Even BABY Christians Know This, and Live It
We’ve already seen that when the church is living in the Spirit, even ONE DAY OLD baby Christians know to be committed to each other on a daily basis. It’s not that complicated when your life belongs now to JESUS—which is actually what Conversion is, according to the Bible everyone in true Christendom believes God wrote.
Another example that is truly interesting is the “worst church recorded in detail in the New Testament”—Corinth. Brought to Jesus just months earlier, in the wicked seaport of Corinth, most of these baby Christians knew nothing of Jewish life. They were washed from some of the filthiest and most addictive sins imaginable, and were still surrounded by a city filled with great darkness. As baby Christians, with little or no background in Yahweh or His Torah and the Prophets, they had enough “problems” that some from Corinth traveled many, many miles to “tattle-tale” to their friend and daddy, Paul. We know Paul wrote back and corrected many issues with them. Paul states in a second letter that the Corinthians did a LOT of faith-filled repenting after his first letter. We know that Paul, though he wasn’t in the city, told them to break Fellowship with a man, and they did so.
The religious grifters of our day have tried to excuse the lukewarmness of modern christianity by citing Corinth as an example of how people can be absurdly sinful, and still (they say) be “okay with God.” But what a Biblical mistake. An embarrassing surprise awaits anyone who would attempt to use Corinth to excuse mediocrity! Many christians have been swindled into practicing lukewarmness with such fallacious and dark “reasoning” as “Corinth was sinful, and THAT was okay with God,” when the Scriptures teach exactly the opposite.
Even these new baby Christians in this wicked city had MUCH more going for them than the average “congregation” in today’s world. It doesn’t matter which of today’s “big name speakers” hang their shingle at an attendance-based organization, or “how good the music is.” Corinth was better in most ways God cares about than today’s religious organizations. Even though there are many fine and genuine Christians at today’s unBiblical expressions of christianity, many lives are needlessly lost because these organizations modeled in Constantine’s era and later Catholicism bear more resemblance to a club rather than to Acts 2:42-47. The potential growth of sincere saints is alarmingly and measurably stunted by this man-made, meeting-based false way of “approaching God.”
Sure, Corinth might be known as the most confused church recorded in detail in the Bible. But if they were, in fact, the “worst-case scenario” of what could be called a “church” by God, then there must be very few true churches remaining in the world today by comparison. Compared to even “lowly” Corinth, most “Lampstands” would have been removed.
In spite of their babyhood, Corinth had an IMPRESSIVE Together-LIFE in Jesus. How do we know this, beyond any question? Because in spite of their “issues” from immaturity, we know that in Corinth they had what only a Church leaning on Jesus as their Foundation can have. They had FELLOWSHIP with God and one another. And because of that, even their “difficult problems” could be Solved. We know that in spite of their immaturities and lingering sins, they had true daily Fellowship with one another. The Scriptures prove that the magnitude of their lives together far eclipses almost everything in today’s religious world, no matter the programs, celebrities, missions, schools, or oratory.
Corinth was a picture, we’ll see, of very normal people. As today, in God’s 1Cor.12 Daily Together-Life, some who may never have been “impressive” are still very impressively protected and Saved. They are walking Miracles, comparing where they are, to where they would have been. His People were, and will be, daily laying down their lives for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, confessing sins one to another, and encouraging one another daily. JESUS said that Quality of Life would be “HOW all men would know” that we belong to HIM. It’s the difference.
So, here they are. The most absurd, sin-encumbered, immature church that we know much about in the New Testament, but with a thousand times more TRUE Biblical Fellowship than almost any religious group in today’s christendom. That’s almost humorous, if it weren’t so true. Corinth is a powerful Testimony of the “bare minimum” of Biblical fellowship. What they had, even with all of their immaturity and baggage, MUST have been a thousand times better than most organizations today. How do we know this from the Bible? They had a Quality of Life in Corinth that almost no “churches” today can even pretend to claim. How do we know? You may have to ponder thoughtfully this Treasure of the Word of God, but it is inescapable if you watch and pray. How do we know something extraordinary was happening as a “bare minimum” amongst those bought by Jesus and called a “church”? Because the apostle (1Cor.5, 2Cor.2, 2Cor.7) said that to “not eat” and “not associate” with a man, to DISFellowship him, was nearly killing him. Since he had repented they should quickly rush back to embrace him. The man who had been stubbornly clinging to his sin was now turning back to Jesus, His Life and Love! What motivated him when he had almost sealed a dark fate for himself with his stubbornness and pride, according to Paul and Chloe? What caused the man to turn his life totally around? The Saints in Corinth would no longer eat or hang around with him, or allow him to be part of their lives, or their children’s lives. It’s pretty obvious you can’t cause someone “immense agony” by taking away from them something they never had, or never cared about!
What religious body in attendance-based, clergy/laity cultural christendom of today could avoid getting snickered at if they said to a person, “We’re not going to hang out with you anymore.” In most every case (except for the reactions of embarrassment or indignation), there would be only a yawn, and a move to another “place” to “attend.” If there IS no “hundred mothers, brothers, sisters” level of daily relationship... if there IS no “THESE are my mothers and brothers and sisters” quality of daily 1Cor.12 Together-Life—then removing “it” would only be a farce. DisFellowship is powerless when there is no Fellowship that is real and deep, and life-transforming in loyalty and love.
There can be no meaningful and motivating “disFellowship” if there has been no intertwined families and lives and time and love. EVEN in Corinth, even amongst BABY CHRISTIANS, even with “the WORST CHURCH ON RECORD”… there was clearly a Quality of Life that was breathtaking and intimate. With all of their lack, they HAD LIFE IN JESUS, TOGETHER.
There was plenty of room, obviously, for further growth in all ways. The letter from Paul made no mistake about that. But their BASELINE for Existence in Jesus together, their Koinonia, was higher than almost anything in the world today. Jesus has been sloppily relegated to “attendance” on a “special day”—and “everything else is extra.”
Whatever happened to “ALL of our hearts, ALL of our souls, ALL of our minds, and ALL of our strength”? It’s still His Plan and still the look of His Bride. :)
In an “attendance-based” or “Kumbaya” group, sin is covered over, excused, ignored, or justified. In Corinth, by contrast, they made massive changes based on just one letter from a brother from another city (2Cor.7:8-16). Can we embrace that kind of passion to “present one another complete in Christ”? It’s just basic Christianity. It’s CHRIST-likeness. It’s LOVE to do all things possible to turn a man or woman from lukewarmness, or any other sin. And one of God’s Ordained and Commanded “tools” to help is first Koinonia, and then disKoinonia, should it become necessary.
The disciples in Corinth refused to eat with the man who would not stop “crucifying Jesus afresh” with his sin. They would not let the man continue to play with their children, or be in their homes. Removing him from their lives could only be tragic to him if they were very, very close, relationally. Sending him to “excessive despair” for removing his access to their daily lives and children and games and travels and meals is only possible—if he knew well and CARED about their children, and had been a frequent part of their homes. The man they were forced to separate from in disKoinonia got no more invitations to go for a walk, or shop with them in the market, or work on projects together. Their obedient and courageous refusal to eat with him or “fellowship” with him any longer—was the TOOL that God had ordained to make a legitimately Twice-born, but stubborn and foolish disciple turn away from his destructive sins.
Notice the “Key” though: If they did not HAVE such intimate fellowship with one another (even as lacking as it was according to Paul’s rebukes and corrections), their refusal to “associate” with him and to “expel” him from their daily lives could not have had this DRAMATIC effect. He was on the verge of being “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” by his loss from them. Paul begged them to rush back to him, in forgiveness, after he had repented.
Corinth. They are nearly all baby christians; few are more than 36 months old in Christ, and many or most are from pagan godless backgrounds. And yet, the most natural thing for someone who is Twice-Born is to be passionately penitent and responsive to truth, even if only seen in a letter from a brother currently in another country. This ragtag group of Blood-bought, Christ-indwelt new Christians knew how to love and “walk as Jesus walked” at a deeper level than “attendance-based” christendom ever can or will. THEY had Koinonia with the Father and with “the church that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against.”
With the addictive sins of their backgrounds—1Cor.6:9-11—it is no wonder that these babies (1Cor.3:1, 11:17-20) needed some direction and help (Eph.4:11-20, 1Cor.12:21) to get their lives moving towards Jesus in a way that would bring Him honor and pleasure. But, don’t miss this Point: Unlike most religious bodies, in spite of immaturity and baggage and virtually no time as Christians after wicked lives in a wicked city—they STILL had very deep “one another” relationships as Jesus called and empowered them to be one with Him and each other. “A hundred mothers, brothers, sisters” involved DAILY (1Cor.12, Heb.3:12-14, Acts 2:42-47, Eph.4:16, Phlp.1:27-28, 2:2, Gal.4:19, 1Thes.2:3-12, 3:1-4:2, Mat.16:18, Eph.3:10, 1Tim.3:15). It’s “God’s Intent” that His Church be His Body, connected as vitally and as daily as your body parts are to one another. He intends for us to be “daily” joined and contributing in vital real ways to “one another.” And as the Master declared, “THIS is HOW all men will know you are MY disciples.”