2020-09-06 – 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 – Boastful About Sin
2020-09-06 – 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 – Boastful About Sin (Pastor Training)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us.
This is Labor Day weekend, and in that many folks have Monday off. In America we have celebrated Labor Day weekend since 1882 with picnics and parades, fireworks and barbecues, many people every year take time to relax and recreate. Let me remind you though that although labor is sometimes hard, work is actually a good thing. Labor is not a sinful activity. God gave Adam and Eve all kinds of work to do before Satan ushered in sin into our world. So if you have the day off Monday, relax and enjoy yourself. Take a pause and thank the Lord for His beautiful creation this week and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Two years and four days ago, I was blessed and honored to give my first sermon here at Orion First Baptist Church. I went and found the church bulletin for that first Sunday, and I see that I was first inspired to bring a topical message called God So Loves. I chose that message because I wanted the members to understand that everything we do in and through this church should be flavored with that simple and blessed understanding. God So Loves you church family. I hope you realize that. No matter what, God So Loves you, Amen?
How blessed I am that you have chosen me to be your pastor. I am honored and humbled at this amazing opportunity. We have shared a lot of great experiences here together over the last two-years that is for sure. What a true joy it has been for me to serve this church family and the Orion community alongside you all. I have learned so much during this season of my life and I thank you all, especially the leadership here for your great support and encouragement.
Please turn now to 1 Corinthians 5:1, page 1013 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Last week as we studied the previous chapter, we saw how the Apostle Paul in this letter, was attempting to combat the sin of arrogance. He wrote this First Corinthian letter in an attempt to keep the believers there from falling off the rails. We will see a little more about that in the verses that follow today, but specifically as it deals with ongoing immoral complacency. That is a very difficult issue to talk about with anyone but especially a new fledgling church family.
As with most any new relationship, you would rather not have to judge or negatively scrutinize the behaviors of the people you care about. However, God has shown us many times in scripture, that you cannot ignore such things. For if you do, that sin might continue advance and perhaps more than likely cause serious damage to the fellowship of believers.
Like we stated last week, Paul stayed with those First Corinthian believers for eighteen months, then later he sent them this letter. So that would put his relationship with them to be about the same length as my relationship with you all. Let that sink into your mind as we read now these first verses of chapter 5:
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles—a man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Shouldn’t you be filled with grief and remove from your congregation the one who did this?
3 Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who has been doing such a thing. [Slide] 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 hand that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Whoa! Again, this is a very difficult situation for the church and for Paul who was their spiritual leader and Father in the faith. He was horrified to hear what was going on. It is surmised that the woman involved was probably a stepmother and most likely not a church member, since Paul says only to expel him and not her as well. You might know that the Roman and Corinthian cultures were known to have poor moral standards already, however this was taboo even for them. For God’s people, it should have been unthinkable. The way this is written suggests it was an ongoing relationship, not a one time thing; and no hint of repentance.
Paul was clear that the church was to hand this man over to Satan “for the destruction of his flesh”. What this means is there comes a point that a person’s sinful presence with the church family is more destructive and threatening than what should be tolerated. If someone continues to defile themselves and considers what is evil as good, then no matter what you say or do, they will continue doing it. Then it is better to have them removed so that they might not cause lasting harm to the church family. In doing so they will reap the repercussions of their sinful ways. Until that occurs, the person may not care to change. Don’t get me wrong, I know that is a tough stance to take, but a necessary one sometimes. However when any discipline is enacted, it is done for the purpose and hope of eventually restoring them into a more healthy relationship. The same principle applies to our blood families. If a member of the family is continuing to defile the trust and safety of the other family members, then sometimes a hard decision has to be made to remove them from the home.
Many times I have witnessed these types of disciplinary actions to have positive results, but sadly sometimes not. That is also why we must blanket any such discipline with much prayer. It should hurt to enforce and carry out such actions, but that hurt should drive us to our knees asking Father God to intervene.
It is interesting to note in these verses that Paul seemed to be less shocked by the incest itself than he was by the church’s non-reaction to it. Our next verse 6 suggests they even boasted about it. Paul is shocked that the church wasn’t filled with grief over this situation. Since we are all members of Christ’s body, the actions of one person many times impact the entire body. I have seen churches fall on their knees because of the actions of a few or even one person sin. But it hurts our hearts to enact discipline, which is why we need to exercise much grace and wisdom as we consider how to approach such challenges. Paul then wrote:
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
You might know, in ancient times, yeast was scarce, and leaven was the popular alternative. Leaven was actually just an old piece of dough that had begun to ferment. When added to a new batch of dough, it spreads that fermentation throughout the whole loaf, making the bread lighter. However, it is a fragile process, as just a little bit of spoiled dough could also ruin a whole batch.
Again, the sinful actions of a few or one can spoil a church if it is not addressed properly. And the Christian audience there in Corinth understood that as new born-again believers, they and we, should strive to put-off our old self daily, and protect this new relationship we have with Christ. We must continue to struggle against Satan’s schemes and sin’s appeal. Brothers and sisters, don’t let sin take root in your character. However if it does, look for God’s provision and protection.
[Slide] 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” That goes for the person and that also goes for the church. With all the dynamics going on in our world today, and all the wonderful new members we now have here in this church, we will be tempted. We will see more challenges and struggles with our culture as we grow. But God is faithful indeed, and we need to be praying for our church family every day, Amen?
9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But actually, I wrote you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister and is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you.
Until we leave the world completely, when Christ returns and takes us home to heaven, we will continue to be surrounded by sinful people (including ourselves). We should expect to witness the immoral practices of people outside the church. Those outside our belief structure don’t live by our Biblical standards. However, those inside the church should be striving to adhere to the examples that Jesus Himself set for us. When somebody inside the church family chooses to pursue a lifestyle of habitual sin, we should make an effort to correct them and bring them back into a better relationship with the church and Christ. In these last verses though, Paul made it clear that we are not to associate with, or even eat with a brother or sister in Christ that chooses to persist in a lifestyle of habitual sin. You see, sometimes by just continuing to associate with them, we are signaling to them and others that we accept their ways and that it is okay. This is a lesson on tough love brothers and sisters, but love it is indeed. We need to be concentrating more on our long term relationships. That’s what loved does.
Again, we are all sinners that need much grace and mercy. But at the same time we must be wise about how we approach habitual sinful practices in our midst. In this chapter 5 of the First Corinthian letter, Paul was admonishing the church for not dealing with a problem that was obviously out of control. It was a tough issue for him to address, especially understanding that he was not able to be with him in person at that time. Fortunately we know that in the Second letter Paul wrote to the same Corinthian church, he was much more full of accolades. Which makes me believe that maybe the church took care of that issue, and hopefully the young man was brought back into fellowship and a right relationship with Christ.
So what do we do with this passage today? Lots of churches choose to ignore it, because the issue of how to exercise church discipline in the 21st century is too complicated. But we have to ask ourselves, is it really loving to a brother or sister who is engaged in sinful practices to pretend we don’t know about it? I think not. Sin is to be grieved over, not celebrated. Pray that when we have to deal with such sin, that we do it well. The goal is always to help bring a fallen brother or sister to conviction and repentance, with as much mercy and grace as possible.
Church discipline should largely take place informally, as Christians speak the truth in love to one another and point each other back to the grace of the gospel. However, in this fallen world, there will be times when informal discipline will not be enough; there will be times when those who belong to the church refuse to repent and continue down the path of sin. It’s for these situations that Jesus provides for us specific instructions to follow. In Matt. 18:15–17, He said:
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector”.
Every single step of this process is an expression of Christ’s loving and wise leadership over His church. I hope you can see that. None of us are any better than another. However, since we care, and have much love for one another, then we must not ignore sinful practices when it occurs.
This is one of the first issues that Paul is attempting to correct and instruct the new believers in that church in Corinth. Last week we talked about arrogance and pride, today it was a very sensitive issue of immorality and church discipline. In the next weeks we are going to touch on issues of Lawsuits, sexual immorality, married life, and even our Christian eating habits. So buckle up dear Christian, as we go forth on this journey together.
All these instructions and council from the Bible means nothing to the unbeliever. The Bible even says that the world would consider it folly. So I got to ask you, have you accepted Jesus Christ, not only just as your Savior but as your Lord? Many accept that fact that Jesus is the Messiah-Savior sent by God, but that doesn’t mean that you accepted Him as your Lord. Accepting Jesus as Lord means allowing him to have rule over your eternal life? Is Jesus your Lord?
We are going to sing one verse of Amazing Grace, if you would like to accept God’s calling on your life today, then I ask that you consider coming forward as we sing this song.
I pray you have a wonderful Labor day weekend everyone. May God bless you and watch over you.
“A FRIENDLY CHURCH IN A FRIENDLY TOWN”