Church Covenant: We promise to walk circumspectly in the world, be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment (the way we carry ourselves as well as how we behave) To avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger......Slow to take offense but always ready to reconcile our differences.
Remember: Many eyes are upon us, and many mouths will be opened against us if we fall into any scandalous practice.
I. (Sexual) Immorality: Defiles the church and the fellowship of the saints (Verses 1-2)
A. Commonly reported: A man in the Christian church was involved in a sexual immoral act with his mother or step mother. (His father’s wife)
B. The situation between them was Public knowledge: (Not that there were no such instances of incestuous marriages among the heathens; especially among “upper class” people and “nobles” but, whenever this happened and made publicly known, It would send shockwaves throughout the community and the heathen community would react in horror and show open disdain for the act and the people who did it). It wasn’t “common” in the church
C. Paul chastises the church’s response and conduct concerning this: The congregation had a “puffed- up” attitude about it and did nothing to get it out of the church. [The person may have been a church leader that was an excellent leader as far as the work was concerned but lived a scandalous life.] Despite his known sexual issues, the church as a congregation was proud that they had “such a leader”. Instead being grieved of his personal lifestyle… they looked the other way! (failed to reprimand, renouncing him and removing him from the society, they continued to applaud him and pride themselves in him.
Question: How does sexual immorality of any kind defile the church spiritually, psychologically and physically (socially community-wise?
1. Sexual immorality taints the witness of that church and the guilty person (s)
2. It corrupts the fellowship: directly and indirectly It causes a public scandal and vicious rumors and makes the other members of the church co-m conspirators whenever the church congregation as a whole fails to take a public (church –wide) stance against such lascivious behavior
3. This act brought both spiritual and social disdain toward them and the reputation of the Corinthian church from God’s perspective, (it should have been!)
4. This illicit act gave the Corinthian church a bad name among the heathens who showed more a disdain for this act with a community setting then the church members did in the church.
II. Pauls Perspective: Immorality Must Be Judged (verses 6-13)
WHAT TO DO: Convene (Have a Meeting) and deal with this matter: (vs. 3- 5)
"For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,. Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.* (if I were with you; you know what I would advise,. In other words: since you know my views and feelings, and what I would do, and knowing his love for them, they could act as if he were there.)
Special note: This passage proves that discipline belongs to the church itself; and so deep was Paul’s conviction of this, that even he would not administer it, without their (motion, second and vote) concurrence and action. And if Paul would not do it, and in a case too where bodily pains were to be inflicted by miraculous agency, assuredly no other ministers have a right to assume the authority to administer discipline without the action and the concurrence of the church itself.
(Taken From Dakes Annontated Bible): Paul gives a 5-point method in judging the fornicator: or any major sin matter that brings shame upon the church fellowship and the persons involved (Remember: You are the church)
1. Any discipline or sanctions that must be meted out against any member or members in the church fellowship is to be done by the sole authority of Jesus Christ. You must pray and seek God‘s direction and then operate only in the methods and direction God gives you.
2. Gather in church conference Matter brought before the governing church body. Church’s (God’s) biblical stance must prevail: what we bind God binds…what we set loose spiritually…God will looses
3. Agree with what God placed in the spirit and mind of The Pastor who serve as the overseer and liaison between God and the church congregation. As the church must act in unison on the recommendation, the deacons (if you have them) other church elders all must be of one mind and purpose in Jesus Christ in any matters pertaining to disciplining a member or in the transacting any of the church’s business
4. Use the power of Jesus Christ to do the following: Pray, search the scriptures and pray some more…fast if necessary! Your actions must be Bible based, Christ centered, Holy Spirit led and Mission bound.
5. Deliver THEM to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:4-5) Purpose: [for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Withdraw the right hand of fellowship from them thereby removing the church’s covering until they repent and be reconciled both to the church and to Christ. (they brought shame to both)
Warning to the Offender: Whenever the church withdraws the right hand of fellowship from an offender for any offense, (According to Matthew 18:15-18) God also steps back from the person too and by HIS directive allows afflictions that are design to bring the offender to confront the error of their ways, return to the church and repent, thus return to God and restoration in the church fellowship. (2 Chronicles 7:14) This requires members to withdraw all fellowship and spiritual influence from them, to quit praying for them, so as (God permits) to permit Satan to afflict his body thus perhaps bringing him to repentance, that his spirit might be saved in the end. This was effective, for in the second letter Paul wrote the church to forgive him lest he should be swallowed up in excessive sorrow (2 Corinthians 2:6-7).
Boasting is not good verse 6
[Glorying in yourself is not good] \
Your boasting over gifts, privileges, and powers is not good. Reason: You are so busy contending over your teachers that you have let the church fall under scandalous corruptions that threaten its very existence Boasting in the face of un-confessed sin is never good.
Purge yourself verse 7
[Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump]
If you permit this incestuous person to continue in your midst without judgment, the whole church will become ruined by moral impurities. By the OLD leaven he means vice and sin; and also here the person who had committed the sin in their church. That you may be pure, and free from the corrupting principle that sin that brought corruption to the fellowship and ultimately tainted the reputation of the church and the people..
[As ye are unleavened] That is, as ye are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, (to be pure) your very PROFESSION implies this, and you ought, therefore, to remove all forms of impurity, and to become holy. Let there be no impurity, and no mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the gospel teaches and requires. Your walk ought to reflect your talk. Your life ought to reflect the things that fall from your lips.
Evangelistic campaign: verse 8-9
Put away all wickedness from our hearts as individuals, and from our societies and churches. Let us engage in the service of God putting away by all evil."
[Not with the old leaven] that is, not under the influence, or in the indulgence of the feelings of corrupt and un-renewed human nature (the Old nature)-
[But with the unleavened bread ...] That is, do it with sincerity and truth. Let us be sincere, and true, and faithful; as the Jews partook of bread unleavened, which was emblematic of purity, so let us BE sincere and true. It is implied here that this could not be done unless they would put away the incestuous person-No Christians can have, or give evidence of sincerity, who are not willing to put away all sin.
Fellowship Revival: Cleaning House around your life verses 9-13
Paul wrote to the church about their associations with fornicators (vs. 9-10)
Paul did not mean that we should refuse ALL kinds of contact (association) with them. However, as Christians, we must not to make them companions and close friends because we are unequally yoked. We are to be civil towards them. We are permitted to have dealings with the world in normal transactions of life, as long as we don’t allow these associations to cause us to be corrupted by their lifestyles.
Important thing to remember:
This world is full of such persons. You meet them everywhere in practically every venue.. You cannot avoid them in the ordinary transactions of life, unless you either destroy yourselves, or withdraw wholly from society. This passage shows:
(1) That this society was full of the licentious and the covetous, of idolaters and extortioners.
(2) That it is not right either to take our own lives to avoid them, or to withdraw from society and become monks; and therefore, that the whole monastic system is contrary to Christianity; and,
(3) That it is needful we should have some contact with the people of the world; and to have dealings with them as neighbors, and as members of the community. "How far" we are to have contact with them is not settled here. The general principles may be:
(a) That it is only so far as is necessary for the purposes of good society, or to show kindness to them as neighbors and as members of the community.
(b) We are to deal justly and fairly with them in all our transactions.
(c) We may be connected with them in regard to the things which "we have in common" - as public improvements, the business of education, etc.
(d) We are to endeavor to do them good, and for that purpose we are not to shun their society. But,
(e) We are not to make them our companions; or to associate with them in their wickedness, or as idolaters, or covetous, or licentious; we are not to be known as partakers with them in these things. And for the same reason we are not to associate with the frivilous in their gaiety; with the proud IN their pride; with the fashionable IN their regard to fashion; with the friends of the theater, the ballroom, or the splendid party, IN their attachment to these amusements. In all these things we are to be separate; and are to be connected with them only in those things which we may have "in common" with them; and which are not inconsistent with the holy rules of the Christian religion.
(ff) We are not so to associate with them as to be corrupted by their example; or so as to be led by that example to neglect prayer and the sanctuary, and the deeds of charity, and the effort to do good to the souls of people. We are to make it a great point that our piety is not to suffer by that contact; and we are never to do anything, or conform to any custom, or to have any such contact with them as to lessen our growth in grace; to divert our attention from the humble duties of religion; or to mar our Christian enjoyment.
The Purpose of Separation and Withdrawal verses 11-13
Separation and withdrawal was necessary in these times to save the church from scandal, and from the injurious reports which were circulated. The pagan accused Christians of all manner of crime and abominations. These reports were greatly injurious to the church. But it was evident that currency and plausibility would be given to them if it was known that Christians were on terms of intimacy and good fellowship with pagans and intemperate persons. Hence, it became necessary to withdraw completely from them to withhold even the ordinary courtesies of life; and to draw a line of total and entire separation. Whether this rule in its utmost strictness is demanded now, since the nature of Christianity is known, and since religion cannot be in "so much" danger from such reports, may be made a question. But as neighbors and relatives;as those who may be in distress and want, we are assuredly not forbidden to show toward them the offices of kindness and compassion.