Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 5:24 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Grace is Enough.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 5 (ESV).
Sexual Immorality (vv. 1-2)
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
This would be a gross understatement for much of today’s church, especially here in America. With the onset of the availability of private internet access for adults and children alike in the home, and on their person, at all times, the numbers are staggering as to how many adults and children, including a large percentage of pastors (over 50%, according to statistics), regularly view pornographic images and videos, and not just what might be considered “normal” sexual behavior, but sadistic, degrading, and depraved sexual behavior, too, including child pornography and beastiality.
And, it goes far beyond this, too, as many children, teenagers, and even adults are involved in sexting, and some of this between adults and children, too, which opens the door wide for child predators to prey on young minds. And yet, so many parents blindly hand their children these devices without any thought to what their children might discover. And, that just kills me.
And, then, of course, there is a TV in just about every American home, and many of them now large screen TVs which take up a large space in their living rooms, and which most of the living room seems to be focused around. And, the stuff that is available, and which is promoted on TV and on Netflix today, includes pornography, sexual immorality, nudity, crude and degrading humor, homosexuality, and the like. And, Christians are regularly viewing this stuff for the sake of being entertained. Pastors, as well, share movie clips from some of these sexually immoral movies as sermon illustrations, while the movies themselves speak against God’s Word and his morals.
America has become like Sodom and Gomorrah, and inside the church, too, and the church is proud. And, if you speak out on these issues, many will think you are a fuddy-duddy or a prude, and they won’t pay you any attention, even pastors won’t, because they are steeped in it themselves, in many cases. But, as followers of Christ, these things ought to make us weep! If the sexually immoral persons had to be removed from today’s church, how many do you think would be left to carry on the ministry?
So He May Be Saved (vv. 3-5)
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
So many people today are preaching a “grace” which just gives the sinner free license to continue in his or her sin without guilt or remorse. They teach God’s gift of salvation as though it is merely an escape from hell and a promise of heaven when we die, with nothing much in between, because, they say, nothing is required of us by God. And, this is one of the main reasons, I believe, why the church in America is in the spiritually deprived and morally depraved condition in which she finds herself. In fact, they teach that we don’t have to repent (turn from our sins to God), that we don’t have to obey Christ and his commandments, that we don’t have to submit to Christ and surrender to his will for our lives, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, because his grace covers it all.
But, they forget that the Bible teaches the church that if we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, i.e. we don’t have the promise of heaven when we die. If we don’t make it our practice to obey Christ’s commandments, i.e. his instructions to us, we don’t really know him, and we don’t have eternal life with him. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth, i.e. we are liars, i.e. we are self-deceived. But, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, his blood cleanses us from all sin. If by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. And, if we lose our lives for the sake of Christ and his gospel, i.e. if we are crucified with him in death to sin, we will live with him for eternity.
They also forget that God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). As well, they don’t realize that God’s grace to us is not merely to forgive us our sins, but it is to deliver us out of bondage (addiction) to sin, and to free us to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not merely so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He cares when we sin against him, and he will discipline (scourge) us in order to make us holy (Heb. 12).
A New Unleavened Batch (vv. 6-8 NIV)
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 don’t think, back when this was written, that the people were actually proud of the person’s immorality, but rather that they ignored it and were proud (arrogant) concerning how good or how righteous they thought they were. And, this is true of much of today’s church in America. They are shoving this problem with sexual sin addiction within the church under the rug, in most cases, because even the pastors are given over to sexual immorality. And, so they dilute the gospel, instead, in order to ease their own consciences and in order to attract the world to their gatherings.
And, yet, isn’t it arrogant to think that you can continue in willful sin against God and think he will do nothing, but that he will still reward you with his heaven? And, don’t Christians brag about the TV shows and the movies that they watch, even if they include sexual immorality and sexually seductive material? And, they will use the excuse that it was “only a little bit bad,” like having just a little bit of poop in your brownies. How gross is that?
When we allow just a little bit of “poop in our brownies,” though, it tends to grow, does it not? We desensitize ourselves to what is evil by what we allow in our lives, and then we allow more and more and more until it snow balls (“to increase, accumulate, expand, or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate” M-W). And, this is what it means about the yeast in the bread multiplying (growing). Evil works its way into our lives and throughout the church in this way when nothing is done to stop it from growing and expanding. So, the counsel here is that we need to get rid of this old yeast (sin, evil) from our lives and from our church fellowships, so that it doesn’t continue to develop and to ruin all the lives which it touches. And, instead, we are to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.
Do Not Associate (vv. 9-13)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Now, here is the really hard part, even harder than the previous, I believe, and that is that, not only are we to rid our lives and the church of unrepentant sexual immorality (the yeast that works its way through the whole batch of dough), but we are to not even associate with anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ but who we know is living in sexual immorality. And, this means anyone who is regularly and consistently involved in pornography, extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), engaging in sex with people with whom they are not married, sexting, and the regular viewing of and being entertained by sexually explicit TV shows or movies, for the Bible speaks not only of doing the acts, but of approving of those who do them, which is what we do when we are entertained by these sinful acts.
So much of today’s church is big on not judging anyone, not even by biblical standards and according to the teachings of scripture. They don’t want to offend anyone, and so they tell us to “stay in your own lane.” And, this is partly because they know they are involved in sinful behaviors and because they want to attract the world to their gatherings. But, the Bible teaches that we are to judge those inside the church, but for the purposes to bring the sinners to repentance, and for the spiritual health of the church as a whole. So, we are to purge all this evil from among us, meaning first from our own lives, and then, as a church body, from the church as a whole.
If we do not do this, God will do it for us, but it won’t be pleasant. And, yet, this will be his grace, too, for his grace frees us from slavery to sin, and it frees us to walk with Christ in his holiness and righteousness. So, if the American church is not repentant, and she does not change her sinful course, she can expect God’s divine discipline (correction, judgment) in order to bring her to a place of repentance so that God can heal, revive and restore her to a correct and pure (unadulterated) relationship with her Lord.
Your Grace Is Enough / Chris Tomlin
Great is Your faithfulness, oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart
So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise, oh God
Your grace is enough for me