“The People’s Court”

Posted: September 23, 2011 in 1 Corinthians, Abolish Judges?, Christian Life

  “Don’t take the law into your own hands: you take ’em to court.”  These were the words we often heard on the earlier programs of “The People’s Court.”  Remember Judge Joseph Wapner and his bailiff Rusty Burrell?  Each year millions of lawsuits are filed against other people for one reason or another.  We’re told, “Demand your rights.”

  Entertainment.  You might be surprised to know that 2,000 years ago the Greeks were entertained by going to court to listen to people arguing with each other.  Things haven’t changed over the years have they?  We can watch it on TV.

  Problem.  Instead of being different from the pagans that surrounded them, some of the Christians in Corinth were suing other Christians over frivolous matters, as people do in a small claims court today.  They were going before pagan judges and asking them to settle their disputes.  What an indictment on Christianity.  Perhaps the judge was thinking, “Can’t these Christians solve their own petty problems?  Do they have to waste my time on such matters?  They are no different than we are.”

  Shameful.  Using nine questions, the Apostle Paul sought to shame these Christians for engaging in such conduct.  He wanted them to solve their disputes “in house.”  He taunted them by asking, “Isn’t there a wise man among you in your church who could resolve this matter between Christians?  Shame on you!”

  Wars.  When people are self centered and want their own way no matter what, problems develop (James 4:1-5).   We live in the “Me” generation (2 Timothy 3:1-5).  We lack real joy because we don’t follow this formula: Jesus, Others, You.

  Saints?  Although Paul referred to them as saints (1 Corinthians 1:2), they weren’t acting like saints.  They needed to bring the level of the practice up to the level of their position in Christ.  God said, “Be holy [saintly], for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15).

  Judges?  Paul reminded them that someday they would be judging with Christ the unsaved people of the world and fallen angels that are demons (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:11-15).  The judgment would be based on the Word of God, the Scriptures. 

  Solution. “Matters between Christians should be settled quietly according to the principles of Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:5.  If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, then they should invite some spiritual believers to meet with them and help decide. If the matter becomes known to the church (or outside the church), the members should appoint a group to examine the matter and give spiritual counsel.   Far better that a Christian should lose money than lose his spiritual stature and bring shame to Christ’s name!” – W. Wiersbe

  Permissible.  “A lawsuit is permissible when the issue does not involve a local church or fellow Christian…when our motive is not pride but justice…when the issue does not bring shame to Christ’s name or Church…when we are absolutely confident that it is in God’s will.” – Chuck Swindoll

  Criminal Cases.  “In speaking of Christians taking other Christians to court, [the Apostle] Paul did not specify any criminal cases because he teaches elsewhere that these must be handled by the state (Romans 12:3, 4).” – Harold Mare 

  Watched.  Whether you realize it or not, you are being watched by others.  They also hear what you say and how you say it.  The Psalmist said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm19:14).  “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).  Even if other humans don’t see or hear you, God does and so do spirit beings (Psalm 139:7; 10:11; Daniel 4:17; Hebrews 1:14).  We will all give an account to God some day (Romans 14:12).

  Hope.  The believer who constantly anticipates Christ’s any moment return will/should live his life with purity lest he be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28; 3:3).

  Faith.  Is your faith resting exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the grave?  Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today you would immediately go into the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) which would be far better than remaining here on earth (Philippians 1:23)?

  Good Works?  Do you believe that you have to do some good works to earn your way into heaven?  God’s Word is clear.  “[Our salvation is] not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Good works following our salvation are the outward evidence of our faith to other human beings but they don’t save us from hell to heaven (Ephesians 2:9, 10; Titus 3:5; Isaiah 64:6). 

  Back Door?  Some folks believe that they have to go to a “holding tank” to get further purified before they can enter heaven.  If one believes this, he is saying that Christ’s work on the cross was not sufficient to meet God the Father’s demands for the payment of our sin (Romans 6:23).  Do such thoughts line up with the Scriptures? (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:10)

  Questions.  If you have questions or comments, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site: www.kelseypeach.com.  Our Web Logs (Blogs) usually correspond to our Sunday morning talks.

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