Summary: When we slide away from God’s plan and toward the world’s value system, it’s like going from one end of a teeter-totter to the other. We can’t move toward one end without moving away from the other
Passage: I Corinthians 5:1-8
Intro: 1 Corinthians just never gets any easier, does it?
1. reading this passage, studying it, the questions come flying at you like sparks off a grinding wheel.
2. so easy to get bogged down in those questions, try to make this passage say more than was intended.
3. remember the context! Paul is addressing their syncretism as a church.
4. defined last week, the attempt to harmonize two opposing ideas into one.
5. in this case, the truth of God with the lies of Satan’s worldly system.
6. in that light, look at this passage, see where syncretism will take us
7. so far, Paul’s example are a little nebulous, perhaps hard to identify.
8. but not this one! This one everybody knew, and it stands as a testimony to the negative power of trying to force an agreement between two opposing worldviews.
9. what are the life principles we can glean from this example and the teaching that surrounds it?
I. Syncretism Always Moves Us Toward the World
1. When the Lord saves someone, the language used to describe the change is radical.
2. darkness to light, death to life, lies to truth, lost to saved.
3. God doesn’t do things half-way, “the old has gone, the new has come”
il) So if we view it like an old teeter-totter, we have crossed the middle and gone to sit on the completely opposite end.
4. now if we are on the God side, the truth side, the life side, and we decide to move, what do we have to move toward?
5. of course, we move back in the direction we came from, the ways of sin, death, darkness, lies.
6. and there was a man in the Corinthian church who was the poster boy for that syncretistic movement.
7. exact nature of it we don’t know, except it was “father’s wife”, so not his mother, but stepmother.
8. father alive or dead? Who knows.
9. married? Roman law prohibited such a marriage.
10. but verb tense means a continual “possession”, so at least living together.
11. what was this guy doing? Merely living out the syncretistic ideals of his church!
12. v2, “and you are proud!” This man was a living example of theology of the Corinthian church:
13. that principles were relative, that the church was really no different from the world, that toleration and even celebration (proud) or gross sin merely showed how cosmopolitan and tolerant and liberal and gracious we can be.
14. but in order to be all those things, we must move away from the pure truth of God and mix in some of the world’s lies
15. who wants to be a nerd, a square, a fuddy-duddy, “out of touch”?
16. bottom line; when we move to embrace the lies of the world, to incorporate them into our thinking, we must move away from the truth of God
II. God’s Power is Present in the Assembly of God’s People
1. Paul was not a syncretist!
2. his response to the presence of this incestuous man was straight to the point.
3. grief, sorrow, and a firm conviction that he needed to be put out of the church.
4. but notice in v5 what such a “putting out” would mean.
5. “hand this man over to Satan”, a judicial term meaning the delivering over to the authorities.
Il) in courts, judge imposes sentence and then delivers the concvicted man to the “department of corrections”.
6. now let’s reason backwards for a minute.
7. other than the possibility of this being some kind of legal curse, what does this mean?
8. simply this; that while included in the church family, a person know certain protection from the enemy.
9. he is instructed, with truth being taught and lies exposed.
10. the stronger members protect the weak, the babies.
Il) herding animals who make a circle to enclose the young and weak members
11. accountability and encouragement
12. nurture and intercession.
13. the church does just what the family does for its members.
Il) parents worst nightmare; the idea that their child has been taken by someone who is harming them.
14. here, the discipline for consistent, unrepentant sin is to be set free from the protective shelter of the church, to be easy prey for Satan.
15. the ultimate purpose? So they will hurry thru to destruction and return to the truth in the end.
16. the assembly of believers has the potential for tremendous power; if we will just do what God calls us to do.
17. and yet in our day, the tendency is for believers to voluntarily remove themselves from connection to a local body of believers.
18. and in doing so, reject the protective, instructive, encouraging, intercessory power of one of God’s greatest gifts; the church.