Summary: Too often churches of today overlook the sin and sinful lifestyle of a person because they are a leader in the community, government, or business. So the Corinthian church needed to wake up and learn something.
Tonight’s passage is a continuation of last week’s passage. The subject is church discipline. To recap, there was sexual immorality in the church at Corinth. A man was either married to or living with his step-mother. He was known in the church and known in the community. His sin was public. They were boasting that this man was a prominent and important man. Paul said to turn his evil ways over to Satan, maybe even excommunicate him from the church if needed and pray that he will realize the error of his ways, repent, and return to God.
READ v. 6. The yeast of sin was the church’s boasting. The church thought of itself as a strong and spiritual church that was blessed and gifted by God. Every conceivable gift of the Spirit had been given to the church.
But this church was prideful in the fact that certain community leaders belonged to its fellowship. So the church was boasting. Again, they weren’t boasting in the sin of the man. They were boasting in the man himself; his place in society as a leader, the money he gave to the church, his leadership, etc. They took pride in the man even though they knew about his sin.
Too often churches of today overlook the sin and sinful lifestyle of a person because they are a leader in the community, government, or business. So the Corinthian church needed to wake up and learn something. Paul says a little yeast will leaven the whole lump of dough. Most any cook or baker will know that if a little bit of yeast is added to dough, it will greatly multiply and eventually leaven the whole batch of dough.
Yeast or leaven, is used throughout the Bible to represent sin. So Paul uses it, once again, here. If this man and his shameful sin are allowed to remain in the church, or if the sin is allowed to continue, the sin of the man will spread. “Well if he can get away with it, why can’t I?” If there’s no restraint on the sin, it will grow.
READ v. 7. So the church needs to purge out the sin. You see, believers are new creations. The picture here is of a Jewish Passover Feast. The Jewish family was required by law to remove all yeast out of the house before celebrating the Passover. They were even required to light candles and search throughout the house for crumbs of yeast that might have fallen on the floor and under tables and other furniture. It was symbolic of the people purging the corrupting influence of sin out of their lives. So Paul says “that you may be a new batch without yeast.
In the Corinthian church were new creations. They were new lumps. So they must not run outside of the family into the world and bring the old yeast back into the family.
Jesus was sacrificed for us and the church. His death was symbolized by the sacrificial lamb at the Passover. So we must purge and remove the yeast, the sin, out of our lives. If we allow the old yeast, the old sin in our lives and churches, it shows that we have little interest in a clean and pure life. Paul’s warning is to the point.
READ v. 8. Again symbolic gestures and statements Paul is making. The point is that the church must keep itself clean and pure. It shouldn’t allow wickedness into its fellowship. Let’s break this down by looking at specific words in verse 8.
- Malice – this shows that some in the church were opposing this man’s presence in the church but those who supported the man stood their ground, and malice set in between the two groups.
- Wickedness – this is more than sin and coming short. It means taking pleasure in evil. This is what Paul says must be purged.
- Sincerity – Pure, clear, transparent. Something through which the sunlight can pass. It indicates a flawless purity.
- Truth – to be like God who is truth. To live and do the truth. So the church must do precisely what is right. It must discipline both itself and the shameful man.
- Let us keep – Present tense. It means a continuous action. The church must continue to keep the festival, continue to purge out the old leaven of sin. It must not only discipline itself and the man who is living in shameful sin, it must continue to keep itself pure, to continue celebrating the festival of purity before God.
READ v. 9-10. Paul is saying the church must separate itself from the world but not entirely. Apparently Paul had written an earlier letter (v.9) to the Corinthians because he appears to be charging them to do exactly what he was now saying: do not keep close company with those who live for sin and this world.