Healthy Church: Heavenly Bodies – Part 2

April 18, 2023

Series: Healthy Church

Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:1-20

Listen to me, our invitation this morning isn’t to observe a worship service.  Our invitation this morning is to gather with people as we follow Jesus to live in His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

That’s the reason we exist as a non-denominational church family in Austin, Texas.  We believe Jesus is God in the flesh.  We believe Jesus is the One who spoke creation into existence.  We believe Jesus gave us creation, gave us one another, gave us Himself, so that we might enjoy Him, care for creation, serve one another to His glory but because of our sin we don’t see that in our reality today.

Instead we scroll through social media and we see people hurting one another, stealing from one another, laughing at one another and Jesus’ response to the brokenness of our world is that He actually chases after us.

Jesus knew we would never be able to figure out this life on our own, so Jesus takes on flesh, Jesus lives a perfect life, Jesus wowed the crowds with His authority, and then Jesus does the unthinkable.  Jesus willingly lays down His life at the cross to take our sin upon Himself.

It is at the cross we see Jesus stand in our place.  Jesus becomes our substitute.  Jesus pays the price for our sin.  Jesus cancels the debt of our sin when three days later Jesus rose from the dead, the greatest event in all of human history.

It’s not over.  At that point Jesus appears to hundreds of people essentially has the same conversation with them that Jesus is having with us today.

Jesus tells them the people the Holy Spirit is coming, the Helper is coming, and the Holy Spirit will empower you to go and make disciples all over the world.

This is why we exist today as a bible teaching church family in north Austin.  This isn’t a worship service.  This isn’t a religious meeting.  This is men, women and children helping one another grow and mature in Jesus, so that His name might be made known all over the world.  That’s it!

Right now, we are teaching through the book of 1 Corinthians and that’s the conversation the Apostle Paul is having with the Corinthian church, “How might we become a people who are growing and maturing in Christ?”

In our passage this morning it gets real, because attending a worship service is easy.  Being friendly with one another for an hour on a Sunday is easy but these people were doing life with one another and they were struggling to get along with one another, so much so that they are taking one another to court.  Can you imagine that?

You get together with other people in the church family in Austin to share a meal and someone reaches in their bag to pull out a legal document for you to sign.  That’s where they are in their relationships with one another.

Let’s be honest, I don’t know of any lawsuits in our church family but it is possible that we might find ourselves in disagreement with one another.  A Christian church in Austin our size, you are going to meet someone that is relationally uncomfortable.  We will push one another’s buttons.  We will rub one another the wrong way.  There is going to be conflict at the church level, family level, friendships level, marital level and God’s Word is going to speak to how we grow healthy relationships with one another.

It doesn’t mean we all are going to be besties at every level.  It doesn’t mean we have to all share every secret with one another.  It doesn’t mean some of us won’t move relationally slower than others, but it does mean as the body of Christ we are growing healthy relationships with one another.  Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6, verse 1:

1 Corinthians 6:1, “1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?

Okay, big picture.  It’s possible some of us are jumping into 1 Corinthians with us for the first time, so you need to know in the first 4 chapters the primary theme is quarrels and conflicts in their church family because of their spiritual immaturity.

Listen to me, nobody likes to think of themselves as immature but we all have areas where we need to grow, self-included, and we can get stuck in those areas or we can help one another break through those areas.

In chapter 5 the Apostle Paul talks about someone in their church family is in an open, public, sexual relationship with their father’s wife.  You can watch that if you want to catch up, but the Apostle Paul brings it up because he wants the Corinthian church to grow and mature.

In verse 1 we see another area of immaturity and it is how they are navigating conflict with one another and in verse 1 we see the contrast of the “unrighteous” and “saints.”  Do you see that in verse 1?

The word “unrighteous” simply means people who are going through life living for themselves.  In contrast, we see the word “saint” which simply means people who are going through life living for the glory of God.

That’s the invitation for us this morning.  We are all born into unrighteousness, and through faith in Jesus we are given new purpose, new identity to approach relational conflict in life.

The world cuts one another off.  The world slanders and gossips.  The world takes one another to court, but in Christ our relationships are different.  Look at verse 2:

1 Corinthians 6:2-3, “2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?”

Verses 2-3 might be a new thought for some of us but somehow, I don’t fully understand, in the days ahead, we who are in Christ, we are going to participate in a position of authority in God’s Kingdom on earth.  Do you see that in verse 2?

What does that mean?  I don’t know.  What does that look like?  I don’t know.  But in Christ, we are one with Christ, we will reign with Christ, therefore, we will judge with Christ in some capacity.

Therefore, why would we who are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus, indwelled with the Spirit, given wisdom and discernment, turning to the lowest courts of the land to bring resolution?  Look at verses 4-6:

1 Corinthians 6:4-6, “4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?”

In verse 5 we see this phrase “not among you one” to imply that the surely the Corinthian church had someone inside the body of Christ who could speak into these matters of conflict between two followers of Jesus.

Listen to me, I think we could check out here because we can’t imagine bringing lawsuits against one another.  But what about how we resolve conflict with one another?  How do we respond when we offend one another?  How do we respond when we push one another’s buttons?  How do we respond when we rub one another the wrong way?

Do we run and tell our friends about the difficulty of that person?  Do we build a case in our head against that person?  Do we just stop trying?  I tried reconciliation one time, it didn’t go well, so I stopped.

I am talking about church relationships, church friendships, family, marriage in the church; conflict is going to happen, therefore, how are we who are in Christ going to respond?  Look at verses 7-8:

1 Corinthians 6:7-8, “7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.”

Do you hear the severity of the offense up to this point?  Verse 8, “You’re defrauding one another.”  Verse 7, “This is already a defeat for you.”  Back in verse 5, “I say this to your shame.” Verse 2, “You lack competence in this area.”  These are strong words, because our relationships with one another are important.

At the end of verse 7 the Apostle Paul suggests, “Is the conflict really that important?”  Is our offenses with one another so great that we can justify cutting people out of our lives?  Why not rather be defrauded?  Do you see that in verse 7?

Listen to me, this is an area where I am weak.  I grew up in a context where it was the norm to cut people out of your life, therefore, my natural impulse is to shut people out.  The word “wronged” means to be mistreated.  The word “defrauded” means to steal from one another, therefore, when you hurt me or the people I love my natural impulse is to cut and run, but God’s Word is pressing in, “No, Michael, you’re new in Christ.  There is a new way.  There is a better way to navigate relationships.”

Isn’t that what we learn in the gospel?  All of humanity defrauds and wrongs the God of Scripture through our sin.  We mistreat His glory with little regard.  We still His glory as our own.  All of humanity is worthy of His judgment in that moment but what does He do?

He’s patient.  He doesn’t quit.  He draws near.  He takes on flesh.  His name is Jesus.  He is wronged and defrauded on our account.  He is put to death on the cross and He conquers it, so that by grace through faith in Him we might have heaven on earth, therefore, how could we quit on one another as the body of Christ?

That’s what we are leaning into as a church family in north Austin right now.  This concept of “Seeking Peace” with one another is about not quitting on one another.  You can go to this QR page, see our acronym called R.U.S.T.  Run to conflict early.  We display an unusual commitment to growth.  We are slow to speak.  And we trust the Lord, so that our relationships don’t rust and get stuck.  If you haven’t made that commitment with us this morning, then please do.  Look at verses 9-10:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “9 Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

It’s possible we might be familiar with verses 9-10 because verses 9-10 are often quoted to focus on one or two key areas of humanity but did you notice 1 Corinthians 6 isn’t talking about 1-2 areas?

God’s Word is speaking about the whole of our life, so that the idea of “wronging and defrauding” of one another that is taking place in their church family is just as offensive as any other immorality listed in verses 9 and 10.  Does that make sense?

And, it’s important to understand when you see the list of immorality we’re not talking about a “one-time offense” so that if you see these characteristics in your life, then God wants nothing to do with you.

No, the concern in 1 Corinthians 6 is when those characteristics become a repeated, habitual, part of your life, so that continually you are seeing these characteristics as a pattern of you life.  Does that make sense?

Remember, we’re not talking about the world at large.  We’re talking about the body of Christ.  We’re talking about men, women, and children professing faith in Christ and seeing these characteristics as a habitual pattern in their life, so that God’s Word is pressing in so as to say, “What are you doing?”  Did you know that you are new in Christ?  Did you not know the chains have been broken?  Did you not know that continually wronging and defrauding one another isn’t a reflection of God’s glory?  Let’s look at verse 11:

1 Corinthians 6:11, “11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

Let’s just stop there!  Isn’t that good?  The Apostle Paul is reminding them of how their lives have been transformed through faith in Jesus.

The Corinthian church use to be a people who would defraud, wrong, and take one another to court, but not who they are in Christ.  The Corinthian church use to be fornicators, but now they are in Christ.  They used to be idolaters but now they are in Christ.  They used to be adulterers, effeminate, homosexual, thieves, who covet and give themselves over to drunkenness as a habitual, pattern of everyday life but not now * they are washed.

The word “washed” means through faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we are cleansed of our sin.  Through faith in Jesus we are made pure.  We are made clean!  Such were some of you!  This is who you are in Christ!

The word “sanctified” means we are set apart in Christ.  We have a new purpose in Christ.  Before faith in Jesus we use to think like the world, live like the world, love like the world but now in Christ we are learning to think, live and love like Jesus.  Such were some of you!

The word “justified” means to be declared righteous through faith in Jesus.  It is a judicial term.  It means in our sin we were guilty.  In our sin we offended the holiness of God.  In our sin we were worthy of judgment but through faith in Jesus the debt has been paid.  Such were some of you!

That’s what happened in my life.  That’s what happened on Easter Sunday when 8 men and women raised their hands to believe in Jesus.  The minute we believe in Jesus we are washed.  The second we believe in Jesus we are sanctified with a new purpose.  The moment we believe in Jesus we are justified in a right standing before God.  Isn’t that good?

So, the Apostle Paul writes, “This is not who you are in Christ.”  Look at verses 19-20.  We will skip 12-18 for the sake of time.  Let’s end with 19-20:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

I want to be clear.  Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean we won’t struggle with sin.  Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean there won’t be roller coaster moments of following Him.  In fact, that’s the encouragement of our passage this morning.

The Corinthian church has drifted so far from what the Lord has for them, and Jesus still calls them His, so we all need to hear that this morning.  In verse 20 we see the Apostle Paul is reminding the Corinthian church, “This is who you are in Christ.”  You have been bought with a price.  You are not your own.  Think about that for a second.  Who’s the purchaser?  It’s Jesus.  What’s the currency with which He paid?  It’s Jesus’ blood at the cross.

Galatians 3, “Christ redeems us at the cross.”  The word redemption is financial term.  1 Peter, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life but you were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus!” That’s why the Apostle Paul can write, “Such were some of you, but you were washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ.”

That’s why in verse 19 when we see God’s Word teaching us, in Christ, our bodies become a temple.  That doesn’t mean we are really into health and fitness.

That means when you believe in Jesus you are made so clean, pure and righteous that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you!

Sometimes you will hear people in our culture say, ‘It’s my body, I can do what I want.”  Not when you are in Christ.  In Christ, your body belongs to Christ joyfully!  Your mind belongs to Christ.  Your emotions belong to Christ.  Your conflict belongs to Christ!