In the Bible we read the following in 1 Corinthians 15:33-34:
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God…“
The Apostle Paul has just written the first of two letters to those at Corinth. In these last few statements, the apostle writes to them a very powerful truth. The second phrase in verse 33 is our focus today, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” I believe some defining may help us better aid the reader to understand just what Paul is trying to do, in order to help the Corinth believers.
- Evil – worthless; injurious; bad; noisome; ill
- Communications – companionship; company
- Corrupt – to shrivel or wither; to spoil or to ruin
- Good – useful; gracious; kind
- Manners – moral habits; manners
It’s easy to see here that there can be danger in who we keep company with when wedo a simple word study of the Bible. Some may influence us in a positive way, however there are those who may infect us with their philosophies and ideals, which are based upon their own wisdom rather than the wisdom of the Bible. Paul warned the Colossian believers of the same thing in Col. 2:8, as well, Paul offered a very strong word towards those that cause division in his letter to the Romans. He wrote:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
Paul truly hated false teachings and those who deceived the flock of God. Possibly the vehement loathing he had of such was due to his own past and how he treated Christians before he was converted. He understood the danger of being full of self and arrogance concerning the knowledge that stems from the flesh.
We write on such a topic today because we want to caution the reader concerning who you keep company with. There are some that believe that they can maintain relationships with both sides of the fence and not be affected. Sadly, this just is not true. In Luke 16:13, Jesus states that, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Now, as we know Jesus is teaching more so on money, this statements rings true in other areas of life. Simply put, we can ascribe here two masters are that of the flesh and of the spirit. Paul writes of the same thing in Romans 6 and Galatians 5. There are those who feed our spirit and God uses them to strengthen us for His glory and there are those who feed our flesh and Satan uses them to weaken us for his vanity. Either of these may be an unbeliever or sadly even a believer. Although someone may be born again, if they have remained in the proverbial spiritual nursery and have not grown much from the moment they trusted Christ, they are prime tools of the devil the older they get. The writer of Hebrews describes them in Hebrews 5:11-14 and Paul writes of such in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. We would love to say that everybody can be saved, but that is not a very sound and mature statement. Now that is not to say they couldn’t be saved, but many can’t, because they refuse to humble themselves before God and admit their sin. With that said, we would also love to state that everybody that professes to be saved are saved for Jesus clarifies this is not true in Matthew 7. To add to this, we’d love to say that everybody who IS saved follows the teachings of the Bible. Many live contrary to the Bible and choose only to follow those things that appeal to them.
The reader will find in 1 John 4:1 a very important principle to follow in preventing someone from spoiling or corrupting them. Jesus did not refer to the drunkard as a hypocrite. Neither did He refer to the prostitute, drug addict, adulterer and etc as hypocrites. However, in Matthew 6:2 Jesus did say, “as the hypocrites do in the synagogues.” Jesus used the word hypocrite multiple times and it was always used toward or to refer to the “religious” leaders (Pharisees/Sadduccees/Scribes). Actually of the 31 times the word(s) hypocrite(s) is used in the King James Bible, Jesus uses it 20. That’s profound, considering many who are guilty of such believe they are pleasing Him with their lives. Jesus uses the words, “take heed” multiple times, notice the following instances:
- Matthew 6:1 – Jesus talks about those who do their works to be seen or patted on the back.
- Matthew 24:4 – Jesus says to take heed that no man deceive you
- Mark 4:24 – Jesus says to take heed “what ye hear“
- Luke 8:18 – Jesus says to take heed “how you hear”
- it’s not just how it’s said, but also how you heard it
- Luke 21:8 – Jesus said to take heed “that ye be not deceived“
- Luke 21:34 – Jesus says to take heed “to yourselves“
Reader, if we are not careful, our social interactions will be used to lead us in the wrong direction. If you’re serving God today and trying to maintain the fellowship of someone who has a great influence, yet not on the same path they will inevitably cause you to sway. We do not advocate the desertion of those who want to be trained, however the Lord knew if people rejected Him, He would be limited in how He could help them (Mark 6:5-6). The art of discipleship is for a mature believer to teach and train the weaker believer. You won’t find Jesus following or even maintaining fellowship with one that serves self. His disciples did not as well. Discipleship is helping others reach the next level of their walk with Christ. IT IS NOT a mature believer falling back to a previous level in order that they don’t offend. Again, we refer the reader to Hebrews 5:11-14. At some point painful, yet wise decisions must be made to go on or else a person’s life can be infected by trying to please people, instead of God. According to Paul in Galatians 1, that person is not to be called the servant of God. Our own spiritual well being is at stake based upon who we spend time with, but not only ours, but our children and our churches.
In conclusion. We hope something here has helped someone. Maybe you’ve been challenged to reevaluate who you’re spending time with. Maybe you’ve been convicted for a while and now God is speaking to you once again to act. Maybe you’ve been wondering why you feel so drained emotionally and spiritually. It may be that your company is corrupting your fellowship with Christ.
Until He comes again…