15 July 2015
by Philip Layton

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The Church is advised to deal with internal affairs

Click here to read 1 Corinthians 5

Discussion Questions

  • What does ‘put out of your fellowship’ mean (v 2)? Do you think this means not to attend a particular church any more, or not to associate with a person (v 11)?
  • Can this act of discipline be used as a guideline for similar problems within the Church today (vv 1-5)?
  • Are there occasions to implement judgement inside the Church (vv 11, 12)?

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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'

In the area of New York where I live, many Jews strictly observe their holidays, including Passover in the spring. Preparation includes extensive cleaning, especially of the kitchen, and removal of all chametz which means far more than just leavening agents. Even the diet of pets is affected. The usual cooking pots, utensils and dishes can’t be used. Stoves and ovens are thoroughly cleaned, then after 24 hours they are set on ‘high’ to burn off anything that may have been missed. 

In 1 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul uses the illustration of scouring the house at Passover to be sure all the leaven is expunged. Likewise the Church, in reverence for Christ, our Passover sacrifice, should be motivated to be free from all known sin. Paul speaks to church discipline on specific issues.

He may have been shocked at certain reported sins, but was just as stunned that the church hadn’t been broken-hearted over them and dealt with them. He doesn’t excuse the Corinthians because they live in a corrupt culture. Neither does he promote a monastic life. But he wants to protect them from the callousness to which condoning sin could lead.

In particular he warns of lax morality, greed and idolatry. Applied individually, these are sins against ourselves, our neighbours and God. They are exactly the opposite of what Jesus said were the greatest commandments.

‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these’ (Mark 12: 29-32).

To pray

Holy Spirit, I want to love God supremely. Cleanse me from all sin. Help me to genuinely seek and do the right today.

Evelyn Merriam

Tags: 1 Corinthians