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Thursday, July 26, 2018

2018.07.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 5

Questions for Littles: What kind of sin were the Corinthians tolerating at the time (v1)? How should they have felt about this (v2a)? And what should they have desired (v2b)? Who has already judged the man’s case (v3)? What does Paul command them to do with the man, and how, and why (v4-5)? What happens if a little sin-leaven is allowed to go unchallenged in the lump of the church (v6)? Who is our Passover, and what has been done with Him (v7)? What must we keep without leaven (v8a)? What are the “unleavened bread” for the feast that we do keep (v8b)? With whom were they not to keep company (v9)? Which ones did he not mean and why (v10)? Which immoral people are they not even to eat with (v11)? Whom are they commanded to judge (v12)? Whom may they not judge (v13)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we find a couple of the Lord’s reasons for church discipline.

One is that an unrepented sin within the membership of the church belongs to the entire church. In v2, he says that they should mourn that the one who has done this deed be taken from them. The implication is that as long as he is among them, and as long as there has not been repentance, the covenantal guild of that sin falls upon the whole body.

A second reason for church discipline is its usefulness in bringing the sinner to his senses. How does this happen? Because the one that is put out of the body is “handed over to Satan” “for the destruction of the flesh.” There is a protection from the attacks of the devil that we receive as members of God’s covenant. Being put out of membership eliminates that protection.

Now, the destruction of the flesh may either mean that Satan’s attacks are material attacks of some sort, or (more likely) that when a believer is handed over to be attacked by the devil, the result is a circumstance that the Lord uses in the believer’s life to mortify the flesh—to put sin to death… to open his eyes to its evil and danger so that he will run to and rest upon the Lord to battle it.

A third reason for church discipline is that unrepented sin in one church member begets unrepented sin in others. We cannot take a nonchalant view of others’ sin and expect that it will not affect our own weakness to sin.

A fourth reason is that whereas Passover was once a year for the Jews, our Passover sacrifice died once for all, and the Corinthians were keeping the feast of His redemption upon a weekly basis. The “unleavened bread” of that feast was sincerity and truth, which must not be compromised by tolerating unrepented sin!

v10 is a very important verse with respect to our Christian identity. Part of our identity in Christ is being hostile and opposed to all of those former aspects of our identity that were sinful. We have a new identity now. Yes, those in the world may have those things as essential to their identity, but Christians must not. If someone who is called “brother” maintains such an identity, we are commanded to break off our fellowship with him (v9-11), and the church is commanded to judge him (v12), and put him out of the membership (v13). It is part of the church’s identity that it practices this discipline every bit as much as it is part of the Christian’s identity that he practices this self-discipline.
Of what recent sin do you need to repent? What should the church do if you don’t?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness ” or TPH354 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”

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