Saturday, April 26, 2014

!st Corinthians 5: 1-13 Applying Discipline within the Church

1 Corinthians 5

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6)Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

The immoral actions of this individual were repugnant but in the context I believe the main issue here is the attitude of this fellowship, primarily the leaders. The boasting or their glorying in overlooking this sin was not a good thing. Just as a little bit of yeast can cause the bread to be leavened or to rot due to fermentation, the wrong attitude towards God and His church can drastically affect the whole body, we are all connected. Here we see a boastful attitude towards loose living, what should have caused grief they were glorying in.

Application: If we are not careful as a body of believers we can ourselves turn a blind eye towards unbecoming conduct so as not to be thought of as a judgmental group. We may do it in the name of love and acceptance but true love will address the sin in hope of the sinner repenting.

Galatians 6:1 KJV
[1] Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV
[7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. …

Lose that boastful flippant attitude about sin since you are in Christ, I believe Paul is reminding them of their position in Christ which should be reflected in their attitude and life. While some might argue that Jesus loved and accepted people as they were, they might even cite the woman brought to Him for adultery, but let us look close at what He told her,

John 8:10-11 KJV
[10] When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? [11] She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. …

Jesus loved the woman where she was at but told her to lay aside the sin. I believe Paul also was encouraging these believers to lay aside their old ways and any evil intent or wicked ways and walk in truth (Truth of God or in honest living) and sincerity.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 KJV
[9] I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. [11] But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. [12] For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? [13] But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The administration of discipline. It is an uncomfortable reality that sometimes within a fellowship you may have those who though they have named the name of Christ still indulging in sin, Paul gives a short list that covers most things. He says not to eat with them, this could be referring to the Lord's supper which implies withdrawn fellowship or could mean not associating with them, not making them your best buddy. This may mean both things, the point is that we distance ourselves from a brother or a sister who is willfully, openly,  living in sin. This is towards those who have laid claim to Christ not those outside the body, we do have to live in this world.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 KJV
[14] And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. [15] Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. …

Now as we withdraw from a so called brother I think our motivation should be out of love, to try and help them in their walk with God. They may be a believer on the wrong path or it could be someone who has not truly gave their life to Christ.

James 5:19-20 KJV
[19] Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; [20] Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. …

Whether it is a saved person or lost, when we confront and take appropriate action we can help them either get saved or be restored to Christ.

How do we do this? Jesus said these words about someone sinning against us, I think it would be safe to use as a basis for administering church discipline.

Matthew 18:15-19 KJV
[15] Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. [18] Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [19] Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. …

But it is important that it is done in the way Paul outlined in:
Galatians 6:1 KJV
[1] Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

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