Sexual Immorality - 1 Corinthians 5

Sexual Immorality

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Sexual immorality in the church always makes big news.  The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth from Ephesus, which was many miles away across the Aegean Sea.  Nevertheless the tabloid headlines reached him...CHURCH MEMBER HAS SEX WITH HIS STEP MOM.  "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles---that a man has his father's wife."  1 Corinthians 5:1.

The church's reaction was disturbing to Paul.  He accused the brethren of being puffed up and proud.  It's like this decadent incident was a big joke.  "Do you know what happened in our church?" followed by laughter.  Paul admonished the church, "Your glorying is not good."  This divided church demonstrated a oneness in making a joke of sexual immorality.

What's a church supposed to do when faced with such a serious situation?  How should the local church react to such behavior? 

First, the sexually immoral man should be excommunicated, removed from the fellowship of the church.  His presence is likened to leaven which corrupts the whole lump.  He should be "taken away from among you."  No one in the church should "keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral...."

Second, disciplinary exercises should include chastisement.  The church should "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh."  It's the body which was to be handed over.  We know that Satan causes affliction, disease, and disaster.  Those whom Satan uses, he destroys.

Third, the ultimate view should be that of restoration.  Paul's desire was that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."  Here the destruction of the flesh is not a reference to physical death.  Satan is not God's executioner.  If the sexually immoral man was put to death, there would not be any restoration.

It appears that the Corinthian church followed the apostle's instruction.  The encouraging result is recorded for us in 2 Corinthians 2:3-11, and 7:8-10.  It appears that the excommunicated man repented of his sin, received forgiveness, and was restored into the fellowship of the church.

One final word.  "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."  Galatians 6:1.


Loving Lord, today many churches are dealing with the serious problem of sexual immorality.  It's a reality.  Help us to react properly in godly sorrow with restoration always in view.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


Washed, Sanctified, and Justified - 1 Corinthians 6


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