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1 Corinthians
Chapter 5

Theme: Scandal in the Corinthian church, immorality being unchecked.

This chapter is entirely devoted to one particular offence which existed in the church at Corinth, and the measures which Paul expected them to pursue in regard to it. Of the existence of this offence he had been informed, probably by "those of the house of Chloe," (1 Cor.1:11). Paul commanded them not to keep company with licentious persons (verse 9), and he meant that they should withdraw from ALL association with the wicked heathen, who were known to be idolaters and corrupt. Paul had a right to exercise discipline within the church, on such as professed (claimed) to be Christians; and that therefore they were bound to put away that wicked person. Paul rebukes the church for retaining an unworthy member in the church.

The Immoral, Incestuous Member of the Church  
(1 Cor. 5:1-5)

1 Cor. 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. (KJV)

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife . . . having left behind the subject of the divisions in the Corinthian church, Paul now takes up the matter of the incestuous member of that church. Sexual immorality includes ALL violations of the seventh commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery (Ex.20:14). Here, a case is set apart as especially terrible. The offense was that a man had committed fornication with his step-mother. His father's wife is a Scriptural translation for step-mother (Lev.18:8). The crime was not adultery, but incest; or else Paul would not have spoken of it as an unheard of offense.

1 Cor. 5:2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (KJV)

And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned . . . you have been full of strife and contention in regard to your parties and favorite teachers, and you have neglect the discipline of the Church. If you had considered how terrible this crime is, you would have mourned, and put away this brazen transgressor from among you.
That he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you . . . this is thought by some to refer to the punishment of death, by others to excommunication.

There are some things about this situation that we need to consider: #1. This was a known situation which needed no proof. #2. This was not a matter of gossip or of hearsay. Paul would never have brought up something like this if it had just been a rumor. #3. This was not a questionable sin. It was a glaring sin, and it was actually recognized by the world outside as being sin. It was incest. The church in Corinth did not need to establish the fact that the man was living in sin. Their error was that they tolerated it. They condoned the sin by doing nothing about it. They compromised, and that is the worst thing they could have done.
Consider the following proverb: A pure church is a powerful church; an impure church is a paralyzed church. Just look around you at churches today and you will see that is true.

I would like to comment on our todays’ world: Living together without being married is sin in God's eyes. It makes no difference what the majority of the population thinks, and it does matter how many people are doing it. The Word of God calls this SIN, and there is no other way a TRUE Christian can look at it. It is NOT a questionable sin as far as the Word of God is concerned.
Adultery is a sin: (Eze.22:6-13; Mat.15:18-19; Mk.7:21-23; Rom.1:21-32; 1 Cor.6:9-10; 2 Cor.12:20-21; Eph.4:17-19; 5:3-6; Col.3:5-8; 1 Tim.1:9-10; Tit.3:3; Jam.3:14-15; 1 Pet.4:3-4; Rev.21:8, 22:15).
Fornication, Impurity is sin: (Mat.5:32; 19:9; Mk.7:21; Acts 15:20,29; 21:25; Rom.1:18-32; 1 Cor.5:1; 6:9,13,18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Cor.12:21; Gal.5:19; Eph.5:3; Col.3:5; 1 Thes.4;3; Heb.12:16; Jude 1:7; Rev.2:14; 9:21)
Homosexuality is also a sin in God’s eyes. Homosexuality is an Abomination to God: (Gen.19:4-5; Lev.18:22-24; 20:13-16; Rom.1:24-32; 1 Cor.6:9-11; 1 Tim.1:8-11; Jude 1:7).

1 Cor. 5:3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (KJV)

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed . . . quite possibly Paul refers to the gift of the discernment of spirits, which it is very likely what the apostles possessed on extraordinary occasions. Paul had seen this matter so clearly, that he had determined what sort of punishment should be inflicted for this crime.
How awful are the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. A person is in Satan’s kingdom, and under his power, when they are not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very dangerous, for it spreads far and wide quickly because of his fame. Corrupt principles and examples, if NOT corrected, can hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their lifestyle and religious conduct must be holy.

1 Cor. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (KJV)

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Jesus is the Head of the Church; and under whose authority every act is to be performed. In the "name of" (2 Cor.2:9-10).
When ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Paul’s spirit, and his apostolic authority that he received from Christ; and with the miraculous energy of the Lord Jesus, which is to inflict the punishment that the sinner deserves. With the power (Mat.16:19. Jn.20:23). This phrase is to be connected with the following verse, for Paul had already determined what should be done. The sentence which I have passed is this: You are to be assembled in the name and authority of Christ. I shall be spiritually present. And you are to deliver such a one to Satan, by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)

To deliver such a one unto Satan . . . there is no evidence that delivering one to Satan was any form of excommunication known either among the Jews or the Christians. This was a kind of punishment administered in extraordinary cases, in which the body and the mind of an incorrigible transgressor were delivered by the authority of God unto the power of Satan, to be tortured with diseases and terrors as a warning to all people. While the body and mind were in this way tormented, the immortal spirit was under the influence of the God’s mercy; and the affliction, in all probability, was in general only for a season (a certain time period); although it seems that sometimes it meant death, as the destruction of the flesh seems to imply.
Since the soul found mercy at God’s Hand; while the flesh was destroyed, the spirit was saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. I am a firm believer that NO such power as this remains in the Church today. This was one of those Divine judgments that existed only in the baby church.
Any pretenses to it today are as wicked as they are vain. The power mentioned here is the same power by which Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead (Acts 5:1-11), and Elymas the sorcerer struck blind (Acts 13:8-11). ONLY the apostles alone were entrusted with that power! This power does NOT exist today! There are no apostles today, only disciples!

1 Cor. 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (KJV)

Your glorying is not good . . . they had been busy supporting their respective teachers, while the church was left without discipline, and this scandalous corruption cropped up, and threatened its very existence if not purged right away.
Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? . . . the Corinthians all boasted of their wisdom, but were in fact fools. They did not know and acknowledge the truth of a common proverb, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. If this leaven . . . here being the incestuous person, was permitted to remain among the church, if his conduct was not exposed by the strongest censure; the flood-gates of impurity would be opened wide on the church, and the state of Christianity would be ruined in Corinth.
I must add this. I am an old woman who once saw a similar situation in a church, not incest, it was adultery there, in that little country church in Arkansas. It was a small church, everyone knew everyone. A young married woman was said to be seeing another man, cheating on her husband. The church warned her to stop. She did not stop. The church then told her to not darken their doorway again. The church threw her out. How many churches do that today?

Six Things that are NOT Good: 
1. Boasting in the face of unconfessed sin (1 Cor.5:6; Jam.4:16).
2. To punish the just (Pro.17:26)
3. To be without knowledge (Pro.19:2)
4. Accept the wicked and overthrow the righteous in judgment (Pro.18:5)
5. To have respect for persons in judgment (Pro.24:23)
6. For man to be alone (Gen.2:19)

Seven Things that are Good: 
1. To draw near to God (Ps.73:28).
2. To give thanks to God (Ps.92:1).
3. To be afflicted (Ps.119:71).
4. To give praise (Ps.147:1).
5. To hope and wait for salvation (Lam.3:26).
6. To bear the yoke in youth (Lam.3:27).
7. To be zealous for good (Gal.4:18).

Urging to Purity, and Faithfulness in Discipline
(1 Cor.5:6-13).

1 Cor. 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (KJV)

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump . . . as was the custom of the Jews before to the Passover, to search their houses in the most diligent manner for the old leaven, and throw it out, sweeping every part clean . . . so the Corinthians were to do with this incestuous person. The little church in Arkansas purged out the old leaven.
As ye are unleavened . . .  you are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, or to be pure. Your very profession implies this, and you should remove all impurity, and become holy. There should be NO impurity, and NO mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the Gospel teaches and requires. Paul does not refer just to the case of the incestuous person, but he warns them to put away all sin. Not only to remove this occasion of offence, but to remove all impurity, that they might become entirely and only holy. Christians are by their profession holy, and therefore they should be diligent to remove everything that is impure.
For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us . . . for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; for although the feast of the Jewish Passover ceased, and you are not tied to any of those Levitical observations, yet you are under just as high an obligation; for Christ, who is the true paschal Lamb, and was slain or sacrificed for us, and your old man should be crucified with him (Rom.6:6), and you no longer serve sin.

1 Cor. 5:8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (KJV)

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness . . . it is very likely that the time of the Passover was now approaching, when the Church would be called to extraordinary acts of devotion, in commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; and of this circumstance Paul takes advantage in his appeal to the Corinthians. Not with old leaven . . . under the Christian dispensation of grace, we must be saved equally from Judaism, heathenism and from sin of every kind; malice and wickedness must be destroyed; and sincerity and truth, inward purity and outward holiness must take their place. The leaven of malice . . . unkindness and evil, which would diffuse itself, and invade the mass of Christians. And wickedness . . .  sin, evil, with a particular reference to the incestuous person. Paul means that all wickedness should be put away from those who had been saved by the sacrifice of their Passover, Christ.
But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth . . . as the Jews partook of unleavened bread, which was a symbol of purity, Paul wants them to be sincere and true. It is implied here that this could NOT be done unless they would put away the incestuous person. NO Christian can have or give evidence of sincerity, IF they are not willing to put away all sin.

1 Cor. 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: (KJV)

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators . . . it seems that maybe Paul had written some former Letter which he had directed to this church, which is lost . . . fornicators mean any kind of unclean or immoral persons known to them; and the keeping company with them, the apostle Paul had prohibited to the Corinthians. Not to company with fornicators . . . with which, as we have already seen, Corinth abounded. It was not only their outstanding sin, but the main one.

1 Cor. 5:10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. (KJV)

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters . . . Paul did not intend that warning to those who were not Christians, nor were not members of the church (Jn.15:19; 17:14). Paul extended this warning to all other disgraceful sinners, such as covetous persons, by which he understood such as by any open and scandalous acts discover their lust for money, whether by oppression, or by cheating and defrauding; extortioners, such as demand more than their due; idolaters, those who worship images . . . and with all these various sinners mentioned here, ALL were scandalous sinners.
For then must ye needs go out of the world . . . Paul told them not keep no company with such as these worldly sinners, which is also true at this day in which we live.

1 Cor. 5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (KJV)

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat . . . we are to distance ourselves from the person who claims to be a Christian (hypocrite), yet indulges in sins clearly forbidden in Scripture by trying to justify their actions. Trying to excuse or explain sin, a person simply becomes a pretender, while deep within them, they know they sin! Church leaders must be ready to correct sinners in love, for the sake of spiritual unity.
With such an one no not to eat . . . iIf anyone who is called a brother, professing to be a Christian  . . . is a fornicator, covetous, idolater, railer, drunkard or extortioner, a TRUE Christian is not even to eat with such people. We should have no fellowship with such a person, either in things either sacred or civil. We may transact worldly concerns with a person that does not know God, and makes no profession of Christianity, whatever his moral character is, but we must not even have personal fellowships with them. Do not even eat with such a one . . . the meaning is that we are not to recognize such a person in any way as a Christian, even by eating with him.

Verses 9-11: Corinth was a city given over to immorality. There were a thousand priestesses at the temple of Venus or Aphrodite who were nothing but prostitutes. The whole city was given over to this immorality in the name of religion. Now the Christian church was permitting this immoral man to come into their fellowship and to eat with them. They accepted him as one of their own, when they knew he was living in sin. Does any of this sound like our times?
Most people today are compromising and shutting their eyes and letting the world come in. The church has lost its power. An impure church is a paralyzed church, and a pure church is a powerful church. That is true for the individual also.
Paul tells them that his warning was not just for the incest fornication only. He also applies it to covetousness, idolaters, those who are fooling around with other religions. The Word of God teaches that a little leaven in the church must be dealt with immediately, or else it will corrupt and destroy the church. A little leaven will leaven the whole lump.

Church Discipline

The church, at times, must exercise discipline toward members who have sinned. But church discipline must be handled carefully, straightforwardly and lovingly.
#1. Unintentional error and/or private sin. . . .  Go to the brother or sister; show the fault to him or her in private.
#2. Public sin and/or those sins done brazenly and arrogantly. . . If he/she does not listen, go with one or two witnesses. . . . If he/she refuses to listen, take the matter before the church.

After these steps have been carried out, the next steps are:

  1. Remove the one in error from the fellowship (1 Cor.5:2-13).
  2. The church gives united disapproval, but forgiveness and comfort are in order if he/she chooses to repent (2 Cor.2:5-8).
  3. Do not associate with the disobedient people; and if you must, speak to him/her as one who needs a warning (2 Thes.3:14-15).
  4. After two warnings, reject the person from the fellowship (Tit.3:10).

This is Biblical Church discipline! How many churches do this today?

1 Cor. 5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? (KJV)

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? . . . them that are without, means those who were not members of the church (unbelievers). It is NOT a Christian’s business to pass sentence on anyone that is without (not a Christian)who arenot members of the church. Church members should pass sentence ONLY on them that are within, the members of the church. The church is totally responsible to put away the evil from among you (Deut.17:7; 19:19; 24:7). God has NOT changed His mind about this problem! So, the church today is NOT to judge unbelievers . . . we are to let that up to God . . . BUT the church MUST judge those within the church, for is they do not, they are disobedient to God!
Them that are without, unbelievers: (Mk.4:11; 1 Cor.5:12-13; Col.4:5; 1 Thes.4:12; 1 Tim.3:7; Rev.21:8; 22:15).
The Bible constantly tells us not to criticize people by gossiping or making rash judgments . . . but, at the same time, we are to judge and deal with sin that can hurt others. Paul's instructions should not be used to handle trivial matters or to take revenge; nor should they be applied to individual problems between believers. Paul’s instructions are for dealing with open sin in the church by a person who claims to be a Christian and yet who sins without regret or sorrow. Paul tells us that the church is to confront and discipline such a person in love.    

1 Cor. 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (KJV)

But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person . . . those that are without . . . that are not members of the church, God will pass sentence on, in the way that he generally deals with the heathen world (unbelievers).
Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person . . . but the church is to put ye away the evil from among yourselves (Deut.17:7).This is clearly the apostle's meaning, and does not need any comments.  God judges unbelievers, the church judges those within its walls!

There are several very important matters in this 1 Corinthians chapter 5 which closely concern the Christian Church in general:
#1. IF evil is allowed to continue in the church, the work of God will NOT prosper there. IF a scandal appears, it should cause common humiliation and mourning to the TRUE followers of God where it happens. WHY? Because the soul of a brother is on the road to condemnation to an everlasting Hell (Jn.3:18-19; Rom.8:1; Jude 1:4).
#2. Discipline MUST be exercised in the Christian Church, for without it, they would be no different that the wilderness of this wicked world. IF the sin is not stopped, the poison will remain until the church is totally infected with it. Compromise (cooperation or agreement with), is NOT the way to go! 
#3. Any soul cut off from the body of Christ (church), is in a dreadful state. His conduct usually plunges into the deepest depths of iniquity; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first (Mat.12:45; Lk.11:26).
#4. Christians who want to keep their purity should be very careful how they mingle with the world. IF a person is pleased with the company of ungodly men, no matter how amusing or educated he is, he is either one with them, or he is drinking into their spirit (which is evil). We are NOT to drink at the wells of the wicked, for their wells have no water (2 Pet.2:17). It is IMPOSSIBLE to associate with such people willingly or by choice, without receiving some of their contamination and pollution! My friend, the TRUE Christian and the world are separated by a great gulf (Lk.16:26). There is NO compromise! You are either a Christian OR you are of the wicked world of Satan.
#5. IF all the fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, extortioners and covetous people which CALL themselves Christians, were to be publicly excommunicated from the Christian Church, HOW many do you think there would be? Uncountable!
#6. IF the discipline of the church is so careless and lax that these people are tolerated in it, they should really stop and consider, that just to belong to a Christian church is NO passport to Heaven. My dear friend, in God’s eyes, they are NOT members of HIS Church; their citizenship is NOT in Heaven, and they will NOT receive the heavenly inheritance (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:3-5).

It is NOT names, creeds or professions, by which men shall be saved at the last day. It is ONLY those alone who were righteous and obedient, who were conformed to the image of Christ who shall inherit the Kingdom of God. Those who expect it in any other way, or on any other account, will be sadly deceived. http://www.hisservants.org/truth_about_salvation_h_s.htm

 

SPECIAL COMMENTS FOR CHAPTER 5

Church Discipline

The church, at times, must exercise discipline toward members who have sinned. But church discipline must be handled carefully, straightforwardly and lovingly.

#1. Unintentional error and/or private sin. . . .  Go to the brother or sister; show the fault to him or her in private.

#2. Public sin and/or those sins done brazenly and arrogantly. . . If he/she does not listen, go with one or two witnesses. . . . If he/she refuses to listen, take the matter before the church.

After these steps have been carried out, the next steps are:

  1. Remove the one in error from the fellowship (1 Cor.5:2-13).
  2. The church gives united disapproval, but forgiveness and comfort are in order if he/she chooses to repent (2 Cor.2:5-8).
  3. Do not associate with the disobedient person; and if you must, speak to him/her as one who needs a warning (2 Thes.3:14-15).
  4. After two warnings, reject the person from the fellowship (Tit.3:10).

This is Biblical Church discipline! How many churches do this today?

Sixteen Biblical reasons for excommunication: 
1. Refusing to make peace (Mat.18:15)
2. Causing divisions (Rom.16:17)
3. Fornication (1 Cor.5:11-13)
4. Covetousness (1 Cor.5:11-3)
5. Idolatry (1 Cor.5:11-13)
6. Trouble making (1 Cor.5:11-13)
7. Drunkenness (1 Cor.5:11-13)
8. Extortion (1 Cor.5:11-13)
9. Refusing to love God (1 Cor.16:22)
10. Unbelief, infidelity (2 Cor.6:14)
11. Backsliding (2 Cor.13:1-2,10)
12. Disorderly conduct (2 Cor.3:6)
13. Defying the truth (2 Thes.3:14)
14. Denying faith (1 Tim.1:19-20)
15. False teaching (1 Tim.6:3-5; 2 Jn.1:10)
16. Being a heretic (Tit.3:10-11)

Six Things that are NOT Good: 
1. Boasting in the face of unconfessed sin (1 Cor.5:6; Jam.4:16).
2. To punish the just (Pro.17:26)
3. To be without knowledge (Pro.19:2)
4. Accept the wicked and overthrow the righteous in judgment (Pro.18:5)
5. To have respect for persons in judgment (Pro.24:23)
6. For man to be alone (Gen.2:19)

Seven Things that are Good: 
1. To draw near to God (Ps.73:28).
2. To give thanks to God (Ps.92:1).
3. To be afflicted (Ps.119:71).
4. To give praise (Ps.147:1).
5. To hope and wait for salvation (Lam.3:26).
6. To bear the yoke in youth (Lam.3:27).
7. To be zealous for good (Gal.4:18).

1 Corinthians

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