1 Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Let me —
I. EXPLAIN THIS DOCTRINE.
1. Good manners, although applied by St. Paul to those Christian principles from which his converts were in danger of being seduced, may be understood as including both right sentiments and holy practice.
2. The term "evil communications," means the associating with evil men.
3. Such evil communications corrupt the mind, sap the principles, and taint the conduct. In the case of the upright Christian, whose duty leads him to intercourse with the world, this tendency may, indeed, be counteracted by watchfulness and prayer, and by the preventing grace of God. But if, without this defence, a man will freely associate with the ungodly, the effect will soon be visible in his character.
4. The injurious effect of evil communications is not described as taking place in any sudden or striking manner. Corruption is a gradual change. Silently, but surely, evil communications corrupt good manners.
II. CONFIRM IT, by an appeal to —
1. The Word of God (Proverbs 4:14, etc., 9:6, 13:6; 2 Peter 2.).
2. Maxims of wise men. St. Paul's words are borrowed from a heathen writer. This shows that Reason without the aid of Inspiration has led men to the very same conclusion with the apostle. To this I will add the modern saying of "a man is known by the company he keeps."
3. Take the cases of Lot, Solomon, etc.
4. Personal experience. Look back through your past lives, and recollect in how many instances your views and conduct have been influenced by the example of those among whom you lived.
III. APPLY IT. Be not deceived.
1. As to the reality of your danger from ungodly society. We soon perceive the perilous situation of a son, a daughter, or a friend; but we are apt to be very blind when the case becomes our own. There is no safety in the society of those who have not the fear of God before their eyes. If they be openly immoral or unprincipled, all connection with them is perilous in the extreme. But their society is scarcely less dangerous to a true Christian, if, while destitute of religion, their outward behaviour is plausible and decorous.
2. As to your ability for resisting the influence of evil communications. A man may say, "I know that there is danger, but my principles are fixed: and, as I do not go into such company, out of any love for their bad conduct, I shall easily avoid what I know to be wrong." The man who talks thus is ignorant both of the power of temptation and of the weakness of his own heart, and he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. And should the tempter suggest, as he did to Jesus, that God will give His angels charge over you to keep you, recollect that there is no promise of such protection to those who quit the path in which the Lord requires them to walk.
3. As to the possibility of separating yourself from ungodly connections.
4. As to the final tendency of that corruption, which arises from evil communications.
(J. Jowett, M.A)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.