Summary: First of a three part series on the church discipline chapter of 1 Cor 5
Text: 1 Cor 5:1-5, Title: Cry Me A River, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/5/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Erika’s reaction to my engagement proposal – unexpected—laughter?
B. Background to passage: However surprising it may seem in our more cerebral age, Paul appears more ready to tolerate “a mixed church” which includes those who have doctrinal problems about the resurrection than to allow persistent immorality of a notorious kind to compromise the corporate identity of the community. Since Paul is coming to see them, and ensure that his instructions and warnings are being heeded, he proceeds to continue those instructions and warnings. And the next item up for bids is immorality in the church, and the church’s reaction to it. This three part message will examine restorative accountability, and it’s purpose, practice, and rationale; so make sure and be here all three Sundays so you will get the full picture, and so you don’t hear me say something that I am not saying. All of Paul’s warnings to the church indicate that these are serious issues, and must be dealt with accordingly. And that membership in the body of Christ is a serious and grave thing.
C. Main thought: in the text we will see three aspects of Paul’s outrage about the sin in the church.
A. The Sin in Question (v. 1)
1. The sin in question where was a sin that was not even talked about among unbelievers, nor tolerated! There was a man who was carrying on an incestuous relationship with his father’s wife. Note the tone of disbelief. There was even in the pagan culture clear denunciation of this kind of thing. His mother was probably dead or divorced. And since adultery specifically is not mentioned (the word used here is porneia which means any sort of sexual sin), it had probably caused the divorce between his dad and step mom. And since no discipline is called for upon the woman, she was probably not a Christian.
2. Lev 18:7-8, Matt 18:15, 2 Thess 3:6-11,Tit 3:9-11, Rom 16:17, 2 Tim. 2:17-18, 1 Tim. 1:20, Rev. 2:20-24
3. Illustration: cultural attitude: “Mistresses we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of the body, but wives to bear us legitimate children” –Demos, 1st century writer, “Sin is serious! And open sin in the church is like a rattler in the crib w/ the baby! Sin is a maniac w/ a knife loose in a nursing home! Sin is the very element which nailed Jesus to the cross…it’s time the church take sin seriously!”
4. So obviously sexual immorality is not welcome in the church, and is an offense that brings about restorative accountability from the church. Reminder, sexual immorality is anything other than monogamy in a committed marriage. Therefore any sex, with others than your spouse, with yourself, with your computer, with a magazine, with your minds, is sexual immorality. But the question that this really raises is: what things are issues that necessitate some restorative accountability? Paul indicates any fault in Galatians 6:1-2, and if you think about it, if we are close enough to one another relationally, when things begin to go into the sinful realm, we can have short loving talks. The principle for what things require discipline is: open or known sin in the body of Christ. But specifically, the NT disciplines for problems between members, disorderly conduct/laziness, divisiveness, and false teaching.
B. The Attitude of the Church (v. 2)
1. As horrified as Paul was with a man sleeping with his step mom, he was more horrified at the attitude of the church! In fact, most commentators rightly note that this is the principle cause of his outrage. He says that the church is proud of the fact that they have a man with the liberty to be saved, and go and do as he pleases, and the church not judge him. He said, rather than pride, you should be mourning, a word that means to experience great sadness because of the condition of someone. He says that they should be saddened b/c one of their brethren has been overtaken in a great fault. The implication here, and later more explicit, is that there is great offense, great harm, great cause for alarm b/c someone who says they are a believer is involved in this type of sexual immorality, and that the church is accepting of it. Sorrow that a believer is being destroyed, shame over Christ having an impure bride, brokenness that God has been violated, offended, and blasphemed b/c of this incident.
2. Num 25:6, Ezra 9:4, 2 Cor 2:7, 21, Rev 2:19-20, Gal 6:1-2, Ps 119:136,
3. Illustration: the affirming of gay members/clergy has or is splitting every major denomination except SBC and RCC, “A church that does not mourn over sin, especially sin within its own fellowship, is on the edge of spiritual destruction.” –JM, church reaction to Lori’s being brought before the church in Maine,