1 Corinthians Chapter Five

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In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter five, we look at purity in the family of God. We have all had sickness and taken some really bad tasting medicine. That is kinda what is happening here as Paul dishes out some strong medicine for the church in hopes of curing an illness that had come into the body of Christ in Corinth.

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1 Corinthians 5:1

It is actually reported that their is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.

In chapter 4, Paul spoke of the authority that had been given to him as an apostle designated by Jesus Christ. Based on that authority, he begins to address a problem that was happening in the church at Corinth. He describes a sexual sin that was happening among the family of God and was so outrageous that even the pagans wouldn't have thought of doing such a thing.

1 Corinthians 5:2

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?

The fact that this was going on must have been known by everyone in the group of believers and they were ok with it. Instead of being filled with sorrow and pity for the one that was doing so, they were still meeting with the man as if nothing was happening.

1 Corinthians 5:3

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.

Paul, as a leader, has found what this man was doing to be against the Word of God. Because of that and the fact that the man was not repenting of the action, Paul says that he has passed judgment on the man. When he says this, he is not talking about the man's salvation but the fact that his actions do not line up with God's Word.

1 Corinthians 5:4 & 5

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, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Paul tells the group of believers to "hand this man over to Satan" and it may seem harsh but what he is saying is that sometimes people have to hit a low point before they can look up and see the grace of God. The purpose in this is to bring the man to repentance and salvation.

1 Corinthians 5:6 & 7

Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 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.

Paul speaks now of the celebration of the Passover which was prescribed when the Israelites left Egypt. One part of the feast was the removal of anything that contained yeast from the home. Yeast was a symbol of sin and, just as a little bit of yeast affects the whole lump of dough, a little bit of unrepentant sin affects the entire body of believers.

1 Corinthians 5:8

Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul calls on them to keep the spirit of the Passover Festival by removing the yeast (sin) and by standing on the Word of God (bread). All of this speaks of the passover meal which was the Israelite's last meal in the slavery of Egypt. The freedom from that slavery came through the blood and the freedom from the sexual sin that was being dealt with comes through the blood of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 5:9 & 10

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - 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.

This is a crucial teaching that has been misunderstood for a long time. Many take this to mean that we are not to have anything to do with anyone who is engaged in these activities but that is not what he is saying. He is saying that the worldly people (unsaved) will be doing this type of thing and so, although we are not to take part in their sin, we are to try to tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ. To do that, you must associate with them. This was true for Corinth which was the "sin city" of the day but it is even more widespread today.

1 Corinthians 5:11

But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Paul explains that it is not those outside of the body of Christ that he was talking about but it is those that have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He is also not talking about a case where a believer makes a mistake and asks for forgiveness. He is talking about a professed believer in Christ that is living in this type of lifestyle. Eating was the most basic show of hospitality at this point in time and Paul uses that to make them and us understand the depth of separation from these people.

1 Corinthians 5:12 & 13

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you.'

Paul is concluding this part of his letter with a call for purity in the family of God. He reminds the believers that those who are not a part of Christ will be judged by Christ on the last day. Those that are in Christ are to be held accountable for their actions. That accountability is in having a brother or sister in Christ point out the error of our way using God's word. If we do not want to accept that correction from God's word, then, we are to part ways in a loving manner.

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