Evil Communications

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

I Corinthians 15:33


  1. What a text! Only eight words! But there is a great lesson of two parts contained in them! Praise the Lord!
  2. Here is a verse to read, memorize, exegete, apply, and teach to yourself, your children, and other believers.
  3. Simple rules are fun and easy to remember! We teach gravity by saying, “What goes up must come down!”

Grasp the Context

  1. Who wrote the sentence? Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, God’s apostle to the Gentiles.
  2. To whom was it written? The church at Corinth, a church with much false doctrine and practice.
  3. Why did Paul write it? The church had teachers questioning and denying the resurrection (15:12).
  4. What did Paul write? He gave an axiom of human nature and a warning against deception about it.
  5. When did Paul write it? Just a few years after Jesus rose from the dead and Paul had taught it.
  6. Where did Paul write it? To a church that was located in a carnal, lascivious, prosperous city.

Exegete the Text

  1. “Be” makes it an imperative mood sentence, by telling you to do or not to do some specific action.
  2. “Not” indicates that you are being told not to do something or not to let something be done to you.
  3. “Deceived” is the state of believing a lie as truth – it is a blinding you cannot know has happened.
    1. Deception is one of the worst things in humanity – believing a lie as a truth. God have mercy!
    2. When the Bible tells us how to avoid deception, we want to give the warning full attention.
    3. The lesson Paul is about to give is something that you cannot and will not know by instinct.
    4. The lesson Paul is about to give is something that you intuitively believe is not true or probable.
    5. You might eventually learn evil communications corrupt good manners, but then it is too late.
  4. “Evil” describes the nature of a person or thing, which means it is offensive to the God of heaven.
    1. The world does not know how to define evil, for they call good things bad and bad things good.
    2. The only definition of evil that matters is the Bible, where God defines good and bad for us.
    3. The world approves abortion, child rebellion, divorce, labor unions, sodomy, and many sins.
  5. “Communications” are inputs that feed our minds and hearts to establish our thoughts and beliefs.
    1. The primary input in this context was the questions and denials of teachers, who were speaking in the church against the things Paul had taught about the resurrection when in Corinth.
    2. Your life is based on inputs – you cannot think past what you are taught or told by others.
    3. Everything you know by the way of knowledge was accumulated through your five senses.
  6. “Corrupt” is taking something good and wholesome and degrading it to something bad and rotten.
    1. The body begins to corrupt the moment the spirit leaves it – the body begins to rot and stink.
    2. There are corrupt “Christians” to avoid (II Cor 2:17; I Tim 6:5; II Tim 3:8; Jude 1:10; Re 19:2).
    3. Inputs of knowledge that God does not approve will make something bad, rotten, and smelly!
  7. “Good” describes the nature of a person or thing, which means the God of heaven approves it.
    1. One of the easiest mistakes leading to deception is to let the world define what is good or not.
    2. They think fornication, foolish talking, jesting, rap music, and same-sex marriages are good.
    3. God gave us His word for us to learn what is good (Ps 119:128; Pr 22:17-21; II Tim 3:16-17).
  8. “Manners” are your beliefs, behavior, habits, and practices that are formed by inputs in your life.
    1. We are called to godliness, holiness, righteousness, and truth – God’s required manners.
    2. The world wants to socialize you to accept and practice its manners, which are not of God.
    3. Your character, conduct, and conviction will be corrupted if the world can influence you.
  9. Summarize the text to grasp the sense of the words and understand the reading (Nehemiah 8:8).
    1. You will think poor spiritual inputs cannot hurt you, but they will most certainly hurt you.
    2. You will think there is no harm in good worldly friends, but they will corrupt your behavior.
    3. You will think the Bible and our church are too strict, but compromise will destroy you.
    4. You will think you can change or influence the world by association, but it never happens.
    5. No matter how strong you think you are, ungodly influences will eventually win you over.
    6. Regardless of worldlings’ press for fellowship, you must avoid them to save your manners.
    7. There is no room to play or compromise with this axiom, it is as certain and true as gravity.

Illustrate the Text

  1. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom (Gen 13:12). Did it affect him, his wife, and his five daughters?
  2. Samson was very strong, but Delilah’s evil communications destroyed his life (Judges 16:15-17).
  3. Amnon had a problem with incestuous lust (II Sam 3:1-2). Did his friend Jonadab help or hurt him?
  4. The Judaizers sought to corrupt the Galatian Christians for their own benefit (Galatians 4:17).
  5. Paul warned Timothy about the corrupting influence of vain babbling of teachers (II Tim 2:16-18).
  6. Peter warned about false teachers alluring victims through evil communications (II Peter 2:18-20).

Apply the Text

  1. What are the inputs in your life? Have you carefully considered all of them? There are many!
  2. We must turn away from Christians that live the carnal existence of the last days (II Tim 3:1-5).
    1. Every one is a Christian in America, right? Wrong! American Christians are belly worshippers.
    2. Every one wants to be a Christian, but you will discover otherwise when you demand the Bible.
    3. Paul told Timothy to withdraw from Christian teachers departing from the one faith (I Tim 6:5).
  3. What is “wholesome” recreation? Is it faith-based, God-fearing, Bible-exalting, Christ-honoring?
    1. Truly wholesome television would present the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Tim 6:3-5): anything less than that is consuming your time and communicating earthly things with appeal.
    2. Anne of Green Gables is not wholesome, for it does not teach any spiritual qualities of Christ: whitewashing and sanitizing a Godless view of life may be more deceptive than overt wickedness, for the conscience is set at ease and godly watchfulness is compromised foolishly.
    3. The Hardy Boys are spiritually dead pagan. Though they wear clothes and drives cars in their pursuit of “bad guys,” they are not superior in any meaningful way to young naked Aborigines using boomerangs to fight evil spirits in Australia. Think critically in light of the Word of God.
    4. “Apollo 13” and other such “wholesome” movies as a steady diet without correction will destroy the vitality of a child of God. You cannot watch this stuff and be spiritually minded, without sober efforts to counter it, for it is entirely and devotedly carnally minded.
    5. Your flesh will gorge on the earthly diet and get strong and vicious, and your new man will be offended, weakened, and grieved. Satan will rejoice, as you foolishly slide down the slippery slope to eat the fruit he and they prepared for you as an enticement to betray true godliness.
  4. Are we being too strict? Of course, the world, your flesh, and the lying devil will say that we are!
    1. But we are not too strict when being earthly minded is to be an enemy of Christ (Phil 3:18-19)!
    2. This text also calls carnal Christians belly worshippers and forecasts destruction as their future!
    3. Not when the time past of our lives should suffice in sinful living (I Pet 4:1-5; II Pet 2:21-22).
    4. Not when you will give an account for things done in your body (Eccl 12:13-14; II Cor 5:9-10).
    5. Not when God pounded Israel repeatedly as an example to us to be strict (I Cor 10:6-11).
    6. Being spiritually minded is extreme only to those dead in sins or trying to live a carnal life.
    7. But it is a minister’s job to wage war against your imaginations and thoughts (II Cor 10:3-6).
    8. We are stepping further and further into the cesspool of human thought and action, so that holding out for Godly communication only sounds rabid, strange, Neanderthal, cultish, etc., etc.
    9. The subtle breakdown of conviction is difficult to perceive, and our flesh will justify it at every turn. If other “Christians” can have so much fun with the world while believing and talking their religion, we will eventually think we are far too strict and should not be so concerned.
  5. A major issue facing Christians is the choice of their associates, companions, friends, and spouses.
    1. Marriage should be considered separately, for the word of God is plain (I Cor 7:39; 11:11).
    2. The power of peer pressure for children and adults is enormous and cannot be taken lightly.
    3. Solomon spent much time warning his son (Prov 1:10-19; 4:14-15; 9:6; 13:20; 22:24-25).
    4. There will only be a few godly men or women you can safely have for friends (Mat 7:13-14).
    5. David, the man after God’s own heart, was very selective with friends (Ps 101:3-8; 119:63).
    6. A man that desires to prosper by God’s definition will avoid worldlings strictly (Psalm 1:1-3).
  6. It is important for parents to take a strong and strict stand to protect their children from corruption.
    1. We would expect a parent to violently intervene to protect a baby from fire, a child from an electrical outlet, a youth from riding his bike on the highway, a teenager from riding on top of a friend’s car, a neighbor from driving down a road at night with a washed-out bridge, etc.
    2. Parents have a right and a responsibility to dictate their children’s music, clothes, school, friends, movies, books, magazines, associations, sports, television, etc., etc.
  7. Having written everything above, how do we actually and specifically put this axiom into practice?
    1. This section of the outline is not undoing the above, but rather rightly trying to apply the above.
    2. Righteousness and wisdom are not always black and white, but depend on circumstantial facts.
    3. It should be obvious that any friend, magazine, or movie that condones evil is clearly wrong.
    4. It should be obvious that any friend, magazine, or movie that excites the flesh to sin is wrong.
    5. But living in the world, we can read the newspaper, watch a historical documentary, take a college course, attend a business seminar, shop at the grocery store, etc., etc.
    6. There are many historical, news, discovery, educational, instructional things to read or watch.
    7. However, our conscience must strictly correct, condemn, and refute error for children and us.
    8. Spectator sports and their vanity, excess, and lifestyles should be limited and understood.
    9. For every liberty you allow with communications, you must cover for it with righteousness.
    10. If your conscience is stricter, then pray for the writer! If it is weaker, then follow the writer!


  1. The outline appears very harsh and inflexible until the last section, but we cannot emphasize both sides.
  2. We cannot leave the world, and we are not supposed to leave the world; but we must guard against the world seducing us away from the Lord with all our might (I Cor 5:9-10; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17).
  3. Do not deceive yourself with the missionary heresy that God wants you to influence the world for holiness by association (Hag 2:10-14; II Cor 6:14-17; Jas 4:4). Influence it by your own holiness (Eph 5:8-17)!

For Further Study:

  1. The sermon outline, “God Hates Compromise,” will put compromise of God’s commandments in proper perspective.
  2. The sermon outline, “Biblical Separation,” sounds a call from God for His people to separate from the world.
  3. The sermon outline, “Truth, Lies, and Compromise,” shows Jehoshaphat’s horrible error in befriending Ahab.
  4. The sermon outline, “Playing with Sin,” uses Lot and other illustrations to show the horror of moral compromise.
  5. The sermon outline, “Consequences,” shows that you will pay a dear price in family dysfunction for compromise.
  6. The sermon outline, “Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out,” promises the certain judgment for playing with sin.
  7. The sermon outline, “Hating Sin,” which gives reasons from the Bible for despising and fearing sin in your life.
  8. The sermon outline, “Sacrificing the Future,” shows the price to pay in the future for compromise with sin today.
  9. The sermon outline, “Pleasures of Sin,” honestly admits that sin has pleasure, but it cannot compare with its judgment.
  10. Presbyterian R.L. Dabney (1820-1898) wrote, “Against Dangerous Reading,” to oppose evil communications in books.