Sin Study Hall

Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:52
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Study Group

Hardess class I ever took: Honors Calculus. We covered all of Calculus 1 and 2… and you had to prove every formula or theorem from the fundamental axioms of math (like 1 != 2, or basic properties of numbers).
The teacher LOVED my proofs. She would frequently show them off to the class. They were so creative, she said. Very imaginative, she said.
Completely wrong!!! but very creative.
She was so “close-minded” in that way… always wanting the “right” answers.
What do you do if you are having trouble in a class? Get together a study group.
That is what we are doing here, by the way… this is
We are helping one another “get it right.” Grow. Get better.

Church Discipline

Very specific circumstances. This is not about judging peoples outside of our community.
(Note, there are times and places for that… this just isn’t it).
1 Corinthians 5:12 ESV
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
This isn’t about the “moral degradation of society” or voting or not voting morality or “kids these days” or the “social fabric.” None of that. This isn’t something you ever do holding a sign on a corner.
This happens in this community. In the covenant. In the church.
This is study hall.
We have asked one another to help one another “Love God… with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.” This is church.
So it is loving to someone trapped in sin to try and help. Because we are in “covenant”. Because we are in a study group together.
It is loving to the church. “What you do affects me.” If someone is spouting bogus information in the “study group”, it needs to be identified.
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 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.
It is arrogance to think it doesn’t matter. Let’s repent of that.
It is worth noting, disassociating someone from membership and kicking them out is the VERY LAST STEP, a last resort, after a substantial process. If you know a brother or sister is trapped in sin you:
Speak with them, if it is safe and wise to do so, if you can do so out of pure love.
Partner with a pastor or elder.
Process of prayerful pursuit. Of speaking the truth in love. Even of careful confrontation.
As a last resort, kick out of membership.
“Turn over to Satan” sounds incredibly harsh… but the purpose is always love. Always. The goal is restoration and reconciliation - first with God, then with the church.
So, because of that, and in this very specific situation, we are called upon to be judges of ourselves, among ourselves. Not of others outside the church… but within.
Therefore, it is imperative, it is critical, that we learn to look for and recognize these things in ourselves. Because love requires it of us. Because we have asked one another to hold us accountable and help us pursue holiness and righteousness.
Because this is study hall.
So what do we study? What are these sins we look out for?
1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
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.
Let’s unpack these backwards.
And for each, let’s see this question. These are things the Corinthians are saying.
What about grace?
I was made this way
It’s no big deal, really
“All things are lawful for me.” or (What about grace?)
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.” (I was made this way)
“Every sin a person commits is outside the body.” (Or “It’s just my body”)


A crook, in particular someone who uses charm or deception to rob people.
If that’s your game… you aren’t loving God by that. You are stealing from His people. Even if you are doing it in the name of God. Actually, I think you get double judgment for that! I worry about some of those “health, wealth and prosperity” folks, send in your money and get a blessing from God.
As the Ten Commandments say: no thieving!!!
“What about grace?” and there is grace for them. But it isn’t permission to steal from people. It isn’t good for anyone.
I was made this way! You can be born with the ability to charm the pants off people… it doesn’t mean you should do it to steal from them or to harm.
It’s no big deal! It is, though… not just because it harms them. It harms you. It harms your spirit.
So if you’re stealing from folks and you are in covenant with me… it is my responsibility to confront you on it. It’s what you’ve asked me to do.


We know what this is. This isn’t “I had one too many too fast on New Years Eve.” This is alcoholism. Ongoing drunkenness, addiction, to the destruction of your life and those around you.
What about grace? Of course there is grace… but that isn’t license to hurt yourself and others. It isn’t good for you or anyone around you.
I was made this way! That’s not theoretical. “Alcoholism” is often called a disease, and there are patterns here, familiar, both behavior and genetic. Generational. That gives us compassion, but it doesn’t mean we don’t still need to seek healing!
It’s no big deal! … said every alcoholic… even as the destruction cascades across kids and families, burning relationships. Beyond just the damage to the body, this damages the spirit and sense of self.


A “reviler”. An abusive person… or sometimes translated “slanderer” which is abusive with words. Physically or verbally, we have seen this destroy lives.
What about grace? … but it isn’t helpful. It isn’t loving people. It isn’t good. It needs to be stopped.
I was made this way! I know some kids who seem like they were born with big ears and a gossip’s tongue. “Do you know what Becky did???” I doubt there’s a gene marker for this, but someone raised on gossip and slander has this baked into their way of life. That doesn’t make it okay! It’s still sin.
It’s no big deal! … but I bet everyone in here has been wounded by slander, by words spoken, even by accident. This is when they are sharpened to a point and meant to hurt. To revile. It is sin and it isn’t okay.


God is so narrow minded. He wants you to worship Him and only Him. Scripture says He is a jealous God, He won’t allow that any other one or any other thing be worshipped above Him, instead of Him. And in Corinth, these idols weren’t just metaphorical, they were literal altars to Zeus and Poseidon and Hades and Aphrodite.
Look, you can’t worship Yahweh on Sabbath and then head to Zeus’ temple on Sunday. Those are fundamentally spiritually opposed foes.
What about grace? You can’t serve two masters. You can’t ride one horse with two butts. It isn’t helpful, you aren’t getting anywhere.
I was made this way! Born this way, raised this way, taught this way, modeled this behavior, prefer this god or that god or goddess… it doesn’t matter. God’s funny that way: He says “only worship Him.”
Because He is the only real and true God!
It’s no big deal! It very much is. The first three, arguably the first four, maybe even the first five Commandments are all about this. God is God, and the only one, no idols. None. Stop it off!


We know this one. It’s all about me and what I can get. More money, more pleasure, more food, more, more, more… If your life is consumed with what you can get… it certainly isn’t devoted and submitted to Jesus.
What about grace? Jesus’ grace is not a get rich scheme. It certainly isn’t the key to an easy life (health, wealth and prosperity). That’s not how any of this works.
I was made this way! Of course you were. You were made hungry, weren’t you? That doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with everything you see. You were born thirsty. That doesn’t mean you should drink until you explode. Your body was made with desires and urges… you take any of those to an extreme and you’ll find sin.
It’s no big deal! Jesus saved some of his harshest language to address the greed in folks. It is idolatry by another name.

Sexual Immorality

And now, finally, we get to sexual immorality. “You go and save the best for last.”
I save it for last because some of you are going to have the hardest time with this one. It will come up a bit next week too. This is one that our world really wants to define for us. They want to vote (or even legislate) what is sin and what isn’t.
This is the presenting issue. Dude sleeping with his “father’s wife.” Either his actual mom or his step mom. Incest either way. Gross either way.
Even the “Gentiles” are sitting back saying “ewwwww.”
And this is a Roman colony within a Greek province. You can’t get more “sexually permissive” than that. If you think our culture “celebrates sex”, we’ve got quite a ways to go before we get to their cultural background. Prostitution wasn’t just legal, it was encouraged as a form of worship.
Homosexuality was encouraged, particularly for men...
Pedophilia… that’s a Greek word. That’s not frowned upon in Greek/Roman society, it is a acquired taste. It is known to this day that certain Senators or orators or philosophers preferred sex with young men or young girls, and this was public knowledge like favorite color.
Sexual Immorality - porneia is the greek. Fornication is the old word.
Again, God defines this very narrowly. Sex is created by God, it is good, it is pleasurable, it is to be enjoyed within marriage, and marriage is between one man and one woman.
Please understand, these are not my definitions, these are God’s. Over and over, across Old and New Testament. He’s kind of “close-minded” about this. Take it up with Him.
Any sexual expression outside of marriage is “porneia.” That is “sin.”
Between a man and a man? Yup. Sin. Between a woman and a woman? Yup. Sin. Between a man and a woman outside of marriage? Yup. Sin.
What about anal sex, oral sex, hand stuff… Yup. Sin.
If you have questions, happy to talk more after.
Let’s pick up our “objections...” but they aren’t ours. They are Paul’s. Or rather, these are things the Corinthians were saying on the regular and Paul answers them.
1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
That’s what about grace?
Sure, there is grace to cover all sins. But these things aren’t helping you in your walk with Christ. They are radically harming you and others (as we will see). They are owning you, dominating you, he says. Here, in particular, sexual immorality.
That is what happens with all sin, we see that with sexual immorality. Besides pregnancy outside of marriage, besides STDs, you have spiritual connections here. Sex should not rule your life.
1 Corinthians 6:13 ESV
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
“Food is meant for the stomach...” is what the Corinthians are saying. As in… why would I have these hungers if I wasn’t meant to satisfy them? This is what my parts are for. I was made this way! That’s what they are saying!
This is what my attraction is for… These are Romans in Greece, they are fine with attraction after men or women or children or anything else that moves. Pop over to Aphrodite’s temple and do it all.
No! That isn’t what your body was built for. Even though sin has corrupted as all, even though we all have predilections for this sin or that… no more than if I was born with an unsatiable desire for alcohol… that doesn’t mean that’s what my body is for. All of me is for the Lord.
And it matters what I do with this body. It isn’t a throw away.
1 Corinthians 6:14–15 ESV
And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
Here what he is saying there? There is continuity of body. I don’t know exactly how that works… but the “dualism” idea that my body is a throwaway puppet controlled by my soul… that’s a Greek idea, not Biblical. Paul says, no, this body will be resurrected. It matters what you do with it, it is meant for the Lord. It is a temple to Him.
1 Corinthians 6:16–17 ESV
Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Sex is not just physical. There is profound spiritual reality here. There are spiritual bonds.
If sex was just physical, rape would be just a different way of getting beat up. We know it isn’t. We know the powerfully deep wrongness of it.
It’s no big deal!
1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Here’s where I disagree a bit with the ESV. There is no word “other” in there. Literally it says “Every sin...” and I think there should be quotes around it. This is another thing the Corinthians are saying.
“Every sin a person commits is outside the body.”
That’s not true.
Maybe he’s saying sex is fundamentally spiritually different… I think all sin effects our spirit and this is a powerful counter example.
It isn’t just something external to us. It matters. It impacts us. It is a sin against our own body… and that matters.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Y’all are a temple. And here we get more of that sense… you each are a temple.

Gospel - Freedom from Sin

The goal isn’t guilt and shame. The goal is free again, at last, I am free again.
The goal is identity in Christ alone, not in anything I have ever done or will ever do.
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 ESV
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
That’s a whole pile of sin. In particular, hear the “identity” in there? Not “person who commits adultery...” but adulterer. More next week.
That’s not the point. The point is this:
1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Praise God!
You were washed.
You were sanctified.
You were justified.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. By the Spirit of our God. Yes and Amen.
Lord, as we examine ourselves, I bet we hear at least a little bit about ourselves in many of these. In action, in heart, in imagination…
Lead us to repentance. Drive us to confession. Let us turn away from every sin, cast it off at the foot of the cross… Jesus you died for it. You took it from us and you died with it and you payed our penalty so that we could be free from it forever.
You are washed.
You are sanctified.
You are justified.
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