NT Fire Starters – Day 230: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
READ: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
THINK: Some people have to hit bottom before they’re willing to even consider looking to God and changing their ways. And sometimes, the church can do a person a favor by letting him or her go their own way–removed from church participation–so he or she can experience the bitter consequences of ungodly actions and reach the point where they have nowhere to turn but to God. While churches need to open their doors to people who don’t know God and whose lives are wracked with sin, they must not tolerate God-defying behavior from people who claim to be Christians. Failing to discipline such behavior robs the church of its spiritual power and positive influence and gives the world a distorted view of Christianity. Sometimes, extreme discipline is a person’s only hope of salvation.
RESPOND: In what way was the church and its leadership at fault regarding the man who was sexually involved with his father’s wife? (See 5:1 notes.) Why must the church enact strict discipline upon those who defy God’s standards in this way? In what way is such discipline good for the offender, the church and those outside the church? (See 5:1 first note.) How should Christians feel about immoral behavior among those who claim to follow Christ, and why should they feel this way? (See 5:2 note.) What does Paul mean when he says, “Hand this man over to Satan, so that his sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord”? (See 5:5 note.) What purpose would this serve? How does the analogy of the yeast working through the batch of bread dough relate to sin in a church? (See 5:6 note.) In what ways are Christians to judge and respond differently to those inside the church–who claim to be believers–than to those outside the church? (See 5:10-12 note.) What should Christians expect of people outside the church who do not know God, and how should this affect our actions and response toward them? Why and in what way must people within the church hold each other accountable?
PRAY: Ask God to help you make right judgments about your own life and accountability to God, and to help you encourage others in the church to remain true to Him. Then ask Him to give you a heart of compassion for those outside of the church who naturally defy God. Pray for insight regarding how to influence them for Christ.
ACT: Allow God to search your life, exposing any hidden sin. Confess your faults to God, accept His forgiveness, and trust Him to help you make a deliberate change before He enacts further judgment or discipline regarding this issue.