Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Your Sex Life is a Community Issue (1 Corinthians 5)

Scripture: I Corinthians 5
Translation: 1Sexual sin is actually heard of among you, even the kind of sexual sin, which isn’t even among the pagans, namely that someone has his father’s wife! 2And you are proud [of it]! You’re not even grieving enough, so the one practicing this action is removed from your midst, are you? 3So, as for me, although away in body, but present in the Spirit, I’ve already judged the doing this in this way as though I was present, 4in the Name of the Lord Jesus, when you and my Spirit gather together with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5to hand this kind of person to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit might be saved on the Day of the Lord! 6Your bragging is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7Clean out the old yeast, so that you can be a new batch of dough, just as you unleavened loaves, because our Passover Lamb, the Messiah, was sacrificed! 8With the result that we celebrate the feast not with the old yeast, that is not with the yeast of badness and sexual sin, but rather with unleavened loaves of pure-motivation and truth! 9I’m writing to you in the letter to not have anything to do with sexual sinners, 10not totally with sexual-sinners of this world or with the greedy people and robbers or idol-worshipers, because you then ought to come out from the world! 11And now I’m writing to you not to have anything to do with anyone called a brother who would be a sexual-sinner or greedy person or idol-worshiper or verbally abusive person or drunk person or robber—don’t even eat with that kind of person! 12Because why is it my job to judge people on the outside? You don’t judge people on the inside, do you? 13And God judges the people on the outside. Completely remove the wicked person from you yourselves!
1.      Structure
a.       Structure 1
                                                              i.      Paul Calls the Church to Pass Judgment on the Sexual-Sinner (vv.1-8)
1.      Paul’s Shock that the Corinthians Haven’t Already Dealt with the Sinner (vv.1-2)
2.      Paul’s Judgment on the Sinner (vv.3-5)
3.      Paul’s Explanation of the Need to Deal with It (vv.6-8)
                                                            ii.      Paul Explains His First Letter and His Current Letter (vv.9-13a)
1.      He Doesn’t Mean Avoid All Sinners Everywhere (vv.9-10)
2.      He Means Avoid Sinners Who Call Themselves Christians (vv.11-13a)
                                                          iii.      Conclusion: Deal with the Sinner! (v.13b)
b.      Structure 2
A         Why Haven’t You Dealt with the Sinner (vv.1-2)
            B         Pass Judgment on the Sinner as a Community (vv.3-5)
                        C         Why Pass Judgment on the Sinner (vv.6-8)
            B’        Pass Judgment on the Sinners in the Church, not the World (vv.9-13a)
A’        Deal with the Sinner (v.13b)
2.      Themes
a.       Sexual sin (πορνεια)
b.      Judgment (κρινω)
                                                              i.      Judgment needs to happen in the church (vv.1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 11-13)
                                                            ii.      Christians are supposed to let God judge the non-Christians (vv.9-10)
                                                          iii.      The “Day of the Lord” in v.5 is a reference to the Day Jesus returns to judge the world
c.       Boasting/bragging (καυχημα)
d.      Passover/Leavened/Unleavened Bread (πασχα και ζυμη και αζυμοι)
                                                              i.      So this is the more difficult section to understand without understanding the background of the Passover feast in the Old Testament. In the OT, when God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He had them have a feast where they ate bread that hadn’t risen and a Lamb was killed and the blood was put around the front door. The Lamb was cooked and eaten, but the blood on the door posts meant that the Angel of Destruction would pass over that house and let all the people inside live, but if there was no blood on the door posts, the firstborn child was killed. The Israelites then celebrated this festival each year, but before the festival began they searched the entire house and got rid of all the yeast or leavening agents inside the house. Then they killed the Passover lamb and ate unleavened bread for a week
                                                            ii.      Paul’s point is that sin, in particular this sexual sin, is like the leaven that you have to get out of the house before you worship God with the Passover meal. The community needs to be free of all the impure activities, instead replaced with pure-motives and truth
                                                          iii.      Jesus as our Passover Sacrifice makes it possible for us live a new lifestyle, not like the old one, but like the new one
e.       Sinners in general
                                                              i.      Interestingly, while Paul is focusing on sexual sin, he frequently groups it with other kinds of sin, so that the Corinthians think it is only sexual sin that has to be dealt with like this
f.       The activity of doing/personal responsibility/activity
g.      Old vs. New
h.      Outside vs. Inside
i.        Excommunication
                                                              i.      Paul tells them to pass judgment on the sinning brother (vv.3-5), kicking him out of the church and disassociating themselves with him (vv.6-8, 11-13)
                                                            ii.      Paul considers this act as handing the sinner over to Satan to be destroyed in the body
                                                          iii.      But Paul’s actual hope and aim is that the person will through the process see the error of their ways and return to Christ and to living the Christian life
3.      Doctrines
a.       Sin, especially sexual sin, is a community issue. It is the church’s business who is living out the Christian life well.
b.      The church is a connected entity, one part effects the whole, and the whole should effect the part
c.       God judges non-Christians, and Christians judge Christians
d.      Excommunication is an important act of church discipline
e.       Church discipline is redemptive in nature, not merely judgment
1.      We need to be a community that deals with sin, all sin, but in particular sexual sin
2.      In our culture the guiding assumption is that what you or I do sexually is no one’s business. This is true actually of things in general. It’s no one’s business if you are getting high and drunk but yours. It’s no one’s business if you’re marriage is having trouble but yours. It’s no one’s business if you’re cheating on your tests or whatever. But in our culture this is especially true of sex. And it is perhaps one of the biggest lies that we are liable to believe, because we buy our culture’s claim that your sex life can’t hurt anyone but you. But of course that’s a load of bull! Let’s take porn for example. Someone who watches porn is destroying so many people but he or she doesn’t even see it, because they do it the dark of their room. But in fact that person watching porn, by watching it is propagating the continued production of porn. And the porn industry is one of the biggest users and abusers of women period. It is our culture’s form of legalized prostitution. But porn degrades the person performing and the person watching. Both get wrong ideas of where their value or joy really lies, and what sex is really about, and whether their body is a chunk of meat to be bought and sold! It ruins and shapes the view of people. It jacks with your mind. But of course once it messes with your mind you are liable both to not realize this and to then inadvertently share that warped perspective with other in the church, and perhaps you know enough not to suggest that they watch porn, but you model interactions and thoughts towards others that highly sexualized and warped. Actual sexual activities involving other people of course has a huge impact on them and the relationships all parties involved have with others in the body. Moreover, sexual sin among the Church is sin against members of the church, you or I looking at someone inappropriately or making out with someone is going to violate the purity that God has called them to, which means you are affecting your relationship with God, their relationship with God, and the whole church’s relationship with God as we would be adversely affecting the spiritual health of the community as a whole, in addition to the same warping of the understanding of purity and value
3.      But of course, to be a community that actually deals with sin, and especially sexual sin, we will need to be the kind of community where failures are confessed and forgiven, where weaknesses are strengthened and supported, where insecurities are brought to Christ and identity is formed by the Spirit, where we seek out help when we need and we seek to give strength and encouragement when we have it, a place where shame and guilt and given to Jesus and not used by the community to control and devalue others, where we model that same shame-and-guilt-removing tendency of Christ, but it will also need to be a community that cares and that is not willing to let things go on without change, it will have to be a community where people who refuse to change are called to repentance, and a community that does have standards that it upholds, a community that although with great pain and personal cost enacts judgment for the glory of God, the good of the community, and the good of the sinning brother or sister!
4.      We also will need to be the kind of community that is known for the grace and patience and lack of judgment on non-Christians, but still willing to make moral assessments of our brothers and sisters, not in a gossipy, self-serving, holier-than-thou attitude or practice, but one that really does seek to embrace the new life that Christ has given us
5.      Questions
a.       What are some sins that we act like we are proud of, but shouldn’t?
b.      When do you think we need to take the step as a community to pass judgment on a sinning brother or sister? How much or how long should we be patient?
c.       How can we become a community that deals with our sins, especially our sexual sins? What needs to change? What should stay the same? How can we help sinning brothers or sisters?

d.      How does Jesus death on the cross for our sins change how we live? What is different about us if we believe in Jesus?

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