Jump Start # 2797
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Our verse is about environment. Not the environment of the atmosphere, clouds, sky and things like that. It’s about the environment of people. We can’t do much about the atmosphere. You plan a picnic or an outdoor wedding, and here comes the storm clouds. Not much you can do about that. However, the environment of people is completely in our control. Who we invite into our lives is up to us.
What is interesting about our passage is how so many lift it out of its context. Get a group of teens together for a devotion, and this passage will certainly be used. There are things that teens can learn from this passage but that wasn’t the main thrust or focus. This chapter is about the resurrection of Jesus. That is the focal point of the N.T. The resurrection of Jesus is the exclamation point of the Bible. By it, God demonstrated His love. The resurrection of Jesus was the death blow that crushed Satan. A Jesus without the resurrection is a Jesus without hope and a Jesus that cannot forgive. Without the resurrection, the prison doors of death are forever locked. Without the resurrection of Jesus, Heaven will never be. That’s how important the resurrection is.
In talking to our friends, the drawing point isn’t how cool our church is, nor, how friendly the people are, nor that there are so many kids that are the same age as yours. Those things do not matter. The drawing point is the Jesus lives. Jesus is the Lord. The resurrection proves all of that.
This chapter of Corinthians was written because there were some who no longer believed in the resurrection. And, without the resurrection, what’s the point? Why worship? Why the N.T.? “There are some among you that say there is no resurrection of the dead” (v. 12). That “among you,” believe it or not, is the Corinthian church. There were Christians who claimed that there is no resurrection. This is not something that you give someone a pass on. This isn’t something that one says, “Well, I see it differently than you do.” There is no other possible option. Jesus rose. The proof is overwhelming. This chapter alone sticks it to those who wanted to believe something else. They were wrong, flat out wrong.
And, it is within this environment that our verse is found. The bad company wasn’t the kid down the street who smokes and rides his motorcycle fast through the neighborhood. The bad company was in the church. The bad company was members who did not believe in the resurrection. And, it is these bad company that would corrupt good morals. The Common English phrases this, “corrupts good character.” Now, how might that be done. If I could be convinced that there is no resurrection, then there won’t be a judgment day. No judgment day means there won’t be a Hell. No punishment. No fear. Do what you want. Those good morals, that good character now has a green light to become wicked. And, why not? You can’t get into any trouble. Do whatever you want. Remove the stop signs in your life. You can live just like a sinner. The doors become wide open.
This is the cause for this stern warning. This bad company is going to ruin you. Your mind has become twisted. Your values are upside down. Your thinking isn’t right. You are headed toward a brick wall and you do not even see it. Bad company ruins you. Environment.
Now, some thoughts:
First, not everyone who claims to be a Christian, or even worships with you, are going the same direction as you are. These non-resurrection believers in Corinth certainly weren’t. Just because someone sits in worship on Sunday does not mean that their minds and hearts are right with the Lord. The O.T. prophets warned about some who during worship were wishing the Sabbath would be over so they could cheat others in business. Now, this is not to make us suspicious of each other, nor should this cause us to pull away from others. Not at all. Fellowship necessitates connecting. However, God’s word is what is right. We need to know it. When something sounds out of place and out of line, check the book. Search the Scriptures to see if those things are so. Error can wear may disguises and by them we can be fooled.
Second, one doesn’t just immediately turn his back on the resurrection of Jesus. There is a slow and gradual leak in their faith. They are reading the wrong stuff. They are being influenced by others. They have allowed their environment to be polluted. Now, they are doing the same to others. They are influencing others. They have bought into this false package and they want to spread it and share it with others. Once again, back to environment. What are you reading? If Christians in Corinth can tell lies about the resurrection of Christ, so can Christians today. Often it is through books and social media. A new way of looking at things is often the introduction to trouble. After all these years, there’s not too much new anymore.
Third, error gets a foothold when it is given a listening ear. Had the people of Corinth responded to the news about no resurrection with, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard,” or, “Haven’t you read the Bible?” that might have put a stop to it. But when we give it some thought, when we allow error to build a case, when we crack open the door, error comes marching right in. We are responsible for what we believe. The foundation of your faith is not determined by the preacher in the pulpit. That’s dangerous. You own your faith. You are responsible for knowing what you know. You ought to be able to recognize something that is crooked. The Corinthians should have been able to take care of this themselves. There should not have been a problem. But, it was becoming one, and Paul had to stop it.
Fourth, now stretching the thought in this passage, we must take better control of our environment. I think we give too may passes to those who are wrong because they are family, or, they are friends. Or, they are someone we date. Or, they are someone we like. They can say the most outrageous, false and sometimes even blasphemous things, and we laugh it off. We think nothing of it. We allow them to continue on. If someone came into my home, family member, neighbor, someone in the church, or someone I just invited in, and they lit up a cigarette, or started cussing, family or not, friend or not, they’d be told to stop or escorted out the door. You control your environment. I see in the early pages of Acts that the disciples were around each other often. They ate together. These days, we surround ourselves with those who are not Christians. The only time we see brethren is at worship. And, our environment isn’t helping us. We are not getting stronger. We are not walking closer to the Lord. And, to our verse, our good character and our good morals are being corrupted. Things are changing and we do not even see it. And, the cause of all of this, is the company that we keep. Evil company, bad company has a negative impact upon us. It’s easier to go downhill than it is uphill. That is true in riding your bike and it is true in your morals.
It’s time to give some thought to the company that we keep. If it’s not helping us and we are not influencing them in a positive direction, we must ask ourselves, “why?” Why are we keeping company with those who may be ruining our minds and hearts? And, too often, the answer is nothing more than, ‘they are family.’ And, with that reasoning, some will allow their family to destroy their hope in the Lord.
Maybe it’s time we took to heart the Lord’s words about loving father or mother more than Me.
Bad company corrupts. Good company strengthens. The difference in the two, is Jesus Christ.