correct her tardiness. She felt the younger woman was arrogant and felt entitled – I suppose to her success. So the elderly woman put together the Lord’s supper and retreated to the pastor’s office. She wanted to let him know it was ready.
In comes the younger woman and skirmish breaks – the pastor steps in, but it is too late. The older lady is injured. The police are called. The younger woman is arrested.
I want to talk to you this morning about relationships within the church.
There are many verses in the Bible that are popular: John 3.16, Jeremiah 33.3; Romans 3.23; 6.23; Gal 2.20; etc. Mt 7.1 is quite popular, though many don’t know the reference. They quote it quite often but have no idea where it is in the bible. Turn there with me and read; 7.6; So, what does this mean? What are “holy” & “pearls” in the story? Paul clarifies for us in the following 2 chapters that we don’t judge lost people – God will do that. We judge each other! I’ll come back to that…let that stew for a moment.
The Focus of a Healthy Church: Blessings, Unity, and Leadership. Today we move to relationships, an important part of unity. Have you heard the slogan: Unity at any cost! It really is a bad idea. We see it in many mainline denominations today, compromising Biblical Truths for peace within their denominations. Here in Corinthians, Paul calls for unity, but that unity must be based on Scripture. There are core biblical beliefs that unify a church. And Paul’s call to them for unity was against the sin that was in the body. The Church must deal with Sin within the Body!
In the following 2 chapters, Paul outlines why brothers are to judge each other; In Corinth, there was a young man who began shacking up with his father’s wife…let’s read about it in v 1; this is so nasty, that even the world disapproves! Rd v 2; So here is the Call: pass Judgment on your brother and expel him from your midst! Beginning now, in v 3, Paul offers 6 reasons to pass judgment on church members.
- For His Benefit
- For Our Purity
- For the Sake of Obedience
- For Our Witness
- For Our Benefit
- For the Glory of God
The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:
I. For His Benefit (5.1-5)
exp.: rd v 3-5; clearly, here is the reason – that his soul may be saved; When someone acts this way, they’re clearly saying I’m not a believer; it doesn’t mean he is a non-believer, but if he’s acting that way, he just might be. You see, lost people act lost. Saved people act saved. That’s the assumption. Now, sometimes, some saved people act lost, but they’re not. They need to be corrected so that they can act like saved people again.
app.: Someone must confront the wayward person and clarify: are they lost or saved? When the church confronts the brother (or sister), there should be conviction, confession, and repentance; if this brother or sister chooses not to repent, then the church has no choice but to treat the brother like he’s acting – expel him;
t.s.: for his own good – that his soul may be saved; and v6 tells us the 2nd reason, The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:
II. For Our Purity (6-8)
exp.: rd v 6-8; Paul uses some imagery from the Jewish Religion; I think it is safe to assume these Gentiles would understand what he’s talking about; v 6 says that a little sin in the batch, permeates the whole batch; the bad part must be cut out! Why? He’s alluding to the Festival of Unleavened Bread; On the 1st day of Unleavened Bread, the Passover lamb is sacrificed. It was customary for the husband to walk through the whole house looking for some leaven. When he found it, he would scoop it out and do away with it, thus cleansing his house. In like manner, we too must cleanse our house, cutting out any sin that stains her. But, Paul clarifies a point for us in v 7, that sounds kind of confusing: rd v 7; he’s not advocating that our righteousness is gained through simple obedience, but rather our obedience is a sign of our righteousness imputed to us through Christ. So, sometimes saved people act lost, but sometimes there are lost people in the church who really aren’t saved; they’ve not committed their life to Christ. Their sinful behavior is a poor reflection upon the church within the community the church dwells. Rd v 8;
ill.: lemonade w/ the youth! And I spit in it!
app.: Hey, a little sin in the body of Christ is nasty to God!
t.s.: So we pass judgment on our brother for his own benefit, for our purity, and the third reason…
III. For the Sake of Obedience (9-13)
exp.: simply put, Christians live in obedience to God. He is who we serve. He is our master. rd v 9-10; this doesn’t mean ignoring lost people! No, we can and should associate with lost folks – that’s how they get saved! -rd 11-13;
Paul also clarifies for us what was mentioned in the introduction: we’re not to judge outsiders (non-members), but rather only members; We’re supposed to be active among the lost, how else will we ever influence them? We’re just not supposed to behave like them!
App.: Lost people need to see the difference. They need to know that there is a difference besides getting up a little earlier on Sunday!
And when one of us does move into the realm of disobedience when one of us is bringing shame to the cause of Christ – that’s when we are to heed v 13; rd v 13;
t.s.: Fourth, The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:
IV. For Our Witness (6.1-6)
exp.: rd v 1-3; it is our destiny to judge; I don’t know how this will happen; I only know it will; Dan 7.22; It isn’t explained elsewhere in the NT, except for maybe Matthew 19.28 (which is the reference where Jesus says the disciples will sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. However, Paul speaks of it as if they know what he’s talking about; this is not contradictory to 5.12a; that (5.12) is in the now, this is in the future; rd v 4-6; and that before unbelievers! What a statement!
ill.: we err when we…
- We think everyone out there is Christian… there are lost people skeptically watching
- We don’t work for unity w/in the body… and take the fight out there.
- We air our dirty laundry…
app.: This is to our shame when we fail to take care of ourselves and leave these things to people who have no standard like we do! It is a poor witness and the lost say, why would I want to be a part of something like that!
t.s.: We should pass judgment within our own walls because it hurts our witness when we take these things outside the church… 5thly, the Passing of Judgment upon a brother is…
V. For Our Benefit (7-11)
exp.: rd v 7; When we don’t pass judgment like we should, we hurt ourselves and each other; it’s like we’re already defeated! Why not rather just be wronged rather than to take someone to court! This is so hard to do; Rd v 8; but instead, we hurt each other by treating each other in this manner.
app.: here is what benefits us:
- Just be wronged. Forgive the person and move on. Rd 9-11
- Ask for mediation between the two of you. If it is so bad that you can’t rectify this between the two of you, agree on a mediator.
- And if that doesn’t work – seek someone within the body to be an arbitrator – someone whose judgment will be final.
t.s.: But there is one final reason Paul gives in passing judgment upon a brother…
VI. For the Glory of God (12-20)
exp.: rd v 12-17; such behavior is harmful and destructive; to the person himself, to the body of believers, and to the glory of God; rd v18-20;
Conclusion: Bought w/ a price!
- You no longer sit on the throne of your heart. You surrendered that to Christ and his Holy Spirit took up residence in your soul. Rd v 19
- You are not your own… you don’t live life your way anymore – you surrendered your rights to Christ. Rd v 20
- The goal of our relationships is to bring glory to God.
Do you remember the story of the two women? Push came to shove… I mean that literally, and the older lady got hurt. Her arm was broken and damaged. Police were called, charges were filed, one lady got arrested, and the media had a hay day! I mean it was on every channel and in the newspaper! The younger woman refused to admit that she injured the old lady. The young lady felt that she had been wronged by the older lady trying to prove how arrogant she was. She wasn’t arrogant, she simply was right!
Maybe she was right in what happened with the Lord’s supper. Maybe the old woman was cantankerous. But the younger woman would not give in and ended up taking this thing to court.
The prosecutor brought in 2 witnesses on the first day. On the 2nd day, he presented three more witnesses. After lunch, things didn’t continue – and come to find out, the defense was frantically working to work out a plea deal. The younger lady faced 10 years in prison and up to $10,000.00 in fines. A plea deal was struck and they all returned to the courtroom.
It came out at the trial that the women had been having trouble in their relationship. The pastor met with the older woman, but the younger woman refused to counsel together to work out their problems. And because of her refusal – push came to shove, and someone got hurt.
My guess – is both women were wrong. Both women should have been corrected a long time ago. The end product – the church was publicly shamed. A lost world said, “That’s why I don’t go to church!”
What do I want you to take home with you?
- Relationships are important. They’re essential to unity and leadership.
- How we live out our relationships communicates the gospel to the world. I’m talking about forgiveness, compassion, and humility. Y’all, either this stuff is true, or it isn’t.
- Where there is sin, it must be confronted and taken care of in the body.
- For his benefit
- For our purity
- For the sake of obedience
- For our witness in the world
- For our benefit
- And for the Glory of God!