Message: In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul was still correcting the church of
Corinth. They had a man in their church who was sleeping with his father’s
wife. This was not his mother but was sexually immoral and the church had not
addressed it because they were proud of their nonjudgmental ways. Paul told
them this sin was so bad that even the gentile unbelievers were disgusted by it.
Basically he was telling them that the sin inside the church was worse than the
sin outside the church. He told them to kick this guy out and allow satan to destroy
his flesh so that his spirit could still be saved. This is such a difficult passage
because we want to accept everyone and help people grow and change. We can’t
just throw out everyone who has sin their lives, but we have to be aware of the
danger for people who continue in their willful sin while staying in church.
The longer they stay this way the longer they harden to their issues and refuse
to change. They feel safe because they are in church but they are further away
from God than ever because they are unwilling to allow God to change them. Throwing
them out of the congregation is not a punishment. It’s a way to wake them up by
disrupting their comfort of hanging onto their sin and allowing the rejection
and separation of fellowship to reveal the destruction and separation it truly
causes. Paul told them not to even eat with believers who were living in sin.
Eating with people was (and still is) a form of intimacy so he was telling them
not to spend time investing in people who were living in sin. He made sure they
understood he was not talking about the unreached people in the world, he was
talking about people who claimed to be in Christ but were living contrary. This
is both for the sake of the one living in sin, so they have an opportunity to
see their sin as a problem and repent, but also for the sake of the church
because the church is supposed to be doing life together and influencing each
other for growth and change. If the church has someone who is living in
rebellion and resisting change, they will also influence others who are weak. As
a church we are supposed to grow together and hold each other accountable. I
love that Paul said “What business of mine is it to judge outsiders?”
Command: Change happens from the inside out
and it begins with ourselves. We hold ourselves accountable first and we
challenge the believers around us.
Promise: When wehold each other accountable we grow and change
together. When we grow and change together we become unified and influential.
This is how we influence the world.
Warning: If we try to change the outside first
we will not fool anyone and we will not reach the world. They won’t believe anything
we say because they can’t see it in us.
Application: As believers we tend to get this backwards. We tend to tell
the world how they should believe and act. We fight politically or with social
media rants and memes to try to get our nation to live as a godly nation, but
we often won’t even deal with the ungodliness in our own churches, in our own
homes or our own lives. We want our nation to recognize public prayer, but many
believers are not even praying privately. We can’t change the world from the
outside in, we have to change it from the inside out. When we hold ourselves
accountable for our sin, we will be able to look fellow believers in the eye
and help influence them to hold themselves accountable and each other. When the
church is growing, changing and holding itself accountable, people will take
notice and be inspired by it instead of repelled by it. This is how we change