Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #38
Posted: March 25, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

In I Corinthians 5:3-5 and 11-13 we are confronted with an hallowed ‘IN CHRIST’ truth.  It is here that because of our position ‘In Christ’ the church is given the power to exercise church discipline and turn folks out of the church and over to Satan.  The text says, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  I believe if we practice more church discipline in our church membership they would fear and walk Holy before our Lord.  John Phillips said, “God does not condemn sin in the sinner and then condone it in the saint.”  Peter said, “Judgment must begin at the house of God”.  (I Peter 4:17)

The man in question in our text had committed an awful act of fornication.  Paul in verse 11 mentions several other situations that demand discipline.  They are: fornication (sexual relationship outside of marriage), covetous (those who love gain and lie for the sake of gain), idolater (those who have an overwhelming love for the world), extortioner (those who take what is not justly theirs or take more than is justly theirs), railer (one who is abusive to others), and a drunkard (one who drinks to intoxication).  Paul said that because we are “In Christ’ the church has the power to deal harshly with the people who commit these sins.

Paul speaks in verse 7 of purging out the ‘old leaven’.  Leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible.  It can permeate the whole loaf.  The only thing that can stop the working process of the sin of leaven is the fire of judgment. 

Paul tells us in verses 12 and 13 that we are not to ‘judge those that are without in the world’.  We are to ‘judge those that are within the church’.  In verse 13 he says, “…therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person”.

The Bible gives a clear cut plan in exercising church discipline.  Let us remember that this is a powerful tool given to the Church because of being ‘In Christ’.  Let us exercise extreme care as we practice this holy tool of disciple, but let us make sure we do practice church discipline.  Let us be careful of gathering people just for numbers sake.  Pure Bible preaching and church discipline will often keep us from a building program. 

Let us now look at the process of church discipline laid out in the Bible.  In Galatians 6:1 we are told if one is overtaken in a fault you who are spiritual should restore such a one.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:15-19 if they can not be restored take two or three witnesses with you that every word may be established.  If they fail to repent, bring them before the church.  Once they have been confronted by the church and they fail to repent then they are to be turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. 

I know we do not like these terms and shy away from them.  It is a fearful state to be turned over to Satan.  This causes the body to be destroyed leaving only the spirit to be saved in the day of the Lord.  Let us remember that this tool, when exercised with a broken heart, has led to the restoration of many.  It is also the instrument, when exercised, that keeps many others in the church from falling into sin. 

Paul tells us in II Corinthians 2:6-8 that this man was restored back to the fellowship.  Let us not forget this power entrusted to the church by right of our holy position ‘In Christ’.  This discipline does work when properly exercised by the church.