1 Corinthians 5:6-13 - God's Set Apart People

1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:26
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Introduction:
Good morning.
If you have your Bibles let me invite you to open with me to the book of 1 Corinthians.
We have been working our way through 1 Corinthians verse by verse and chapter by chapter… and Last week we began our study of one of the more difficult chapters in the Bible… a chapter that is widely neglected by modern American churches.
According to chapter 5, There is an individual within the Corinthian church claiming to be a Christian person,
but who has given himself over to undeniable, ongoing, unrepentant sin.
According to the text, He has entered into an ongoing physical relationship with presumably his step mother.
And the church has somewhat swept the sin under the rug.
They have ignored it.
And Paul pleads with them to recognize their responsibility for one another as a local church.
He calls them to mourn over this man’s sin.
And to take action.
He calls them to assemble together and to make a corporate decision to remove this man from their membership.
He calls them to deliver the man to what he calls the realm of Satan… that is outside of the benefits of church life…
He calls them to remove him from the fellowship of the church so that he can know the seriousness of his sin… and so that he might be awakened to his spiritual state… and perhaps to to Jesus in Faith.
Its a hard command…, but it exposes a lot about what God really intends his church to be.…
not just an event to attend…
but a people whom you meaningfully join yourself to… a safe-haven from the schemes of Satan…
A place where people will love you, care for you, speak truth to you, and guide you away from paths of destruction and on toward paths of life.
Paul urges them to take action for the love of that man…, but their more motivations at play as well.
And its to those motivations we now turn. Lets read the whole chapter and pause and pray for understanding.
1 Corinthians 5:1–13 ESV
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Lets Pray
1 Corinthians 5:6 ESV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
How does boasting have anything to do with ignoring this man’s sin?
How does arrogance lead the church of Corinth to neglect their responsibility of addressing sin?
Well,
Arrogance has a way of crowding out repentance.
We think highly of ourselves,
and as we think more highly of ourselves,
we tend not to care for the needs of others,
We tend to take less seriously the authority of God’s Word,
And we tend to think ourselves above the word if you will,
or perhaps we think ourselves to be in the right no matter what…,
we don’t have to worry about this man’s sin…, because its not really going to affect me or the rest of the church.
To this Paul says,
1 Corinthians 5:6 ESV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

Truth #1 Unaddressed Sin is Serious and it Spreads (v.6)

The question about leaven introduces an analogy that Paul will carry along through verse 8.
Now what in the world is leaven, and what does it have to do with this situation.
Hear the words of New Testament Scholar D.A. Carson on the analogy
He writes,
“Leaven” is a “little” portion of a previous week’s “batch of dough” that had been allowed to ferment. When added to the next batch, the leaven made the bread rise. It carried with it the slight risk of infection, especially if the process was left to go on indefinitely without starting afresh with a completely new batch. Each year the Israelites, in part perhaps as a health provision, had to cleanse their homes and the temple from all leaven. - D.A. Carson
Carson goes on to draw out the implications of the analogy.
Paul emphasizes that although in only a “little” part of the church - one person, in fact - the evil would inevitably, slowly but surely, spread through the whole community if left unchecked. The example of willful sin in the church can have serious effects. Like leaven in bread, unchecked sin in the church spreads through the whole and irretrievably changes it. - D.A. Carson
so in part, why does Paul command that the Corinthians take this ongoing and unrepentant sin seriously?
Because sin never stays put.
Sin never effects only the individual who engages in it.
Sin always overflows.
It always takes more territory then you allotted.
Sin spreads.
When a community of faith ignores sin as if it is not that dangerous,
as if it not that destructive,
as if it is something we can overlook or even befriend….
The church then communicates its approval or at least tolerance of that sin to all its members young and old…
To ignore sin essentially disciples the church not to take seriously the things which God has said are evil and self-destructive.
This is something we cannot do as individuals and this something we cannot do as a faith family.
We cannot disciple people in our own church to befriend sin in their lives to their own detriment by our unwillingness to address it.
A church that never addresses sin in the lives of her members, and never does what Paul is commanding to do here in 1 Corinthians 5 will be a church that over time will develop a high view of self, a low view of God’s holiness, and a lackadaisical comfort ability with unrepentant sin.
They will say they are just believing in a gospel of grace…, but such things are totally contrary to the gospel of grace.
We believe in a gospel of grace…
We believe that Jesus died for our sins.
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We believe that no matter how much we have sinned or are sinning…
God has by his grace made a way of salvation through faith in Jesus For his glory.
We believe Romans 5:20
Romans 5:20 ESV
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
God’s Grace is greater than all of our sin.
We are forgiven based off his righteousness not ours.
That is the Gospel message.
But that Gospel message does not somehow make us more comfortable with our sin.
That Gospel message does not somehow make us more accepting of our sin
or less determined to fight sin in our lives.
That Gospel message only increases our desire to obliterate sin that our savior on the cross and which seeks to destroy our lives.
The gospel means that by God’s grace we are freed to be at peace with God….
But the gospel also means that we are freed now to make war with sin…
Romans 6:1–2 ESV
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
That’s the argument of Romans.
Thats also the argument that Paul now takes up here in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 5:6–7 ESV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Truth #2 We Address Sin in the Church Because of Christ’s Finished Work for the Church (v.7)

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump….
Every year the Jews would participate in the feast of unleavened bread.
They would cleanse their homes and the temple before they celebrated the passover feast together.
Leaven in bread became symbolic for corruption or unrepentant sin in their midst.
The responsibility of the people of God was to cleanse out the old leaven…
And now Paul says similarly the responsibility of the church is to address unrepentant and ongoing sin in our lives and in the lives of others and to cleanse it out of our lives together so that we might actually be a new lump…
Now wait a minute, are you teaching that the church must actively cleanse out unrepentant sinners so as to earn salvation?
No… I am saying what the Holy Spirit inspired apostle is saying in this text.
I am saying that God has called us as a church to actively be practically what we claim to be positionally in the eyes of God.
Notice what the motivation is for addressing sin in this verse.
1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
So why do we actively cleanse out the sin from our hearts?
Why would we ever remove an unrepentant person from our church?
Because of the finished work of Christ on our behalf.
He HAS made us to be an unleavened people.
He HAS cleansed us eternally.
Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.
Jesus accomplished something for us.
Jesus accomplished something in us.
the discussion of unleavened bread now triggers in Paul’s mind the Exodus story where God showed his great mercy on His people.
the great moment in Biblical history that foreshadows how God was going to save his people.
The people were enslaved.
They were oppressed, beaten, and Impoverished under the rule and reign of the Egyptians.
God declared that his wrath was coming on the land…, but if the people would sacrifice a spotless lamb and smear its blood on their door posts….
God’s wrath would literally pass over their home…
They would have mercy, and grace, rather than wrath and judgment.
And once he passed over their home…, they were to jump up in their haste, no time for the bread to rise, they would take unleavened bread and whatever they could carry and they would make their way on their journey to the promised land having been saved by the grace of God through their faith in the blood of a spotless lamb.
That’s the exodus story, but thats our story.
The wrath of God has passed over us…, because Christ became our passover lamb.
He took the wrath of God for our sin on himself so that we might now be freed from our slavery in the land of death…, and freed to now make our journey to the eternal promised land!!
And Because of that…, guess what we don’t do as freed people….. in our freedom from slavery… We don’t sit in Pharoah’s kingdom of idolatry and death eating leavened bread.…
Because Christ has saved us from the eternal hell that our sins deserve…, guess what we do not do…. We do not make a peace treaty with our sin as if it is a friend of ours…
No…,
Because of Christ’s finished work for us.…
Because he cleansed us for an eternal promised land.…
We in the right here and right now practically strive by faith to be what he has promised we will be forever by his grace.
This is what it means to be a Christian.
There is a past completed reality,
a present ongoing reality,
and a fixed future reality.
Christ has already cleansed me positionally,
Christ is now cleansing me practically,
Christ will cleanse me completely,
And what Paul is saying is that if there is someone in the church who claims that Christ has cleansed him positionally,
and that Christ will cleanse him completely,
but he has no interest in being cleansed practically in the here and now…
that brother or sister just might be self-deceived and it is unloving to him and to the whole church to let his or her ongoing and unrepentant sin go unaddressed
hear the command in verse 8
1 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Now there are two ways to potentially overlapping ways to understand this:
The passover meal of the OT was instituted by God for the Israelite people to celebrate and remember every year his great salvation through the blood of the lamb over their enemies in Egypt.
Paul could now be referring to the whole Christian life as being symbolized by the great celebration festival of the passover… where we enjoy unleavened bread together in our freedom from Pharoah’s slavery forever and ever.
Paul could also, however, be referring very practically to the way the church celebrates the fulfillment of the passover now as Christian people In the Lord’s Supper.
It was the passover meal that Jesus sat down to celebrate with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion.
This is what Jesus said on this last Passover night Before his death.
Luke 22:19–20 ESV
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
On this night Jesus institutionalized a new practice for believers everywhere.
He assigned new meaning to the meal.
They were to partake in the bread and cup as a symbolic remembrance of what Christ the true passover lamb was about to accomplish on their behalf.
Jesus instituted two ordinances In his life and ministry.
Baptism was the initiatory right into the new covenant community of faith.
It was the one time, first step of obedience which publicly proclaimed allegiance to Jesus.
Everyone is called to be baptized as a believer In Jesus.
The Lords Supper however, was an ongoing ordinance at which every time it was celebrated, believers proclaimed their allegiance to Jesus.
When the church assembled they would partake in the supper together to remember what Christ had done for them And the unity they share as believers in Jesus.
And I think that if you read verse 8 in context of this chapter and the whole book…, you can make a good argument that Paul is urging the Corinthians to exclude this unrepentant from partaking in the symbolic meal with him.
1 Corinthians 5:8 ESV
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Lord’s supper we celebrate together is a moment where we remember together what Christ is done for us…
and its a moment where we assess ourselves and we actively turn from our sin and believe upon Jesus together.
We will study this in more depth later, but let me jump ahead in the book So you can see how serious Paul takes this.
1 Corinthians 11:25–31 ESV
25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

Truth #3 The Lord’s Supper is the Symbol of Our Unity with Christ and Each Other (v.8)

For Paul, the Lord’s Supper was a moment in church life where the whole church comes together to remember Christ, to proclaim Christ, and to examine ourselves to see if we are living in or entertaining unrepentant sin that contradicts who God has made us to be.
The Lord’s Supper is a moment of serious joy.
We confess our sins, and remember that they are all forgiven, and we eat as a symbol of our unity with Jesus and our unity Together as saved people.
1 Corinthians 10:16–17 ESV
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
This is what the church does when it assembles together to eat the supper together.
We corporately profess our faith in the Lord Jesus.
But in Corinth… there is a person who is assembling, and eating, but he is not really believing, and he is not really repenting. …
he is eating and drinking judgment on himself.…
he is self-deceived
and he may potentially be deceiving others to embrace sin as he has embraced it.
So what is the church to do?
1 Corinthians 5:2 (ESV)
…..Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
Cleanse out the old leaven ….
1 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven
Now all of this may sound really judgmental… and thats why nuance is very important.
You have to get the particulars right because you can very easily misapply what Paul is teaching here.
And thats exactly why Paul hits us with some serious clarification in verses 9-13…
In fact, Paul has apparently written to them on these matters before…, but now he needs to clarify some Important points.
1 Corinthians 5:9–13 (ESV)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Now there is probably a whole nother sermon worth of details in this paragraph, but let me try to summarize the paragraph with one final truth and then maybe we can tease out the particulars.

Truth #4 We Address Sin in the Church for Christ’s Name Sake in the World (v.9-13)

lets break the paragraph down.
1 Corinthians 5:9 (ESV)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
Now notice a couple things.
He has already instructed them not to associate with, that is to identify closely with, to mix up with people who ARE sexually immoral, that is people who choose a lifestyle of sexual immorality…
This does not mean people who simply have a moral failing and then repent… .It is this sin which identifies them or defines them
But here is the clarification.
1 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
So
I am not talking about avoiding sinners out there in the world.
That would be totally contrary to our mission as Christian people.
We are supposed to be going out into the broken and sinful world building relationships and sharing Jesus.
Those are the people who need to hear about the good news of Jesus’ saving work.
To avoid them would mean you would have to go out of the world all together.
This is what some monks have done throughout Christian history.
They separate themselves entirely from the world to focus on their own holiness. And Paul is saying, do not do that.
Do not disassociate with the world entirely… we are on a mission in this world…
ok, then…, who is it that you are telling us to disassociate with?
1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
The concern is when someone “bears the name of brother” but then lives like the world.
In other words, he claims to be a Christian.
He claims to be a part of the church family…, yet he lives and thinks and acts like the world.
So far we have seen that church discipline is motivated by a love for the individual - We want them to repent and believe.
Church discipline is motivated by love for the church - We do not want a little leaven to leaven the whole lump.
but this is a kind of new motivation.
We want to preserve the name for the watching world.
We recognize that the world is watching the church so that they might know what Jesus Christ is like.
When you are baptized as a believer, you are baptized into the name.
Matthew 28:19 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
When you put faith in Jesus, You become an ambassador of Jesus.
A representative of Jesus our Lord and all that he taught.
How much damage has been done in the world by people who claim to be Christians or even Christian leaders but then misrepresent the teaching and value of Christ Jesus.
Paul cares about the name of Christ being represented well so much so that he says this… “do not even eat with such a one”
In other words do not even share table fellowship with such a person…
Now does this mean ignore entirely someone who has been removed from a church for their ongoing and unrepentant sin?
Some interpret it that way… that excommunication means no association with them at all.
Here is where I land….
I believe that at the very least Paul is referring to the Lord’s Supper here.…
Do not pretend that they are a Christian in right standing before God by sharing the Lord’s Supper with them…
The name of Christ proclaimed for the world to see is at stake here.
Why would any church ever do the final step of church discipline and remove someone from their membership role and ask them not to partake in the Lord’s Supper?
love for them, love for the church, love the name of Jesus displayed in all the world.
And just in case, you attempt to soften what Paul is saying here in regard to our responsibility to remove unrepentant sinners.
Or in case you attempt to further what Paul is saying here by being a judgmental to every non-Christian you meet.
Paul repeats himself one more time using different but further clarifying language.
1 Corinthians 5:12–13 ESV
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
The command is crystal clear…
The church has a responsibility to hold out the gospel to the unbelieving outsiders inviting them into the gospel of grace.
The church as a responsibility to hold accountable those in their church family who say they believe the gospel and who “bear the name of brother”
So much so, that if it gets to the point where someone shows no fruit of repentance, and refuses every attempt of the church to call them out of their lifestyle of sin…
it is the responsibility of the church to revoke their status as a “brother or sister” in the church.
They are to “purge the evil person from among you” they are not to “eat with such a one” so that they might recognize their spiritual position
and be saved in the last day,
so that the church might be protected from their sin,
so that the world might be protected from a false representation of the gospel.
If you want to take your study further…. That phrase “purge the evil person from among you” is an exact phrase that is repeated throughout the book of Deuteronomy.
You will find that in the Old Covenant, God’s law was enforced by penalty of law.. the purity of Israel was kept through legal sentencing often including the death penalty.
That is not the case in the new covenant of God’s people.
Christ has taken our death penalty.
Christ has offered grace and mercy.
We have only to believe in him, and that belief propels us to repent of sin.
There is mercy here made possible by the blood of Jesus.
So why quote Deuteronomy in this context?
Paul is making a hermeneutical point here.
God still cares about the purity and the corporate witness of his redeemed people.
But God still cares that his people be a holy representation of his magnificent glory For all the nations to see.

Truth #4 We Address Sin in the Church for Christ’s Name Sake in the World (v.9-13)

So what do we do with all of this.
Well in a moment we are going to offer the Lord’s Supper.
And in doing so we will respond to the message in three ways:
Takeaways:
#1 Praise God for Christ’s Finished Work
The good news of Jesus is that right now no matter how far away from God you are or how much you have sinned, you can be forgiven from that sin.
You can be freed form that sin.
You have only to trust what Jesus has done for you.
You have only to believe in our savior and receive the free gift of God’s saving grace.
Praise God that it is finished by Christ and not by us.
#2 Address the Sin in Your Heart Christ Died For
According to Paul, the Lord’s Supper is a moment of self-reflection.
As we remember what Christ did for us we assess whether our actions are inline with our beliefs.
And where they aren’t, we repent and we believe on the Lord
#3 Commit to Live for Christ’s Name Sake in the Church
This means not only caring about how you represent Christ,
but caring about how your brothers and sisters in Christ represent him,
the mission of God is a group project,
we are in this together helping each other,
When we take the Lord’s supper together we are saying something about our unity with Jesus, but we are also saying something about our unity with the other people in this room who take the same bread and the same cup.
If you are not a baptized Believer united to Christ in faith, and if your not united to a church, but you just showed up here this morning… I would encourage you to let the cup pass and the bread pass you by this morning.
Use this time as a time to self-assess, to pray, to repent, and to listen to the Lord’s leading this morning.
Lets Pray and then
lets celebrate the festival together not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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