Summary: Paul’s instructions to the church at Corinth are relevant to the promiscuous church of our day that allows all sorts of spiritual & sensual fornication without condemning it.
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Pastor James May
FORNICATION IN THE CHURCH
1 Corinthians 5:9-13, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 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. 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 a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."
Paul knew the weaknesses of men and women and their capacity to fall quickly back into sin after having been saved and becoming members of the church. The world, then and now, has such powerful drawing and deceiving forces that it will draw aside even the strongest Christian who begins to gaze upon the world to follow the desires of his own heart.
It seems that the Corinthian church had become infested with those who were involved in committing fornication. This fornication was not just one of fleshly lust and desire for sensual gratification; it went far deeper than that. Every facet of life carries with it the potential for being unfaithful to our commitment to Christ.
When we make a decision to follow Christ as one of His disciples, we promise to keep ourselves to Him only. Just as the marriage vows of a couple who are getting married contain promises and vows one to another of a lifetime of devotion, love, and faithfulness in every circumstance until death do them part; the commitment we make to Jesus is a life-long commitment to remain faithful and true to Him. We become a part of the body of Christ and one with Him.
Jesus used the analogy of marriage to explain his relationship to the church in Ephesians 5:25, 30-32, when He said, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; …For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
If you are committed in marriage, one to another, then each of you has the absolute right to expect your spouse to be faithful, true and loving at all times. Christ expects the same from you and I if we are truly promised to Him.
Paul then, writes that we are not keep company with fornicators and in so doing, he is making a strong statement and giving us a stern command that we are to stay away from anything and anyone that is unfaithful to God.
People do not have to be engaged in sexual immorality to be engaged in the fornication that Paul is speaking of though sexual immorality certainly is included in what Paul is describing.
Fornication, in the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ, goes a lot deeper though. God considers it fornication when we are unfaithful to Him in any manner. Whether we are unfaithful in reaching out to lost souls, engaged in blasphemous idolatry, or enamored with the things of this world, its all fornication in God’s eyes, because off of these things separate us from our complete surrender and commitment to Christ.
Paul is speaking to the church, not the worldly crowd. This just points out how bad the lack commitment exists inside the confines of the Church. There are many who are not living their lives committed to Christ and still claim to be Christian. It’s one thing to be ignorant of God’s expectations and then be unfaithful to His call upon your heart, but to willfully ignore or refuse to obey God’s call to holiness is treading on very dangerous ground.