A. Paul tells us not to be ignorant of the devices of the devil (2 Cor 2:11).
1. In the Greek New Testament the word translated “devil” into English is almost letter for letter the word “diablos,” from which we get our word “diabolical.”
2. The devil is “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev 12:10).
3. He would “deceive, if possible, even the elect,” Jesus said (Mt 24:24).
4. His diabolical acts are never more obvious than in Corinth as it deals with a reprehensible sinner.
B. In 1 Cor 5:1 Paul writes,
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father's wife!”
1. Corinth was a notoriously wicked city.
2. Drunkenness and debauchery were its identity, and yet not even the Corinthian citizenry had stooped to such depravity as to tolerate a man living with his father’s wife.
3. Nevertheless, in the church at Corinth, this behavior was going on and the church was did nothing about it.
C. In fact, Paul wrote,
“And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1 Cor 5:2).
1. Maybe, a false understanding of “love for the sinner” led them to allow his sin to go on without rebuke.
2. They should have grieved and mourned but have become “puffed up” instead.
3. They are proud of their magnanimity, an attitude that causes the possessor to “delight in acts of benevolence.”
4. In most cases, a benevolent spirit is a virtue, but in dealing with sin, it is a flaw Satan can use to his advantage by convincing the church not to discipline impenitent sinners.
D. Concerning this sinner Paul gives direct and specific instructions.
1. In 1 Cor 5:5-3, he writes:
Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "PUT AWAY FROM YOURSELVES THE EVIL PERSON."
2. One of the purposes of church discipline is to bring the sinner to repentance (read Mt 18:15-20). Their action against the sinner in 1 Cor 5 seems to have accomplished that.
3. In his second letter to Corinth (2:6-8) Paul tells them:
This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him
4. It is also in this section of Holy Writ that Paul warns us all about Satan, saying,
“lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor 2:11).
1. In Corinth, Satan’s first devices was to apply ultra-liberalism to influence the church to ignore sin and be proud that they are so magnanimous.
2. Then, after they exercised church discipline against him, Satan then used ultra-conservatism to influence the church not to forgive his sin.
3. Just keep punishing him.
4. The first device robs the church of its purity and threatens to permeate the body as leaven permeates the dough (1 Cor 5:3-7).
5. The second device robs the church of its identity because a major part of its mission converting the lost and restoring the erring (Jas 5:19).
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Jas 5:19-20)
Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (Act 8:22)
By Gary Murphy
Return to the Sermon Outlines page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /