The “1 Corinthians” series #08″: an exposition of 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, December 5, 2010.
When you think of the Christian life do you think of it in terms of something personal and individual or in terms of a group effort? Is your perspective one of “me and my Bible” or “living the faith together?” Increasingly christians are thinking in terms of personal and private rather than corporate and that is dangerous. We were never intended to live the Christian life alone. The Bible consistently speaks of the people of God (plural) not the believer (singular). In the New Testament the church is called a body. A body in which all parts are necessary and all must work together. It is further referred to as a temple and we are all living stones together making up that temple. We are described as a family and as a kingdom. We are told to “spur one another along in good deeds.” We are commanded to “bear one another’s burdens.” We are to confess our sins one to another. The message is clear we are accountable to and for each other. But it seems that message is obscured by our insatiable appetite for freedom. “Don’t tell me how to live.” “Who do you think you are telling me I’m wrong?” From the time we are children we resent correction and we somehow assume that faith in Christ exempts us from the scrutiny of others. That is not the message of the New Testament. While I will freely acknowledge that church discipline is often abusive and misguided we cannot deny that it is biblical. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church he addresses the issue of church discipline head on in chapter 5. He has just concluded the first major section on Divisions and now he turns to Disorder. Our text this evening is the 5th chapter of 1 Corinthians.
Text: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
It is an uncomfortable passage. Most of us would just as soon mind our own business and not deal with other people’s dirty laundry. That’s understandable – I worry about those who delight in dealing in dirty laundry! But the truth is we are to be in one another’s business. Church life is not always neat and pleasant. The irony is that holiness is a dirty business.
As we work our way through this chapter we note that…
Thesis: With the clarity of a prophet and the compassion of a shepherd the apostle Paul makes the case for corrective church discipline.
Discipline is not always negative. It is a good thing. A positive thing. In addition there are two kinds of discipline. Thee is “formative” discipline. Formative discipline is that which you do to keep healthy. With regards to your physical body you eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest. Formative church discipline is what happens through prayer, Bible study, the preaching of the Word, public worship and meeting with others for prayer and encouragement. “Corrective” discipline is like surgery. There is a problem and it must be address before it devastates. It comes in the form of admonish, rebuke and if necessary removing from membership. It’s goal is not punishment but restoration. It is to heal and not to harm. Paul is dealing with corrective discipline in our text.
There are three principles related to corrective discipline I want to call to your attention from this text.
- The spirit of holiness is horrified by the presence of unbridled sin. (5:1-2)
- Righteousness demands that sin be dealt with firmly, justly, and with the proper aim. (5:3-8)
- The whole notion of church discipline rest on the fact that there is to be a clear, undisputed distinction between the church and the world. (5:9-13)
We, the called out ones are to live holy lives. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. We need discipline. We need to spur one another on to love and good deeds.
Holiness is horrified by the presence of unbridled sin.
Righteousness demands that sin be dealt with firmly, justly, and with the proper aim.
The whole notion of church discipline rest on the fact that there is to be a clear, undisputed distinction between the church and the world.
Thus the case for corrective church discipline.