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1 Corinthians 5 & 6

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The Marks of a Sinful Church

For the church, and for the individual believer
Unjustified confidence in your spiritual standing (5:1-2, 6a)
Paul here is writing in regard to an ongoing situation
“that there is sexual immorality among you” (v.1)
“a man has his father’s wife” (v.1)
the Corinthians should be mourning and grieving
both that their reputation for Christ is stained by so loathsome a sinful character
and that they will need to remove this man from their fellowship
Listen to David’s contrition
instead, they are proud of their perceived spiritual standing
this goes back to their delusion that they are spiritually full and rich (4:8)
Application: Regularly examine yourself
People die of all the time of curable diseases that got too far out of hand, because they waited too long to be examined by a doctor.
Churches wither and die, and individual believers regularly see their spiritual vitality gradually seep away, because they fail to allow the Spirit of God to convict them of sin by revealing the darkness of their heart against the illumination of the Scriptures.
Psalm 32:1–5 NKJV
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Confess your particular sins particularly!
In what ways does sin blind you?
2. A lack of zeal for purity (5:2-8)
believers are the called ones, called out as saints, distinct, called to holiness
the believers at Corinth have knowingly tolerated impurity in their fellowship
they have failed to recognize the corrupting effect of sin “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (v. 6)
nor does this relate only to tolerating sexual impurity
Paul uses that same analogy in Galatians:
here it i
Galatians 5:3–9 NKJV
And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
here the issue was tolerating legalism, and Paul uses this analogy to show that introducing works into the grace+faith=justification formula made the whole thing unsound
a secondary dig this analogy uses in this case…if you fall short of any part of the law you are guilty of it all…how can you in any way be saved by a work of the law?
similarly, impurity in the churches that is tolerated and protected violates the purity of the whole
Application: Pursue holiness
For us, depravity is natural. Holiness is not. It must be pursued, constantly, diligently, zealously.
It must be pursued aggressively. Christ speaks of cutting off the hand that causes you to stumble ().
What radical action are you taking, or need to take, to pursue holiness in your life?
3. A failure to enact discipline (5:3-12)
failure to discipline reveals a breakdown in the responsibility of the church (v. 12-13)
churches that don’t discipline sinful members are not obedient
Matthew 18:15–17 NKJV
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
discipline therefore protects the purity of the church from cancerous sin
discipline also provides a strong rebuke to the wayward…it is a wake up call that their walk is inconsistent with Christian fellowship.
discipline is therefore intended as preservative with the hope of being restorative.
4. A lack of love for the body of Christ (6:1-11)
Paul ends the previous chapter noting that the church should judge themselves, as they can not judge the outside
here the church, because of their selfish, unloving quarreling has allowed the outside to judge the inside (speaking of the world and the church).
The standard: Love
John 13:34–35 NKJV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 John 3:15–17 NKJV
Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 4:20 NKJV
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1 John 4:
Paul devotes a whole chapter of this letter to the very nature of love…something this church clearly did NOT understand!
But this is a two-tiered problem: it is not simply that they don’t love and are taking each other to court, but that they are not resolving these issues within the church, but rather taking them to secular courts!
Paul spent the first four chapters illustrating the bankruptcy of the “wisdom” that is the folly of man!
yet here believers are submitting themselves to courts of human wisdom to solve disputes against brothers!
we are to judge angels, and yet we must depend on human courts that reject God?
Application: What is the nature of your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Commit and learn to love, even when it is hard, even when it hurts.
Paul says it would be better to accept the wrong, to be cheated, then to pursue this sort of unloving action, or to cheat the brethren!
Are we prepared to give up on “my rights” in the body of Christ?!—That is a serious question.
5. A lack of personal holiness (6:12-20)
Particularly in view here is sexual immorality
Paul points out that sexual activity is not simply a physical function but a spiritual one (v. 13-15)
Paul also establishes the union described in and points out that this unity means that we are united either with Christ or with the harlot (v. 15)
Moreover, sexual sin profanes the temple of the Spirit, and cheapens the price by which we were bought (v. 19-20)
Application: Flee sin! Resolve to be righteous!
We may not think this is an issue for us, but it is.
We cannot flirt with sin when the stakes are clearly so high
1 Corinthians 3:16–17 NKJV
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Are you flirting with hidden sin, or are you pursuing holiness with you whole heart?
1 Corinthians 3:16
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