Read 1 Corinthians 6
It seems like Paul suddenly changes the subject here, moving from sexual immorality to dealing with lawsuits of believers against each other. However, we will return to that, incorporating all of this together into one overarching subject: How is our conduct impacting our witness?
This is an important question, not because we need to pretend that we have it all together, but because it forces us to examine what we do in and outside of the church. Do those things damage the message of the Gospel?
In the time that Paul was writing, lawsuits were not simple legal affairs. There was some significant corruption that plagued the legal system and much of the injustice that took place happens on class-specific lines. Those who could afford to could buy the verdicts they wanted while the poorer people were left in continual oppression. When we look at the Gospel message, this sort of class discrimination is completely wrong.
When Paul returns to the subject of sexual immorality, amongst other sins, he draws his warnings about lawsuits into this to again pose the question: Are the things that we are doing damaging our ability to spread the Gospel? When public perception of the church makes people question the message of the Gospel that we uphold, it should give us pause.
Paul draws this all together in verse 12. The Corinthian church was pretty free with what it was allowing and even endorsing as acceptable behavior for its constituents. Ultimately, though, the problem is not behavioral but rather is a weakness in their identity and beliefs. They are not living into their new identity in Christ and are misunderstanding the freedom that is offered them through His grace. How does your community view your church? Is that helping or hindering the Gospel message?