Cleanse Out the Old Leaven

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

“For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

Oh, it has gotten so much worse than this. Now many Christian men in America (men primarily), and some pastors of churches, and some Christian women and children are regulars to pornography sites, or they get their “porn” through movies and videos and music and games which are filled with all sorts of sexual situations and references. Sexual humor is commonplace. And sexual sin is permeating “the church” here in America. It is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about (or not many will).

In an effort to do something about the problem, some institutional churches (ICs) have fostered sex addiction recovery support groups, but most of those are based off secular models. It is not the Biblical way of handling this enormous problem. For many of them will not permit the attendees to confront another attendee with his particular sin issue and then point him to the Biblical solution, for they don’t want to offend anyone. And although I know some people have been helped by these, others have continued in their sexual addiction, sometimes going from bad to worse.

But yet these ICs are continuing on, business as usual, entertaining and being entertained, in many cases. Most are marketing their “churches” (businesses) to the world, and so they have altered the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world. So now many people are being told that all they have to do is pray a prayer or make some confession of Christ as Lord and now they are good to go. They say all their sins are covered by the blood of Christ, and heaven is guaranteed them as their eternal destiny, regardless of how they live.

Not many are teaching the truth of the gospel anymore – the one that Jesus taught and his New Testament apostles taught. They are calling that “works salvation” and legalism. And so they are taking Scriptures out of their context and they are misinterpreting them to say that nothing is required of us under God’s grace. Many are teaching that we don’t have to repent of our sins and we don’t have to obey the Lord, but that just isn’t true! If you read the Scriptures in their context, you can’t miss it!

They love to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 but they leave out verse 10 which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So, yes, we are not saved by our own fleshly works, but only by the grace of God, through faith. But this faith is not of our own doing. So, we don’t get to choose what it looks like. This faith is of God and it is gifted to us by God and it is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, so this faith will align with God’s perfect will for our lives (also Hebrews 12:1-2; John 6:44).

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Honestly, if this passage of Scripture were to be seriously applied to the American Church, overall, I believe only a remnant would remain, and many congregations would be minus their pastors. And many of these ICs would have to close their doors because there would not be enough people left to support them. Yes, I believe it is this bad! And a lot of this is hidden. It is not all out in the open. But it is destroying the church from within like a cancer destroys a human body. And as long as this is ignored or it is only given a small effort to alleviate the problem, the problem will continue.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’”

Now this is speaking to the church, as a whole. The body of Christ (not the ICs), as a unit, is not to associate with other professing Christians in their gatherings who are known to be engaged in sexual sin or who are swindlers, adulterers, and idolaters, etc. They are to make an example of them so that others don’t go where they have gone. But the reason why this problem has reached epidemic proportions today is that no one is doing this, or I am not aware of any group that is. Sin has been allowed to run rampant all in the name of not offending people and so they can grow their earthly kingdoms.

And human lives are being destroyed in the process. Marriages are falling apart, families are being torn apart, and the church over all is on a massive moral and spiritual decline. God help us!

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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