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  • If you're expecting a gentle, sedate message about the gospel, guess again. Paul is delivering a very stringent butt chewing to the members of the church at Corinth, and from what I can tell, a well deserved one.

    I've been told you are even suing one another in the courts instead of solving your problems within the church.

    Don't you know when Christ returns His redeemed will judge the world? You mean to tell me you will one day judge the world with God, but can't settle disputes among yourselves?

    When you have issues between members of the church, go to the humblest and poorest among you and ask them to be your intercessors.

    You ought to be ashamed! You say you love one another, yet you take your disputes to unbelievers? You trust the unsaved to deal fairly with you? You are willing to let the laws of man govern the children of God. In doing so, you reject the example of Jesus and take offense at the slightest thing, real or imagined. And not only that, but you actually offend one another in the first place? How is that love?

    Maybe you've forgotten, but the unrighteous will not be admitted into heaven. Don't kid yourself: those who participate in sexual misconduct, those who worship idols, adulterers, cowards and people of low character, thieves, gossips, drunkards, bullies and abusers will not see the kingdom of heaven.

    Some of you were once part of that, but when you were baptized, you became new creatures. You have been redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and are no longer under the constraints of moral law.

    Now just because the law does not apply to you, that doesn't mean you are free to do anything you like and suffer no consequences. You should not allow your lusts to rule your body. I am as mortal as you, I need food to sustain me, but I do not allow my body's needs or wants rule me. I am ruled by the Holy Spirit.

    The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and just as God raised Jesus from the dead, God will raise us up with the same Holy Spirit within us. So your bodies are joined with Christ's. Do you think it is right to use something holy and sanctified to commit sin?

    When you join with unbelievers, it is the same as using a prostitute. The scriptures tell us that when a man and woman are joined, they become one flesh. You cannot join with sin and remain clean and pure in God's eyes.

    Remain apart from their courts and their pagan practices. Don't act like the heathens and participate in their sins. When you allow them to dictate how you live and treat one another, you become the same as them.

    You have been purchased with a price, and therefore have no right to claim ownership of your own body. They worship the world and lust after flesh and possessions. We worship God and the Holy Spirit, giving ourselves over to Him.

    In the world, but not of it.

    Even today, Paul's voice here echos through time. I constantly hear from the media and other sources that the United States is a Christian nation (we're not, by the way), yet we are the leading nation in civil litigation in the world. We are so adamant about our rights we shamelessly air commercials seeking out new litigants for lawsuit after lawsuit dealing with product liability and personal injury. It seems in the real world we are unwilling to accept that some things are simply mistakes.

    Now that's not to say that everyone thinks that way. I was watching an episode of Family Feud the other day, and the question was asked of 100 people, “What would you do if a friend borrowed $100.00 and didn't pay it back?”. Surprisingly, the #2 response was “Do nothing. Forget it.”. #1 was “Remind them.”. But none of the six responses said anything about court.

    So at what point do you begin thinking about suing someone? What number is high enough to make you want to take your issue to court? And what issues need a court to tell you who is right and who is wrong?

    The movie Erin Brockovitch showed us that big corporations can be sued for their actions, with dramatic results for the survivors, but I am certain not one of the people who died as a result of those actions were brought back to life. Money can let you move, give you a more comfortable lifestyle, but it can't replace the loss of a loved one.

    And we can't ignore the Insurance companies or their part in this. Corporations are required to maintain insurance to cover liabilities, but they are also morally responsible to their communities to admit when they are wrong and make amends before the problem gets out of hand and needs to be handled by the courts. I would bet most companies would gladly handle such problems at the lowest possible level before becoming involved in multimillion dollar lawsuits which cost them time, money and most of all, their credibility as a corporation.

    “But I live in the real world, Fred.” is the response I will get from almost everyone who reads this. Believe me, friends, so do I. If I thought about it, I am sure I could sue someone successfully for loss of income or property, and under today's court system I could probably win.

    But that doesn't make it right. And it certainly isn't the Christian thing to do.

    Remember that part about Forgiving without Limitations? And you thought being a Christian was going to be easy.

    I hope you are all having a blessed and reflective day.

    Fred
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