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Do You Know You Don´t Have to Win?
“Do You Not Know?” Series
Do You Know You Can’t Tolerate Sin?
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
 
We’ve been looking at a progression of thought based on a little question found several times in the New Testament.  It is the question, “Do you not know”.  It is one of the favorite topic introductions of Paul.  When he wants to remind his hearers of something they should already know, he begins by saying, “Do you not know”. 
 
It’s his way of saying, “You should know this already.  So far we’ve heard him address that we are “in Christ”.  We were baptized and resurrected with Christ.  Because of that, we know longer have to be a slave to sin; we are free to serve God.  God has made us His dwelling, and the Holy Spirit Himself lives within us. 
 
And we are running a race before the world, and with that audience around us, we run to obtain an eternal prize.  Further God has designed that we be different from the world.  We are to be separate and distinct in the way we live and move and act and respond. 
 
Because of that, as we discover today, in 1 Corinthians 5:6, we can’t tolerate sin in our lives. 
 
Text
 
Have you ever heard the old saying, "One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel"? The idea is that one small part of the whole can have a negative influence on all.
I have found that to be true, haven’t you?  Whether in the home or at work or even at the church, oftentimes the problems all root back to one individual.
 
All it takes is one person out of sorts with God, and the rest is history. 
 
That is something of the situation we find in this text.  We find a "bad apple" in the Church. And in the way Paul gave the Church instructions for dealing with sin, he reminds us that sin must not and cannot be tolerated either in the Church or the lives of those who are saved.
 
And because it can’t be tolerated, there is
 
1. A Confrontation
 
If there ever was a Church with problems, it was the
Corinthian church. From carnality to immorality, this was a Church that was plagued with a long list of problems. In chapter 5, the particular problem is a problem of immorality. 
 
verse 1
 
Notice that whatever was going on, it was common knowledge.  It was “actually reported” that sexual sin was being tolerated in the church.  This was more than idle gossip or a rumor going around.
 
Now remember, we’re running in a race and the world is watching, and God has determined we are to be separate from the world, but here is a glaring case of just the opposite being tolerated. 
 
In fact, whatever was going on was even embarrassing to the lost folks outside of the church. 
Apparently one of the men in the church was messing around with his father’s wife, his stepmother.  As such, it was incest and violated Roman law.  And even the Corinthians, as messed up as they were, frowned on what was going on. 
 
More importantly, it was also condemned by God and was punishable by death.
 
And what was so tragic about this situation is that the Corinthian Church had not taken steps to deal with this immorality among its members.
 
Notice verse 2
 
Secondly we see:
 
The Corinthian Church was marked by arrogance and tolerance.  In fact, considering the way Paul begins verse 6, they must have been bragging about their tolerance and open-mindedness.  These were members who could strut sitting down. They saw themselves, as we would say, "Spiritual."
 
Instead of being concerned and disturbed by this case of immorality in the Church, they did nothing. Even though they knew what was going on, they were allowing it to exist.
 
Paul indicates they should have been grieving over what was going on to the point of being broken hearted and mourning. This conduct called for deep sorrow. 
 
 
But instead, they were tolerating of it, allowing it to exist within the Church.
 
It is always tragic when a Church tolerates sin in its members. Yet the tolerance of sin is common in the lives of believers. Instead of grieving over sin, we cover and condone it. Instead of "godly sorrow that brings repentance" (2 Cor. 7:10), we excuse or ignore it.
 
In fact, James 4:9 indicates those who need to be purified and cleansed should, “Lament and mourn and weep.  Our laughter should be turned to mourning and our joy to gloom when we consider our sin. 
 
But very seldom do you find that attitude in the church.  In fact, maybe there is a whole lot more laughter and levity in the church than there ought to be. 
 
We find everything but sorrow for sin and weeping and lamenting and mourning.  
 
And I’ll tell you something, the sin of the member was disturbing to Paul, but I think what astounded him more than that was the indifference of the church.  Sin should always grieve the heart of a believer. It is sad when a believer gets to a place where their sins do not bother them.
 
If I want to judge how close I am to God, a good test is my sensitivity to sin. Does it bother you that you can be mad at a fellow church member and have unreconciled issues?  Does it matter that you can talk and live like the devil and drink and smoke and carry on and never be bothered by it?
Does it make any difference that you gossip and back stab and get made and hold grudges and be bitter and angry or do you must go right on, and even brag about your behavior?
 
Listen, if there is no confrontation, ultimately there will be
 
2.  A Contamination
 
verse 6
 
Do you not realize that the least sin that is tolerated in your life will infect the rest of your life? His words are a warning about tolerating sin in our life.
 
We looked at leaven recently in our Wednesday evening study time, and you will remember it is used to speak of influence and penetration.  The leaven was an agent like yeast that was placed in a small piece of dough that had been allowed to ferment in water. It would later be kneaded into fresh dough to make it rise.
 
Most often in Scripture, as we see here, is illustrates the power and influence of sin.  The dough being influenced by a small piece of leaven typified the influence of sin. Sin in the life of a believer defiles a believer.
 
The believer's life is defiled by any sin that remains unconfessed. It matters not what the sin is; sin of any sort or measure defiles the life. We tend to put sin into the categories of small sin and big sins.
 
 
 
Adultery-big sin; Gossip-small sin. No doubt you have heard of "white lies." The truth is, sin is sin-period. God doesn't have category A and category B and C when it comes to sin. If it is a sin, then it is sin, regardless of what it is.
 
Take Romans 14:23 for example. Paul says that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." You never hear anyone crying out in the altar, "God I have sinned for I have not believed you." Yet, the Bible says our lack of faith is more than weakness. It is sin!
 
Now the power of the illustration with leaven is that just a “little” affects the whole.  In fact, the word "little" literally means "the least." He was saying that the least amount, any amount even though very small is influenced by that amount. Any sin, whether we think of it as big or small, defiles the life. Sin in any measure, like leaven, has a defiling effect. It leaves us unclean before God.
 
Now once leaven is put into bread it spreads and affects the whole loaf.   We may think something is aa small sin, but if it is not confronted and confessed, is like a cancer in the soul that will spread with further contamination.
 
In the case of the Corinthian Church, if they did not deal with the immoral situation that existed, it would open the door for the allowance of other sins.
 
If I allow one sin in my life to go unconfessed, I will ultimately allow another and then another. To allow any sin to exist in my life will lead to insensitivity to sin which only opens the doors to more sins. What was one small sin spread into other sins.
 
And before you know it, it’s spread to another person, and then a family is affected.  And before long, the church is involved and the whole is affected when one member of the church goes astray.
 
So how do we fix the problem?  It calls for   
 
3. A Cleansing
 
Since sin defiles and sin that is tolerated defiles further, the need is the immediate confession of all sin so we can be cleansed from sin.
 
verse 7
 
There is a beautiful illustration of what Paul is saying found in the springtime Jewish feasts. 
 
The Jews had seven feast days.  Four occurred in the spring of the year; three in the fall of the year.  They are a beautiful representation of the Life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
 
Let me just list them and explain them briefly and then we can better understand what Paul is referencing here. 
 
The first was Passover.  It took the Jew back to the Egyptian bondage and their protection from the death angel. The New Testament corollary is redemption.  Jesus, by His blood has saved us and death has no fear for us. 
 
Immediately after Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The New Testament teaching found in that is Consecration.
 
Moses said to the people concerning their deliverance from Egypt: "Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten." The Passover represented their deliverance from Egypt and the leaven represented he old life.
 
So when they celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they made sure there was no leaven in their homes. They would take candles and carefully search the house to make sure that any remnant of leaven is removed.
 
Next came The Feast of First Fruits, and in it we are reminded of the resurrection.  They would take the first grain of the harvest and offer that to the Lord as a praise and thanksgiving offering.  Jesus is also identified as the first fruits of the resurrection.  And His promise is “because He lives, we can live also.”
 
Fifty days after First Fruits, the Jews celebrated Pentecost.  It was a reminder of the giving of the Law.  After the resurrection of Jesus, fifty days passed, and on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to empower the church.  There we find Impartation.
 
Those were the Spring Festivals.  Then there was a break in time until the Fall Festivals. That break represents the time of the church, the age in which we are living.  By the way, in Leviticus we you can read the details on these feasts, and you will discover that after the Spring Festivals was harvest time. 
That is the call to the church, to go out into the fields that are white unto harvest. 
 
Then in the Fall of the year, the Jews celebrated three more festivals. 
 
First of all was The Feast of the Trumpets.  Trumpets are a call to expectation
 
This feast has three applications to the church:
 
  1.  We are anticipating the Trumpet of God that will call us home.
  2. The same trumpet that calls us home calls the world to battle during the tribulation
  3. The Jews are being called home
 
Next came The Day of Atonement. 
 
Now when we think about atonement, our church-indoctrinated minds immediately think in terms of our salvation.  But remember, it is a Jewish holiday, and the Day of Atonement points to a future event when the nation of Israel will recognize Jesus as their Messiah. So here is a day of realization.
 
And finally we have The Feast of Tabernacles which finds its ultimate fulfillment during the Millenial reign of Christ when He lives and dwells or tabernacles with us in person on the earth.  And that will be a time of celebration. 
 
Now it was a long way to get there, but notice what Paul says in verse verse 7 
 
What’s he talking about?  He’s talking in Jewish history terms. 
And he was calling for a thorough house cleaning of the believer's heart and life. The Church at Corinth needed a spiritual house cleansing. And the motivation for that is all wrapped up in Passover. 
 
Now that Christ, the true Passover Lamb, has now been sacrificed for us, our response to that should be lives that are free from sin.
 
Think about that Passover Lamb. 
 
For instance, the lamb had to be a spotless lamb.
 
Before that lamb could be offered as a sacrifice, they had to isolate it for intense scrutiny.  They inspected that lamb from the tenth day to the fourteenth day of the month. Why? They were examining that lamb to be sure that it was spotless.  Their lives depended on it.
 
And I want you to know the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world and they examined Him.  They watched Him. They listened to Him. They tested Him. They tried Him. They accused Him. They looked at Him every way imaginable. Here was the result. The heavenly Father said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
 
Pontius Pilate said, "I find no fault in this man."
 
Judas, the disciple who betrayed Him, said, "I have betrayed innocent blood."
 
The soldier at the foot of the cross said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
 
Jesus Christ is God's spotless lamb.
First Peter 2, verse 22, says about Jesus, "Who did no sin, neither was their guile in his mouth." That means Jesus never did a sin.
 
First John 3, verse 5, goes a step further. "Jesus was manifested to take away our sins and in him is no sin."
 
Not only did He not sin, but there was no sin in Him. He never committed a sinful act because He never had a sinful nature.
 
Second Corinthians 5, verse 21, says this. "For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, him who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
 
God's spotless lamb, the Lord Jesus!
 
And here we find Paul saying in verse 7, "For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us."
 
Not only did the lamb have to be a spotless lamb, but also the lamb was a slain lamb.
 
The living, spotless lamb could not bring salvation. The spotless life of Jesus Christ can't save you and me either. We are not saved by the spotless life of Jesus. What the sinless life does for you and me is that it condemns us. But the lamb was slain. That means His blood was shed. 
 
Not only was the lamb slain and the blood shed, but the blood had to be applied. They would take a hyssop branch, dip it in that blood of the lamb, and apply the blood.
 
If you were in a place where the blood had been applied, the death angel passed over you.
 
The lamb had to be a spotless lamb. It has to be a slain lamb, and the the lamb was also a sufficient lamb.
 
After the blood was shed and applied, then the whole family feasted on that lamb.
 
Jesus Christ redeems us by the shedding of His blood, but He also sustains us and strengthens us in our daily life. We feast on Jesus Christ. When Jesus said you have to eat My flesh and drink My blood, He didn't mean that of His literal body. He was saying, "I'm the source of your strength."
 
And the way you and I live the Christian life is in the strength of the Lord Jesus. He sustains us and strengthens us in our daily life.
 
And that’s what Paul is getting at here in our text.  Since the sinless, slain, sufficient Lamb of God has fulfilled Passover, it’s now time to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  It’s time to live a Godly life and not tolerate sin any longer.
 
We are to cleanse our life completely of any sin that we have tolerated or left unconfessed. In light of the sacrifice of Jesus, we ought to be on our knees before God and ask Him to reveal anything that is in our heart and life that He is displeased with that we "may be a new lump."
 
verse 8
 
 
The separation from the old life is once again emphasized when Paul says "not with old leaven." He uses two words that are descriptive of the old life; "malice" and "wickedness." The word "malice" speaks of the evil nature we possess and the word "wickedness" speaks of the acts that manifest that nature.
 
Everything and anything that is reflective of the old life is to put away and we are live "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." The word "sincerity" speaks of an attitude of honesty and integrity which results in "truth." Believers do not celebrate an annual feast of Passover, but a celebrate Christ our Passover in a daily life of purity and rejection of sin.
 
How do we do it?  We do it in the power of the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost!  Through the power of the resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are able to do all that He calls us to do. 
 
And we must do it now because one of these days, the Trumpet will sound and it will all be over.  We will worship God as He brings all of His plans together as Jesus Christ is worshipped and served as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
 
A father’s two daughters were begging him for permission to see the latest movie, which happened to be rated "R," with their friends. When he denied their request, their pleading only intensified. "It’s only rated R because it has just a little bad language and just a few scenes that are bad," they reasoned.
 
 
 
Later that night, the father baked some brownies for his daughters. They dug in and commented on how much they enjoyed them. "You like them, huh?" he responded. "Oh yes. They’re great," answered his daughters.
 
"That’s interesting because I used a new recipe," he said, matter of factly.  "Oh yeah? What is it?" they asked.
 
"Well, I was told that if you add a little dash of dog droppings to the brownies that it gives them a distinct taste that people love," he answered, straight-faced.
 
The daughters immediately stopped chewing and their faces transformed from enthusiastic smiles to panicked looks of confusion. "You’re kidding!" cried one as she spat her brownie out on her plate. "What in the world are you thinking?" complained the other.
 
The father explained that he would never serve such a dish because even just a small amount of some things is completely unacceptable. He went on to explain that God views sin in much the same way. It doesn’t matter how little it is, it still is so distasteful that God cannot look upon it.
 
If you’re going to serve God and live a life that honors Him, you can’t tolerate sin.  Did you know that? 
  


Comments

12-01-2011
David Stephens
This passage could easily be used for many of today's churches. With the acceptance of homosexuality, etc into the practices. It probably explains alot of our issues today. Good sermon, wish I could have heard it in person but reading provides the same "speaking" to the heart. Thank you for posting these.
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