Settle Disputes Amongst Ourselves
Part 6, Interactions With The Gracious and Loving God Series
First Corinthians 6:1-11
One of the most painful events in the life of a church is to see members treat each other like enemies. Suing each other in courts, and debating against each other in a public square, dishonours the name of God, and discredits the church. Many hearts who were caught in the sidelines are wounded this way. And thus, only the grace and love of God can heal the broken hearted.
God wants His church to settle the members’ disagreements using His timeless truth. Leaders must take the initiative to restore broken relationships by helping both parties to get to the root cause of the problem, which is usually an attitude problem. Determining the underlying attitude must never be skipped because it is of outmost importance in solving the problem. This is to be followed by revisiting the past life to see, how the Lord provided grace and forgiveness. May this stage, humble the proud hearts, and help the two conflicting members to finally find a God-honouring solution.
1. Resolve disputes using God’s truth.
“If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”
What’s going on?
· Believers were taking others to secular court.
· A member was cheated of his money, by another member.
· The apostle rejected the idea that a secular court to handle and decide on spiritual matters.
· Paul reminded the believers of their future role of assisting the Lord in judging fallen angels.
· This is in the hope that they would be moved, to prepare at the present their glorious destiny.
2. The leaders must help settle the quarrels.
“4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!”
· It could be possible that the quarreling parties have asked for their leaders’ help, but obviously, there was none.
· It was appalling for Paul to know that the ones who would decide the fate of believers were the ones who lived outside of God’s will.
· Paul held the leaders responsible for neglecting their roles as Christ’s under-shepherds.
· Like Christ, leaders must shepherd the flock by providing care and direction.
· Instead, the leaders seemed not to be bothered by the negative effects of the dispute to the whole church and in their community.
3. Determine the underlying issue.
“7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.”
What was the underlying attitude of the parties concerned?
· Greed on the part of the financial scammer.
· Lack of love and concern for another, pride, anger, unforgiveness and revenge on the part of the wronged.
· Even before they compete in the secular court, both were already morally defeated.
4. Think about how you were before coming to Christ.
“9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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.”
· Remember how you were before coming to Christ in faith.
· The Lord forgave all the sins we have committed so we can partake in the kingdom of God.
· Since, God, has washed us from our filthy sins, let us not become conceited, rather, let us be gracious, merciful, kind, and humble enough to forgive others.