As a parent, I am fascinated by how kids seem to be “hard-wired” to forget their commitments when it comes to a housekeeping task. Selective memory is empowered by this hard-wiring to justify and make excuses. No one has to teach my kids this skill, any more than I needed training when I was growing up. Even now, as an adult, keeping commitments I make to others at work or at home can feel pretty inconvenient on any given day. I make lists of priority commitments that I have to look at often, which helps me count the cost again of keeping those commitments.
- What rationalizations do you make for not following through?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 5:1-8 (ESV)
5:1 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. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3 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. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 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.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 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. 8 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.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 6-8.)
- Paul used the word “boasting” to describe a problem he wanted to address (vs. 6). What similar word did he use in verse 2?
- To what was Paul comparing the effect of leaven in dough (vss. 6-7)?
- Why did Paul reference Christ as the “Passover lamb” to support his command for the church to confront, rather than ignore, those who excuse sin (vs. 7)?
- Which words did Paul use to describe the desired “leaven” that should characterize the quality of our worship as Christ’s church (vs. 8)?
- What does it cost the church if we ignore obvious sin in our relationships with each other (vss. 6-8)? What does it cost you personally?
RESPOND TO GOD
In a culture that caters to the rights of the individual to define his or her own worth and meaning, confronting those in the church who ignore obvious sin is frowned upon. When done with love, confrontation can restore. Ignoring obvious sin in our relationships is arrogant; by doing so, we are communicating that we know what’s best, and acting as if what God says doesn’t much matter. We are agreeing with what the culture values and rejecting God’s design for life.
- Ask God to give you courage to confront your own “hard-wired” resistance to face willful sin in your life.
- Ask God if there is someone you can invite to a deeper level of accountability to help you face your struggle with specific sins, and to grow in your dependence on God.