Sexual Immorality Problem (Part 1)
1 Cor. 5:1-5
Today we will be dealing with a different type of problem which the Corinthian church is having. It’s
about sexual immorality by one of its members. A son is having a relationship with his step mother
meaning, they live like husband and wife. The truth about this is known not only in the church but in
Corinth as a whole. This sin is morally wrong so here the Apostle Paul, condemns the matter and
write ways on how to deal with it.
I. The sin (1 Cor. 5:1-2)
A. Fornication – comes from the Greek word “porneia” where we get the English word
1. It is defined as “illicit sex outside the boundaries of marriage, and includes
adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, incest, also includes crossing into
the realm of the divorced.
2. Webster 1828 Dictionary defines it as: The incontinence or lewdness of
unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation of a married
man with an unmarried woman; adultery; incest; a forsaking of the true God and
worshiping of idols.
3. The Bible uses this term as a general description for immorality (Mt. 5:32; 15:19;
19:9; Acts 15:20,29; 21:15; Rom. 1:29; 1Cor. 5:1; 6:18; 7:2; 2Cor. 12:21; Gal.
5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Thess. 4:3; Rev. 9:21). Like adultery, fornication is also
used in a spiritual sense to describe turning from God to serve false gods (Ezek.
16:29-34; Rev. 2:21; 14:8; 17:2,4; 18:3; 19:2).
4. This incestuous relationship was forbidden by the Mosaic Law (Lev. 18:8 and
Deut. 22:30), but it must have also been shocking even to the immoral pagans of
Corinth. Under the Roman Law, this is also illegal.
5. The person involved is a church member, the sinning partner is not rebuked so
we can assume that she is not a believer.
B. The Corinthians failed to discipline the erring member and they are “puffed up”. (1
1. They are so arrogant and carnal that they allowed and tolerated the sin to
2. They weren’t proud of the sin; they were too proud to be concerned about the
3. Paul rebukes them for not mourning or showing sorrow over this sin.
4. “Might be taken away”. The sinning member should not be allowed to
fellowship with them inside or outside the church, yet it doesn’t seem so.
Illustration 1: Governor Calls It “Feasts of Hell”
The rock festival revolutionaries invaded the heartland of Midwest America, Labor Day weekend,
1970. Between 20,000 and 25,000 came to a wheat field near Pittsburgh, Kansas.
They came in a state of unconventional dress and birthday clothes to attend what was billed as a
rock musical festival but it turned out to be a wild orgy of promiscuous sex and narcotics. They were
not a bunch of innocent youth, but rather the worst elements of society.
Among them were hard-core revolutionaries. The American flag was desecrated. They waded and
wallowed in filth. The sale and use of narcotics were wide open. It was the biggest pot party and sex
orgy the Midwest has ever seen.
Forty young people were arrested, being charged with carrying concealed weapons, possessing
drugs or liquor, and driving while intoxicated. There was display of nudity, and there were mixed
nude swimming parties in a nearby creek. With no sanitation facilities and failure to comply with
health regulations, one can imagine what the place was like.
The former Kansas Governor and Presidential candidate, Alf Landon said: “They call these things
festivals, but I have another name for them—’feasts of hell.’ Christianity Today
II. The authority to discipline (1 Cor. 5:3)
A. Paul has passed judgement on the sinner even he is not physically present there.
The church must judge the sinner too since they have the right and responsibility to
do this also.
B. They must act “In the name of our Lord Jesus” who is the head of the Church; and
under whose authority every act is to be performed. (1 Cor. 5:4)
C. The Lord Jesus Christ is Paul’s source of apostolic authority. Paul represents Him.
D. New Testament procedure for Church Discipline:
1. Go and tell the person his fault between thee and him alone (Mt. 18:15)
2. If he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more that in the mouth
of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Mt. 18:16).
3. If he shall neglect to hear them tell it to the church (Mt. 18:17)
4. If he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a
publican (Mt. 18:17). “Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a
brother (2 Thess. 3:15)
III. The punishment (1 Cor. 5:5)
A. 1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1. To deliver such an one unto Satan. The word “deliver” here means to surrender,
yield up, intrust, transmit, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up),
hazard, put in prison, recommend.
2. There were two interpretation for this passage:
a. It means to excommunicate the man. To stop fellowshipping with the man
until he repented. This is to keep the practice from spreading, it would serve
as a deterrent to future offenders.
b. He will be physically turned over to the devil.
3. “for the destruction of the flesh”
a. This refers to God’s chastening for sin that can result in sickness. (Job 2:4-10,
Paul, 2 Cor. 12:7)
b. Physical death has been used by the Lord to accomplish His will. (Ananias
and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10, the believers who dishonour the Lord’s Supper
in 1 Cor. 11:30-32).
4. “that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”.
a. A real believer who commits sin and dies, can never lose his salvation. Once
saved always saved. This is the doctrine of eternal security.
b. The doctrine of eternal security does not mean that someone can be saved
and “live as they please.” It means that if a person is truly saved, he will
have a changed life and if he does try to live according to the flesh, he will
be chastened. The fact that he is chastened is an evidence of his salvation
5. It is important to note that this is the extent of the church’s authority in regard
to discipline or so-called excommunication. It has no authority to take away
someone’s salvation, and it has no authority to punish anyone physically, to
imprison them, to torture them, or to put them to death. Anytime churches
have gone beyond the bounds of 1 Corinthians 5 and have become persecutors
they have proven themselves to be false churches, to be wolves rather than
Illustration 2: Built-In Failure
The flesh is a built-in law of failure, making it impossible for the natural man to please or serve God.
It is a compulsive inner force inherited from man’s fall, which expresses itself in general and specific
rebellion against God and His righteousness. The flesh can never be reformed or improved. The only
hope for escape from the law of the flesh is its total execution and replacement by a new life in the
Lord Jesus Christ. — 10,000 Sermon Illustrations
Illustration 3: Old Pete’s Assurance
Albertus Pieters in his book Divine Lord and Savior, tells of a believer who was not well-educated,
but who had a deep assurance of his salvation. Everyone called him “Old Pete.” One day while
talking with Dr. Pieters, he said, “If God should take me to the very mouth of Hell and say to me, “In
you go, Pete; here’s where you belong,” I would say to Him, “That’s true, Lord, I do belong there. But
if you make me go to Hell, Your dear Son Jesus Christ must go with me! He and I are now one, and
we cannot be separated anymore.” Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
The sin that is being committed by one of the members of the church of Corinth is very
shocking and indeed its very immoral for even the pagans doesn’t do this. Sin must be
punished and dealt with according to the Word of God. If a real believer sins, he doesn’t
lose his salvation but he will be chastened by the Lord.