1 Corinthians 5

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Read 1 Corinthians 5

Dealing With a Case of Incest

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Go Deeper

The chapter begins calling out the specific sin of incest and, while we may tempted to skim over the rest finding that we don’t personally struggle with this issue, we need to stay focused. Verse 2 is a strong rebuke against what we, as Christians in today’s world, should be on guard against: pride. 

The Christians in the Corinthian church had become prideful in their status as Christians. “Pride” or “being proud” is having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance, and it disrupted God’s work in the Corinthians. They refused to acknowledge sin in their midst for fear that it would tarnish their reputation. They put their trust in themselves to do God’s work and relied on their own earthly wisdom. They believed they had to protect the church from public opinion more than protecting it from sin. They placed a higher priority on what the world thought than on what God commanded. 

Despite the centuries, Paul could be writing to the American church. There are times when we, as Christians, think we need to make things happen for God rather than trusting that He will make things happen. We don’t want to recognize sin amongst ourselves out of fear it will tarnish the church’s reputation rather than confessing sin and repenting. We focus on the opinion and logic of the world around us rather than keeping our eyes on Jesus and following His example of love and forgiveness.

In verse 6, Paul compares pride to how yeast works in bread. In the Bible, yeast (or leaven) is symbolic of sin, based on God’s command to the Israelites during the Exodus to make unleavened bread. GotQuestions.org explains it this way: “Like leaven that permeates the whole lump of dough, sin will spread in a person, a church, or a nation, eventually overwhelming and bringing its participants into its bondage and eventually to death.” A little bit of yeast will make the whole batch of bread rise. In the same way, a little bit of pride in the church can cause the whole congregation to become arrogant. 

To guard against pride, we must follow the guidance of 1 Peter 5:5-6: “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

  1. Why are we so fearful of how the world perceives the church?
  2. In what way have you seen pride disrupt God’s work in the American church?
  3. In what way has your pride interfered in God’s work through you?
Watch This

Watch this message on humility in the church that was part of Harris Creek’s Forged series.

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7 thoughts on “1 Corinthians 5”

  1. I love verse 5! The reason for the maybe broken relationship with the believer in Christ is to hope & pray a soul comes back to God!

  2. Far to often we tolerate, participate and even celebrate what Christ died for. It’s a slippery slope when we care more for what others think of us rather than staying the course on the righteous path that leads to life. Pride is an ugly force the enemy uses to taunt and control us to kill our witness for Christ. Our daily ask in prayer should beg God to expose any wicked, prideful way in us. Recall 1 Peter 5:5-6, “ God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” Being exalted by God far outweighs any temporary fix by man. I never want to be in opposition to the One who gave his life for me, so I chose humility over and over again, for I desperately need his grace.

  3. Paul had high expectations for the church and the “believers” in the church. We tend to let these “believers” slide because then the church will look bad. But Paul says not to even sit down with those “believers”. We, in the church, believe in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, should have to follow higher standards. Non-believers are just that, not believing in God so we should not have any expectations for them except to follow the world. I read this quote “People get away with bad behavior because it hasn’t cost them anything.”
    “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:18-20 NASB
    As a believer we should be able to accept correction from another believer, if done correctly, to continue our work for God. Paul was trying to restore “the church and those professing believers”.

    God thank You for loving me so much. Thank You that I can rid of the plank in my eye about judgement. Thank You that I can become one with You so well that obedience is what I do every time. Thank You for knowing without a doubt that You go before me and I just say “Yes Lord”. (James 5:12 ESV But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. ) (2 Corinthians 1:20-22 ESV ) For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that I can utter Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes me with you in Christ, and has anointed me, and who has also put his seal on me and given me his Spirit in my heart as a guarantee. God I am so thankful for that guarantee of Your Spirit within me in Jesus name amen

  4. “Pride comes before the fall” – we’ve all heard the old adage at some point. Here we have Peter calling out the church during a time when we falter often due to pride. I agree that we can connect this letter to the modern church and still be relevant. The past few verses call us not to associate with people who act out their evil actions, but we are also called to be a light.
    How do we rebuke that person while still reminding them that God loves them and has better things in store for them?

  5. Diane Frances Rogers

    All believers struggle with sin daily. We, I believe also struggle with Matthew 7:1-1 Judge not, lest you be judged. If we dig deeper into this passage, we find that truly what it is saying is that we should not judge others unless we ourselves are prepared to be judged under the same standards. This is where discernment comes into play. should we deal with the speck in the eye of our brother when we cannot see past the log in our own eye? We all want to walk in freedom. In my own humility I pray for correction, forgiveness and a repentant heart oh Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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