By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
It is sometimes easy to become used to our lifestyles and our friends.
Too often churches can become more about relationships with one another than about our personal relationship with the Lord. The commitment of the church should be first and foremost to fulfill the commission of Christ to reach the lost by preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot afford to become blind to sin because it exists in the lives of friends. The problem: There was sexual immorality in the church. It was so offensive that it appears even the local community was shocked by it.
(1Co 5:1) “It is reported commonly 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.” Being “reported commonly” seems to imply that not only the local community was aware of this situation, but the news of it had travelled all the way to Paul who was in Philippi, more than 300 miles away. Jewish scriptures forbade this type of relationship as the Corinthians knew well.
(Lev 18:8) “The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.”
(Deu. 27:20) “Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.” No one seemed to be taking a stand against this terrible sin! The relationship appeared to be between a man and his stepmother.
The response: Paul rebuked this strongly. He even accused them of arrogance by saying they were “puffed up.” Some probably were proud of their leniency and understanding, while others may have been angry with that group and condemned them for condoning sin. This was another division in the church that was tearing the people apart. Paul immediately and strongly condemned them for allowing such evil to exist in the church. He demanded that the offending party be excluded from fellowship (v. 3-5). The purpose of this action would allow the purification of the church as well as discipline for the guilty parties that they might be saved.
Our lesson: We must not become so accustomed to sin that we no longer view it as evil. We live in a generation that continually challenges us with new possibilities and brings us into contact with new ideas. However, we must never leave the cross of Christ and the path of righteousness, following Jesus with “singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46, Eph. 6:5, Col. 3:22).