1 Corinthians 5:6-13 – Have Nothing to do With Them

YouTube video sermon

Unrepentant, public, sexual sin is to be dealt with by sending the fellow Christian out into the world.  We are to pray for them to come back to Christ, but have nothing to do with them.


  • Well guy’s, lets get right back into 1 Corinthians chapter 5
    • Now if you were here two Sunday’s then you heard a sermon on the most awkward topic ever for mother’s day… Of course that was the sermon about the man sleeping with his stepmom!
      • Now if you weren’t here to hear the sermon about the guy sleeping with his stepmom or if you are like me and forget sermons the second you leave the sanctuary, let me take a moment to just recap, because today’s sermon rides right along with that one, and it makes less sense without that sermon as a foundation.
      • So my last sermon was on 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 which says this:

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV  (1)  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.  (2)  And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.  (3)  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.  (4)  When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  (5)  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.

  • Basically, the church in Corinth had a dude committing this awful sin of sleeping with his stepmom.
    • Now we talked in depth on how not all sin is the same… and clearly this one is special…
      • It was sexual, so it involved two people and harming the Temple of God that is our body.
      • It was public and it was disgusting even to the pagan’s, so it hindered the public appearance of God’s church.
      • And this is the big one, it was unrepentant… not only that but the church remained proud and arrogant with this man worshiping there.
    • Now because all sin is not the same, that means our response to sin is not always the same… the appropriate response here Paul says is to kick him out of the church! If that was the response we should have for all sin I don’t know if anyone including myself would be welcome here!
  • So we talked about how Paul said you need to turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh… but not because we are a bunch of meanies… but so that this man’s spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord! There was a purpose to the discipline, amen?
  • So with that backdrop, let’s look at the first half of today’s text, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV  (6)  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  (7)  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.  (8)  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.

Point One – A Little Leaven Leavens the Whole Lump

  • So I want to talk about this phrase in verse 6 “A little leaven leavens the whole lump”. In modern English you might say it this way “A little yeast rises the whole ball of dough”.
    • What does that mean? Well Paul is using a baking metaphor, one that is near and dear to anyone who has celebrated Passover.
      • Now the first part of the metaphor is easy to understand if you have ever backed before.
      • When you bake some sort of dough, like a loaf of bread, or maybe pizza dough, you add something to help the dough rise, right… so the bread is light and fluffy.
      • You see Amanda and I, we occasionally make pizza, and part of the steps in making homemade pizza crust is adding a little bit of yeast to a big ball of dough.
        • And I mean a little bit.
        • But that little bit of yeast does AMAZING things to that ball of dough.
        • You cover it with a towel and a couple of hours later it is twice the size.
        • Because some sort of odd chemical reaction causes the entire lump of dough to expand. And when baked it makes it light and fluffy and nice.
      • That’s great preacher… what does that have to do with church?
        • Well, not a whole lot if you don’t understand the symbolism behind Passover, but praise God many of you have been to a Passover feast!
        • You see the Jews would celebrate Passover every year, it was a high holiday, celebrated bigger than most of us celebrate Christmas!
        • And one of the traditions of Passover is making sure that there is absolutely no leaven in the house, no yeast or baking soda or anything else that causes dough to rise. That is why we eat Matzah at Passover.
          • This is for two reasons, one because Moses did not have time to let his dough rise when fleeing with the Jews from Egypt, so they ate flatbread.
          • But two, and just as importantly, because leaven symbolizes sin. It’s just a symbol, it’s not actually sinful, but the Jews would remove leaven from the house as a symbolic act of purification and sanctification.
          • It was for this reason that it was so shocking when Jesus picked up the middle piece of Matzah, the Afikomen, during Passover and said “This is my body” because he was literally claiming to be sinless!
        • So again, leaven represents sin.
      • So with that context, what Paul here is saying to the church of Corinth in regards to a man in public sexual sin is this “Guy’s, sin is like yeast… it just takes a little bit to effect the entire ball of dough. You would never allow a little bit of leaven in your Passover meal, why would you allow a person with unrepentant, public, disgusting sexual sin to remain in your church?”
      • I love verse 7 here, it sends the point home:

1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV “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.  “

  • Paul saying “Clean out the old leaven, the old sin, just like you would at a Passover feast, so that you may be new and holy… because really you ARE unleavened. Because Christ has already been sacrificed for you, you are already Holy! What are you doing allowing such debauchery amongst your holy presence?”
  • You see, Paul wasn’t condemning the church for being unholy, to the contrary he was saying “Because you are so Holy you should have nothing to do with unholiness in your church!”
    • Now I know that this sounds rough, and even a little bit confusing… don’t we preach a Gospel of grace an acceptance? This sounds judgmental and full of rejection!
      • So yes, in that sense it is a little confusing, but that’s ok, it was confusing to the church in Corinth to, that is why Paul wrote to them! So stay with me and we will see what more Paul has to say about this.

Point Two – Have nothing to do with unrepentant Christians

  • Let’s read the next part of our text this morning, 1 Corinthians 5:9-11:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 ESV  (9)  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– (10)  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.  (11)  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.

  • So point one is “A little leaven leavens the whole lump, meaning a little unrepentant sin effects the whole church”, then point two is this Have nothing to do with unrepentant Christians.
  • And I use the word Christian here loosely, more specifically, Have nothing to do with people who call themselves a Christian but have unrepentant public sin in their lives.
    • I know that sounds harsh! But it’s not me saying it, if you don’t like it argue with Paul… Moreover argue with God because it was canonized into Scripture.
  • Look, we have talked about this before guy’s, Christianity is not a spectator sport.
    • The point of church is not to have fun and enjoy a good show.
    • Moreover the point of fellowship is not to have some good friends that you have lots of fun with.
      • You can do those things in the world! If you want a good show you don’t need church, simply go see Tailor Swift in concert! Or Lindsey Sterling, or whoever is cool nowadays…
      • If you want to have fun with friends you don’t need to be a Christian, plenty of worldly people have friends that they have fun with. I mean, most sports fans have just as much comradery as most Christians do.
    • And don’t get me wrong, these things are great, I want church to be entertaining, and I want fellowship to be friendly and fun… but that is not the point! What then is the point? The Bible tell’s us in Hebrews 10:24-25

Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  (25)  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  • We meet together so we can stir up one another to love and good works, we encourage one another, we grow together. You see there is supposed to be change inside of us, we are all supposed to be growing together as a family toward God for His Glory.
    • And if someone is unrepentant, that means they don’t want to change… they don’t want to be encouraged, they don’t want to be stirred up to love and good works… No, they are unrepentant, they want to stay in their sin!
    • So what are we doing here guys? If you have a friend who claims to be a Christian and is proud and unrepentant of his sin… what’s the point? We don’t have time to focus on such people… and churches today will sometimes do everything in their power to make sure the unrepentant sinner doesn’t leave…
      • I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t have time for that. We have a church full of Christians who want to grow together, change together, worship together, love together… why would we want to waste time making people who DON’T want those things feel comfortable?
      • One famous preacher is quoted as putting it this way “we can’t afford to let down our Christian Standards just to hold the interests of people who want to go to hell and still belong to a church”.
    • So again, Paul says don’t even eat with such as one, a person calling themselves a Christian but has unrepentant sin.

Proverbs 27:17 ESV  Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

  • This right here is one of the MAIN reasons we should have Christian fellowship. TO GROW TOGETHER, to SHARPEN ONE ANOTHER.
    • If someone is clearly unrepentant of their sin, but claiming to be a Christian, they are not iron sharpening iron. You see when iron sharpens iron, both pieces are getting sharp. If one piece is not getting sharp, then it is not iron… and if it is not iron then it is almost certainly not sharpening the other piece, in fact it’s probably dulling it.
  • Now remember, we are talking about people who are calling themselves Christians…
    • We are not talking about the world; that is, people who don’t know Jesus… Paul says if that were the case we couldn’t go anywhere!
    • We are also not talking about repentant Christians. Christian’s who say “I want to change, I want to grow, I know that I am wrong.”
    • We are talking about people who are proud of their sin. Who don’t think it is that bad, who boast and brag about it.
      • I think 1 John 1:8-10 wraps this point up very nicely

1 John 1:8-10 ESV  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (10)  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

  • “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves…” all of us Christians have sin, that’s a given! So we have no room to be high and mighty or holier than though. We all have sin that we struggle with.
  • BUT, and this is a big but, if we would just confess our sins the Christ is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    • So who are we not talking about when we say “have nothing to do with them”? We are not talking about the Christian who has sin, but confesses their sin to Christ. That is repentence, not by our own strength, but by God’s strength.
      • Look, if you are listening to this sermon and it makes your stomach turn as your head lists out all of your sins… THAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKING IN YOU! Conviction is a good thing, it is the start of repentance. Just by feeling that way it shows that Paul is not talking about you!
      • So then who is Paul talking about, this guy in verse 10 here of first John 1:
    • The Christian who says he has not sinned.
      • This is the dude we shouldn’t be eating with.
      • Yeah, so I am sleeping with my step mom, what’s the big deal?
      • And here is the tell tell sign of someone in this situation, when you confront their sin in an effort to help them they respond with “DON’T JUDGE ME! ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME!”
      • Really? Well that brings us to point three, it is our job to judge those inside the church!

Point Three – It’s our Job to Judge those inside the church

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV  (12)  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  (13)  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

  • Paul straight up says it “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”
    • Look we have no business judging those outside the church! We were all sinners once, we were all lost, and Christ died for us.
    • Our response to those outside the church is love, grace, mercy, and a hand of invitation, inventing them to know the saving grace of Jesus. Regardless of their past, Christ died to give us all a future.
  • But, those inside the church, we ARE to judge them.
    • Now when I say judge I do not mean “I am better than you because I don’t have tattoos, or because of my choice of Christian music… or whatever.”’
    • No, it means “Let’s look at each other’s lives and see how we might help one another grow.”
      • You see for two pieces of iron to sharpen one another, they have to actually rub against one another. There is going to be some rough edges that need to be sharpened out. And that is ok! WE ALL HAVE SIN AND WE ALL NEED HELP!
      • Of course we should look at each other’s lives and say “hey man, let me help you with this!” How else are we supposed to grow together?
      • And further, to take it to the extreme, as first Corinthians does, if there is someone who doesn’t want to be sharpened… who cries out “Don’t judge me” then why would we waist our precious time with one such as this?

Conclusion – Trust that God know what He is doing

  • I will close with this… the last verse of 1 Corinthians chapter five says:

1 Corinthians 5:13b ESV  …”Purge the evil person from among you.”

  • I don’t like this verse… I don’t like it at all.
    • You know at one point in my carrier as a pastor there was a man in a church I worked at who was doing some awful sexual sin, and he was bragging about it to the church members.
      • In fact that is how it got back to me, because one of the church members was like “Yo… you know what so and so is saying they are doing?”
      • So under the guidance of the pastoral staff and eldership we offered some church discipline and discipleship for this fellow.
      • The guy didn’t repent, and kept doing it, and even used the church as a place to do this sexual sin.
      • Finally the elders of this church and pastoral staff got together and concluded that we could not ignore 1 Corinthians chapter 5.
        • We all liked this guy, we all wanted to help this guy, none of us wanted to kick this guy out…
        • But scripture seemed clear… it was heartbreaking…
        • Then one of the elders said “You know, we have to trust that God knows what He is talking about… we have to trust that God knows what He is doing.” That hit home with me, and the rest of the men there…
        • The lot feel to me to make the call. I called this man up, and it was like bringing ol’ yeller out back to put him down.
          • The guy didn’t understand, but he didn’t argue either… through tears I told him not only was he not welcome back at church until he got help… he was not welcome to eat with us, or hang out with us, or even just talk with us…
          • It was the hardest thing I had even done… but I was obeying scripture.
          • A few days later this guy called me and said “I miss you all so much, I want you to know that I am going to go get professional help for my problem, and I hope that one day I can be restored to the church.”
        • You know with all the talks, and discipleship… and scolding and pleading… we never were able to bring this guy to repentance… but when we listened to God’s word, and obeyed even though we didn’t want to, God was faithful to bring this guy to repentance.

God knows what He is doing!