Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 5”

We continue our study of Paul’s letter this week with 1 Corinthians 5. It was reported to Paul that there was sexual immorality, incest, going on in the church and nothing was being done to stop it.

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 v. 1-5 (NASB)

Last week, in 1 Corinthians 4, we read how Paul instructed the Corinthians not to judge: “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5, NASB).  In chapter five, Paul tells them he has judged the man who committed incest and he instructs them to do the same.  We know that God’s Word does not contradict itself, so the judging mentioned in these chapters has to be two different types—unrighteous and righteous.

In the last chapter, after Paul told them to judge nothing, he explained that the Lord will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. I believe unrighteous judging is when we judge what we can’t see. Unrighteous judging is when we judge people’s hearts and are critical and condemning. Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV).

Righteous judging, as Paul explains in chapter five,  is when we are clearly led by God with the purpose of leading someone out of darkness and into the light. Leading them out of sin and into freedom.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Galatians 6:1 (NIV)

Paul explains in the rest of chapter five why they were to judge the sexually immoral man.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

v. 6-13 (NASB)

Leaven and unleaven figuratively mean “corrupted” and “uncorrupted.” Paul was warning them that if they allow and are proud of sin in the church, it will spread to and corrupt the entire church. A little leaven (corruption) leavens (corrupts) the whole lump of dough. Paul said to “clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.”  We are uncorrupted in Christ. We are a new creation. The old things passed away, and new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17). We must stand guard and not allow the old things (sin) back in.

Jesus gave us clear instruction how to deal with sin in the body of Christ:

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Matthew 18:15-20 (NASB)

Jesus has given us authority to bind (declare to be prohibited and unlawful) sin and loose (break, destroy, annul) its power from spreading and contaminating the body of Christ.

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.

2 Timothy 2:14-19 (NIV)

In church discipline, once we have followed the steps Jesus’ instructed us to take, when the man or woman repents, Paul instructs us to forgive and reaffirm our love for them.

Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

2 Corinthians 2:6-11 (NASB)

Righteous judging will always be for the good of the one who is being judged, and good for the body of Christ as a whole.

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You are our righteous Judge. Everything You’ve given us and instructed us to do and not to do is for our own good. Help us not to unrighteously judge ourselves and others. Remove the strongholds of sin in our lives. Remove the planks from our eyes so we can see clearly to help and lead others out of sin. Help us to use the authority Jesus’ has given us and bind-prohibit sin, and loose-destroy it’s power from corrupting us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

 

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 6.  Have a blessed week with the Lord keeping your hearts guarded against sin!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 4″

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 4. In the beginning of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Paul said he had been informed there were quarrels among them about who they belonged to. They said they were either of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or of Christ. In chapter 3, Paul told them that the one who plants or the one who waters is nothing, but it is God who causes the growth.

Paul begins chapter 4 instructing them to regard him and his fellow workers as servants of Christ, trustworthy stewards delivering them the truths from God.

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

v. 1-5 (NASB)

Paul gave warning against passing judgment, by giving special honor or being critical to others and ourselves. When we judge others or ourselves, we are making a determination based on our finite thinking, rather than relying on God’s infinite wisdom. Paul didn’t judge himself, because he knew God was more capable to judge him. If Paul had something in him that needed fixing, who would be better qualified to work on him than the One who created him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Look at verse 5 above, where Paul said not to pass judgment before the time, but to wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. Could you imagine the God who created you giving you praise! How incredibly amazing is that! That’s why we shouldn’t judge ourselves by our own wisdom. We couldn’t fathom that we would ever be good enough to receive praises from God.

Paul continues warning them against judging by thinking more highly of themselves or of one minister and teacher over another.

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

v. 6-7 (NASB)  

The Bible says that if anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves (Galatians 6:3). When we judge based on our own understanding, and compare and measure ourselves against each other, we deceive ourselves and fall into pride.

Paul closes admonishing the Corinthians to repent of their arrogance and pride, and to follow his example in humbly serving Christ.

You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

v. 8-21 (NASB)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for teaching us through the Apostle Paul’s example to let You be our judge. Your Word is what we measure ourselves and others by, not by our own measurement. If You say we are approved in Christ and will receive praise from You, we joyfully believe and accept that as truth, regardless of our feelings of unworthiness. Help us to lay down our pride and arrogance and humbly follow and faithfully serve You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 5.  Have a blessed week knowing that you have been approved by God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ!


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