KEEP THINGS IN HOUSE: It's interesting the way Paul formulates this chapter. He doesn't tell Christians not to have disputes with one another, because that would be impossible. As long as we're sinful people disputes will occur. But when they do, it is counter productive to bring it to 'ungodly' (literally 'unjust' - v1) people for a just solution. Remember what we read in chapter 2 that Christians have been given the mind of Christ (2:16), whereas the people of this world have a 'way of life that is scorned by the church (v4).' Plus, it just makes us all look bad (v6).
PUTTING CHRIST FIRST MEANS PUTTING CHRIST FIRST: It's very easy to boldly claim to put Christ first, until a person begins counting the actual costs of doing so. To continue to cling to asserting your own rights - even when you seem completely justified in doing so - is to 'have been completely defeated already (v7).' Today we read it's better to be wronged or cheated than to publicly fight with a fellow church member.
INTOLERANT OF TOLERANCE: Paul gives a long list of sinful behaviors that will not be tolerated in the Kingdom of God (v10). Many of these are activities that are more and more championed by society. It is clear that there ought to be no tolerance in the church for people who promote these lifestyles. This does not mean, however, that we are not to welcome in those people who struggle with these temptations, or who genuinely seek to overcome them but occasionally fall into the sin and then repent. If that were the case, none of us would be welcome in the church because all of us continue to struggle with sin, even if our particular weakness wasn't part of this very incomplete list.
FREEDOM DOES NOT MEAN A FREE FOR ALL: We've already read several times this year that as Christians we've been set free from the law (explicitly in Acts 13:39 and Romans 8:2), but once again today we are reminded that this does not mean we can live lawlessly. This chapter ends with the rationale for why we must still submit ourselves to God's moral law, and it makes for a terrific memory verse:
You are not your own; you were bought at a price (v19b-20a).
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: By His power God raised Christ from the dead, and He will raise you also (v14)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that in all things you will honor God with your body (v20)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: