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Should the Church Judge?

1 Cor. 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. (KJV) A man in this church was living in sin with his father’s wife. So this was brought up before the church. This was NOT gossip. It was an actual case, not just a rumor.

1 Cor. 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (KJV) Instead of mourning in sorrow and shame, they seemed proud of themselves. Paul used strong language here. He is dealing with a very grievous sin of fornication. The congregation in Corinth was compromising with this evil. Flagrant sin in the church MUST be dealt with, according to God. Jesus had given detailed instructions.

Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (KJV)

The church in Corinth did NOT carry out this procedure. Instead they compromised with evil. In reality, compromise is a very immoral word in the English language.
This was not a questionable sin. It was a glaring sin, recognized by the world outside as being sin. It was incest. This is in contrast to questionable activities, which should not be brought out in the open and dealt with by the church. For instance, smoking is a questionable sin. It is not mentioned in the Word of God; nor does it have any immorality connected with it. So, it is to be handled differently. It should not be brought before the church for judgment. But, this case of immorality in the Corinthian church was flaunting God’s Law. Therefore, this needed to be handled with church discipline. There was no doubt that this was a sin. It is NOT a questionable matter.

Living together without being married is SIN in God’s sight. It makes NO difference what public opinion says about it or how many people are practicing it. The Word of God says it is SIN, and there is NO other way we can look at it. It is NOT a questionable sin as far as the Word of God is concerned.

The church in Corinth did not need to establish the fact that the man was living in sin. Their error was that they tolerated it. They condoned the sin by doing nothing about it. They compromised, and that is the worst thing they could have done. A pure church
is a powerful church; an impure church is a paralyzed church.

1 Cor. 5:3-5 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, [4] In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, [5] To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (KJV) Paul is telling them that if this brother will not forsake his sin, they are to deliver him over to Satan. WOW! Does he really mean that? He said it; he meant it.

There is danger of our feelings and our emotions getting involved, and there is a danger of narrow mindedness to which some people are inclined; but in churches today there are certain people who are hurting the cause of Christ. They are enemies to the cause of Christ! Do we have the right to ask God to deliver them into the hands of Satan, to be dealt with, so that they won’t hurt and harm the body of Christ? I personally think so, yes. It will either bring them to God (if they are true believers) or it will reveal the fact that they are not genuine believers at all. If they are really Christians, they will come out clean for God and for the Lord Jesus Christ. I think we have a right to pray that prayer. This is strong medicine! But the carnal Corinthians (then and today) NEED strong medicine. Paul is writing because, although he can’t be with them in his body, he is with them in his spirit. He tells them the way he is voting. And his vote and prayer is to deliver this man into the hands of Satan.

1 Cor. 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (KJV) These people were shutting their eyes to the evil within the church, and yet glorying, probably bragging about the missionaries they sent out and about being true to the Scriptures and about winning souls for Christ. What hypocrisy! This is so common in today’s churches. So many people think that being busy in Christian work covers a multitude of sins. NOT in God's eyes it doesn't! Paul says that their glorying was not good, and that a little leaven leavens the whole. Leaven is never a symbol of the Gospel; it is always a symbol of evil.

1 Cor. 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (KJV) What does leaven (yeast) do to bread? Set the dough in a warm place, and it puffs up. When it gets to a certain height, the bread is put into the hot oven, which stops the leavening process. If the bread did not get into the oven, that leavening process would go on and the bread would rise higher and higher, eventually ending up corrupt and rotten. That is exactly what happens with evil in the church IF it is not dealt with. Evil will finally blow up and will destroy the effectiveness of a church. A little leaven will leaven the whole lump; so it must be purged out. Our lives should be free from leaven (evil). Our churches should be free from leaven (evil) too. The very ones who were talking about the death of Christ on the cross, were permitting leaven to enter into the church.

1 Cor. 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? (KJV) The Bible consistently tells us NOT to criticize people by gossiping or making rash judgments. But, we ARE to judge and deal with sin that can hurt others. Paul’s instructions should not be used to handle trivial matters or to take revenge; nor should they be applied to individual problems between believers. These verses are instructions for dealing with open sin in the church, with a person who claims to be a Christian and yet who sins without remorse. The church is to confront and discipline such a person in love.

It is very tempting to judge fellow Christians . . . but we are only guessing whether or not they are good followers of Christ. Only God knows a person’s heart, and He is the only One with the right to judge. Paul’s warning to the Corinthians should also warn us. We are to confront those who are sinning, but we must not judge WHO is a better servant for Christ. When you judge someone, you always consider yourself better, and that is arrogance.

The church MUST discipline flagrant sin among its members. If they don’t,
it can lead to compromise, and worse, people start believing that sin is OK. That is what is taking place in the majority of churches today.

Correction should NEVER be vengeful, but always done in a spirit of love hoping to bring about a cure. Paul tells the church that it had a responsibility to maintain the standards of morality found in God’s commandments. God tells us NOT to judge others (Mat.7:1). But He also tells us NOT to tolerate flagrant sin because leaving that sin undisciplined will have a dangerous influence on other believers.

1 Cor. 6:2-5 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [3] Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? [4] If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. [5] I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? (KJV) Because of all that we have been given as believers, and because of the authority that we will have in the future to judge the world and the angels, we should be able to deal with disputes among ourselves. The saints are “born again” believers (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8). The pope CANNOT make saints! See John 5:22 and Rev. 3:21 for more on judging the world. Judging angels is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6.

Passages mentioned above.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. (KJV)

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:[13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. [4] Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? [5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. [8] The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (KJV)

John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (KJV)

Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (KJV)

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (KJV)

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (KJV)


Difficult or Confusing Bible Verses

1 Cor.3:13-15, What Motivates Us?

1 Cor.chapter 5, Should the Church Judge?

1 John 3:9, God's Child Cannot Sin . . . ???

1 John 5:4-5, Overcoming By Faith

1 John 5:16 . . . A Sin Unto Death???

1 John 5:18-20, Those Born of God Sinneth Not

1 Thes.5:23, Man's Trinity

2 Cor.2:14-17, Savour of Death, Savour of Life?

2 Thes.2:10-12, Those Left Behind

Col.3:12-17, How Believers Are To Live

Daniel 7:13-14, Christ in His Glory

Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel's 70 Weeks

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, NO Soul Sleep

Genesis 3:15, Seed of the Woman

Genesis 6:1-2, Sons of God

Hebrews 6:4-9, Can a TRUE Christian Fall from Grace?

Hebrews 10:26, Do NOT Reject Christ!

Isaiah 53:4-5, By His Stripes We Are Healed!

John 6:47-58, Eating the Flesh and Blood of Jesus

John 15:1-6, Unfruitful Branches Burned?

Mark 3:28-29, The Unpardonable Sin?

Matthew Chapter 13, Mystery Parables of Jesus

Matthew 16:19, Keys to Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 5:48, Being Perfect?

Matthew 7:21-23, Not Every One Goes to Heaven

Matthew 7:6, Cast Not Your Pearls before Swine!

* * * * Matthew 22:36-40, Believers' TWO Commandments * * * *

Matthew 23:13-30, Woes of Hypocrites

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