Dealing with Sexual Immorality

A Study in 1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This is a template to create my weekly Café Jesus Bible study for Sabbath Morning.



What is the goal of this lesson?

Open It

For what kinds of things were you disciplined as a child?

When was a time you had to stop associating with a friend because of his or her bad influence on you?

Explore It

1 Corinthians 5:1 NIV
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.

What on earth is going on here?

Is this man sleeping with his mother?
++ No…this most likely is his step-mother.

The Historical Context?

Let me provide some context both from the Hebrew Bible and the Greco-Roman culture that Paul is dealing with in 1 Corinthians.
In the Hebrew Bible, God had given his people very specific commands about the types of sexual relationships they could have.
Let’s take a look at Leviticus 18:6-8
Leviticus 18:6 NIV
“ ‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 18:7 NIV
“ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
Leviticus 18:8 NIV
“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
Leviticus 18:7 is referring to the person’s biological mother.
++ Leviticus 18:8 is referring to the person’s step-mother. Notice this is the same language Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 5:1.
"Nearly all ancient Mediterranean cultures (as well as nearly all cultures in history) viewed parent-child incest as unimaginably terrible and divinely punishable. This offense included, as probably here, stepsons with stepmothers (Paul borrows language here from Lev 18:6–8). After divorce or becoming widowers, Greek and Roman men often married wives who were much younger (Greek men did this also at their first marriage), so the stepmother was sometimes closer in age to the eldest son than to the father. (In divorce, children normally went to the father.)”
Craig S. Keener and John H. Walton, eds., NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016), 1989.
1 Corinthians 5:2 NIV
And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?

Why did the Corinthians tolerate immorality in their church? (1 Corinthians 5:2)

What disciplinary action should the Corinthians have taken? (1 Corinthians 5:2)

1 Corinthians 5:3 NIV
For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.
1 Corinthians 5:4 NIV
So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV
hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Under what conditions was the Corinthian church to expel their immoral member? Why? (1 Corinthians 5:4-5)

1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV
hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 5:6 NIV
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?

Why was it necessary for the Corinthian church to expel a man from their congregation? (1 Corinthians 5:5-6)

To what boasting did Paul refer? (1 Corinthians 5:6)

1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:8 NIV
Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

What should Christians be like? How? (1 Corinthians 5:7)

To what festival did Paul refer? Why? (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

How should we "keep the Festival"? (1 Corinthians 5:8)

1 Corinthians 5:9 NIV
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
1 Corinthians 5:10 NIV
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.
1 Corinthians 5:11 NIV
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

For what reasons were the Corinthians to expel a professing Christian? (1 Corinthians 5:11)

1 Corinthians 5:12 NIV
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
1 Corinthians 5:13 NIV
God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Why is it unnecessary for Christians to judge non-Christians? (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

Why was it necessary to expel an immoral Christian from his or her church? (1 Corinthians 5:7-13)

What kind of distinction do we need to make in dealing with immoral people? (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

Get It

These questions are to help the group understand the themes and ideas communicated in the passage we’ve just studied.

At what point would you stop associating with a person who continued to do wrong?

From what harm could a church protect itself by expelling an immoral member?

What are the pain and problems created by sexual immorality?

How should any church react to gross sin practiced by a stubborn member?

What is difficult and complicated about disciplining a sinning Christian?

To what extent should people cleanse their lives of sin before joining a church?

Why?What does it mean to "hand someone over to Satan"?

How should we treat Christians who are greedy, slanderers, or swindlers?

What warnings should careless Christians take to heart?

How can we expel immoral Christians from our churches and at the same time have Jesus’ love for sinners?

Question 2

Apply It

These questions are to help the group apply what the passage says to their individual lives.

What should you do the next time you learn of a Christian friend who is unwilling to turn away from a particular sin?

What habits can you cultivate to prevent yourself from becoming callous to the sins of other people? 

Closing It

What commitment do I want the group to make based upon what we have studied?
How can we help them reinforce that commitment throughout the week?
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