Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunday School Lesson 1st Corinthiand 5: 1-5

Today we are going to talk about church discipline, that part of church that most had rather not deal with.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 KJV
[1] 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. [2] And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. [3] 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, [4] In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, [5] 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. …

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. …

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.

  The Text 
1st Corinthians 5: 1-5
In researching for today's lesson I used Dr. Bob Utley Bible Lessons International.
Verse 1

Apparently this was a well known fact, one that Paul had to deal with radically, lest it influence other churches or lead others to believe this behavior was acceptable. Incest was forbidden by the Mosaic law (Lev  18:8, Deut 22:30. We do not know the exact situation, but the son was having relations with his stepmother. She may have been widowed or divorced or the son may have seduced her away from the father.

Verse 2

Rather than be appalled about this sin the Corinthians were proud. Paul believes it would be better if they had mourned, desiring that the guilty party be removed from them. Exactly what Paul means by taken away is hard for me to discern. The most plausible in my opinion is that the church would judge him and remove him from their fellowship. Another more extreme view, is that God's judgement would fall on him, God removing the sinner from their midst as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. 

However, the Corinthians were proud of their acceptance of the sin. Perhaps they were reveling in the grace of God, mistaking the grace of God for a license to sin, believing the liberty they had in Christ was freedom to do whatever. However, God's moral laws were given for a purpose and believers are still to and would be wise to adhere to them. 

This acceptance of this behavior could have been influenced by gnostic philosophy. 

 *From Julian Spriggs M. A. in an online work on Gnosticism.
"The other extreme was licence, believing that because the body was evil, it did not matter what they did with their bodies, so its appetites could be indulged in and gratified without limit. The libertines taught that the soul within the body was like a pearl, which could not be stained in the mud. Many were involved in gross licentiousness, and boasted in their sin, claiming to be "righteous" irrespective of their behavior."

We need to be careful not to fall into a similar way of thinking. Thinking that we have to sin each day, therefore its no big deal. While we do live in a body that is corruptible, in its essence and desires, we do not have to willfully choose to obey the corrupt desires of the flesh. We have been empowered by The Holy Spirit to live a righteous life.

Verse 3-5

Paul in his apostolic authority had already passed judgement on this individual, now with the authority of Christ, given to him as an apostle and to the church ( refer to Matthew 18:18-19) he writes to execute judgement on the man. This is to be done by an assembly of church. The exact mechanics of carrying out this sentence is not clear but the result is that Satan may be allowed to wreak havoc on this man so that he may spiritually restored. Satan at times though the enemy of a God serves the purposes of God. 

Destruction of the flesh, literal harm to body and or the destroying of the fleshly nature through the hardships imposed by Satan.

From *Dr. Bob Utley online bible
" It is also possible that "flesh" may refer to mankind's sensual rebellious lifestyle (i.e., Adamic fallen nature)."

I believe the judgement on this individual was two fold, for the health of the body of Christ and for the individual's personal deliverance. This is the stance we need to take, church discipline should not be vindictive or self serving ( trying to get rid of somebody for our own personal agenda, by the way, we need to lay down our own agenda and fully embrace God's plan), but church discipline should be exercised for the spiritual well being of the church and the restoration of the individual.

*Dr. Bob Utley Bible Lessons International.


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