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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 5

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

  1. INTRO:
    1. Temptations in Paul’s day? (Mark Driscoll calls the Cor church, Christians Gone Wild!)
    2. Corinth was known and identified far and wide as a city of evil & immorality. (Corinthianize, i.e., practice immorality). [A liberal town, a dble port city in Greece]
      1. They had their temple dedicated to Aphrodite, w/some 1000 female priests, or religious prostitutes.
    3. Siren’s in Greek Mythology: Sirens combine women & birds in various ways, w/or w/o wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.
      1. The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result.
      2. Odysseus(legendary Greek king of Ithica) was curious as to what the Sirens sounded like, so, on Circe’s advice(Sur-see’s, minor godess of magic), he had all his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied tightly to the mast, no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him the tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.
      3. In his notebooks Leonardo da Vinci wrote of the Siren, "The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners." [no, they didn’t have internet, but the appeal was just as great]
    4. Temptations in our day?
    5. They were looked on as Corinthianized. Today...we have Californication (TV show; & song by Red Hot Chili Peppers).
    6. Pornography Stats:
      1. At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined.
        1. Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be 97 billion.
        2. Perspective? Microsoft, who sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world(think all of India & China)reported sales of 44.8 billion in 2006.
      2. The porn industry made more last year than: “Microsoft, Google, Amazon, E-bay, Yahoo, Apple, Netflix, & Earth Link”...combined.
      3. Pornography is scarring lives, destroying marriages(lying/trust issues, hurt, forgiveness, how many times. Feelings of: “being cheated on”, “lack of her self-worth”, “I’m not good enough”), corrupting the church and destroying our nation; without action the problem will only get worse.
    7. We are going tonight to have a serious talk about real life issues. (Stats: about 50% men in churches; 17% women struggle w/pornography)
    8. A serious talk about the bondage, addiction and trauma that so many people are struggling with today.
      1. Hopefully, those who are struggling with this (a family, husband, wife, oldest son, single man/women) you’ll be challenged to open up these areas of their lives to God, so He can heal you and set you free.
    9. How do we deal with then, sexual immorality in the church today? Like Paul did.
    10. Our Outline, sexual immorality needs to be dealt with for...For the Offender’s Sake! - For the Churches Sake! - For the World’s Sake! [Title: Turn & Connect]
  2. #1 FOR THE OFFENDER’S SAKE! (1-5)
    1. Note: Paul not only exposes the man’s sin, but the churches as well.
    2. Church, you have a responsibility to those in the pews next to you.
      1. The Corinthian church was blind to their “liberal Tolerance”, which blinded them to the need for a reprimand. “Greasy Grace!”
      2. This church was into “permitting” rather than “confronting”!
    3. (1a) The Sins Scope? - It is actually reported – i.e. The news got out.
      1. The sin was well known. (It made front page of the Corinthian Quarterly)
    4. (1b) The Sin Specific? – sexual immorality (when used generally “any sexual acts outside of legal marriage”)
      1. But how do we know what’s acceptable? Sex within the borders of marriage.
        “1 man, with 1 women, for life.”
      2. This specific sin was incestuous – “A man has his fathers wife”.
        1. Possible, step-mom after father had died?
    5. (1c) The sin’s Extent? – “has” – is an important word in our text here.
      1. Pres. act. Inf.: The present tense emphasizes the “continual possession”.
      2. They were living as man & wife, w/o being married (living together, playing house).
        1. This was forbidden by O.T; by the Rabbis(Sanhedrin 7:4); & even prohibited by Roman Law! [not even named among the Gentiles!]
          1. While the Corinthian believers were complacent, the godless Gentiles were repulsed by this sin!
          2. Pretty bad when the world hears something a Christian’s doing & says, Ewwe!
    6. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(2) Puffed up, arrogant - i.e. boasting about being tolerant.
      1. Church tolerance in the sin sense is wicked!
      2. The presence, of the immoral man, should have turned this feast, into a funeral…“and have not rather mourned”.
    7. (3) Paul judges the situation simply by what the word of God says.
      1. He doesn’t ask for the church Bi-Laws, church traditions, or church constitutions.
      2. 1 Thes.5:21,22 Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil
      3. Jn.7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
    8. (4,5) Now he gives specific instructions & guidelines.
      1. He doesn’t call for the church leaders, but exhorts the congregation to apply correction in the name & power of J.C. [Be Empowered]
      2. Keep in mind this is the “final step” of church discipline given from Mt.18:15-17.
        1. Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church(small church knew everybody). But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (how is the church to treat them?)
    9. 3 specific instructions for discipline a perpetual sinning Christian:
    10. [1] Deliver such a one to Satan Excommunicate perpetual sinning Christians, or release them into Satan’s domain(i.e. the world) (see vs.2 “taken away”; & vs.13 “put away”)
      1. Seems to suggest that there is spiritual safety within the fellowship of the local church. And a vulnerability to Satan’s attacks on the “outside”!
        1. 1 Pet.5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
    11. [2] For the destruction of the flesh (Swindoll) “This may include physical death (1 Cor.11:30;
      1. Jn.5:16). Or, it refers to defeating a sinner’s fleshly desires by letting Satan push those passions to extreme’s, creating such an anguish in the sinner that his lust is destroyed!”
    12. [3] That his spirit may be saved – The goal is not punishment, this is only the means to an end, & that end is restoration! :)
      1. Goal? Not to break but to make the erring believer; not vengeful but curative!
      2. Once a change of mind & heart is gained, congregations should welcome prodigal’s home w/open arms. [told them to do this regard very situation 2 Cor.2:6-8]
  3. #2 FOR THE CHURCH’S SAKE! (6-8)
    1. ​​​​​​​Paul uses the illustration of Leaven to describe the church’s refusal to deal w/this sin.
      1. This pinch of leaven (the man’s sin) leavened the whole (congregation).
      2. Part effects the whole!
        1. As one drop of foul water spoils a cup of clean water.
        2. As one bad tooth affects your whole body.
        3. As a drop of poison to your whole blood stream.
        4. So, one saint at CM can corrupt our whole congregation!
      3. We that are apart of the body of Christ directly effect each other for good…or for bad! - So can we let it go? No way, it must be dealt with!
    2. (8) Keeping the feast – How?
      1. Day 1 of the Passover Feast they’d light a candle & search the house for leaven, every bit had to be removed.
        1. Today at Passover the Jews still put bread in a corner for the kids to find, to throw out.
        2. We need to remember, we can’t enjoy the feast of fellowship w/Christ before taking the candle, & examining our heart for sin!
          1. You can’t have the benefits of Fellowship, w/o its responsibilities!
  4. #3 FOR THE WORLD’S SAKE! (9-13)
    1. ​​​​​​​Sin in the life of a believer, is far worse than the sin in the life of an unbeliever.
    2. (9a) Referring to his 1st letter he wrote to them.
      1. He clears up their misunderstanding of it(10).
      2. How many think he’d love to write 3rd Corinthians about now!
    3. (9&11) Keep company with = (lit.) to mix together, mix up with.
      1. ​​​​​​​It means, “Associate intimately with” – I think key is in the word intimately.
        1. The present tense points to a regular association. (LKGNT)
    4. Named a brother – claim Christianity.
    5. Eat with – not limited to communion meal, but table fellowship also, which was so intimate!
      1. Again, I don’t think its meeting at Starbucks for a scone to see how they’re doing. Checking up on them. It’s keeping them in your inner circle.
    6. (10) Covetous – One who seeks to fulfill his insatiable desires at all cost & at the expense of others. (LKGNT)
    7. Reviler – An abusive person, one who attacks another w/abusive language.
    8. Who should we stay away from? The world? No.
    9. Who should we discipline? Those perpetually sinning Christians who stubbornly continue in sin
    10. Some Christians look forward to scrubbing! (ex: algae in fish tank)
      1. Remember Jesus called us primarily to be fishers of men & not cleaners of tanks.
    11. Are you more prone to scrubbing or fishing?
      1. Put down your scrub brush & pick up your fishing pole!
  5. Chapter Overview:
    1. ​​​​​​​Overlooking flagrant sin is not gracious, but dangerous!
      1. Like ignoring a nail in your tire or a rattlesnake in your backyard!
    2. Rebuking sinning believers is not optional, but essential!
    3. Dealing with these situations shouldn’t be punitive, but corrective!
      1. Restore such a one. Restore = a surgical term of setting a bone or joint.
    4. Worry about sin internally, not externally!
      1. Christian discipline is a family affair!
    5. Stay pure in a polluted world!
      1. It is important to maintain both personal; & corporate holiness!
    6. 1 Pet.2:11,12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles.
  6. What To Do?
    1. ​​​​​​​The Lord's commanded us to live with a pure heart, so He will provide a way for us to do what He asks. There is no “powerlessness clause” here.
      1. Maybe a principle we're looking for is found in the following verse:
      2. 2 Chronicles 7:14…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
      3. Here's I believe is a key..."turn and connect".
        1. In the context of here, to repent is to turn from our wicked ways.
        2. We don't fight sin or try to beat it; we turn away from it and seek God's face.
        3. This simple principle (turn and connect) provides the answer we're looking for.
        4. Fighting with lust and our flesh is a waste of time; both are stronger and more cunning than we are. Instead, we turn to God and connect with Him, asking that He help fight the battle!
    2. Eliminate Isolation!
      1. It says of mold...Mold thrives in hidden, dark places; it feeds on rotting organic matter, and does best in a lukewarm environment.
        1. Like mold, lust grows strong when it's hidden; it thrives in the darkness and feeds off of a lukewarm heart, rotting it out over time.
      2. For the struggler with sexual addiction, isolation is death.
        1. The only way to counter it, is to be transparent with others on an ongoing basis. Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
      3. For those who are single, realize that being alone is not the same as being isolated.
        1. When alone you can still find peace by communing with God. Jesus often spent time alone with God, so a solitary life is not necessarily an isolated one.
        2. Even in many marriages, husbands & wife’s live isolated lives sometimes.
        3. I think its what makes pornography tempting for many, scared of real relationships. That are hard, difficult.
    3. Don’t fall to the lie...It’s just a little Porn!
      1. ​​​​​​​What might your wife say if you approached her & said "honey, this year I'm going to commit adultery just 3 times. Once this month, again in July & one last time in December. But I won't touch anyone, I'm just going to stare at these pictures of other naked women. But it's just me & my paper dolls, and I won't actually have sex with anyone. Ok?"
      2. A little bit of leaven does what?
    4. Accountability!
      1. With a trusted friend you can depend on.
      2. 70% of porn traffic comes between 9am & 5pm, while your sitting at your desk at work not doing your job. [Mark Driscoll, podcast 1 Cor.5]
    5. Pull Out The Roots!
      1. Identity the problem. You’re in an all out war. There are no neutral parties. If lust isn’t killed you will be defeated.
      2. Burn it. Throw it. Unplug it. Dump it. Flush it. Block it. Run from it.
      3. We live in a culture filled with sexual sewage, and the temptations aren't going to subside, it's going to get worse.
      4. And apathy is an open door for lust to take more territory.
    6. Choose...Holiness!
      1. Ps.101:2-4 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
    7. Remember: Forbidden Fruit creates many Jams!
    8. Turn from your sin & Connect with your God!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-corinthians-5.html. 2017.
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