I'll never forget when Steve came to church. As far as I knew, he was the first of the hippies to come to our local Baptist church. He had on green bibbed overalls and a purple coat that hung down to his knees. He had long red scraggly hair and a bushy beard that made you realize this wasn't your usual corporate executive dropping into the local Baptist church on Sunday morning. But Steve came in looking for God.
I don't know about the other households at our church, but I know that at our household we were saying, "You won't believe who was in church today! You just wouldn't believe who was in church today!" We talked about Steve. The long shot of Steve's story is that God did a wonderful work in his life. The last time I saw him he was growing in Christ and serving Him faithfully.
You just can't believe who's in church these days, can you? The same would have been true if you had been in Corinth, that little isthmus of land that sticks out between the Aegean and Ionian seas. This city at the crossroads of the world was known for its tourists and for the sailors who came through its port. It was a city that if you took the worst of Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York and put them all together, you'd have Corinth. The city had a temple to Aphrodite that was on a hill about 2,000 feet high. People came from around the world to worship this Greek goddess and a thousand temple prostitutes helped people fulfill what they thought was worship to their god.
If you had gone to church at Corinth and sat down with a person who had been there for awhile, you might have been told, "See that woman over there? That's Wanda. She was a lesbian until three years ago when something wonderful happened in her life. You see that guy over there? That's Bob. He's known all over town as one of the greediest guys around. I mean he'd cheat you out of anything, until five years ago. You see Carol back there? I want to tell you about her. She was a hooker. I mean she worked the Aphrodite temple for years, until six months ago." You would have said, "What a church! What a church! You mean these people are all members of the church at Corinth?" Paul would have said, "Yes, my friend, they are; they really are."
How did this happen? Paul explains it in these verses. One of the exciting things about these three very powerful verses of Scripture is that the same Truth, the same Person who changed those lives, is at business and works today doing the same thing.
I can assure you that there are some people in churches today who would fit the descriptions we're going to look at. There are some others whose lifestyles are not listed here, yet who are in churches today. Let's find out what happened to them, what can happen to people you know, and even what can happen to you.
Notice first, Paul is giving a definitive statement. He's trying to clarify some issues in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?"