1 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV
“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.
“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.”
This is what the Scriptures teach, but I am not aware of any group of people who call their gatherings “the church,” that any of them are putting this into practice. In fact, what most of them are doing, at least in America, is usually the opposite of this, and that is a tragedy. Today many pastors tickle itching ears and alter the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh. And they coddle sinners in their sins rather than call them to genuine biblical repentance, because they don’t want to offend them. They don’t want to hurt their feelings, and so they don’t tell them the truth.
So today here in America it is not just one man who is engaged in sexual immorality within the gatherings of “the church.” Statistics have it that as high as 75% of Christian men regularly look at pornography, and that doesn’t mean that everyone surveyed was honest or that they looked at related areas of sexual immorality and included those in their statistics, as well. And statistics have it that as many as 35% or greater of pastors also frequent pornographic sites (you can find these statistics online). Yet, they are coddling them in their sins so they don’t hurt their feelings.
So we have churches in abundance here in America who are not doing what this says, and they have let sexual immorality spread like gangrene and to infect the majority of their congregations. And I am not leaving women out of this, but men are definitely in the majority in this area of sexual immorality, especially related to pornography. But whether male or female, it is still a HUGE problem in today’s church that they are pampering the self-indulgent out of fear of offending them and over concern of hurting their feelings, but they are not caring about those that are getting hurt by them.
And if you are one who is following the Scriptures, and so you are confronting sinful addiction in the self-indulgent and in the sexually immoral who call themselves Christians, then you are the “bad guy” for hurting their feelings. For it has become all about not offending sinners by not confronting them with their deliberate and habitual and often premeditated acts of sin against God and against other humans. And this is why the statistics are so high for Christians who regularly or frequently view pornography, but this is not the only expression of sexual addiction that there is.
Along with this goes cheating, lying, hating, envying, slandering, narcissism, abuse of other kinds, self-indulgence, self-gratification, self-pleasure, lust, trickery, dirty tricks, underhandedness, and all sorts of other expressions of sexual immorality and abuse. And so along with this also goes children and spouses and others who are being abused and often not believed and not cared for because it is all about not offending and not hurting the feelings of the abuser and the sexual offender. And this is where much of today’s church has gotten. And so there is no way that they would follow what this Scripture teaches. For they don’t want to offend sinners.
And many of these people who are engaged in sexual immorality and in adultery, habitually and deliberately, are people who call themselves Christians, and some of them are church leaders and pastors. So they are Christians in pretense only if this is what they practice. For they do not take God and his word seriously, they are not dying to sin, and they aren’t walking in obedience to the Lord in holiness and in righteousness. They make a profession of faith in Christ but they don’t live what they profess. And many of them are mean and malicious and very underhanded.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV
“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
So, while all this is going on in the background of so many of these “churches,” they are presenting themselves as the genuine body of Christ. And they are hammering away on church attendance as being the ultimate in obedience to Christ. But the institutional (incorporated under the state) churches are not the body of Christ. They are of men and they are businesses being marketed to the world like any other business. And most of them are not teaching the truth of the gospel and they are coddling people in their sins so as not to offend them with the truth of the gospel.
And so they are permitting all sin, in reality, to spread like gangrene in their congregations and to infect many people and to hurt many innocent people, too. For they are not insisting on holiness and righteousness. They are not insisting on casting off the fruitless deeds of darkness and walking in the light of truth and righteousness. They are not insisting on their adherents walking now according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. They make room for them to continue in deliberate and habitual sin, and then often they will make excuses for it while they ignore the hurting.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV
“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.’”
And this takes it even further. As the church, the body of Christ, we are to collectively not associate with those calling themselves followers of Christ if they are living in sexual immorality, or if they are greedy, idolatrous, revilers, drunkards, and swindlers, in practice. We are not to be in fellowship with them. We are not to welcome them into our fellowships as long as this is how they are living. For, although many will tell you we are not to judge, we are to judge those inside the church who are living in deliberate and habitual sin. And we are to purge the evil and the evil people from among us, and we are to teach and walk in holiness and righteousness.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
And for those Christians who are following Jesus in obedience, who are being abused by the cruelty of those who are professing faith in Christ but who are still living in deliberate, habitual, and often premeditated sin against God and against their fellow humans, we are to take courage. Our Lord promised us that we would suffer for the sake of righteousness. So we are blessed. We just need to just keep trusting the Lord and keeping following his lead.
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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