1 Corinthians 5
HAPPY MONDAY: This seems like a disgusting text to begin our work week with. But the more you read this chapter, the more it becomes clear that it's not really about the man who was sleeping with his father's wife (v1), it's about the problem that arises because the Corinthian church tolerated this behavior rather than discipline it as they should have.
PUBLIC SIN IS A CORPORATE PROBLEM: This sin isn't just between this man & woman. Everyone, not just in town, but across the country, was aware of what was going on, so even though only two people were engaged in it, the entire Corinthian church was implicated. Tolerating sin is just as bad as committing it yourself. The Church is an array of people who have been given the name of Christ, so public, unrepented sins must be eradicated.
DISCIPLINE IS A FORM OF GRACE: Every stage of the church discipline process is geared towards bringing the sinner into repentance and back into full fellowship of the church. Even the final stage - turning the person over to Satan - is done in the hope they will come to realize their sin and yet be saved (v5).
DON'T BE JUDGMENTAL, BUT MAKE SURE YOU JUDGE: Huh? Yesterday we read this:
Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes (1 Cor 4:5)
Now today we read this:
Are you not to judge those inside [the church]... Expel the wicked person from among you! (v12-13)
Of course, both of these statements are true, but they address two very different contexts. In chapter four, Paul writes that Christians need not judge people of the world because the Lord will judge them. He builds on this same theme in today's chapter. Once again Paul tells us today not to worry about the fact that we're surrounded by godless, immoral people in this world. We don't need to judge them, but we must always be vigilant that all those who 'claim to be a brother (literally claim the name of Jesus) (v11)' lovingly be pushed away from sin or be pushed away from the Church.
CHURCH DISCIPLINE IS A TEAM SPORT: One big reason it's acceptable to judge others inside the church is because it must be done in a way that's judicious, fair and open. Matthew 18 is the go-to chapter for how to confront sin in a fellow Christian, and those ideas are reinforced here. Church discipline must take place in an open, above the boards format (v4), not pushed under the carpet where nobody can see what's going on.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, the one who will come to judge unrepentant sinners (v13)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Do not associate or even eat with those who claim to be Christians but don't care about the sin in their lives (v11)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: