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Paul Rebukes the Immorality being overlooked and even approved in the Corinthian Church Part 3
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. KJV
Paul continues to rebuke them and reprimand them for ignoring this gross sexual behavior in their midst without doing something about it. Paul calls their exalting of him or Peter or Apollos (while this gross sexual immorality was being indulged) not only divisive and destructive but boastful. The Corinthians (as individuals) were more concerned and conscious of pushing themselves forward or out front in the church to the point of even causing disorder, disunion, and disruption in the fellowship more than the purity and integrity in the hearts of the men and women that made up their fellowship. Paul will also address this disorder later on in this first letter written to them. Paul said several things to them on this issue such as this, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20). Paul has already called them “babes in Christ” and we understand in the natural physical birth of a child that the “baby” is helpless and totally dependent on its mother and father to feed him or her clothe them and even cleanse them daily. Paul says to these believers that it is utter non-sense for them to be still acting as spiritual babies unable to discern the difference between what is good (morally excellent or morally virtues) and acceptable to our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:10) and what is evil (morally objectionable behavior or that which causes harm, destruction or misfortune) and is detestable to our Lord Jesus Christ (Proverbs 12:22).
Paul wrote those words in 1 Corinthians 14:20 at the beginning of a discourse to clarify for them the order that their worship together should take and to put an end to their chaotic assemblies, but the idea of being “babes concerning evil” is the very thought he is trying to get over to them when he ask this question, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6). Paul is here using “leaven” symbolically to represent “evil” and what the presence of evil will do in a congregation of believers is identical to what “leaven” or “yeast” as we more commonly refer to it does in dough. Leaven or yeast placed inside dough begins to work its way through the entire lump until it has permeated every nook and crack and made the lump puffed up. This is exactly what Paul has declared to these Corinthians has happened to them when he said this to them earlier, “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:2). As we stated in the last study, Paul was at all times concerned for the souls of these people in Corinth and he wanted their assembly to be made up of individual men, women, boys, and girls who were true sons and daughters of God by virtue of regeneration and new birth.
It was Paul who had been made aware by God the Holy Spirit that false brethren pretending to be real would rise up among the true believers in order to lead them astray and into error as he said it in this manner to the Ephesians, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:28-31). Paul could not be certain about this man “who had his father’s wife” whether or not he was a true son or not as we stated in the last study, so Paul commands them to “purge out” the old leaven. When Paul first went to the city of Corinth, he found much false worship of false gods taking place there and one such false god was Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation) and the temple where Aphrodite was worshipped had over 1,000 temple prostitutes where the actual act of sexual intercourse was a part of this false god worship. The English phrase “purge out” is translated by the Greek word ekkathairo which means to cleanse out or clean thoroughly.
Paul is now declaring to them that they have been redeemed from that falsehood or “old leaven” and now they are “unleavened” and this English word “unleavened” is translated by the Greek word azumos which means figuratively uncorrupted and metaphorically to be free from faults or the “leaven of iniquity” and by implication it refers to the Jewish Passover week. This is why Paul immediately says this, “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Paul is saying that our Lord Jesus Christ has become our sacrifice for “sins” and by His Stripes we are now healed from our condition of sinful enslavement (1 Peter 2:24-25) and therefore, we should now live in the light of this reality (Ephesians 4:17-32). Paul describes such behavior as this man is perpetrating and the rest of the congregation is approving as malicious and wicked. The Greek word translated for malice is kakia which means ill-will, or the desire to injure, depravity or wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, evil, trouble. Instead of this malicious behavior being perpetuated in this congregation, these believers are exhorted and commanded by Paul to maintain uncorrupted worship in sincerity and truth. The English word sincerity is translated by the Greek word eilikrineia which means clearness, genuousness, and by implication purity. Paul wants the “will of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) to be the central focus of these believers fellowship and that must mean truth, sincerity, and purity, as the words of our Lord Jesus Christ were clear when He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Need I say anymore?
“Malice is the devil’s picture. Lust makes men brutish; malice makes them devilish - it is mental murder.” Thomas Watson
“Become pure in heart. The pure in heart shall see God. Here, then, is one opening for soul-culture--the avenue through purity of heart to the spiritual seeing of God.” Henry Drummond
“I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness.” Charles Spurgeon
“In such a world as this, with such hearts as ours, weakness is wickedness in the long run. Whoever lets himself be shaped and guided by anything lower than an inflexible will, fixed in obedience to God, will in the end be shaped into a deformity, and guided to wreck and ruin.” Alexander MacLaren
“If men’s religion prevails not to conquer and cure the wickedness of their hearts, it shall not always serve for a cloak. The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.” Matthew Henry
“This desire for heart purity is a creation of the Holy Spirit at work in the heart.” Duncan Campbell
“The response to the gospel by any sinner (if it is genuine) will produce a heart that longs to be clean and pure and to stay that way.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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