|1 Corinthians 5
COMMUNITY STANDARDS: WHEN WE MUST JUDGE
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
1. The Problem: Immorality (5:1-2).
The church is, once again, acting like the world, even worse than the world!
The community retains within its midst someone who even shames the Gentile world.
A man is sleeping with his father's wife!
Pride prevents the church from excluding this man from its community (5:2, 6).
2. The Principle: Discipline (5:3-8).
The community has standards. It must be without yeast. It must be pure and truthful.
The community must discipline immoral people. Hand them over to Satan when God's people are assembled. Get rid of the yeast for the sake of the purity of the Lamb.
The community must judge evil in its midst. It must not celebrate the feast with immoral people. It must not eat with immoral people.
3. The Distinction: Community and the World (5:9-13).
We do not judge the world. We must engage the world rather than isolate ourselves from it.
But we do judge the community. We exclude people who engage in certain activities without repentance.
The church is a holy community that lives in the world for the sake of the world.
1. Why do you think the church was so willing to accept or tolerate this immoral brother? How does pride factor into their willingness? What differences exist between how Paul sees this situation and how the Corinthians see it?
2. When is a church expected to be patient and gentle with one of its members, but stern with others? What makes the difference?
3. How would paraphrase what Paul tells them to do in verses 3-4?
4. Given the yeast imagery, what is Paul's concern if this situation is permitted to continue? How is this consistent with the "new bread" they have become (vv. 7-8)?
5. What was the double purpose Paul had in mind when he required the expulsion of this immoral brother?
6. What practical meaning does discipline have in relation to the community and its relationship with the disciplined brother? What relationship is severed in discipline? What relationships may continue?
7. Why is there a difference between the way Christians relate to those outside the faith and the way they relate to believers?
8. For what reasons should a disciple be excluded from the community according to this text? How are these related to each other?
9. How do you reconcile Paul's teaching here with that in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. What is the point in each? How do we reconcile this with Jesus' teaching that we should not judge each other (Matthew 7:1-2)? When is it appropriate to "judge" and inappropriate to "judge"?
10. Why is it important for the community to have ethical standards? What does this say about the nature of the church and its relationship to the world?
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