TITLE : Biblical Peacemaking #2
DATE PREACHED : The Lord's Day , 15th August 2010
Today , I shall attempt to conclude the message that I began last week on the subject of “Biblical peacemaking” . If you were here last week you will remember that in Ch 6:1-8 we had observed yet another great flaw in this church . In matters of common dispute the members of the Corinthian church were apparently dragging each other to the gentile courts instead of resolving matters internally , within the church with the wisdom given by Christ . In so doing the gospel of Christ was blasphemed by the gentiles ( Rom 2:24)
In the light of such poor conflict resolution capacity , we needed to pause and ask ourselves: What is the cure to such ?
Last week we learned three important things :
1. We need to understand the root of all strife and conflict : In order that we may solve a problem we need to understand the nature of the problem . James asks the question : What causes quarrels and fights? He answers , “ it is your desires and passions that are at war with in you”. He expands further : “it is a friendship with the philosophies of the world rather than the theology of God “ that is at the heart of all strife and conflict . (James 4:1ff) . This also is precisely Paul’s point in Chapters 1 & 2, where he shows the Corinthians that the employment of the wisdom of the world leads essentially to a lack of true wisdom in all things and thus by way of primary application it leads to poor relationships .
Let everyone examine themselves : Whatever rules your heart will ultimately give ventilation to your desires !
2. We need to understand that the authority of Scripture ( the gospel) applies to every aspect of our lives. The whole gospel must rule our whole life . That is the goal of preaching : to bring a people to a place of submission to the word of God. The primary objective of all Bible teaching must be to bring the congregation to a place of submission to the word of God and thus to a position of submission to one another . Once you are there you can solve every problem ! With reference to conflict we need to learn to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21) . If only we always lived with Philippians 2:1-5 in mind , there would be no such situation as we find described here in Chapter 6 . The Corinthians at this stage lived and thought like fleshly , carnal people and not like spiritual people ( 3:1) . The outworking of this was that they ignored the church and instead they went to the world to have their differences settled (vv 1-6) . The second thing was that they ignored basic Christian thinking , and so they sought revenge ( our default response) rather than a Christian response.
So Paul asks : "Why don't you rather be defrauded ? Why not rather be wronged ? “ The principle of non retaliation in the face of personal attack is described in Matthew 5 :38 – 42 (and 5:43-48), and it is in view here. How do you respond to your enemy who seeks to harm you ? You do not resist him . You bless him. You do good to him. When he uses you, you pray for him. This is what I mean by biblical logic , and radical obedience to the Scripture . You may say : “ Forgive my enemy – the one who destroyed my future and robbed me of my innocence? ” Tell yourself that your future is with Christ and tell yourself that there is no one innocent – all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God ! ( Rom 3:23) .
In so doing remember also Matt 5:45 : "That you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven." When we do this, we are applying the authority of the Scriptures and thereby we manifest the character of God in the world. Let everyone examine themselves to see whether we are really obedient to the whole Scriptures – particularly with respect to the biblical art of peacemaking !
3. We need to understand the implications of what it means to belong to a covenant community in Christ ! The church is the body of Christ. We have been united to one another through the blood of Christ. That blood is stronger than the strongest glue . That blood truly unites us . This plain principle is what the Corinthians overlooked : they were not a set of individuals in a service organization . They were a covenant community- bought by the precious blood of Christ ! Let everyone examine themselves with respect to their understanding of living in a covenant community .
4. This brings us to the fourth point , which I would draw out of verses 9-11.
All Christians must learn to understand their status, our position in Christ , and we stop acting in terms of what we were , and behave in terms of who we are in Christ. We must become who we are !
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God . 11 And such were some of you. 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. kingdom of God
“do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
?...” kingdom of God
The wrong treatment of each other amounts to act of “unrighteousness” . Paul is asking them : Why are you acting like this ? Your behavior is totally inconsistent with who you are. The way you treat each other is more characteristic of the godless people who will have no part in the
. You're acting like you haven't even been changed. And then he says : kingdom of God
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the
.” kingdom of God
The list of sins here that are illustrative of a lifestyle that is completely incompatible with being a Christian.
Let us consider them briefly : the sexually immoral ; idolaters (those who cling to false gods or false religions ) ; the adulterers ( those who are unfaithful in marriage) ; men who practice homosexuality ( there are actually two words used here : one is translated as ‘ effeminate ‘ or more literally ‘ to exchange one sexual role for another’ - as in being a transvestite ; the other word may be translated as ‘homosexual ‘) ; thieves ( Gr. klepto – from which we get the word ‘ kleptomaniac’); the greedy; the drunkards (its scary to see how much drunkenness there is among young people in our society) ; slanderers , revilers and swindlers ( con-artists). All of these things are acts of unrighteousness , and if these are persisted in, all of these things are sure signs that a man or woman will not inherit the kingdom of God , which is another way of saying that they will be cast out into utter darkness in that place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth ( Matt 22:13; 24:51 ; 25 :30).
Please note that Paul puts this quarrelsome spirit into the categories of the sins here mentioned ! Such a quarrelsome spirit in the church is a sign of the absence of the Spirit - and such will not inherit the
. kingdom of God
Now , Paul says in verse 11,
" And such were some of you."
This is what they were ! They no longer are. They are a new creation ( 2 Cor 5:17)
And what are they now ?
"But you were washed,…but you are sanctified, but you are justified."
Three times he uses the word “but “for the purpose of contrast ( the ESV does not bring this out clearly , but the Greek does) . So Paul says : “You were like this , but you were washed ; you were like this but you were sanctified ; you were like this, but you are justified …” . A powerful transformation has taken place , and a new life demands a new lifestyle.
So when you consider the Corinthians sinning like this , you must be asking serious questions . Now we know that the church isn't full of perfect people. But the church is full of transformed sinners , who are easily led to repentance when they have sinned , because they know the voice of their Master ( e.g. David & Peter – when they sinned , and the sin was made known they repented )
Conversion means transformation !
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free.
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood avails for me.
Christ can transform the worst of sinners . And that fact may be one of the greatest proofs of Christianity . The transformation of lives. Aren’t you amazed to see how Christ has transformed you? I know that we all wish that our progress in spiritual things were greater and faster . We can all testify to being tempted , and we all confess that we do still sin from time to time, but thank God that Jesus has cancelled the power of sin over our lives. The habitual evil of your life is no longer the constant pattern. The Holy Spirit progressively works out holiness and sanctification in you . That is the story of the people of the
. All kinds of people have been transformed here over the years . You know what I mean . Eastside Baptist Church
One of the most spectacular conversions I have ever been privileged to see was the conversion of Neville Branquino . Neville Branquino was a hard drinking, wife abusing captain of a fishing boat in
Walvis Bay in the early 80’s, when I was a young Christian. He was on a bottle of strong liquor a day, and he chased preachers from his property with a gun. As a result of his alcoholic excesses he developed diabetes. In those days the treatment for diabetics was less advanced. He went into frequent comas. This time the doctors thought the end had come. I remember us regularly praying at the for him. He had a very godly wife, Winnie who had been converted in 1978. My pastor and she knelt beside his bed and asked the Lord to deliver him one more time from death. God did! And when Neville woke up from his coma (it was a miracle) he repented of all his sin and the Lord Jesus took over his life in a radical fashion. He was baptized at the age of 70 + and lived for 2 more years and he became the most generous, humble worshipper of God. This foulmouthed abusive man wash washed , sanctified , justified . Walvis Bay Baptist Church
When we are in Christ we are new creatures. We are transformed . So you can’t take your brother to court . You work it out in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-20 . Admittedly it is easy to become angry with someone in the church , over their neglect or the way they have hurt you or whatever . But if you are transformed by the grace of Jesus , you will let your new mind rule you .
The question is this . Who are you now ? What mercy have you received ? What transformation has taken place ? Once you have answered that it is but one simple decision that you have to make : Follow Jesus . Do what He did with His enemies . Forgive your enemies as He forgave you .
Perhaps you are here this morning and you have heard me talking from the Scripture about the power of a transformed life . And perhaps you have seen for the first time that you lack the power of the gospel – the power of true transformation. You clearly see that you are a guilty man or woman . You have realized that you have never been washed and you've never been justified, and you've never been sanctified. And today you realize that you will not inherit the
. You realize that you are living in the sin that characterizes the ungodly , and you now know that you need to come to God through Christ for the complete forgiveness of your sins . COME! The good news is that Christ is here , offering you free and full forgiveness , if you will come now and trust Him to transform you into a new creature . kingdom of God
A word for sinning Christians: If you are a Christian and you know that you have slipped into a ‘Corinthian mode’ , then you ought to seek the Lord for forgiveness in that regard. Remember who you are , and remember that you cannot go on sinning lest you prove to be a non-Christian after all .
And may the Lord be pleased to make us all a productive, loving people , full of Grace and Truth. Amen .