Summary: Sermon on Sexual Sin in the Church
Two weeks ago, we started a series entitled "Stand in the Gap", based upon Ezekiel 22:30. In short, God looked at Israel and found a very corrupt nation with no man that would "stand in the gap" and stand for what was holy and right. Today, we see the same thing in our country; there are many, many more that stand for what is wrong that what is right. My challenge to you was and is simply this: as a Christian, are you willing to stand in the gap--to stand for what is holy, true, just and righteous?
There are some issues that a source of contention in our society today, and sadly, even within our churches themselves. Our family left a mainline denomination in 1997 because of one of these polar issues that was rapidly on the rise: the embracing of homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle. The denomination allowed a homosexual acceptance booth at the annual denomination meeting stating they were "members in good standing" and were allowed. That denomination battles the issue still today, and, sadly, the movement has made strides toward what appears to be full acceptance.
Today's battleground has moved toward the arena of gay marriage. The common statement that comes from those wanting acceptance of or have a so-called neutral position is summed up with this statement: "if you don't agree with gay marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex!" My comeback to that statement, and yes I know this will ruffle some feathers, is this: "If we are to make that statement, then how about this one? Don't agree with Jerry Sandusky molesting children? Then don't molest children!"
Harsh statement? Perhaps. Yet, sexual sin is sexual sin according to God's Word. As I have mentioned before, we are missing the big picture. It is not just homosexuality, or polygamy or premarital sex or adultery or pornography--it is sexual sin. The church has grown tolerant of sexual sin, and that is quite contrary to God's Word.
This week, we are going to begin a teaching, which may last a few weeks, regarding sexual sin, God's view of the seriousness of that sin, and how we as believers are to react to it both individually and as a church. We will also discover how the church's neglect in dealing with the issue has affected it's witness in the world and also in our own neighborhood.
The Corinthianizing of the Church
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife! 1 Corinthians 5:1(NKJV)
We are going to begin by looking at sexual sin within the context of the local church, how that church dealt with it, and how it should mourned instead of being filled with pride. It is not a comfortable topic to discuss, but one that is needed if we are to be salt and light in the world and have a good reputation with God and with men.
The Bible is replete with passages that condemn sexual sin. The seventh commandment concerns sexual sin (adultery), but it is not the first passage that dealt with that sin. We can see sexual sin in the book of Genesis with such accounts of the people of Sodom and Gomorrrah and the destruction due to their sexual sin and other sins; Abraham and Hagar; Judah and Tamar; the attempted seduction of Joseph by Potiphar's wife and others. Indeed, sexual sin is as old as history records and is addressed in most books of the Bible at least in an indirect form.
The city of Corinth was a pagan city that had a sex and alcohol debauched religion. In fact, Corinth was so corrupt morally that people from the region in referring to one whom was completely debauched and grossly immoral were said to be "corinthianized". No, the town has nothing to do with that famous term coined by Chrysler Corporation and uttered by the late Ricardo Montalban "fine Corinthian leather". It was a city of a moral limbo dance, with each one trying to see "how low you can go".
But, God changes lives when He saves people through Jesus Christ and a local church was started in Corinth. But that church had huge problems as the issues of pride, lust, sex, covetousness, drunkenness, infighting and heresy in the church to the extent that John MacArthur calls them the "cruddy Corinthians". But really, if you give it some thought, does this not describe many churches today?
Paul had been contacted by members of the Corinthian church about the different issues contained in this first letter to the Corinthians and Paul goes to great lengths to correct these problems. In fact, a common phrase in 1 Corinthians is "Do you not know?" Paul had taught them prior both personally and in a prior letter which is not part of the canon of Scripture and was, in short, saying "You don't know this? You were taught this before, how could you forget"?