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The Pure Church

September 26, 2021 Speaker: Series: 1 Corinthians

Passage: 1 Corinthians 5:1–13

What is biblical church discipline? In the broadest sense, church discipline is everything the church does to help its members pursue holiness and fight sin (Ephesians 4:11-32; Philippians 2:1-18). In a narrower sense, church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body – including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church because of serious unrepentant sin.

Issue # 2: 1 Corinthians 5:1–13

Problem: Some Corinthian Christians are tolerating incest.

Gospel Solution: Purge the evil person from among you, because Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.


  1. A judgment pronounced (1–5)

The First Evil: the sexually immoral act of an individual church member (1a)

The Second Evil: the corporate sin of the Church condoning, accepting, and tolerating the situation, with no overt sign even of concern (1b)

  • Instead of being consumed with grief and disciplining the man out of their Christian fellowship, the Corinthian church remains smug of their “enlightened” tolerance (2).
  • The judgment Paul wants meted out is to be communal. The entire church is to take action: handing this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord (3-5)


  1. A rationale explained (6–8)
    • Church discipline is important for the health of the church as a whole. Evil in the church that no one deals with soon affects the entire church.
    • Because of the death of Jesus, the church in Corinth is the new and holy people of God. They must therefore live up to this calling and purify God’s house (6), become a new batch of dough (7), and celebrate the Festival (8) by removing the man from their midst.


  1. A misunderstanding corrected (9–13)
    • This has nothing to do with disciplining the outside world. What Paul has in mind is discipline within the church of God (9-10)
    • Christians are not to associate with people who profess to be believers, yet live in unrepentant sin. Also, Paul’s understanding of what conduct should be subject to church discipline is not restricted to the sexual arena. He means to include major moral defection: greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness, and swindling (11).
    • Christians are to “judge” those inside the church, while God judges those “outside” (12-13).


Excommunication Texts: Mathew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Titus 3:10-11; 1 Timothy 1:20