1Cor. 5:1-13  Church Discipline How & Why


Intro We left off in Ch. 4 w/ Paul addressing the Corinthian Church as a Father - Paul started the church & led many in the Church to Christ

A) He says in v. 15 - many teachers or instructors but only one father


B) We have noted that in 1 Cor. He is addressing many of the Problems that were in the church there.

1)  Divisions / Immorality / Marriage problems / Lawsuits/ / Abuse of

    gifts / abuse of Lords supper!


C) The way Paul ends Ch. 4 is interesting - 19  But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

20  For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

21  What do you want? Shall I to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?


D) Paul says I can come to you in one of two ways - I can come in Love or w/ a rod.   How He came was up to them.

1)  It would be based on how they responded to the correction that he was going to give in this epistle.


E) If they repented and made the necessary corrections he would come in love. If they didn’t he would come w/ the rod.


1st Problem Paul deals w/ in chapters 1-4 is the problem of Divisions


In Ch. 5 - Problem of sexual immorality in the Church.


A) It seems that a man in the congregation in Corinth had taken up w/ and was committing sexual immorality w/ his “ Fathers wife “ stepmother


B) What did the church do about this? Answer is nothing - they took a position of tolerance - & were actually proud of their stance.

1)  Paul writes to rebuke them & to instruct them on how this matter should be dealt w/!


V.1,2 5:1  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles; that a man has his father's wife!

2  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.



The church at Corinth was not only a divided church, but it was also a disgraced church.

A) There was sin in the assembly and, sad to say, everybody knew about it.


B) Immorality is the Greek porneia, from which we get pornography, and refers to any illicit sexual activity.

1)  In this case it was a form of incest, because a man was living with his father’s wife, that is, his stepmother.


C) The term father’s wife indicates that the woman was not his natural mother but had married his father after his mother had died or been divorced.


D) What is really interesting is that Paul says this was a sin that was  not even named among the Gentiles

1)  Corinth was a Pagan city & sexual immorality was one of its worst problems - but even the heathen gentiles would stoop this low.


Now there are couple things to note here:

 God considers such a relationship incestuous is clear from the Old Testament.

A) Sexual relations between a man and his stepmother was in the same category as relations between him and his natural mother.

B)  Anyone guilty of those or other sexual “abominations” was to be cut off from his people (Lev. 18:7–8, 29; cf. Deut. 22:30),

1)  a reference to capital punishment.


C) It is also interesting to note that From Cicero and others we know that such incest was also strictly forbidden under Roman law.


D) The fact that everyone knew about it - seems to indicate that it had been going on for a long time!

1)  Paul says it is reported that a man has his father's wife!


E) That tells us this was no one time affair but a continuous affair that was

      being done out in the open.

1)  They may have been living together as if man and wife. ( Not married



 Since adultery is not charged, the relationship between the son and his stepmother probably had caused her to be divorced from the father


Also worth noting that because Paul calls for no discipline of the woman,  she was probably not a Christian.

A) So The man, being a believer, was not only living immorally but he was unequally yoked to the woman




A) In fact the church not only tolerated this sin but they prided themselves in their toleration.


B) We see that same problem today - Church denominations that are Ordaining Homosexuals as ministers

1)  Sanctioning homosexual marriages in their churches


C) Acts which are clearly an abomination in Scripture - there is no getting around it! -  Yet at the heart of such toleration is a denial of absolute truth.




According to a study reported by George Barna in 1991, 67% of the US population did not believe  in absolute truth.


In 1994, that figure rose to 75%. In 1991, 52% of Evangelicals said they did not believe in absolute truth. In 1994, that figure rose to 62%.



A) There are those in the Christian Church today who in the name of Love want to overlook sin.


B) We are supposed to be loving - they suggest the world will know us by our love - they say   Jesus loved us when we were his enemies

1)  That is true - Jesus loved us - when we were his enemies


C) But repentance is still a Criteria for forgiveness & restoration.

1)  Jesus loves those who choose to go to Hell - but He only forgives & restores those who repent


c)  Jesus came full of Grace & Truth.

1)  Came to give man - what He didn’t deserve -


D) But He also instilled  truth & justice.

1)  In no way shape or form did - Jesus ever tolerate - sinful behavior




A) In many ways Thyatira was a model church. It was strong in “love and faith and service and perseverance” and was growing in good deeds.

B) But it was tolerating “the woman Jezebel, who called her self a prophetess, and she was teaching and leading the people astray, - into immorality.


C) Jez. Was rebuked but refused to repent.

1)  Consequently she, and all who participated in immorality with her, became subject to God’s severe judgment.


D) The punishment was to be a warning to all Christians and a reminder of God’s righteous standards for His people

1)  God takes the purity of His church seriously and He commands His

     children to take it equally seriously.



Christians are not to tolerate sin within the church any more than they are to tolerate it within their own lives.

A) (Eph. 5:3, 11  “But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints. … And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them”




V.2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned,


A) Paul says instead of your attitude being tolerance - it ought to be grief - it ought to be one of mourning


B) There ought to be shock and hurt, not only for the persons involved in this, but also for the   church, and for the Lord himself,

1)that the cause of Christ is damaged in the eyes of the community by

    these deeds.


C) Paul proceeds to give them some specific instructions on how to deal w/ this issue v. 3


3  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.

4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6  Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

7  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.



Paul’s counsel is to deal w/ the situation strongly & severely by putting this sinning brother out of the congregation.

A) deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, 2 reasons

     1st dealt w/ the individual in sin / 2nd the church itself


B) For the individual it was  RESTORATION -That his soul may be saved!    That is always the goal of Church Discipline.


C) Paul said in Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

2  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.


D) That is the goal of all Church discipline but the Criteria for that to happen has to be repentance!   Turn to Matt. 18






In Matthew 18 the Lord Jesus tells us what to do in cases like this:

1.v.15 15  "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.


A) That is step number one. Do not spread it around; do not ask for prayer about it; do not talk about it; go to the one who is doing the wrong.


B) This is not something that is a matter of personal injury; this is not something that you have been offended by or that they have not acted the way you think they ought to act.


C) Here Jesus is talking about things that the Word of God has already said are definitely wrong; certain actions that the Word of God has already judged.


You are to "go and tell him his fault, between you and him  alone." If he hears you, "you have gained your brother," {Matt 18:15b RSV}. That is enough; it does not need to go any  further; no one else needs to know about it.


   2."And if he does not hear you," Jesus says, V.16"take one or two others and go and tell him his fault again, and discuss it among yourselves," {cf, Matt 18:16a}.


A) The Purpose of having two or three - to be witnesses - make sure things are communicated properly and that - it is done in Love.


3.But the Lord goes on to step three. He says, "If he refuses to listen to them [the small group that has come to him], then tell it to the church,"

A) I think this can mean - Church leadership -


B) Often times people want to tell me something about another person - always ask - wait - have you shared this w/ them.

1)  If they haven’t - they need to! 


C) It is only after they have done step - 1,2 that such a situation should be brought to the Church.


 4.Step four is the final one: If he will not hear the church then "Change your attitude toward him," the Lord is saying, "let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector, as a sinner," {cf, Matt 18:17b}.


A) In other words, let him be unto you as though he is not a Christian at all.


B) He has declared himself not to be a Christian by his actions -- even though he claims yet to be a Christian by his words.

1)  You are to treat him as one who is not yet a Christian, Recognize that he has deceived himself, and he is not really born again.





Wiersbe :


CAN DAMAGED CHARACTER BE RESTORED & broken ministry be repaired?

A) No, if the offender offers excuses instead of confession, shows regret instead repentance, resists authority and runs around looking for second and third opinions.


B) No, if the offender rushes into the arms of the nearest false prophet who says "Peace, peace" where there is no peace.

1)  No, if the offender enrolls in a thirty‑day, surefire rehab program that is neither costly nor painful, supervised by somebody who prefers to whitewash instead of letting God wash white.



C) But, yes, if the offender is willing to confess sin humbly, judge it severely, turn from it completely, submit obediently, and cooperate patiently as the Potter and his assistants seek to make the vessel again.



Now If that Person is not willing to repent - Paul & Jesus say - Cast them out so that their flesh might be destroyed


Now, just what involves turning them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, we’re not quite certain.

A) Paul, in writing to Timothy, speaks of a couple of fellows, Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom he delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.


B) The idea is that of putting them outside of the umbrella, the covering of the church, that Satan might take them down

1)  and so they can see the end result of this kind of sin in their life so that they might  come to the destruction of the flesh.


C) I like what Pastor Chuck says

You know, sometimes the best cure for adultery is for the person to marry the person they're involved with. You know, Satan can so delude you, you think, "Oh, I can't live without them. Oh, this is the love of my life. This is the love of the ages. Oh, my." Just let them get married and they find out that they could have lived very well without each other.


D) It was just a big lie that Satan had build up in their minds.


So turning them over to this so oftentimes brings the destruction of the flesh, the excitement, the glamour, the allure of the whole thing.

A) So Paul gives the admonition to "Deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh in order that the spirit might be saved in that day of judgment."


B) Again salvation is the ultimate desire and goal here,/ flesh - ruined/ saved



2ND FOR THE BODY ITSELF 6  Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

A) In a more modern figure he was saying, “Don’t you know that one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel?”


B)God diagnoses spiritual health only by the standards of His righteousness.

1)  We can be highly gifted, highly blessed, highly successful, and highly respected—and also be highly sinful.


C) That was the condition of the Corinthian church. The believers there had been under the ministry of Paul, Apollos, and Peter.

1)  They were “enriched in [Christ], in all speech and all knowledge,” the “and they were “not lacking in any gift” (1:5–7).


D) Yet they were proud, arrogant, boastful, and immoral—even tolerant of 

      sins, including a sin that pagans condemned.[1]



A) Leaven or yeast was  what women used in making their bread - the yeast would be allowed to ferment in water

1)  After which it was added to fresh batch of dough in order to make it

    rise !   A little leaven would spread to whole batch


B) And leaven is used in the scripture always in an evil sense. Because like sin  little starter into the new batch of dough will work its way through the whole batch of dough.


C) A little leaven will leaven the whole lump. Sin in a Church that is tolerated can eventually effect the whole - body !

7  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.




A) Paul’s solution for every problem that the Church - had was to take them back to the cross !   Does so here analogy / Picture of Passover.


B) In preparing for the Passover, the 14th of April, the Jews would go through their whole house in a search for leaven.

1)  To remove from the house any leaven that may exist. It was done in remembrance of 1st Passover - deliverance from Egypt.


C) Ex. 12: 15  'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.



D) There removing of the Leaven was for Preparation - it symbolized their readiness in the  leaving of Egypt - leaving of the World behind !


E) We are to remove the leaven - the Sin out of our lives - out of the church as a PROCLAMATION that we belong to Christ !!!!

1)  That we have left the world behind & have given our hearts to Christ


F) To continue in sin is to make a mockery of what Christ did for us and to live a life of Hypocrisy instead of one marked by sincerity & truth.



So 2nd reason we are to deal w/ sin severely is for the Church. - We need to do so to keep the Leaven from spreading


A) Problem today - In Cor. Only one Church - today - person who is disciplined - most likely go to church down the Street

1)  Bad mouth where he came from !!!!


B) Makes discipline for the sake of Restoration hard -



Finish up V.9 9  I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.   ( Another letter - shared some insights on immorality)

10  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.


Paul wants to make sure they realize he is not talking about unbelievers -

Only way to not associate w/ the immoral people of the World- taken heaven

A) Jesus Prayed JN. 17- not take us out of the world - keep us from the evil one


B) Our Lord has left us in the world - purpose of being salt & light - rub shoulders w/ those who don’t know Him !

1)  Love them - share Christ w/ them - so they can be saved .


C) In the World but not of the World for the Purpose of winning the world!

1)  Sad that many Christians fail to realize this - want to isolate themselves from the very people God wants to use them to reach


11  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person.

12  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

13  But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."


"Those that are on the outside God will judge."

But we should have a certain judgment within the church.


"Therefore put away from among you that wicked person."

Referring back to this fellow who was having an incestuous relationship with his stepmother.


[1]MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.