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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sex Scandal

Today I'm reading 1 Corinthians 5:1-6.

    1-2 I also received a report of scandalous sex within your church family, a kind that wouldn’t be tolerated even outside the church: One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. And you’re so above it all that it doesn’t even faze you! Shouldn’t this break your hearts? Shouldn’t it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn’t this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with?
    3-5 I’ll tell you what I would do. Even though I’m not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what’s going on. I’m telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out in the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community—I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.
    6-8 Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing,” but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this “yeast.” Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread—simple, genuine, unpretentious.

There really isn't anything new under the sun. Each generation thinks it discovered sex...and all the sexual temptations, sins and though no previous generation knew anything about it. Ancient Rome and Corinth were 'anything goes' cities - even far beyond what we see in our own day.  They took sexual excess for granted. Normal Temple prostitution for both men and women was expected.  It was part of their religion with the Greek and Roman gods. Homosexuality was highly valued - and the preposterous statements today by people who want to undermine the Bible's authority that the ancient culture didn't know about loving homosexual, committed relationships is just completely false. They had every combination under the sun.

And it was against that backdrop of sexual excess that the early church was born. And the radical nature of sexual purity taught by the church...that's what was so unknown in ancient times. It was counter cultural. 

In this passage Paul points out the scandal that in the church they were even going beyond what the culture said was 'OK'. And what was most distressing was that they had become numb to it all...sort of what's happening now in our culture. Christians are actually taking up the cause of what God considers sin, advocating lifestyles that the Bible clearly condemns. 

Getting Christians to take sexual purity seriously is going to be a long uphill climb for the church in the next decade. Many will be deceived and mislead.


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