Summary: What does the Bible say we shoudl do when sin comes in the church? How should we handle a public, un-repented sin? Perhaps one of the most neglected doctrines of the church is the doctrine of church discipline!
What Does the Bible Say About Sin
How Do We Respond to Sin?
Willie Nelson apparently at one time owned a golf course. He said the great
thing about owning a golf course was that he could decide what par for each
hole was. He pointed at one hole and said, “See that hole there? It’s a par
47. Yesterday I birdied it.”
Well, we cannot decide what par for the course is, we cannot decide right from wrong. God decides right from wrong, and when we do not measure up that is called sin.
Over the next few weeks I want to look at what the Bible has to say about sin. Obviously man’s sin is probably one of the most prominent issues in the Scriptures. In fact the whole reason Jesus came was because of sin. The word sin that we read about in the New Testament is 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.
In our society over the past few years there are several mindsets that are very prevalent, and those mindsets have even seeped into the church, but I believe they are contrary to what God’s word teaches. Our society calls us to be open-minded towards all things. I do not have a problem being open-minded; I just do not want to call open-minded accepting things God forbids. By open-minded our culture means being open-minded to other beliefs and religions. This is the mindset that denies there is any absolute truth, but we know there are some absolutes in this world. This mindset has crept into the church to the point we do not address things like sin as sin, but tip-toe around the issue because are afraid of hurting feelings and appearing close-minded or intolerant, but there is some ground which we have to stand firmly on and there are some issues that may not be politically correct that need to be addressed. I believe if sin was addressed more, taught on more, and the consequences we highlighted more there would be less of a sin problem and more people would realize that sin is not okay. Our culture also tells us to be tolerant. We are expected in the society in which we live in to accept and be tolerant of the things others choose to do with their life. I do not have a problem being tolerant and patient, but again I do not think tolerance means that we allow sin and immorality to run rampant without speaking up for the truth. Third, we are flooded with the concept of privacy. We are taught that what I do is my business and no one else’s. I do not have a problem respecting someone’s privacy, but on the other hand the Bible teaches that we are a body and the idea of privacy has gone to an extreme to where we feel what we do is our business only. Well, the Scriptures make it clear that what we do is not just our business, it is also God’s business and it is also the church’s business to an extent.
Text: I Corinthians 5:1-13
I. The Sin Was a Bad Witness
I wonder how far the news of this sin had spread throughout the community. Paul said, that it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you. How did Paul find out of this sin? Since the beginning of the church’s establishment people in the world have been trying to find fault with the church and with Christians. It almost seems if the world rejoices when a Christian person’s sin is made public knowledge. Why is it when Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have moral dilemnas that it makes big time news, but when those same sins are committed countless times every day it does not make a difference to anyone? The reason why is because the world knows that they had a higher standard and that they compromised their integrity. Paul told the church in Corinth that the things that were going on there are things that the pagans do not even do.
It is assumed that as the letters that Paul and the Apostles wrote different churches arrived to them they would read them when they meet together for worship. The people would have loved the beginning and ends of Paul’s letters especially when he would greet certain people by name. Those people that were greeted had to feel a great sense of pride that they were personally greeted by an apostle. Here in the middle of this letter he greets someone personally, but this is not the type of greeting someone would want. Could you imagine how embarassed this man that was living in this particular sin must have been to be publically mentioned like this? Well, Paul took the mindset that the man’s sin was public knowledge so why not address it publically.