Summary: This message deals with what Paul teaches about Church discipline.

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1. Willie Nelson once owned a golf course. He said the great thing about owning a golf course was that he could decide what par for each hole. He pointed out one hole and said, “See that hole there? It’s a par 47. I birdied it yesterday.” 9

2. The truth is that we cannot decide what par for the course is, we don’t decide right from wrong; God does that. When we don’t measure up to His standards that is sin. Sin is a major theme in scripture. In fact it’s the reason Jesus came to earth.

3. The word sin that we read in the NT is typically the Greek word “amartia”, which was an archery term meaning “to miss the mark”, when we sin we literally miss the mark that God has set for us. Today, tolerance has become such a battle cry in the media and in political and educational circles that it has also affected the church. People say, “Well, who am I to judge? I sin too.” However, we must not let modern-day standards determine what is right.

4. Today, instead of missing the mark, people all too often shoot and then draw the target around their arrow. They may feel better, but the tragic reality is that they still missed the mark. God is the One who defines morality, not us.

Cell #1— I Corinthians 5 is on page 872 of the Bible in your pew.

5. Our society calls us to be open-minded. By open-minded our culture means being open to other beliefs and religions. Many today deny any absolute truth, but there are absolutes. Jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet without a para-chute and you will die whether or not you accept the law of gravity. Today far too often we tip-toe around sin because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or appearing intolerant, but there right and wrong is still defined by God. I believe if sin was addressed more, and its’ consequences were highlighted more often people would do better. We are expected to be tolerant. However, tolerance often leads to worse problems.

6. Allow me to give you one example. Most of the couples getting married today live together before they officially tie the knot. In fact on one level it seems to make sense. With divorce being so prevalent you really want to make sure you know the person you’re going to marry very well before you get married. There is a problem though; God says living together should be saved for marriage. God’s standard doesn’t make much sense to most people because they want to be sure when they get married that it’s the right person. That trend began to be widely accepted in the 1960’s and has been gaining ground ever since. However, do you know what the research shows? Multiple studies done over many years have now consistently shown that living together before you get married significantly increases your chance of divorce, it doesn’t reduce it.

7. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians deals with what to do when those who are part of the church family know God’s rules but insist on doing their own thing in spite of what God says. Should we be willing to challenge them? What are the consequences if we don’t? In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul deals with these thorny is-sues. It isn’t a comfortable passage in light of today’s “everything goes” society, but it’s needed. Let’s read chapter 5 and then see what God says.

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