The Church’s Tolerance of Sin by Eddie Foster

I Corinthians 5 is the basis for this message.  It describes a specific sin going on in the Corinthian church. The people didn’t recognize it as a problem. They had written it off, so to speak. Paul points it out. The church must discipline flagrant sin or it will paralyze it. It’s not to be vengeful; it’s for correction to bring about repentance. Otherwise, the person gets comfortable and continues in the sin.

As a church, we have the responsibility to maintain standards of morality consistent with God’s Word. There’s too much of the world in the church and too much church in the world. At times you cannot tell the difference between the two. The church’s standards should be higher than the world. I can’t render a true judgment. I see only the outside. God sees inside and out. He is the judge. 

Verse 6 says Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? In other words, if you allow a little sin to remain, it will spread everywhere.  In verse 1 we see the sin and the sinner identified.  It was fornication. A man was involved sexually with his stepmother. Later in the book we see that his father was still alive. The sin was commonly known in the congregation. That makes it even worse.  Look at Leviticus 18:8 and Deuteronomy 22:30. This was strictly forbidden. Paul makes mention that even those outside the church didn’t condone such and history tells us Corinth was a very wicked city.  Why didn’t the congregation deal with it?  It could have been that those involved were prominent people.  We’ve heard the saying “money speaks.” This ought not be, but the fact is, that’s how it is sometimes.  Perhaps they hoped it would just go away.  But sin left unchecked gets bigger. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill.  

Do we tolerate sin in the church today?  Some things are debatable. These are things that some people see as sin while others don’t. Should a woman wear pants? Should she wear makeup?  Movies?  Dancing? The list goes on. I put things like this in the debatable area.  Paul is referring to sin which violates the Word of God.  Drunkenness.  Thievery.  Sexual sins. These are a few.  I heard of a certain denomination holding a vote to see if they should allow homosexual clergy in their churches.  You don’t have to vote on that. The Bible has already declared homosexual lifestyle as sin.  While some will jump on that, they will overlook other sexual sin going on.  Sin in any form is wrong in the eyes of God. Don’t condemn one and point out others.

What’s the solution?  Verse 2 says And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. I can’t remember this ever happening and I’ve been in this a long time but I’d say it’s happened in most churches. No one can deal with it but the specific church involved. The local church is its governing head. It also sounds like the woman involved wasn’t part of the church since she’s not mentioned. The church can only discipline a person who is a member.  Matthew tells us how to deal with the situation when a member of the church is practicing sin. If you know, you are to go to the person involved–just the two of you–and talk about it; try to bring about the person’s repentance.  If he repents, it’s done. Don’t blab it to others. Move on. Forget it. If he doesn’t listen and repent, take one or two others with you. Discuss the situation, trying to bring about repentance. If he does, that’s it.  It’s over.  Move on.  Forget it. But if he refuses, tell it to the church. If the person repents, it’s over. Move on.  Welcome him back with open arms. If he doesn’t repent, he is to be put out of the church.  This is not to be mean, but is to bring about repentance. If a person thinks the church condones the sin, he/she may never repent.  A lack of repentance could bring the chastening of the Lord. 

Verse 7 says Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.  This is all done to keep the church pure.  It doesn’t take many rotten members to infect a whole church.  Sin removed from our personal lives is the key. Strive to keep your life pure so the church will be pure. I want my life to be pure.  Confess sin.  Take care of it right away.  That will produce a personal life pure in the sight of God and in turn make the church pure.  Do you need to talk to God today about anything in your life?  Don’t wait.

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