Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 27
I CORINTHIANS 4:3 – 6:11
Now let’s come right back to our study, and begin I Corinthians Chapter 5. We love to hear when you write and say that you study right along with us. That just thrills our hearts. As you know we never try to promote any particular group or ourselves, but we just want to help people to understand The Bible, because it’s the greatest Book on earth. But you know there are so many that won’t even attempt to read it because they say, “Well I can’t understand it.” But, oh yes you can, and the whole secret to understanding The Bible and having it come to life for you is this; pay attention to whom a particular Scripture is written to, and don’t confuse Israel with the Church. God was careful in separating the two, and we should be also. And for the most part when God is speaking to the Church Age believer (that’s you and I) He does this through the Apostle Paul’s writings. A lot of the things that were applicable to Israel are not to the Church today.
But I always have to remind you that the things that God hated in the land of Israel He still hates today. God does not change. The God of Israel in Genesis is the still the same God that we deal with today, but He deals with us, the Church, under far different circumstances. We are now on resurrection ground, we are now being dealt with as people who are to believe for their Salvation that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, as recorded in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and not merely a Shekinah glory back there in the Temple in Jerusalem. We’re not under a mandate to keep the Law and so forth. But nevertheless always remember that God has not changed in His attitude toward sin, and righteousness.
Now I think that we are ready for I Corinthians Chapter 5, and I might remind you that this is not a very pretty chapter. It’s another one of those chapters that I’d just as soon skip over, and not have to comment on. But if we’re taking this more or less chapter by chapter we have to deal with it. And here Paul writes to this same carnal congregation that we’ve been dealing with for a long time:
I Corinthians 5:1
“It is reported commonly (in other words this wasn’t something that was being done in a corner, but rather this was something that was open, and the whole Corinthian congregation knew about it.) 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.”
In other words those pagan Gentiles wouldn’t do what this couple is doing, and what is it? Probably a step-son and his step-mother are more or less living together as husband and wife, and it was a gross immoral situation even for Corinth, as immoral as that city was. And then here is the real point of condemnation from Paul.
I Corinthians 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.”
That is from the Church congregation, not to put him to death, but to remove him from fellowship. Now let’s analyze these two verses. Here we have this instance of gross immorality within the confines of the local Corinthian Church, they all knew about it, and yet did it bother any of them? Evidently not, so Paul tells them that they’re puffed up. I think the Scofield Bible has a very good footnote at the bottom of this page. Remember there are three segments to this congregation. They were those who liked the teaching of Peter, Apollos, and Paul, but we find none of them bothered by this act. You would think that one of these segments would be up in arms, and say, “We’ve got to do something about this. This is bringing reproach upon the name of Christ throughout the city of Corinth, because even the pagans know what is going on.” It was something that wasn’t being hidden. Now verse 3: We’re going to find Paul is going to do something about, he’s not going to let it slide.
I Corinthians 5:3
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, (Paul says that although I’m not with you in body, but I am in the spirit, I) have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,”
Paul is telling them there is no room for argument, you have to deal with it. This is what we have to realize that even in our own society we are fast becoming not much better than Corinth. Isn’t that right? Our whole moral fiber is just simply falling away. It is just simply rotting away from under, and these very same acts can take place in local churches, and no one thinks anything of it. I’ve had people call from various states that ask the question, “Well what are we supposed to do? This couple is living in sin, they are open about it, they walk in church as though nothing is amiss.” Hey that’s not the way it is supposed to be, and this is what Paul is having to deal with. If there is gross immorality, or a gross act of covetousness, and so forth, then the Church has to make a point of it. And you can’t just turn your eyes, and say, “Oh well let them live, because it’s a free country.” Not in the realm of the Church it isn’t supposed to be. So Paul is telling us the remedy. You have to take this couple, confront them with it as a Body of Believers. And then in verse 4 we find.
I Corinthians 5:4,5a
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, (you see this is a corporate thing now, it’s the Church, The Body Of Christ, located in Corinth) and my spirit, (and naturally the Holy Spirit would be) with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,…”
Now remember the flesh, soul, and spirit are not the same. So Paul is not demanding the destruction of this man’s soul and spirit as a believer. Now this person is a believer, or they wouldn’t be addressing him as such in the Corinthian letter. But they could turn such a person as this over to the power of Satan to destroy his physical life or flesh. And we know according to Job that this is in the power of Satan when God grants it to him. In the dealing with Job, we find Satan could go no further with Job than God permitted, and it’s the same way here. Paul is saying in so many words: That if this couple will not clean up their act, and come away from their open sin, then turn them over to the power of Satan to destroy the flesh, to take their lives physically from them lest they keep on bringing reproach to the name of Christ. That does not mean that they’re going to be annihilated spiritually. Let’s look at that aspect as we continue:
I Corinthians 5:5b
“…that the spirit (of this individual) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Now I know this is hard for a lot of people to comprehend, that people living in this kind of a sinful condition are still saved? Yes. That’s what The Book says. But these kind of people if they’re believers, aren’t going to get away with it. It has to be dealt with by the Church, and God’s going to deal with it. Now the Scripture says that even though God is going to take these kind of believers out of their physical existence, they won’t lose their Salvation, and then he admonishes the believing community that we are never even to pray for the death of someone like this. We can find this in the little letter of I John. I hadn’t intended to do this until we get to Chapter 11, but since we’ve gone this far with it we might as well go ahead. In I John Chapter 5 let’s drop in at verse 16, and here he’s dealing with pretty much the same kind of a situation. It may not have been as gross, but it was sin in the Church.
I John 5:16
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. (In other words, their sin isn’t as gross as the sin we saw in the Book of Corinthians) There is a sin unto death:…”
In other words, in the life of a believer who goes into deep sin, open sin, God has mandated first and foremost a discipline action on the part of the Church to restore such a one to fellowship, and you find that in Galatians Chapter 6:1
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
You see we’re all human. Every human being is just as prone to fall into sin as the next one, but hopefully if we’re spiritually taught, and have kept these things, this won’t happen. But it can happen to anybody. John is delineating that there were some sins that would not cause God to take them out of their physical life. But some sins He will, and I’ve seen it happen, and I’m sure you have where a believer will refuse to come away from his sinful lifestyle. You can deal with them, and deal with them, and all of a sudden, “Bingo.” Just a sudden heart attack, or sudden car accident, and they’re gone. Well God takes them home lest they keep on bringing reproach to His Name. And that’s exactly what John is dealing with, and so he says:
I John 5:b
“…There is a sin unto death: (a believer can come to that place where God will take his life. Now then look at the very last part of that verse) I do not say that he shall pray for it.”
In other words no believer or Church Body ever has the right to pray for the death of an erring believer, because that is never permissible, that’s in God’s hand. Now let’s look at verse 17.
I John 5:17
“All unrighteousness is sin: (whether that sin be a little one or a great one) and there is a sin not unto death.”
Now what’s implied here in verse 17? That some sins are gross enough that it will cause God to take that believer out ahead of time. Now let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 5, and here’s where we have it. This man is evidently committing a sin unto death if he does not repent of it, and turn around. If he’s going to continue on living with his step-mother in a marital relationship, then God’s going to take him out, and that’s all there is to it. Now verse 5.
I Corinthians 5:5,6
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit (soul) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Now Paul comes back to the Corinthians as a congregation.
“Your glorying (remember the words `puffed up?’) is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”
What has happened to the Church of today? Just exactly that. I remember years and years ago, we were visiting in a church and I heard a Sunday School teacher or preacher, say, “You know the Church has gotten into dire straits because as these various social sins came along, we would just say, `Well we can accommodate that,’ and then here would come something a little more drastic, and we would say, `We’re not going to cause a ruckus, we can accommodate, we can live with that.'” So over the years what has happened? All the gross sins of the world have now come into the Church, and the Church thinks nothing of it. Well I’m not going to stand here, and say that we can reverse that. I can understand that Church discipline today is almost an impossible thing. But I have to say what The Book says, and The Book says, “We have to deal with born again church members who are bringing reproach to the Name of Christ.” We have to do whatever has to be done to bring them back, or bring them to the place where The Lord will take them home. And the lesson here in verse 6 is if you’re going to leave a little leaven it isn’t very long until it takes over the whole lump. You people who bake bread know that. You put in a little bit of yeast, and you can’t keep part of the dough unleavened, it’s all going to come under the effect of the yeast. Well Paul is using that analogy for the Church. If we allow open gross sin then it won’t be long until the whole congregation will lose their testimony, and do you know what the world will say as they drive by? I don’t live any worse than they do, I don’t need Christianity. And then we wonder why we’ve lost our testimony, well that’s the reason. Now verse 7. How were they to deal with it?
I Corinthians 5:7a
“Purge out therefore the old leaven,…”
Or that which is causing the whole lump to be leavened, purge it out. In fact, what do our Orthodox Jewish people do before Passover? Well, they go through the whole house from the basement to the attic, looking for leaven or yeast. What was the picture? Well it went all the way back to, of course, the Passover in Egypt. The very next day after Passover were the seven days of unleavened bread. They were now to be pictured as a nation whose sins had been atoned for or cleansed, and they were to picture that with the unleavened bread. Paul is bringing that same analogy into our teaching today. We have to look at sin in our individual lives. We have to look at sin in the life of the Church just like leaven in the bread of Egypt. Now reading on.
I Corinthians 5:7a
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened, (now what does it mean that we’re unleavened? Well we’ve been forgiven, we’ve been cleansed, and so far as God is concerned we are without sin. But if we leave a little bit of leaven in our life, then it isn’t too long until it begins to expand and expand, and then it will consume us.)For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”
I don’t have to take you into the Scriptures because you know what happened; but what happened on the night of Passover in Egypt? The Israelites put the blood on the two side posts and the one at the top, and in your mind’s eye you can picture the outline of the Cross, and I’m sure that’s what God had on His mind. Alright, here is the beauty of it. These Jews who had been slaves now in Egypt had been told that if they would kill that sacrificial lamb, and then place the blood on the two door posts and lintel, and at the stroke of midnight as they would be in those little huts there in Egypt, the death angel was going to go over all the houses in Egypt and kill every first born male.
Now as the Israelites huddled together in those huts, were they in fear of the death angel? No, not if they were people of faith, because they had put the blood on the door, and they had absolutely nothing to fear. They didn’t stand in those little huts quivering in their boots, they were secure knowing that the blood was on the door, and they were covered. Now Paul is bringing that all the way up to the Church age. That even as our Passover, when Christ died on that Roman Cross, and shed His blood for you and I, and when we come under that blood we are passed over from any judgment. Let me take you back to the little letter of I John again for a moment, and this time we will look at Chapter 2, and we’ll begin with verse 1:
I John 2:1a
“My little children, (who’s John writing to? Believers) these things write I unto you, that ye sin not….”
Now God never encourages the believer to sin, but God being Omnipotent, God being the Creator, God knows that we are going to sin, and some a little quicker than others, but we’re going to sin. That old Adam is so powerful that even though we reckon him as being dead according to the Book of Romans, yet he pops up and gets his licks in, and we sin. Okay, but now read on in that verse.
I John 2:1b
“…And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, (Who?) Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Now can you imagine what happens up there in Heaven when a believer sins? Oh immediately our Advocate comes right to the Father, and says, “But Father, he’s under the blood, and he’s a believer; or she’s under the blood.” So Christ picks it up on our behalf. Now that’s a glorious, glorious assurance that even when we sin we’re still under the blood just like the nation of Israel was back there in Egypt. And nothing could touch those Israelites, the death angel couldn’t touch them because they were under the blood. And you see this is where believers have to find themselves, and that’s not license to sin. God’s Grace is not license for us to do whatever we want to do. Just because we know that we have this promise and assurance that if we sin, we are still forgiven, we are still washed, but we now have to have that cleansing, and maybe in the next lesson we will come to the words, “you are washed,” and then of course I’m going to take you to John’s Gospel. But for now in this little letter let’s look at verse 2, and we find that not only is Christ our Advocate, He is also our:
I John 2:2
“And he is the propitiation for our sins:…”
Now it’s been a long time since we’ve dealt with that word in Romans Chapter 8, but for you who have been with us ever since we started, do you remember how I explained the word `propitiation?’ Everything that you can possibly put together back there in the tabernacle, back there in the wilderness including the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant, the veil, the Ark of the shew-bread, the candlestick holder, the altar of incense. the brazen laver, the brazen altar, the sacrificial lamb, the fence around the tabernacle. Do you remember when I went through all that? Every single aspect of that tabernacle in it’s composition, the gold, silver, and stone, and all the rest. Every one of them were a picture of the work Salvation that Christ accomplished at the Cross. And I call that whole work, “propitiation.” Everything that you see in the tabernacle is the work of propitiation. And that included His work as High Priest, it included the shed blood of the sacrifice. it included His interceding for us back there in the Holy of Holies, and it’s still appropriate even today. Oh, this tremendous work of propitiation.
I John 2:2b
“…and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Now I read again the other day where a guy was promoting that Christ only died for the believer. Well he’s probably got his scripture for it, but I can’t go along with that, because my Bible says, “That Christ died for everyone!” But not every one will be saved because not every one will appropriate it. But the potential is there. Now let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 5.
I Corinthians 5:8
“Therefore let us keep the feast, (even as Israel did in a symbolic way back there in the wilderness) not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Now what do you suppose Paul is alluding to here? Remember we’re still dealing with the sins of believers in that local congregation, but they weren’t the only people who were falling far short, because evidently there was also malice, and other forms of wickedness in the congregation. And it was leaven that was permeating that little congregation. It’s a wonder that it ever survived isn’t it? Here was that little group of believers that was plagued with almost every sin that you could think of, and yet God didn’t give up on them. God just kept them in a place of growing, and we know that Paul came to the place that one day I’m sure he was proud of the Corinthians.