What did you learn from last week’s sermon, “Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals”?
Q1: Name three everyday things in the Christian life that “the hope of resurrection” motivates us to do.
Q2: What were the Corinthian preachers wrongly instructing their congregation about when it comes to sin?
Q3: Will anything bad happen to you (a believer) if you continue to eat lunch every day at work with that guy/girl who tells off-color jokes and speaks in silly Snap-Chat-isms?
Q4: To comply with God’s laws, is it helpful to make up additional rules for yourself and others?
Sermon Summary & Answers
Two Sundays ago, we began to investigate Paul’s assertion that there were three everyday things about Christian life that wouldn’t make any sense to us if we didn’t have the hope of resurrection. The first was baptism and then the second sacrificial service. Knowing that we will one day die (fall asleep) and then be resurrected to live an eternal, perfect life gives faithful followers of Christ energetic motivation for Christian practices and commitments to the body of Christ. Pastor Wilson told the stories of three martyrs who happily went to the stake several centuries ago because they would not recant their faith in the Gospel of Christ. If they did not believe that they’d be resurrected immediately after their hearts stopped, then what would have been the point in their holding fast to a public identification with Christ or sacrificially being burned alive?
The third motivation that is empowered by the truth of a future resurrection is “sanctified living.”
1 Corinthians 15:33–34
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
I personally have never heard anyone suggest that a Christian could live any way they want (freely sinning) and presume on the grace of God. Like most southerners, I was raised more on the side of image-is-everything-and-a-tiny-sliver-of-legalistic-pie-seals-the-deal. Apparently, casual sinning was condoned in Christian churches all around Paul because of bad preaching (2 Timothy 2:16-19). Our pastor suggests it still happens even today. Paul wants to make sure we know that we have to live lives set apart (sanctified) from the world. That means watching who and what we associate with because it WILL cause us to sin and possibly not be outwardly identified with Christ. In essence, freely sinning would mock God and suggest that what we say we believe in (sure hope of resurrection) is not true. We cannot send that message out into the world. So, Pastor Wilson digs deeper to guard us better (without legalism), as Paul is instructing.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this, you know with certainty that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
BE THE BUZZKILL
Yep, to the world, the above person described in this passage is a confirmed “buzz kill” at a party. What’s wrong with a little dirty joke between friends? Call it wrong (which always seems relative) or see it as clashing with God’s perfect holiness. Either way, I’m betting you’d not tell that same joke to Jesus the day you die. He even warns us against silly talk. Let children and the world repeat the nonsense fads or mantras learned on the internet – not Christians. Instead, Paul gives us an action step when tempted to the foolish or illicit – stop, recognize something good God has done, and be thankful. I’d rather be covered than cool. I’ll let you say I have no sense of humor and call me Debbie Downer all you like because inside my soul is singing with Christ and all the saints that have gone before me. Someday I’ll be reunited with them in eternity, and all the hee-haw parties will be done-and-dusted.
So, casually and freely sinning is one side of Paul’s don’t-do-it-coin. Still, many go too far in the other direction into legalism. I have no doubt that legalism starts out as just man’s attempt to be more obedient by making up extra rules. However, God doesn’t ever need man’s help, and His laws are perfect to convict our hearts and draw us to our knees just the way He wrote them. If we mess with the law and obedience, we inevitably increase our sin and exhaust our hearts for the Lord. We are to live quiet, peaceful, holy lives with intention, a stark contrast to unbelievers’ lives. We do that by simply following what God has already commanded us to do, not seeking to rob the believer of the liberty they have in Christ. Eat this way, behave this way, dress this way, talk this way, pray this way, etc. These blessings (food, drink, clothing, etc.) were created by God for us to share with thanksgiving. Remember Paul’s instructions. It applies here too. Stop, recognize what God has done for you and give thanks – don’t make up a rule to help you comply. Continue to pursue holiness, live sanctified lives, and don’t be a legalist!
If you are not motivated to…
- Be identified with the body of Christ (baptized)
- Serve sacrificially in the Church, and
- Live a sanctified life…
then you know something is off. Other believers certainly can see it. Don’t linger in the guilt of disobedience! Grab another believer or an elder. Find out why your life isn’t lining up as Christ would have it. You can achieve absolute peace and certainty in this life.
- Baptism, sacrificial service, and sanctified living
- That they could freely sin because God would cover it with His grace. You are never to presume on God’s grace.
- Yes. Paul guarantees that we WILL sin if we stay in this corruptible situation, no matter how benign we think it is.
- No. That is called legalism and it is wrong.
Did you find this quiz and sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest sermon Q&A. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.