Disgrace within the church

Today’s readings are Nehemiah 8 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Disgrace within the church
Today’s reading from 1 Corinthians deals with a case of sexual immorality within the Corinthian church. It involved a member of the congregation who had been engaged in sexual relations with his father’s wife. This was probably a case of a step relationship but nevertheless was truly shocking. Paul adds that it is a relationship that not even the pagan society of the time would tolerate. That this should be taking place within the fellowship of those who followed Christ is truly reprehensible and he does not mask his disgust. He calls for the expelling of the man in question. Further he raises that fact that the Corinthians themselves because of this man’s status, (he was one who had earned the applause of others) his behaviour was not brought under sanction (New Bible Commentary p1168). He assures them of his presence in spirit and exhorts them to have nothing to do with the sexually immoral. They are not to even associate or eat with people such as these. They are to have nothing to do with such wicked people.

For us the message is clear, not just wicked people but wicked behaviour, images, thoughts, all must be consigned to the fire. It is easy to tolerate by degrees is it not? We must be on our guard at all times.

The situation in Corinth must have been chaotic. For the young congregation, they faced a perilous task. Living in such a place and even worse sinful and wicked behaviour within. Paul’s letter delivered to them must have come as a shocking inditement.

A new beginning
The Nehemiah passage celebrates the spiritual restoration of the community. It is not just enough for bricks and mortar (Ch 7) nor is it simply people, but a people ‘which has experienced God’s redemption and renewal, a people to whom is entrusted the law of God, who recognise their dependence (Ch 9) upon him and who are fully committed to a life of faithful obedience (Ch10)…’

Great encouragement indeed!

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4 thoughts on “Disgrace within the church

  1. Well played Greg! Thank you for those pick-ups. Like yesterday’s reading the Corinthian church has a lot to compare and contrast with nehemiah’s ‘reformed’ church. While we recoil at this immoral example, I wonder if we recoil at ‘greedy, idolatry, drunkard and the practice of taking financial advantage of others’? The sacrifice of Jesus is an event that creates a festival community that must be holy. I need to work on the greed factor for a start 😦

  2. Thank you Greg. As we discussed this week at our Life Group, isn’t it important that we don’t cause anyone around us to stumble. We need to continue to support and encourage each other, build each other up and remain “on guard” for each other.

  3. Thank you Greg. I wonder how Paul would address the problem of Christians viewing pornography. It’s the “elephant”, in the church. Not only affecting Christian men but more and more women are becoming addicted. It’s there but nobody wants to address it as a dangerous sin against a holy God. And like any wilful sin in the believers heart, renders the church somewhat ineffective. Paul was writing to those who wanted to ignore this problem of incest in the church. But sin unchecked causes big problems in the church. He is addressing those who feel no remorse for their sin. To those who deliberately sin, feel no guilt and refuse to repent. Dangerous. Maybe we need to hear a message from Jonathan Edwards,”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, where the Holy Spirit moved so powerfully men were holding onto the pillars in the church for the fear of sliding straight into hell.

    Be holy as I am holy 1 Peter 1:16

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