JUDGING SIN

[SW378] 5/11/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Judging Sin”

 Text: 1Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15-17, etc.

Are Christians supposed to judge sin? If we are to judge sin, then what is the purpose of judging sin? Whom do we judge? Whom do we not judge? 

I will show you that believers must judge sinning believers in the church, and I will show you why. I will show you that we are not to judge sin in the world, and I will show you why.

I tell you the truth, Jesus Christ is angry that sin is celebrated and elevated among believers and by leaders in His church. Do you not know that when you condone sin, you yourself sin? It was the same in Corinth in the days of Paul. And through Paul, the Lord has much to say to you!

1 Corinthians 5

Verse 1 —

Paul is shocked! He is horrified! A report has come to him that there is immorality within the church at Corinth — a particular kind of immorality that even pagans do not practice! What is the sin? A brother in Christ has his father’s wife. He is living with her sexually, in an ongoing relationship. The sin is incest.
The Law of Moses is not negated by the New Testament. The Old Testament was the only book the early church used, because the New Testament had not been written yet! Paul used it to help converted pagans understand the character of God. 

The Word of God says the sin of incest exposes the woman’s nudity to her son, and also strips the honor of the father. The consequence for the sin of incest is death — 

Leviticus 20:11 “If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered  (denuded disgracefully) his father’s nakedness (nudity); both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

Today, the consequence of death remains for those who sin, because in the day of judgment, they will be found guilty of the sin they have chosen to commit. By their own choice, therefore, they will sentence themselves to hell.

Incest is so abhorrent and repulsive that even the pagans forbid it. Even in their earthly wisdom, they would say that such a thing is abhorrent and an insult to the father of this young man. Yet the church at Corinth celebrates the relationship!

Verse 2 —

The believers at Corinth have become prideful about this young man’s incest. They have given their seal of approval to it. How? They have not rebuked him, nor have they warned him to stop, nor have they removed him from the congregation. Paul rebukes them, saying the young man should have been removed from the congregation at Corinth, but he has not been removed.  

Why would you remove a sinner from a congregation? The rest will see his continued presence among them as acceptance of whatever sin is being committed, as if the Lord is not going to punish any of them for sinning. Therefore, everyone will take sin lightly. 

I continually see the effect of not removing sinning believers from those in the pews and in the pulpits of churches in the U.S., and around the world. Sin has become rampant and even blatant, done openly and unashamedly, among believers! 

The church, who should be Jesus Christ’s spotless, blameless bride (Ephesians 5:27, Revelation 19:7, 21:2 & 9), considers and teaches that nearly everything God says is sin (1Corinthians 6:9-10) is no longer sin. Many believers consider the church’s acceptance of sin to be an excuse for they themselves to sin. 

But sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), whether or not you count yourself as a Christian, as this young man did. Look at the Holy Spirit’s judgment against Ananias and Sapphira’s greed that led them to lie to the church leaders — the Holy Spirit struck both of them dead (see Acts 5:5, 10)! 

Look at Jesus Christ’s admonishment to five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3! They were in danger of losing their salvation. Beloved, He admonishes those He loves!

Do you not know, beloved, that sin among believers — sin in God’s camp — causes the whole church to be spiritually defeated in every way by the enemy of their souls, Satan! The church has no spiritual backbone these days. She has not exposed, rebuked, and removed the sinners among her.Therefore, she is weak and powerless and entirely defeated. 

In Joshua 7, Achan willfully disobeyed the LORD’s direct command to take nothing from Jericho, whom Israel had soundly defeated. He secretly took and then hid treasures in his tent. But nothing is hidden from the eyes of the One with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Because of Achan’s sin, Israel was soundly defeated when they attacked Ai. Joshua did not know about Achan’s sin, and fell down before the LORD —

Joshua 7:10   So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 

Notice that the Lord did not say, “Someone has sinned.” He said, “Israel has sinned.” If one sins, all are guilty! When the Lord showed Joshua that it was Achan who had sinned, and Achan confessed it, he was put to death. Then Israel battled Ai again, and soundly defeated them.

Sin leads to defeat, and ultimately, death! Why do believers take sin lightly today? They are taught to do so! Thus, they reveal that they have no discernment, and do not know Jesus Christ, for they do not know His voice, but run after the voices of strangers (see John 10:4-5, 27). 

I tell you the truth, every breath I take is a prayer for the church, for she has become a silly dove, who is without understanding and readily mates with the world system, just like Ephraim/northern Israel (see Hosea 7:11)!

Verses 3-5 —

Now, Paul issues his judgment on the silly doves at Corinth! He, on his part, has judged sin in the church. He is not in Corinth, but he is with them in the Holy Spirit; that is, by the Spirit, He is able to judge them and has already judged the sinning believer who has committed incest, as if he were present with them. 

Paul says, in the name of our Lord Jesus (theirs and Paul’s), when the church at Corinth is assembled, Paul will be with them by the Holy Spirit, and with the power of our Lord Jesus, Paul commands them to deliver the sinning believer to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature! What? Send him away, and do it in front of the whole church? Jesus says likewise, and so does Paul, to Timothy —

Matthew 18:17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

1Timothy 5:20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

Why bring the sinning believer before the whole church and then send him away? So that Satan can sift the man like wheat — shaking and tossing him. 

It was the same with Jesus when Peter boasted that he would never leave Jesus —

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (when you repent for your sin of pride), strengthen thy brethren.” (KJV)

When the man repents (see 2Corinthians 2:6-8) and then asks the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, his sin nature — which is at the root of his lust for his father’s wife — will be crucified (Galatians 5:24). Then, his spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (the day of judgment). 

Why do we judge sin among believers? The primary purpose of publicly exposing, rebuking, and putting out a sinning believer is his or her salvation!

Verse 6 —

Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth that their pride is not morally good. It gives Jesus Christ a black eye every time a believer sins. Scoffers will scoff, saying, “See? They are no different from us! Christianity is a big joke!”

Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump of dough? In the same way, a little sin spreads through the whole church! How?

If one person’s sin is not rebuked, Satan will run riot with the rest of the sinning believers whose sin nature is still alive and well. Well, say the rest of the sinning believers, you did not rebuke his sin, so how can you rebuke ours? Hmmm, says the pastor. I suppose you are right. So I will not rebuke your sin or anyone else’s sin. 

What? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin continue to live in it (see Romans 6:2)? Put out the sinning believer who has shown by his actions that he has not died to sin — his sin nature and its lusts and desires are alive and well!

Verse 7 —

Because of the perverseness of human nature, and the great desire of sinning believers to have their sin blessed and not cursed, Paul clearly speaks, as Christ’s representative, “Clean out the old leaven so you may be a new lump, just as you are (to be ) unleavened.” 

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to get rid of the leaven (a type of sin) — the sinning believer who has his father’s wife. 

Beloved, do you not know that there should be no sin in you? Christ died on a cross not only for your past sins to be forgiven and not only to reconcile you to God, but to rise on the third day and ascend and pour out His Holy Spirit so your sin nature (the leaven you were born with as a child of Adam) is crucified! Then the leaven in you will never rise again!

Verse 8 —

It always bothers me when translators add “let us” to passages, as if it is a suggestion. Paul issues commands here. Therefore, Paul says, celebrate the Passover, and not the sin of this believer. 

Death has passed over us, if we believe into Jesus and remain in Him! O believers in the church at Corinth, O believers in the church of today, why sin against yourself by not rebuking the sinning believer? Do you not know that you put yourself back under a death sentence?

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to celebrate not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness — which this man had against his father — but with the unleavened (sin-free) bread of sincerity (purity of heart) and truth. I tell you the truth, you will not be able to do that until your sin nature has been dealt a death blow! 

I exhort you to ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and then wait for His promise (Acts 4:1-5)! He will purify your heart, and you will know it when He has done it!

Verses 9-11 —

Paul writes to the believers at Corinth, exhorting them not to associate (mix with, gather with) with immoral people. But he did not mean the (sexually) immoral people of the world — or with the covetous, or swindlers, or idolaters. 

If the believers at Corinth was ordered not to associate with unbelieving sinners, then they would have to go out of the world. But we are commanded by Jesus Christ to go out into the world and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must be among them, but not sin with them. 

Spirit-filled believers are not part of the world, but are in it, says Jesus Christ, when He speaks of what it will be like for His followers after their own personal Pentecost —

John 17:14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

If we are to associate with the sinning world, in order to spread the gospel, then who should we not associate with? Paul commands the believers at Corinth not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous (sexually promiscuous), or an idolater (worship of self), or a reviler (abuser), or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one! They are false brethren! 

But look! We have them in our pulpits! They are members of our church boards! They are in our pews!

Verses 12-13 —

For what have I to do, asks Paul, with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? That is a rhetorical question. Of course you do, Paul is saying! 

Why not judge those who are outside the church? God will judge them. They are already under His wrath, just as John the Baptist testifies —

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

But in the church, Paul has already said, sinning believers must be judged! Remove the wicked man from your midst! Do not mix with him, do not gather with him, do not even eat with him!  If you do, you incur God’s judgment upon yourself, for to praise rather than rebuke sinning believers is to help them on the way to hell. You give them and yourself a death sentence, beloved!

Knowing that believers are to judge sinning believers, how should it be done? Jesus issues commands to the church regarding sin in the church —

Matthew 18:15   “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.” 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever, heathen) and a tax collector.”

Let him be to you as an unbeliever, just as I noted earlier in this message, from Matthew 18:17!

May the whole apostate church repent for doing what is culturally acceptable rather than what is right before God! By deciding in their own minds that it is not loving to rebuke sin, the sinning believer does not repent and will not be saved on the day of judgment. 

Do you not understand that the church thus helps sinning believers onto the broad path that leads to hell (see Matthew 7:13), and thus sins? Do you not understand that, because the church does not rebuke and judge sin among her members, she is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and does not know it? Jesus Christ rebukes the church at Laodicea —

Revelation 3:17 “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich . . . 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

Make it so, Lord Jesus, I pray. May every member of Your church repent and ask to be refined and purified in Your fire, by asking Your Father in heaven to fill them with Your Holy Spirit! Surely, You will answer by baptizing them with the Holy Spirit and fire! Amen!

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