Summary: Sin brings death and when sin is permitted to linger within a congregation it kills its body life and ministry.
WHAT MUST I DO? KEEP HIS CHURCH PURE
Big Idea: Sin brings death and when sin is permitted to linger within a congregation it kills its body life and ministry.
A few years back I bought an electric guitar. The seller only wanted $50.00 for it and he told me upfront that it was a lesser quality guitar and that it had stopped working. Sure enough, we plugged it into an amp and it would not make a sound.
I took a chance and bought it. Before I took it home I took it to a repair shop so they could appraise it for me and repair it. They took the plate off the back where the electronics were kept and blew air into all the circuits. Then they plugged it in and it played like it was new. Dust had gotten into the circuitry and blocked the signals; the electronic signals could not be transferred from the guitar to the amp. I still have that inexpensive guitar and it still plays wonderfully.
There is a sense in which sin does the same thing in a church. It breaks the circuit … it prevents the energy from flowing from the Source (God’s Holy Spirit) to the receiver (His church). The Bible teaches us that sin brings death and, when allowed to linger within a congregation, it short-circuits/kills fellowship, body-life, ministry, worship, and the church’s testimony.
The church in Corinth is an example of what this tragedy looks like.
Listen to Paul’s words on this matter. You will notice the “must” statement in verse 11.
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
Those are strong strong words! They were written to a divided and disgraced church. Sin was stopping the flow of divine energy and it was killing this church in every way you could imagine and the congregation was not willing to address it. In fact, they were boasting in their open-mindedness and tolerance.
Paul insists that the church address the sin within its midst and presents this church with three considerations. But please remember, as John MacArthur rightly points out “Paul’s thrust in this chapter is for the disciplining of persistently sinning church members.” It is about openly and accepted sinful behavior.
1. CONSIDER THE CHURCH.
“What will sin do to this church?” is certainly a consideration. We are called to be “saints” – holy ones – and if a believer loves Christ’s church he/she will not stand by and watch sin weaken it and ruin its testimony.
Did you notice that Paul admonitions are not directed at those who are involved in the immortality? They are directed at those who were not involved but were rationalizing the behavior and tolerating it. In the first four chapters of the letter Paul addressed sins of the mind and heart … impure philosophy … sins of attitude and and intellect. But in chapter five Paul addresses sins of the flesh. You see; our rationalization, pride, sanctimony, and thought life always end of expressing themselves in sins of the flesh.