There are many things the church does right but there is as with all things those that are wrong. If I were to list my number one concern with the church right now, it would be the SIN of COMPLACENCY. In chapters 5 and 6 of 1 Corinthians Paul deals with some very practical things that could create some very grave situations within the church. Today we will ponder the message found in 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13. In the first eight verses of chapter 5 we see a practical truth. Discipline sometimes is necessary to maintain a healthy Church. To shut our eyes to the need for Christian discipline will most of the time result in damage to the church and its people. There are confusing elements involved and sometimes we Christians forget our place and calling, becoming both judge and jury. Today’s verse’s 9-13, chapter 5, Paul deals with a couple of these situations. One thing is very evident, discipline must never be vengeful and should have as its goal the purpose of reconciling the person or persons to God, restoring them to the fellowship of the church and preventing such behavior in the future.
IT appears that Paul had already written a letter to the Corinthians in which he had urged them to avoid the company of all evil men and women. The problem as Paul sees it here is that it would be impossible to carry on a normal life without coming into contact with those whom the Church would utterly condemn. This is also an impossibility because that would require our withdrawal from the world and that would not allow us to live out our calling and allow others to see Christ in us. It is always interesting to me how the scripture spans the centuries and has practical application in the world of today. Paul zeroes in on three sins which he sees typical in his day and they translate well into our world today and the people that we associate with them.
- fornicators, those guilty of lax morality
Paul has a very healthy dislike for a lack of moral grounding among God’s people. He sees people living to satisfy their physical needs and using each other or others to meet those desires. All Christians who considers themselves to be children of God should never seek to only satisfy their desires for they will lose their souls in the process. We have a body and a spirit created by God. A lax attitude of those things God considers to be immoral could banish us from his saving grace.
-There are those who are greedy for this world’s goods.
I call it a get it syndrome. We judge the goodness of life on our ability to acquire stuff. We are slaves to a material standard, the more we have and acquire the better life is. A true christian values service to others and finds joy in giving not getting.
-There are the idolaters. Mortals have always had a need to worship something. It seems to be a natural thing and all through the ages man has had his good luck charms, idols, religions, and even closely followed the stars to plan the course of his life. When people turn from the true God and worship these god’s of luck, their faith and religion grow weak while superstition grows strong.
Within these three basic sins we can find three directions a person could be led.
-Fornication is a sin of personal degradation. It reduces the person to less than what they can be and is a moral condition which is unfavorable in God’s eyes. It allows the lower nature to rise above the higher and we become less than God created us to be.
-Greediness is a sin against our neighbors and our fellow men and women. When you exploit people or situations to feed the greed, so to speak, you ignore the fact we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you cannot love others you cannot love God.
-“Idolatry is a sin against God. It allows things to usurp God’s place. It is the failure to give God the first and only place in life.” (Barclay DBS) No more needs to be added to this statement.
Paul seems to set forward the principle that we should not judge those outside the church. The Jewish meaning was anyone that was not a Jew, one of the chosen people. Paul felt that their judgement was to be left to God, as only God knows what is in the hearts of men and women. There is a reason for this view he had. Those in the church have special privileges. They have accepted Christ and therefor have special responsibilities and they will held accountable if they do not keep them.
Paul brings the letter to an end by alluding the following verses to command the people to drive out the wicked person among them.
17: 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be the first raised against the person to execute the death penalty, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
24: 7 If someone is caught kidnaping another Israelite, enslaving or selling the Israelite, then that kidnaper shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
It should not be any Christians desire to hurt anyone, but we must put the evil among us out and preserve the purity of the faith. We must protect the Church from the threats of sinful behavior at work in the world today.
Remember….Ours is not a faith of condemnation but a faith of restoration and hope. Thanks for coming by this week, we hope to continue these as soon as we get to our new pew.
Life is Good
A special note: I will be relocating the pew within the next two weeks. I hope to be able to continue the weekly schedule and if I miss a week the wagon hasn’t got there yet.