Summary: Message 14 of our exposition of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. This message explores Paul's rebuke of perversion in the the church.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Holy God Healthy Church” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13


Opening Address and Introduction 1:1-9

I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6

A. Reproof for a divided church 1-4


Can you imagine these headlines appearing in the Bremerton Sun?

Incestuous relationship finds acceptance in local church

Major denominations are accepting more and more Biblically condemned behavior today.

Our culture now accepts more and more destructive behavior. In this chapter Paul tackles the churches response to sin. How should we deal with known sin in the church? What should the attitude and actions of the church be in the face of sin?

Paul’s reproof in this chapter unpacks as follows.

• Paul concisely exposed the obvious sin 5:1-2

• Paul clearly explained the godly response 5:3-13

o He severely judged the erring believer

o He soundly admonished the erring church

B. Reproof for a defiled church 5

1. Paul concisely exposed the sin

a) Sin in the church - immorality

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. 1 Cor. 5:1

Paul came right to the point. It was an established fact that the whole community knew that there was immorality among them. He specifically and publicly identified the sin because it was already public. Basically he said, “I can’t believe the reports of immorality I am hearing.” It is important to identify public sins publicly. It keeps it from getting blown out of proportion. It keeps it from being diminished and not serious.

At the least, a member of that church was cohabiting with his step-mother.

At the worst, this member was actually cohabiting with his own mother.

I assume that the female participant did not attend the church because Paul says nothing about discipline for her. The father must have been either divorced or dead. This was not only a Biblical violation but one which disgusted the local community as well. There is evidence that cohabitation with either step mother or mother was abhorrent both to the Judeo/Christian community and even the pagan community at the time. Leviticus 18:7-8, 29

Paul told the Ephesians not to let immorality even be named among them. This church was allowing such a despicable practice to continue among them as if nothing was wrong.

God calls this immorality, pornea.

It is a Greek word for which we get our word pornography. This family of words came to refer to sexual misconduct of any kind. The Hebrews reference to Esau indicates that it also included a broader application to an out of control sensuality that caused Esau to deny his eternal birthright for temporal physical pleasure or relief.

pornos translated immoral person, fornicator from the word pernemi -- to export for sale

porne translated harlot

Porneuo translated commit fornication, act immorally, commit immorality, committed immorality, did immorality

porneia translated fornication, immoralities, immorality, sexual immorality, unchastity.

This particular sexual sin was so egregious that even the local non-believers abhorred such behavior. That is what leads me to think that perhaps this was an incestuous relationship. As bad as some of the pagan prevision was in that day with the temple prostitutes and rampant homosexuality they still drew some lines concerning particular behavior that this church ignored. What even the surrounding unbelievers abhorred, the holy church of God tolerated. How is that for a sterling community testimony?

b) Sin of the church -- arrogance

Paul confronted the sin of the church as well as the sin of the incestuous member

You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. 1 Cor. 5:2

Paul came right to the point. Actually he told them they were continually being arrogant, puffed up. They prided themselves with their noble tolerance toward sinners.

They not only failed to deal with the sin but they failed to even mourn over the situation. Instead they maintained a spiritual air about themselves. They were proud of their “spirituality” in spite of the fact that unspeakable sin was happening among them. Somehow they divorced their theology from actual behavior. That is why there were divisions and strife. The fact they were fighting with each other exposed their spiritual immaturity (you are babies) but in their mind they felt spiritually superior perhaps even to the poor apostles.

Rather than proud tolerance they should have demonstrated humble mourning. Paul used a word for deep emotional response that should have been there. Three times it was used for the response of the people at God’s final judgment on the beautiful city of Babylon.

"And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more—"The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning,… "And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!' Rev 18:11,15,19

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