MAIN POINT OF PASSAGE (in one sentence): When we focus on judging the sin of the world, we fail to acknowledge and address the severity of our brothers and sisters being enslaved to the world.
APPLICATION FROM THE PASSAGE: We should handle the sin of sinners and the sin of believers in drastically different ways.
One of my favorite depictions of a strong leader is that of the window and the mirror. Imagine a boss standing far above his company. A poor leader will look at his reflection in the mirror and see everything good about the company; he will look out the window to his employees and see everything wrong. A strong leader will do the opposite.
As the church, we too often act like the poor leader. We judge those outside the church for being enslaved to sin, yet we do not bat an eye when a fellow believer acts the same way.
- How do you react when you see a brother or sister in Christ enslaved to sin?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 5:9-13 (ESV)
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 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. 11 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.12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
- Who, specifically, did Paul instruct the church not to associate with? What kinds of people did he mention?
- What instructions did Paul give to the Corinthians? From reading this passage, what specific issues can you see the church in Corinth was dealing with?
- Why should we avoid associating with an immoral person inside the church and not someone outside the church? What’s at stake?
- Do you find it easier to condemn those outside the church for their sin than it is to address fellow Christians who are sinning? Why or why not?
- If you knew a fellow believer was sinning, how willing would you be to confront it? Biblically, what is the best way to address a sinning Christian brother or sister? (See also Matt. 18:15-17, 1 Cor. 13:1-7.)
RESPOND TO GOD
We are born enslaved to sin, so it should not shock us when non-believers act like non-believers. However, when we choose to follow Christ, the bond of sin is broken. Paul tells us not to worry about the judgment of the world. Instead, he instructs us to discipline the sinful acts of fellow believers. When a brother or sister in Christ is enslaved to sin, it damages the church as a whole. It can be easier to condemn non-believers than to call out sinners within our ranks, but Paul makes it clear that, in order to reach the lost of the world, we must first be willing to deal with the sin within our own body.
- Ask God to open your eyes to your struggling brothers and sisters.
- Ask for grace in confronting and strength in forgiveness.