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The Church Is Not the World: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

January 15, 2023 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: 1 Corinthians

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

 By Bob DeWaay

Paul had written a previous letter to the Corinthians that they should not associate with immoral people. They may have purposely taken what he wrote to an absurdity to discredit Paul. They implied that Paul would not allow them to function in the world outside the church at all. This would mean the church be coming a cloistered group with little interaction with the outside world.

Paul clarifies that it is the church’s duty to deal with wickedness in the church while God will judge the world. This sermon explains the range of meaning of the Greek word kosmos and how properly understanding the different ways the term is used is the key understanding the Christian’s relationship to the wicked world God saved us out of. We indeed are in the world but not of the world. Paul includes a vice list of behaviors which cannot be the practices of Christians.

When such things are embraced without shame by churches (as in Corinth), the gospel is dishonored. Therefore, Paul says, “purge out the evil person from among you.” We point out that there is great difficulty in our current era of history understanding and applying this because there are “churches” which embrace what the Bible condemns.

Nevertheless we must define the church according to Scripture and make a strong distinction between the church and the sinful world. We cannot allow the wicked culture to come into the church. On the other hand, Christians are to be about the various duties of life in the world which is the arena of our gospel witness. We must not withdraw from the social, work, and family functions we face as people living in this fallen world.