Sexual immorality was already happening back then. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 says:

Honestly, this passage is harsh, right? Isn’t it we were talking about accepting and loving people in our previous series, Table Talks? Then why is the passage today like this? I’m quite confused. Are you?

This is a good reminder that you cannot read the Bible as it is and apply it literally.

You must look through the lens of the context of what was happening back then.

Just a review: This series is about Paul’s personal letter to the Corinthians; hence, we cannot take it literally and apply it to ourselves.

Why does Paul want to expel the guy?

He was actually quoting Deuteronomy 17:7 NIV: “You must purge the evil from among you.”

Are they condemning the one who is sinning? Are they canceling this person? That’s what we’ll find out today.

What This Case is NOT About

1. This passage is not about the church judging the

If you take it literally, you can misinterpret it– that you must condemn people who are into sexual immorality.

But no. This is about a church member of Corinth back then who was possibly a leader.

The leader who was sinning was proud.

Who among you here has management roles in your office? You know that this is an admin-level matter. You need to issue a memo if something like that is happening because a leader is sinning and is proud.

In 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13 NIV, Paul says: For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside.

So, it is not about judging other people who are sinning.

A survey among young people asked: “Why don’t you attend church anymore?” The common answer was this: “Because Christians are self-righteous.”

And sometimes, sadly, it’s a reality. Because everyone can be tempted to be self-righteous and judge others.

That happens because sometimes, people misinterpret verses like these. That’s why we are clarifying this in our Bible study today.

2. The passage is not about judging any church member who

Reality check: Who among you here has never sinned? If you raised your hand you can already ascend with Jesus to Heaven. Even I cannot raise my hand.

As human beings, we sin. Even the leaders, the preachers, and the priests do sin. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. Paul says that in Proverbs 24: 16:

The Hebrew word for sin is khata which means misses the mark. Everyone misses the mark– and that’s okay.

If this is not about judging church members who sin, then what is this about? It is about the state of the heart.

In Corinth, the leader who had been sinning was not repenting. He was proud of it. I want to encourage you that every time you sin, and you feel bad and you repent,

That’s a good position that you must take.

You must always come back and say, “Lord, I have sinned. I want to follow You again.”

3. This is not about judging sexual sin as the most evil Paul does not elevate sexual sin. He says in 1 Corinthians 5:11:

Paul mentions other sins. He is not singling out sexual sin as the worst sin.

A priest once said the most commonly confessed sins are lust in nature– such as sexual fantasies, masturbation, pornography, and adultery.

Few people confess about the sins of omission which means not doing the good that you were supposed to do. Church is about avoiding sexual sin but it’s not just about that.

You also have to bring justice to the poor, love the poor, and many more.

1. This is about a very grave sin of an unrepentant

Paul was addressing this in a harsh way because the person was a leader yet unrepentant.

Pagans even abhorred what was happening because the person involved was a leader and was sleeping with his stepmother. In Roman Law, it was equivalent to incest. Paul may seem harsh, but it was his way of giving tough love.

If you’re a parent, you should know by now that you cannot always protect your children from the consequences of their decision, especially if the child is old enough already. Sometimes, not helping is the way to help.

2. This is about unrepentant sin that harms the

Paul’s approach is about balancing two factors: Loving the sinner yet protecting the flock – the other members of the Corinthian church. They need to be saved from the consequences of the sins of the man because he had authority over the people.

As he says in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7:

The reality is unrepentant sin is like yeast– it affects everyone.

I remember I had a study buddy in college.

I already met God in a youth group back then. I noticed that my friend was not practicing any religion. In one of our conversations, I asked him what his religion was.

He said, “I believe in God, but I don’t like religion. They are full of imperfect people.

In my elementary years, I was in a Catholic school. There was a big bully who would always punch and kick us every day. That bully would justify what he did by saying, ‘Don’t worry. We will have a Mass on Friday and there will be a confession. I will just confess, and my sins will be forgiven.’”

That experience shattered my friend. He lost interest in church.

I believe that was stressed by Paul– that the pressing  matters  should  be   addressed because people would be affected.

We are connected spiritually. Our actions, good or bad, affect other people.

For example, what happens if I commit adultery? You’ll never see me again onstage because the leaders have to remove me from this position. I will perfectly understand that. But it doesn’t end there.

Of course, they will forgive me, love me, and help me. They will probably help me to get counseling and psycho-spiritual help. They will set up objectives to see if I’m already healed from this predicament.

But it will shatter my wife and my daughter. That brokenness will ripple. By the time my daughter is of age to get married, her vision of marriage is already scarred because she witnessed what happened.

Our actions affect everyone so it’s important to be vigilant.

3. This is about how your physical body is a borrowed Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12-13:

Back then, most of the members of the Corinthian church were not Jews– which means they were not part of the journey in the desert. Most of them were into Gnostic teaching. For Greeks, another level of success is higher wisdom. Gnostic teaching taught them that salvation is not from repentance. They believed that since our body will rot away, our spirit is elevated with God, it must mean that we can do anything with our body.

Back then, some Greeks were converted from paganism. A common pagan practice was temple prostitution. (Fertility rite or sacred sexual rite).

Part of their religion was that you must make love to a temple prostitute.

Some of them who had already converted to Christianity thought that since the soul was already elevated in Christ, one could do anything with one’s body.

1. Establish Boundaries Boundaries are important. They keep you

For example, if you know that you are prone to overdrinking liquor, set a boundary to limit your drinking, or better yet, do not drink liquor at all.

For unmarried couples, premarital sex is a temptation. Do away with out-of-town trips together. Reserve it for marriage so you’ll have something to look forward to.

If you still want to travel together, do it with your friends. In that way, all girls will stay in one room and all boys will stay in a separate room.

For husbands, if you have an out-of-town business trip, bring your wife. Treat it like a free honeymoon, especially if your room is being paid for by your company.

If you’re in a committed relationship, tell people about your wife, partner, or children.

2. Encourage Believers

Seek the support of other people.

Sin multiplies in the dark. But if you bring it to the light – to a few people you trust, sin dries up and dies.

I grew up in a broken family. Pornography was normal to me. But when I met God in my college years, I realized that pornography is not good.

The next challenge was how do I remove it from my life. But God sent a beautiful thing. I became part of a youth group. We always met every week and we set strategies on how to create boundaries.

We identified patterns that would make us prone to sin. We tried Bible verses as wallpapers. We messaged each other for prayer whenever we felt tempted.

By God’s grace, in my six years in college, I was able to overcome pornography.

You cannot do it alone. You need community. You need the encouragement of other believers.

Hope for the Broken

Lastly, I want to address the people here in this congregation who have probably experienced the pain of being in sexual sin.

Some people feel broken today because they were forced into this lifestyle. Some people are more prone to being in the cycle of sexual sin than others.

One study says that when a person is abused or molested at a young age, the person will lose the boundaries to properly protect herself or himself in future encounters. For some of you, that may be your past. You’ve been struggling for so long in the past.

Today, God is giving you hope that He owns the temple of your body.

He is the owner of this house. He can clean it.

God is reminding you today that He is always willing. My question is: Are you willing to let His power bring forth healing in your life?

Call out to Him today and declare, “Lord, You are the owner of my house.

You are the owner of this life. Lord, clean Your house today.” Let’s pray:

“Almighty Father, Thank You because, in Your eyes, we are valuable.

Today, with much humility, we come to You, at the foot of Your Cross.

We want to say: I wish to be made clean. Father, I wish to be restored, renewed, set free, to be in Your love and in Your Presence. Amen.


Father today, we renew our relationship with You. Though we may have fallen so many times, today, we are making a decision to commit our lives again to You. Father, grant us the grace so that every time we fall, we can stand up again, in repentance. May You bless us with genuine change of heart so that we will always come home to You every single time. We will do this not through our own strength, not through our own abilities– but we will do this because You can change us. You can renew us. You can transform us. You can strengthen us. You can heal us. And forever, we will sing about how good You are. Because You are our Savior. You are our King. And You are the Lord of our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

And we sing…

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (March 17, 2024)


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