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1st Corinthians 5

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1 1st Corinthians 5 on Fri May 08, 2009 5:12 pm

Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 is trying to break the pride of the church as well as he is exposing the sin of incest. Why is it right for him to say if he won't listen after this order (the correct steps taken in handling these situations) to give him over to Satan? Shouldn't the entire church also have been severely chastised because the sin of pride is just as bad? I think I am confused here. I thought we were to hate the sin but love the sinner. Is it possible for a person who thinks (says) they are Christian to not be affected by conviction?

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2 1st Corinthians 5 on Fri May 08, 2009 5:22 pm

First of all, try to form a picture in your mind of the city of Corinth at the time of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians (sometime between 55 - 96 AD).

Corinth was a large commercial city that was a crossroads for travelers and traders.
People from all over the known world passed through Corinth. There were several temples in the city devoted to different Gods. One of the most prevalent was the temple dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Aphrodite’s followers practiced religious prostitution. At one time, there were 1,000 sacred prostitutes serving her temple. Prostitution was so prevalent in Corinth that the Greek word “to Corinthianize” became synonymous with sexual immorality.

The influences that came into the church at Corinth from false religion and ungodliness had begun to undermine a church that had been struggling from the beginning. These kind of problems are still common in the churches of today.

Paul realized that although the Corinthian church was gifted, it was immature and unspiritual. His purpose in writing to the church was to instruct and restore the church. Some of areas he addressed were immorality, abuse of the Lord’s supper, false teaching about the resurrection, and collecting offerings for the poor.

The primary sin that Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5 is the sin of incest:

1 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.

Paul says that not even the pagans (those outside of the church) do such things.

In verse two he goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 5:2 (NIV)
And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

He chastises the whole church because they did not recognize and deal with the sin that this man had brought among them. In fact, they even laughed and joked about it as though this man had done something to be proud of.

Instead of rejoicing over this perceived sexual conquest; they should have been grieved that one who called himself a brother in Christ could be so blind to his sin. He had an unrepentant heart and he brought dishonor and shame into the church. The church body shared in that dishonor and shame by allowing it and refusing to exercise proper discipline. Because of his unrepentant attitude they should have put the man out of the fellowship and prayed that his guilt would cause him to come to his senses and come back into the fold.

He had chosen by his attitude and his actions to be one with the world and therefore an enemy of Christ. Because of the severity of this man’s sin, his hard heart and his spirit of rebellion, it was in the best interest of the church to turn him back out in to the world. (Which was where his heart already was.)

James 4:4 (KJV)
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Flagrant, Unrepentant Sin can not be tolerated within the church.

Galatians 5:9 (KJV)
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

God always allows space for us to repent…

In his remarks to the church in Thyatira Jesus said of Jezebel:

Revelation 2:20-21 (KJV)
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Not only was Jezebel’s sin severe; but because the church tolerated her sin, she was teaching the people to commit fornication and other acts of godlessness.
Jezebel (and the man Paul put out of the church) refused God’s grace and continued in rebellion.

False teaching and rebellion creates division within the church. Division, if not strongly dealt with, will destroy the church.

Titus 3:10-11 (NIV)
10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.
11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.


1 Corinthians 5:13 (KJV)
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

(the same scripture from the New International Version)

1 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV)
God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
***

Keep in mind also, that throughout the book of law (the Pentateuch) and especially in
Deuteronomy, God made it clear that those with unrepentant hearts were to be separated from the congregation.

Following are some examples of putting the evil away from God’s people:

Deut 17:7 (KJV)
The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

Deut 19:19 (KJV)
Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

Deut 21:21 (KJV)
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Deut 22:21 (KJV)
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

Deut 22:24 (KJV)
Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Deut 24:7 (KJV)
If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
***

As evidenced by 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul had previously warned the Corinthian church not associate with sexually immoral people.

1 Corinthians 5:9 (KJV)
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.

The Corinthians misunderstood what Paul was saying. They thought he was telling them to disassociate themselves from all immoral people, to include non-Christians. What Paul meant was not that they should separate themselves from everyone who sinned, but to separate from those in the church who claimed to be Christian brothers but were not.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NIV)
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--
10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Paul goes on to remind the Corinthian Christians that their responsibility is to judge (evaluate the fruit of) those inside the body of Christ. It is not their place to pass judgment on those outside the church. God judges those who have placed themselves on the outside (in the world).

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NIV)
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

A person who sits in a pew every Sunday and smiles while claiming to be a brother or a sister, is not always who he claims to be.

Matthew 7:20-23 (KJV)
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
**********

God does love us. And, God does hate sin.
He loves us so much that he has made provision to redeem us from our sin…
Remember:

Romans 5:8 (KJV)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God wants to be a peace with us.
Unfortunately, there are some people who will not accept God’s grace and be at peace with Him…

Romans 12:18 (KJV)
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Although Paul’s direction to, "Expel the wicked man from among you", may seem extreme; we have to remember that there are times when extreme circumstances require extreme action.
Paul was completely within the guidelines established by the Lord for dealing with rebellion and a non-repentant spirit.

The bottom line here, is that the Apostle Paul did what he did under the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.
That makes it right!

Ref your question: Is it possible for a person who thinks (says) they are Christian to not be affected by conviction?

No it is not possible for anyone to not be affected by conviction. By definition conviction creates an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence.

When the Spirit of God brings conviction to the heart, we know that something needs to change.
But…that does not mean we will change.
God gives man a free will. We choose to be a friend of God or of the world.

Some people ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit for so long that after awhile their hearts become hard and they can no longer discern the voice of God. When they have reached that point; they have gone so far that it is impossible for them to be saved.
We, however, do not know when or if a person has reached that point. That is God’s business…Not ours.

As always, serving God is a choice…

Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;
whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

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