Sin Worse than the Worst

Just added, a new message from 1 Corinthians chapter 5, preached by J Stewart Gillespie:

1 Corinthians chp 5 – Sin Worse than the Worst

Notes from this message:

1. The Report (v1)
2. The Response (v2)
3. The Recovery (v2-v8)

The Report

    V1 – “It is commonly reported”

    We notice the low spiritual and moral state of affairs at Corinth, which was surely disappointing for the apostle Paul, having been used to plant the church at Corinth.
    This seems a basic issue, basic moral issue to ere over.
    How can this transpire in a church?
    Corinth was such a:

    Popular church
    Progressive Church
    Prosperous church

    A church with a real buzz and plenty of gifts and social liberalism (chp 8)
    Yet this church fails at the most basic level!
    How did this come to be?

    They marginalised Christ.

    Certain core truths regarding Christ were forgotten:

    Unity of His body (chp1)
    Power of His Cross (chp1)
    Simplcity of His Gospel (chp2)
    Dependence on Christ for feeding and growth (chp3)
    Lordship of Christ over all service (chp4)
    The Moral implications of the sacrifice of Christ (chp5)

    Their devotion to Christ could not be rightly judged by:

    1 – The exercise of gifts
    2 – The size of their gathering

    But rather in:

    Unity with one another (chp1)
    Preaching of the Gospel (chp1+2)
    Feeding on Christ (chp3)
    Obedience and service of Christ (chp4)
    Practical holiness (chp5)

    and yet paradoxically it is perhaps a source of encouragement for us:
    Christians do fall and fail
    These deep and difficult situations are not beyond recovery
    Failure is not of necessity final!
    Paul writes with a view to dealing with these situations and with the expectation of recovery and restoration (2 Co2:5ff)
    Notice the effect of sin upon the church as a whole.
    This may have been the sin of only one or two but it had ramifications for the whole church.
    It may only have been the sin of 1 or 2 but it was 1 or 2 who were “among you” (5:1) and this had effects upon them all.
    The problem of testimony or reputation
    This was guilt by association and corruption by contamination.
    This has been a frequent problem over the years:

    Achans sin
    Solomons wives
    Moses wives
    Jonah on the boat

    There are those who are willing to sacrifice Christ and His Church on the altar of their own lust.
    Sadly at times Christians have been:

    1 – Complacent
    2 – Complicit
    3 – Compromising

    In this
    Sometimes under the pretext of:

    Love – for the person as a reason to ignore their sin
    Longsuffering – as a virtue that tolerates sin
    Loyalty to the person

    There is you see a hard core of people who are so self obsessed, so fallen into sin and sometimes self pity that they are willing to to sacrifice:

    1 – The Cause of Christ
    2 – The Church of Christ

    On the altar of their own lusts, with little or no concern or care for the consequences of their own actions.

    Beware that in our complacency that we do not fall prey to the carnal believer.
    We hand the testimony into the hands of people who care little or nothing for it, who refuse to see their responsibility to live up to that standard and who are quite willing for the whole work of God to be brought into disrepute and to be slandered, just so they can continue to do what they are doing.

    V1 – ‘fornication’ : 4202 : porneia : from ‘porneuo’ to commit fornication or any sexual sin, from a root word meaning to sell.

    Merchandising morality – the root issue is jettisoning what is right because of what we believe we stand to gain / profit.
    Not that our understanding of what is right and wrong fundamentally changes and not that we are genuinely blinded to the truth but we make merchandise of morality, morality is compromised for money, jettisoning right and wrong when it suits us.
    An appeal can be made to conscience in chapter 5 – this has not been lost.

    V1 – “should have” – note this is a present infinitive active indicating not a one off failure but a persistent and ongoing sin
    V1 – “fathers wife”
    An act of incest under the terms of Lev 18:8
    This kind of sin was not new, regrettably:

    1 – Abraham and Sarah – possibly, although it would appear to have been accepted in the culture of Ur of the Chaldees from which they came and was out in the open and above board.
    2 – Judah and Tamar
    3 – Lot and his 2 daughters
    4 – Ruben and his father’s concubine
    5 – Tamar and David’s son Amnon
    6 – Absalom and his father David’s concubines
    7 – Herod and Herodias
    This sin is not new, and in that sense the REALITY of it and the EXISTENCE of it, or that we find it, is not so shocking

    The Response (v2)
    What is truly showing and unique is the RESPONSE to it and Where we find it!
    Up until 1 Corinthians chapter 5, with the notable exception of Abraham and Sarah, incestuous relationships had always been a source of embarrassment, the object of judgement, of condemnation and reproach.
    Here in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, they are the source of PRIDE (1 Co5:2).
    This is surprising, shocking and unique!
    The Corinthians appear to have had little scruples over what they they would and would not accept, this is perhaps an important observation to bear in mind as we consider later on ministry that Paul would give regarding marriage in chapter 7 And some ministry interestingly which he did not give!
    They were “puffed up” : phubioo : 5448: from ‘phusao’ – to breath, inflate, blow, or puff up, spoke figuratively of pride or self conceit.
    They not only tolerated sin, they were proud that they tolerated the sin!
    It is part of our fallen humanity that in spite of our sin we continue to think well of ourselves, we attempt to hold on at least to our self esteem and dignity; so we become proud in our boasting.
    Corinth was the popular and all Inclusive church.
    What was the cause of this unique response?
    Why we’re they “puffed up” (5:2)?

    1. They were compromised morally – consider the compromise of some with prostitution in 6:12ff.
    2. They were confused Doctrinally – consider the possible / probable influence at Corinth of a teaching like that of Romans 6:1; “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
    3. They were corrupted spiritually – cf. Chapter 8; 10:7-8 – the spiritual impact upon them of compromise with idols and fornication.

    If we compromise with a sin a small way you will find it difficult / unattractive to take a firm / bold / assertive / convincing stand against the practice of sin in a bigger way.
    One small compromise opens the flood gates to a bigger and broader compromise with sin.
    Very hard to take a consistent stand against sin if we have compromised with sin.
    Therein lies the root and the rot of the permissive society.
    Here is Paul and the permissive society.

    The Road to Recovery

    1. Mourning – Repentance (5:2)

    To move from:
    Self satisfaction to sorrow
    Rejoicing to regret
    High self esteem to reproach
    ‘mourned’: 3996: pentheo: to mourn, to lament – used in Matt 5:4
    This is not simply mourning:
    Consequences of sin – not just regret over the effect of this on the testimony (5:1)
    Condition of sin that prevails
    Conviction and commitment to see things really change – to see the problems dealt with

    2. Judgement and discernment (5:3)

    3. Decisive Action (5:5)

    4. Destruction of the Flesh (5:5) – we cannot hold on to selective bits of the flesh

    V5 – ‘ For the destruction of the flesh’
    Most commentators take this to refer to the physical destruction of the believers body, citing for example:
    Job
    Pauls thorn in the flesh
    I was pleased to discover however that at least 3 commentators get it right:

    FW Grosheide
    GD Fee
    John Heading
    Why isn’t this the physical destruction of the person?

    1. It is not our physical form that is the source of our sin, it is our fallen nature that is the source of our sin. Physical mortification is not a means to spiritual growth (1 Co 13:2; Gal 6:12; Col 2:20-23).
    2. The expectation of verse 5 is that of the salvation of the fallen believer and thus not their destruction. From 2 Co2:5ff we see that Paul also is looking for present restoration and repentance from them, something that is difficult for a destroyed believer!

    3. Biblical president – When God gives people over to chastening their is a consistent pattern. The inevitable consequence of the fulfilled desires of the flesh is that of destruction.

    4. Note the distinctions in the section: v3 – body vs Spirit and them in verse 5 – flesh vs spirit, what is the difference?

    5. Grammar – cf. GD Fee – for the relationship between ‘For destruction’ and ‘may be saved’ – that whilst the ‘destruction of the flesh’ is the anticipated result of the mans being put back out into Satans domain, while the express purpose of the action is his redemption.

Thy Kingdom Come

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians :

1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

1 Corinthians chp 4 vs 8 – Thy Kingdom Come – J Stewart Gillespie – 01072014.mp3

Preaching Notes

    :

    Reminded of Derek Binghams introduction to Daniel when he observed that God does not give prophesy simply to satisfy our intellectual curiosity about the future, but with prophetic revelation God has moral and spiritual goals in mind.

    1 John 3:1ff : ‘and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifiers himself even as he is pure’

    2 Peter 3:11 – Edward Blum, ‘Peter makes the impending disintegration of the universe the ground for a personal challenge to his readers.’

    Christ is coming back
    Gods wrath is about to be poured out on a Christ rejecting world
    The heaven and earth will be dissolved
    A new heaven and earth are to be ushered in
    So what does all of this mean?
    Be careful what you are watching on the Tele
    Be wary of what you are browsing on the Internet

    This truth seems to come to the fore here in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, in a negative sense, namely a wrong understanding of future events results in wrong behaviour.
    The Corinthians appear to be suffering from a wrong view of the kingdom.

    1. Problem of the Kingdom (4:6)
    2. Proof of the Kingdom (4:7-14)
    3. Power of the Kingdom (4:15-21)

    1. Problem of the Kingdom

    Problems seem to have arisen due to a wrong appreciation of the Kingdom of God.
    That now is the time to reign and rule; ‘now ye are full, now ye are rich’ (4:8)
    How did this problem arise?
    We will discover in chapter 15 that they also have a wrong view of the Resurrection, that there are some among them who deny the resurrection.
    It may well be that these 2 issues are not disconnected.
    The OT spoke very clearly of a coming Kingdom when Messiah will reign physically and visibly upon the earth with His administrative centre at Jerusalem

    Psalm 2:1ff, 6
    Psalm 45
    Isaiah 9:6ff
    Isaiah 11
    Isaiah 32:1
    Jeremiah 23:5ff

    With Christ we have Messiah, God’s anointed one; We recall from our studies in Hebrews for example that Christ is; ‘King of Righteousness’ and ‘King of Peace’ (Heb 7:1-2, 15-23).
    So if we have the King, do we not then have the Kingdom.
    Again in Hebrews chp 1:8
    Rev 19:16 “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”

    The Lord and the apostles certainly speak of the spiritual or mystery aspect to the presence of His Kingdom on earth; that is that:

    all who are saved enter into this Kingdom (John 3:5)
    The Kingdom of God is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21)
    “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17)

    So all who bow to the rule of Christ in their lives are part of His spiritual Kingdom.

    This is however a most unsatisfactory fulfilment of those literal OT prophecies and hardly does justice to Christs titles of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” ; that His Kingdom reigns over a world which is on the most part in a state of outward rebellion.
    So there will be a future, literal outward Kingdom which will fulfil those OT prophecies and NT expectations.
    When will that be?
    Does the present age of Church testimony and world rebellion just merge imperceptibly with the future Kingdom or is there a specific event or set of events which divide this present time from the future Kingdom?
    If you were to ask me for those specific events which trigger the beginning of that transition I would identify 3 concurrent events:

    1 – The return of Christ
    2 – The Resurrection of the dead in Christ
    3 – The removal, by rapture of the believers form the world.

    It is these 3 events which pave the way for the pouring out of Gods wrath on a world which rejects His Son, His Spirit and His Gospel.
    These 3 events separate this present time from the future day of tribulation and wrath which paves the way for the binding of Satan for 1000 years and the establishment of Gods Kingdom under Christ.
    What is interesting is that when you come to 1 Corinthians we find that there is a group of believers who deny this resurrection (1 Co15:12ff).
    More than this in 1 Co 15:23ff Paul makes the connection between:

    1 – The Resurrection of believers (15:18-23)
    2 – The Return of Christ (15:23)
    3 – The Rule of the Kingdom (15:24ff)

    These believers then in denying the physical bodily resurrection of believers not only undermine the fundamentals of the Gospel (1Co15:17ff) but it also fundamentally alters their view of the Kingdom; for them there is no transition the present merges imperceptibly into the future.
    This all may sound a bit complicated, a bit tenuous, but in fact it has been a not infrequent teaching over the years; so much so, it even has a name: ‘post millenialism’.

    They had:

    Satisfaction : “full” : ‘korenmoi’ : to have enough (4:8)
    Prosperity: “rich” : ‘plouteo’ : to be rich (4:8)
    Authority: “reign as kings” : ‘basileuo’ : to reign, rule, be king (4:8)

    They were as a consequence accustomed to:

    Fighting for their rights (6:1ff)
    Self confidence in their new found knowledge (8:1ff)
    Standing on a few toes / breaking a few eggs to get what they wanted (8:11ff)
    Playing a prominent part in Corinthian society (8:10; 10:19-21)
    Awareness of place, position and status (1 Co 11:21ff)
    Using their gifts and abilities to claim position and place (1 Co12:15-18)
    Used to being heard and making their views known (14:26-32)

    They were reigning as Kings in their own Kingdom!
    This was a gospel for winners!
    This was a gospel with prosperity!
    But this was not the Kingdom of God (4:20)
    So long as I am doing alright
    So long as my fellowship is doing alright then all is ok!
    Proof of the Kingdom

    But here is a different view of being a king (4:9ff) – A King in Gods Kingdom.

    compare Matthew chp 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 4:

Service Stewardship and Secret Sins

Noah hid his drunkenness, Moses hid an angry outburst and a violent murder, Achan hid some stolen clothes and a few hot slabs of gold till they cooled off, and David hid his adultery. Who could find out? What harm would it cause anyone else? In the privacy of their own homes. In the darkness of the night. In the scheming secrecy of plans opaque to the outside world? Who could know? It was a powerful amnesia that affected the godly and God fearing that rendered them senseless to the omnipresence of God. He saw. That was enough. That was all that mattered. This alone moves the tide from which breaks the waves of judgment and consequence. Irrespective of what mortal sees with dieing eye, and perceives with a conscience of clouded cataracts, He sees with penetrating moral purity and with unflinching righteous repercussions.

For service to endure and for it to stand with God it must be dependent upon Him, obedient to His every command. He is the oversman and we the under rower (1 Corinthians 4:1). “Just to trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.” Such a service performed for God can only be truly assessed by God, an assessment which will weigh both motives seen and unseen, and with it all of those sins, even the secret sins.

Taken from, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 1 to 6, by Stewart Gillespie:

Service Stewardship and Secret Sins

Meeting God in His Temple – 1 Corinthians Chapter 3 verse 16

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16:

1 Corinthians chp 3 vs 16 – Meeting God in His Temple

Notes from this message:

1. Picture of a Building (v9)

The Builders (v9)
The Building (v9, 16)
The Building Materials (v12)

2. Place in the Building Programme (v9)

“we are labourers together with God”
Just labourers! Ours is not the role of the ‘architect’ (v10); ours is just to obey the simple instructions to perform the labour’s.
We don’t have the overall plan or drawings, just to obey and to act in faith.

3. Person on whom the Building is founded (v11)

This building must be built consistent with the foundations therefore:

Jesus Christ is “the truth” (John 14:6) – Therefore there is no room for error nor lies; “44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:for he is a liar, and the father of it. ” (John 8:44)

“God is Spirit” – all that is founded on Christ must be spiritual, materialism has no place (cf. 1 Corinthians chp 6).

“Holy, harmless, undefiled” – no room for sin on this foundation (cf. 1 Corinthians chps 5 to 10)!

4. Principles of Building

‘Gold’ – Righteousness
‘Silver’ – Redemption
‘Precious Stones’ – Wisdom

With so much care and concern going into this building, what is the purpose of it?

5. Purpose of the Building (v16)

Is it self evident?
Sometimes the more self evident the question the more surprising the answer!
Not going to Dwell on what the temple is not, but by considering what it is we may well be lead to acknowledge what it is not:

It is not:
A social organisation
A welfare organisation
A political organisation
An entertainment

I mention briefly what it is not because sometimes the church, the temple becomes modified in order to focus it’s vision / purpose on what it is not.

5. The Purpose of the Building:

The Pattern of the Tabernacle
The Paradox of the Temple
Present Reality of the Church
Purpose fulfilled in Revelation

Pattern of the Tabernacle

“let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 29:45-46)

Paradox of the Temple

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee how much less this house that I have built? ” (1 Kings 8:27)

Present and Personal Reality in the Church

” where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20)
“I will declare thy name unto my brother in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb 2:12)
“God is in you of a truth” (1 Co14:25)

Purpose Fulfilled in Revelation
Revelation 21:1-4
The Temple of God is primarily for God to Dwell (3:16)
A truth it would seem easily forgotten (3:16) : “know ye not”
It ought not to have been forgotten
It was the big lesson
How easily we forget
The Temple was for the Presence of God and not for the profit of men; “a house of merchandise”
The Sabbath was for Man and not man for the Sabbath
God looks not on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.
They had forgotten that they were the temple of God.

If God is present amongst us what should we find?
How about: God?
Evidence of the presence of God?
There is little point in claiming where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name here am I in the midst of them, if there isn’t the slightest evidence of it!
What evidence ought I to be able to see?

1. God reflected in His people
2. God revealed in His Word
3. God realised in prayer

We ought to be touched by and able to see the reality of those symbols:

Gold – Righteousness – seen practically amongst His people. More than just an outward form of Righteousness, more than just a ticking of the box righteousness, more than the righteousness of the Pharisee (Matthew chapter 23), none of the sin of chapters 5 to 10!

Silver – People transformed by Redemption – Reflection of Christ; “if any man be in Christ he is a new creation. ‘ Ought to be the evidence of a people who have left Egypt, sin and slavery behind and who have a higher agenda, a people heading to the promised land, people with vision and with Glory, people saved and redeemed and in dwelt by the Spirit of God and marked by the fruit of Gods Spirit. There ought to be the tangible evidence of people in dwelt by the Spirit of God: Galatians 5:22 22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:against such there is no law.” A tangible sense of this is possible.

Precious Stones – a different way of thinking? There ought to be evidence of the wisdom of Christ in our thinking, and of the mind of Christ in us (1 Corinthians 2:16). There ought to be evidence of a people living with an eye on eternity (3:13ff). Living and labouring not just for the here and now but for the future and forever.

God Revealed in His Word

If the temple existed primarily for the presence of God, then the practical benefit of that presence for God’s people lay in the provision of God for His people which flowed from that presence.
The temple and tabernacle contained the symbols of that provision:

Lamp – to give light for the way
Loaf – to sustain and feed His people
Priest – with his intercessor ministry for the people, who would bear the care of Gods people on his breastplate of judgment and carry their names on his shoulder.

The temple was a place where as a consequence of Gods presence with them, the needs of Gods people were met. This was not the primary purpose of course of the temple or the tabernacle but it was an inevitable consequence of having Gods presence amongst them. The primary purpose in bringing Gods people out of Egypt was not that God might give them bread from heaven but that they might ‘worship Me.’
It would be very strange if the NT temple for the Living God had less of a provision for God’s people than the OT tent!

Wherever we find the presence of God in the OT, His Presence has a purpose, He is present to:

Receive Worship
Reveal Himself

Bethel – Genesis 28:11ff – The House of God; God is present and God reveals His purpose and communicates to Jacob, on this occasion by means of a dream (Gen 28:12); and with a predictive word of prophecy (28:13-15).

Mount Since – Exodus 4:27 – The Mountain of God (Ex 19:3ff,9,19;20:1ff) – God speaks.

Tabernacle (Ex40:34ff) – God spoke; “The Lord called unto Moses and spoke unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation saying…” (Lev 1:1). God speaks from this tabernacle at times with devastating consequences (Number 16:20ff) – Korah, Dathan and Abiram. God revealed His mind from the tabernacle (Number 27:21).

Temple – 1 Kings 9:1ff – The Lord appears to Solomon the second time and “The Lord said unto him…”

So too then the expectation for God to Speak and to reveal Himself to His people in this new spiritual Temple at Corinth. Not just to keep alive and to repeat what we believe to be true but to have real living communication from God Himself (1 Co 14:23-25).

Reality of Prayer

The dominant theme in the dedication of the temple of Solomon: 1 Kings 8:29-30, 33, 35, 42, 44-45, 48-49; 8:54.