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Expel the Wicked Man

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					                              “Expel the Wicked Man…”
                                     (properly dealing with sexual sin)
                                       "Expel the wicked man from among you."
                                                                                             1 Corinthians 5:13

       In this age of free speech, freedom of expression and free love when is it necessary to demand that a
person stop ‘deliberately sinning’ or else be expelled from the church? In this age in which it is acceptable and
many times praised for someone to announce that he or she is homosexual by ‘coming out of the closet’ and the
age in which casual sex is just a ‘casual’ occurrence, when is it necessary to expel someone from the church?
When do you forgive and love with open arms? When do you gently restore someone? And when do you
administer ‘tough love’ by not associating with a brother or sister or by expelling them from the church?
       The passage above, 1 Corinthians 5:13, is taken from a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in
Corinth. If taken out of context or read in context but taken the wrong way, this passage can become a harsh
way of treating the body of Christ. When the scripture above is first read either by itself or with the reading of
the entire passage, a picture can be seen of a sexually immoral man that has been committing incest with his
mother:


          It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even
       among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief
       and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you
       in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are
       assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
       hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
          Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of
       the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been
       sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with
       bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually
       immoral people-- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or
       idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
          But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually
       immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What
       business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those
       outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
                                                          1 Corinthians 5:1-13


       Yet, the intent and content of Paul’s letter was not only to deal with the sin of that one man, but it was to
deal with the sin of the entire church. The sin of the entire church was that they were tolerating that one man’s
sin. Not only were they tolerating his sin, but they were proud of it. As Paul pronounced, “And you are proud!”
and “Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief…?”. The expulsion of the ‘wicked man’ was not only
necessary to save him but also to save the entire church. As a little bit of yeast works its way through an entire
batch of dough, the old yeast, which Paul seems to have referenced to that wicked man, was working its way
through the entire church. Yet, if this man’s sin was sexual immorality, why is the yeast mentioned as being
malice and wickedness? The wickedness of the old yeast could easily be directed at the sexual immorality of the
man that was committing an incestuous act with his mother but why mention malice?
       My belief is that Paul was teaching the Disciples in the church at Corinth how to lovingly deal with sin.
Paul did not want the other Disciples to maliciously expel the man. Paul new the nature of a man so well and
because of this he knew that in hating a sin that is killing a church, that the church could easily turn its eyes to
the source of the sin and become angry and merciless towards the sinner. Paul was teaching the Disciples how
to hate the sin while, at the same time, loving the person committing the sin:


          But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in
       God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who
       doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-- hating even the
       clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
                                              Jude 1:17-23


       As Jude, the brother of Jesus Christ, mentioned in the scripture above, you need be merciful to those
who lack faith (doubt). Jude also says that you need to be merciful to those who are not yet Disciples and to
those who are trapped in sin (‘from the fire’ and ‘clothing stained by corrupted flesh’). In showing mercy to
those committing sin, they must maintain the fear of God which will keep their convictions strong and keep
themselves from falling into the same sin:


          Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or
       you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
                                                                                                             Galatians 6:1-2


       Paul now states, in the passage above, that we must restore someone gently if they are caught in a sin.
This word ‘caught’ could mean one of two things. It could mean that the person was ‘caught’ in the act of
committing a sin or it could mean that a certain sin has trapped the person so that he or she is ‘caught’. Most
likely Paul is speaking of the latter of the two options, the one of a person being trapped in a sin because he or
she went beyond the temptation to the act of committing sin. Whichever the case Paul is speaking of, or if he is
speaking of both of the cases, those ‘who are spiritual’ should restore the person ‘caught’ in the sin….They
should gently restore the person!
       So with this being said, at what time does a person ‘cross the line’ to where we stop working at restoring
them gently and begin kicking them out of the church? Do we first expel such a person and then have spiritual
men or women restore them gently from that point? Do we just expel persons who have been sexually immoral
or can any sin get a person to a point which we expel them from the church? The Bible tells us to warn a
divisive person twice and then to have nothing to do with them (Titus 3:10). Does this mean that after you have
warned a divisive person twice that you expel them from the church or do you let them come to church and just
not speak with them? Paul told the Disciples in the church in Thessalonica to ‘keep away from’ and to not
associate with someone who is idle and does not work (1 Thessalonians 3:6-15). Does this mean that we expel
them also? Paul did, however, emphasize in the same place in that letter to the church in Thessalonica that you
should also warn the idle brother or sister but not treat them as an enemy. Is this the answer to the question of
whether they should be expelled or not? What is the proper way to deal with sin in a such way that we
administer the grace and forgiveness of Christ and yet keep from becoming a luke-warm church like the church
in Laodicea or a church like the one in Thyatira which tolerated the sexually immoral woman?:


          "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing
       fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and
       perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You
       tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual
       immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is
       unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer
       intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am
       he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
                                                                                                 Revelation 2:18-23


       I believe that this is a question that is not easily answered and I believe that it is open to the discretion of
church leadership and individual Disciples. It must be left up to Disciples who, as Galatians chapter 6 verse 1
has stated, are spiritual. In these spiritual Disciples using their personal discretion, it must be understood that
sexual sin and all other sins are different in the affect that they have on individuals and on the church itself:


          Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins
       against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you
       have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
                                                                                                      1 Corinthians 6:18-20


       If sexual sin directly affects your body and, in turn, affects the temple of the Holy Spirit, do we deal
with it differently than other sins? Do we forgive a sexually immoral person 77 times?:
          Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against
       me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
                                                                                                     Matthew 18:21-22


       The answer is “Yes” and “No”. The answer depends upon the heart of the person and whether or not
they have ‘produced fruit in keeping with repentance’ (Matthew 3:8). First, it is important that the scripture
above not be misread. Peter was asking about forgiving a brother who has sinned against him and, apparently,
had not asked him forgiveness. Then, in the book of Luke, Jesus warned his Disciples about being a person that
causes people to sin. There he commands them to forgive those who sin against them as long as they repent by
coming back and saying, “I repent”:


          Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through
       whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for
       him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he
       repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I
       repent,' forgive him."
                                Luke 17:1-4


       It seems that Jesus says that you must forgive a person who sins against you whether they come to you
and ask for forgiveness or not. These scriptures are talking about those who sin against you and not about those
who sin against their own bodies or against the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is what a person does when
they sin sexually. How do we deal with that type of sin? Paul told the church in Corinth that you must not
associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer,
a drunkard or a swindler. He goes on to tell them that they should not even eat with such a person. So, with this
being said, how do we help those people who continually commit sexual sin? In this modern age of
‘Anonymous’ groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous how do we help those in the
world who are in Sexaholics Anonymous or those brothers and sisters in the church that should be in Sexaholics
Anonymous or in a group dealing with the same type of addiction?
       Sexually immoral brothers and sisters will not go to Heaven and we cannot deceive ourselves into
thinking that we can allow Disciples to continually struggle with this type of sin or to repetitively “fall into”
sexual sin. Sexual sin cannot be tolerated and cannot be a continual thing in a person’s life. Disciples must be
called out of sexual sin, but in calling those Disciples out of the sin that has so easily entangled them (Hebrews
12:1) we cannot be arrogant or malicious. We must always remember where we had come from and what we
once were. In our workings to become perfect as God is perfect we must not look with contempt on those
Disciples struggling with sin for many of us have lived lives trapped in the same types of sin:
          Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually
       immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy
       nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.
       But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit
       of our God.
                  1 Corinthians 6:9-11


       In coming back to our initial scripture ‘Expel the wicked man from among you’, we must ask ourselves,
“What happened to that wicked man?”. First Paul told the church to hand him over to Satan so that his sinful
nature would be destroyed (1 Corinthians 5:5). From there we hear nothing more of that man’s actions outside
of the church. All we know is that from the time of Paul writing the 1st letter to the Corinthian church, which
was done in the fall of 55 AD, and his writing of a second letter to the church, in the onset of the winter of the
same year (55AD), that the man was outside of the fellowship of Disciples. In his second letter to the church,
Paul acknowledges his reason for writing the first letter and the great distress and anguish he felt in writing the
letter. He then urged them to forgive the man and to re-affirm their love for him:


          So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make
       me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who
       ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of
       great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love
       for you. If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent-- not
       to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.
          Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I
       urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test
       and be obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-- if there was
       anything to forgive-- I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.
       For we are not unaware of his schemes.
                                                2 Corinthians 2:1-11


       The next four chapters, three through six, are spent telling the Corinthians that Paul and his fellow
Disciples do not need to commend themselves, and he tells them that he and the other Apostles renounce secret
and shameful ways and that they do not peddle the word of God for profit nor distort it. Paul says that they set
forth the truth plainly and commend themselves to each man’s conscience in the sight of God. Paul also tells the
Corinthians not to be united with unbelievers but rather to purify themselves from everything that contaminates
body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
       Around to chapter seven, Paul makes sure that the church knows that even though he wrote his first
letter with great anguish of heart, that he was happy that he had written the letter. He then commends the church
for their obedience to the convictions of Christ. The church had the heart of Christ so much so that they were in
sorrow over the depth of sin they had gone to. That sorrow led the church to radically deal with the immorality.
The church was eager to deal with the sin, indignant at the evil that had infected the church, alarmed about their
state of being, concerned for each other and ready to deal justly with the sin committed by the man and his
lover:


            Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it-- I see that my letter hurt you,
         but only for a little while-- yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led
         you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly
         sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
            See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what
         indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have
         proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one
         who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to
         us you are.
                    2 Corinthians 7:8-12


         After this commendation from Paul, Paul goes on through the next four chapters, eight through eleven,
urging the Disciples to not only excel in their faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness and even love for the
Disciples but to also excel in giving monetarily to the other churches that are in need and, in doing this, to know
that they will reap in comparison to the amount that they have sown. Paul later, in chapter 10, makes sure that
he lets the church know that the intent of his first letter was not to frighten them (“I do not want to seem to be
trying to frighten you with my letters”) and that the persons in the church that have been speaking against him,
by saying that his words amount to nothing, should realize the seriousness of what he had written. In chapter 11,
Paul goes as far as to tell the church that he is jealous of them with a ‘godly jealousy’ because they had strayed
away from their sincere devotion to Christ and are so easily willing to put up with teachings that are contrary to
the gospel that they had accepted. Regarding the men that had been speaking against him and those who were
boasting about themselves rather than God, Paul says that such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen,
masquerading as apostles of Christ. Then, as to make his point even clearer, Paul states all of the reasons why
he would have a reason to boast. Paul points out the fact that he is a Hebrew, an Israelite, a descendant of
Abraham and even more a servant of Christ than any one of them. He says, “I am more. I have worked much
harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and
again”. Paul had five times received 39 lashes from the Jews, been beaten with rods three times, been stoned
once, shipwrecked three times, spent a night and a day in the open sea and has been constantly on the move.
Paul had been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his own countrymen, in danger
from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea and even in danger from false
brothers. Paul labored and toiled and had often gone without sleep. Paul knew what it was to be hungry and
thirsty, cold and naked.
       With all of the reasons for Paul to boast in himself and his abilities, he knew that God was the only one
to be boasted in. He was so conscious of an individual’s temptation to glory in themselves that he saw with
great clarity God working through sufferings to keep him from boasting beyond what he should:


          To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a
       thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from
       me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will
       boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's
       sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am
       strong.
                 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 10


       In dealing with those persons that boast in themselves and brag about their abilities rather than the glory
of God and Paul admitting that he himself has weaknesses, Paul brings the entire church into the picture in a
way that makes them see that they themselves are weak. Paul shows them in a dramatic way that they are just as
weak as the man that they had earlier expelled from the church, that they themselves were in a position of also
being expelled because of their continuation of sexual sin:


          Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the
       sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. For I am afraid that
       when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that
       there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid
       that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned
       earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
                                                                                                       2 Corinthians 12:19-21


       It strikes me as very interesting that Paul would state the fact that he would be grieved over persons who
had sinned earlier and have not repented of impurity, debauchery, and sexual sin. How much earlier had they
sinned? I could only assume that Paul was speaking about his first letter to the Corinthians in which he had told
them that they were proud about the person who was committing sexual immorality with his mother (1
Corinthians 5:2). If this is so, then it can be concluded that Paul had the church expel a sexually immoral
brother from the church while, at the same time, knowing that others were also committing sexual sin. Maybe
this is the reason why Paul says, in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 7 verse 11, that their godly sorrow produced an
eagerness to clear themselves. ‘To clear themselves’ must have not only meant to righteously deal with the sin
of that one man by handing him over to Satan, but it must have also meant ‘to clear themselves’ of the sexual
sin that some of them were also committing. Was it that that man’s sexual immorality had gotten to a point that
it affected the entire church and therefore had to be removed? That the yeast (that man’s sin) had worked its
way through the dough (the group of Corinthian Disciples) to such a point that it was necessary to remove it in
order to save the dough and preserve a batch of dough without yeast (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)?
       This idea of dough, or bread, without yeast is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. The first
mention of unleavened bread, bread without yeast, is mentioned in Genesis chapter 19 when the two angels visit
Lot’s house in the city of Sodom. Lot had prepared a meal of unleavened bread for the two angels who had
come to destroy the city because of the un-repented sin of the people. This eating of unleavened bread is a
possible foreshadowing of the initiation of the Passover meal which is the next place that unleavened bread is
mentioned. Lot and the others who were to be spared from the coming destruction of Sodom ate a meal of
unleavened bread. Soon after that meal, the angels dragged them from the city and then destroyed Sodom by
raining down burning sulfur on the city. The destruction had ‘Passed Over’ Lot and his family less his wife who
had turned back for another look at what she was leaving behind. This event of individual’s being rescued from
a city full of sin as God’s judgment is passed on the city is repeated in a greater magnitude with the exodus of
the Israelites from Egypt as God pronounced judgment on all of the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12). The night
prior to Moses taking the Israelites out of Egypt, the people were commanded to make bread without yeast. The
meat was to be cooked over a fire rather than boiled, which would have been a slower process. The main reason
was quickness. The people were to make their meal quickly and they were to eat also it quickly, being prepared
to leave as soon as they were given the command:


          This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in
       your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
                                                                Exodus 12:11


       All throughout the rest of the Old Testament the rest of the mentions to unleavened bread are of the
celebration of the Passover in remembrance of God’s rescuing of the Israelites from Egypt. The book of
Deuteronomy gives light to God’s mentality behind the eating of unleavened bread:


          Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction,
       because you left Egypt in haste-- so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure
       from Egypt. Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you
       sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.
                                                                         Deuteronomy 16:3-4


       As the Israelites crunched on the flat crispy bread made without yeast they could remember leaving
Egypt in a rush. In remembering the craziness of that Passover night, they could remember God saving them
from slavery and death at the hands of Pharaoh. Yet, this removal of yeast can, and should, also be seen in
another light. As the members of the town of Sodom caroused the city at night, indulging in heinous sexual acts,
Lot and his family stayed inside their home keeping away from the corruption of the city. As the citizens of
Sodom ate and drank in revelry, Lot and his family had a simple evening meal, which included unleavened
bread. This family was free from the yeast of Sodom. As the Israelites set aside the yeast and hastily baked
bread free of it, they put aside the yeast of Egypt and journeyed into the wilderness to eat bread from heaven
sent down from God.
       Not only was unleavened bread something that could be made quicker than bread made with yeast, but it
was also free from the contamination which yeast could bring about. Bread made with yeast will later go
through a fermentation process in which products of decay such as lactic acid are produced. The accumulation
of this lactic acid causes oxidation which disrupts the acid-alkaline balance in a human body. Also, the yeast
bacterium in bread depresses the activity of useful microorganisms in the system. If bread yeast has the
possibility of negative affects on the human body, can we not get a picture of what affects spiritual yeast could
have on the body of Christ? In the case of leavened bread, yeast is worked into all areas of the dough as the
dough is kneaded. Prior to the fermentation process, the yeast is in a state free of contamination. Though the
yeast is entirely worked through the dough and touching each area of the dough, it has no negative affect on the
whole batch. The yeast has no negative affects since it has not yet fermented. So, throughout the Old Testament,
one of the reasons for making unleavened bread was to protect God’s people from disease, or from being
‘contaminated’. Jesus spoke of yeast also. However, Jesus spoke of a spiritual type of yeast and warned his
followers to beware of such a thing:


          "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
                                                                                                           Matthew 16:6


          “How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the
       yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast
       used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
                                                                                 Matthew 16:11-12


          "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
                                                                                                        Mark 8:15


       In the scriptures above, Jesus tells his Disciples to keep away from the yeast of the Pharisees, Sadducees
and even Herod. In Matthew chapter 16 verse 12 he goes on to explain that the ‘yeast’, at least of the Pharisees
and the Sadducees, was their teachings. The yeast of Herod could also have been the same thing, his teachings.
The Bible does not say much about Herod’s teachings, but his dealings with John the Baptist give us a glimpse
into some of what he believed and possibly what he taught those around him:


           For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this
       because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, "It is
       not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.". So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.
       But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.
       When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
                                                                                       Mark 6:17-20


           At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, "This is John the
       Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him." Now Herod had arrested
       John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, for John had been saying
       to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her." Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because
       they considered him a prophet.
                                     Matthew 14:1-5


       In the scriptures above we see one of Herod’s convictions, and possible teaching, that it was alright to
marry your brother’s wife and to take her home as your own. It is even seen, in the first passage, that his
brother’s wife, Herodias, agreed with his teachings. Herodias agreed with it so much so that it angered her to
hear that John the Baptist had said, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife”.
       What about the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees? Those are clearly seen and clearly
designated as wrong. Rather than go into each one of them, let’s just say that they were hypocritical:


           Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus
       began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is
       hypocrisy.”
                     Luke 12:1


       Like yeast, the teaching of the Pharisees, Sadducees and any other person or group of people would
work its way through entire groups, or ‘loaves’, of people. The destruction of teachings that are contrary to the
Gospel of Jesus Christ can destroy an entire church. Paul was shocked by such an occurrence in the church in
Galatia:


           You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of
       persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
                                                                                                          Galatians 5:7-9
       What had happened was that the Disciples at the church in Galatia had accepted a teaching that taught
that a person is justified by obeying the Law of Moses and that their salvation could be achieved by human
effort rather than given freely by the grace of God (Galatians 3:1-3) and that teaching, the yeast of those who had
taught the Galatians such things, had worked it’s way through the entire loaf. The entire church was, as Paul
said, “Bewitched” (Galatians 3:1) for they had been taught a different gospel which was different than the gospel
of Christ and really not a gospel at all (Galatians 1:7). The Disciples had turned back to the weak and miserable
principles of the law (Galatians 4:9-10) and began observing special days and months and seasons and years
(Galatians 4:9-10). They had come to believe that they could somehow be justified by obeying the law of Moses

(Galatians 5:4) but, in doing so, had actually fallen away from the grace of God and been alienated from Christ

(Galatians 5:4). The members of the church in Galatia had lost their joy (Galatians 4:15) and had begun biting and

devouring each other (Galatians 5:15). The church at Galatia served as an example that, as yeast works its way
through and entire batch of dough, teachings contrary to the teachings of Christ can work their way through and
entire church and can destroy an entire church (Galatians 5:15). With this we see that ‘yeast’ which has been the
topic of the previous paragraphs is anything that has the potential of working its way through a church or a
group of Disciples if it is left alone and not properly dealt with. That yeast can be the hypocrisy of the
Pharisees, gospels contrary to the teachings of Christ (church in Galatia) or sexual sin (man in Corinth).


Now back to the church in Corinth and to our topic at hand, properly dealing with sexual sin…


                             Weakening of Convictions (The Yeast of Tolerance)
       The yeast of the man in Corinth is seen working through the church as you look at the attitude of the
other Disciples towards the man’s sin. Rather than be indignant, alarmed and ready to see justice done, the
Disciples were proud. Just as the man’s convictions were weak, the other Disciple’s convictions had begun to
weaken also. A couple of things are seen in this passage. One thing is that the entire church knew about the
man’s sin, this is why Paul needed to say, “And you are proud!”. The sin of the man, who was having sex with
his mother, was so well known that it was reported to other people outside of Corinth, Paul being one of those
people. It calls us to question how long the sin was known about and to wonder what the feelings of the
Disciples were when they first found out about the man’s sexual immorality. Did the man confess the sin
himself and initially want to get help? Did the father know about it? Was then father even a Disciple? Was his
mother a Disciple? Was the man caught in the act of immorality and his mother caught in the act of adultery?
These things are unknown for we are thrown into the story at the end of the tolerance to that man’s action.
Judgment had come to the church and we are but a crowd in the courtroom watching the sentence being
pronounced. We do know, however, that the yeast of this man’s sin had been tolerated for so long that it had
worked its way through the church and beyond. The yeast of a lack of conviction to sexual sin had touched each
of the individuals in the church to the point that no one was willing to stand up and tell the rest of the Disciples
that the man must leave. The situation had been reported to Paul (“It is actually reported that there is sexual
immorality among you”) by someone inside of the church or maybe by a person outside of the Corinthian
church. Since no one stood up for Godliness, Paul had to step in and tell them that what they were doing was
wrong.
         The church in Thyatira, mentioned earlier in this writing, had to be told by the Son of God that their
immorality had gone too far. The Son of God was now ready to pronounce judgment on the church:


            "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing
         fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and
         perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You
         tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual
         immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is
         unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer
         intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am
         he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
                                                                                                   Revelation 2:18-23


         A woman named Jezebel, who had claimed to be a Prophetess, was having sex with Disciples in the
church as they feasted on food sacrificed to idols. The Son of God had been patient enough and given Jezebel
and the Disciples time to repent. The church had tolerated the sin of Jezebel and the others. Interestingly, the
entire church did not pay for the sins of Jezebel and the others. Those who had tolerated the sin were seemingly
saved from the intense suffering inflicted on those who had sinned. The only indication of any type of judgment
pronounce on those who had stayed away from the sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols
is the statement made in verse ‘23’…”I will repay each of you according to your deeds”. As the Son of God
searched the hearts and minds of the Disciples, we can only imagine what kinds of things were in their hearts
and minds and what sort of punishments were inflicted on them.




** To be continued **

				
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