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Life Matters

Part 2: STD’s for the Church

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(2/18) Did you know that nationally, Americans spend more money each year on pornography than country music, rock music, jazz music, classical music, Broadway plays and ballets combined. Pornographic industry is bigger than National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball combined in total revenue. The top words searched for on the internet in the various search engines is sex, with porn, nude, Playboy, erotic stories, also in the top 20. There are more than 2,400 strip clubs in America and additionally you’ve got Craigslist… under casual encounters which assume you know what that means…

And it starts very early; 61 percent of all high school seniors are sexually active. Approximately ¼ of them become infected with an STD every year; and people under the age of 25 account for 2/3 of all sexually transmitted diseases in our country. So now that I’ve shown you what the country you’re in is like. Let’s look at the promiscuous city of Corinth and I hope we can all identify with the Word of God. You see there was a case of alternative lifestyle at the church in Corinth, and they had great pride in how they supported and endorsed this couple. And so we’ll look at the text, and we’ll see what God has to say about such things; because I want to pass some STD’s to you today. And before you start throwing stuff just hear me out… because I want to give you some Supernaturally Transmitted Doctrine and we’ll start in 1 Corinthians chapter 5:1.

I want to tell you two things that will help establish where we’re going today. Two big ideas… and the first is the question many of you will be asking… a question reminiscent of the Bill Clinton era… and that is, "What makes up… or what exactly is… a sexual sin? What is acceptable and unacceptable according to God’s Word in the Scripture?"

Well, according to the Bible, a man and a woman… I know that is a crazy idea… but a man and a woman get married. And then they’re together, intimately… and that’s it. Anything else… anything outside of that is unbiblical, unacceptable according to God in the Scripture. One man, one woman, one flesh, one lifetime – that’s what the Bible intends. Anything outside of that… sex before marriage, sex outside of the marriage, bringing others into the marriage bed, watching others on a monitor… a TV screen… whatever it is… it’s unacceptable.

And the second question, then, is if all of these things are unacceptable, how should the church respond? How should a church respond when the people in the church are so influenced by their culture that they’re thinking like non-Christians, acting like non-Christians, and promoting the things that non-Christians would promote? That’s what Paul addresses beginning in verse 1.

Listen to what he says… It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

1. And you are proud

Paul’s first point is that church tolerance of alternative lifestyles is wrong. He says, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you." I can’t hardly believe what I am hearing, but there is sexual immorality… This is one of those words that is like a junk-drawer. It’s full of all kinds of stuff… it encompasses all kinds of sexual immorality, because people are sneaky. God knows we look for excuses… we look for the loop hole… and we’ll say, "Well, God didn’t say I couldn’t do that." Well, it says don’t do anything but get married and love your spouse. That’s what it means. Anything outside of that is sexual immorality.

And he says, it’s "of a kind that does not even occur among the pagans." This is bad. Even the non-Christians are like, "That’s nasty". You know when the porn industry is stepping back and shaking their head in disgust that you’ve crossed the line, right? And there’s no Bible verse for you over there. He says, "A man has his father’s wife." I’ll read it again: "A man has his father’s wife." What is that? It is his mother! Now, if you believe the Gay Pride line that: two consenting adults have the freedom to do whatever they want, then this fits that criteria. And that was the Corinthian’s response.

Now, we don’t know whether this was his biological mother… We don’t know if this was his stepmother and his dad died, or they just ran off together… We don’t know, but to be honest with you, it’s just down home, back woods scary. I don’t know what’s going on here. All I know is it’s nasty! ‘Cause if there’s one woman you call "mom," and then you take her to prom, you’ve crossed the line, right?

So Paul says, "And you Corinthians are proud!" You have buttons, bumper stickers, and parades. You’re tolerant, you’re diverse, you’re open-minded, you believe in freedom, it’s two consenting adults right? And he says, "Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief?" Shouldn’t you have been broken hearted that someone would do such a thing? Now, I think that what that infers is that people in the church had sexual sin of their own. And they’re looking at this guy saying, "Well, I don’t want to judge him, because if I start drawing moral lines, then that’ll condemn me as well and I’ve got my own stuff." So they have tolerance and diversity. They’re open-minded.

And what happened is the church became so filled with pride and perversion that they reached the point where they act like God just wants us to be naked and happy… and they flaunt it publicly. They come to church together. They sit next to each other, and hold hands, they sing songs, and they take communion, and the church isn’t even grieved. The church lets them get away with it… they tolerate it.

2. Your boasting is not good

So Paul moves on to his second point in verse 6, "Your boasting is not good." You shouldn’t have that bumper sticker on your car. You shouldn’t have that file or video on your computer. You shouldn’t "like" that on Facebook. You shouldn’t be endorsing things that God doesn’t. You shouldn’t be endorsing things that Christ died for… because you’re afraid to take a stand… because you’re afraid to say, "I don’t think that’s right… or that’s contrary to what God says."

This guy says he’s a Christian, but he refuses to live like a Christian. Not only that but he’s boasting and flaunting this alternative lifestyle that’s contrary to the teachings of Scripture. He’s boasting…

But, "This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

You see, there are situations where you don’t need to know the whole story… you don’t need to sit down and discuss it. Paul says, "I’m not even there, but I don’t need to be, because sin is sin." He didn’t need to get all of the facts, because it’s very simple. The man was living in sin and he says, "Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?" (1 Corinthians 5:6)

You see the problem is that when repentance isn’t encouraged in the church, sin spreads like a little bit of yeast working through a batch of dough. So any time sin is excused, accepted, and tolerated it doesn’t remain quarantined… it doesn’t remain static… but it’s like a cancer in the body. And sin is a cancer in the church body. It spreads and grows until it steals, kills, and destroys; that’s what it does. So for each of us, we must acknowledge that we have the potential to destroy our church if we sin, are unrepentant, become proud and boastful, and encourage others to do the same. You see eventually it will be an epidemic.

Now maybe you think that I’m being narrow-minded… and I am… I confess! Because Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction… But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life... and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). I tell you, I want to be one of the few… I am very happily on the narrow road that leads to life!

Now some may say "Well God’s a God of love." And He is… I’ll tell you what God loves: God loves his holiness. God loves righteousness and justice. God loves his church. God loves his reputation. God loves his name. And God loves his Son, whom he crushed for our sins. He loves those who believe and repent… He loves those who come to him in humility… and He loves those who "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).

3. For Christ… has been sacrificed

So Paul’s third point is this "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Now this was a little counter-cultural commentary for the remnant of Jewish converts in the church. You see they would remember the Passover celebration… they would prepare to celebrate by cleansing their house… they would get rid of all of the filth so that they could be clean, holy, and pure to worship the Lord. And Paul says, it was all symbolizing… foreshadowing… and typifying the coming of Jesus Christ. When God became a man… when God was sacrificed as our Passover Lamb. He reminds them that they are now a new batch without yeast… without sin… holy and pure.

All because Christ was sacrificed… His blood was shed… He paid the price for sin… he took our punishment… our death… And He died… Jesus Christ died. Our God substituted himself on the cross, and He died for our sins. And then three days later he rose, he conquered Satan, sin, and death. He cleansed us, freed us, and enabled us to be a holy, new people. And what he’s saying is this: Because Jesus put your sin to death; you must put your sin to death. Because Jesus made you holy; you should live in light of that fact, continually cleaning up your life, acknowledging your sin, and living repentantly.

And I assure you that repentance is the biblical thing to do… Repentance is turning from the way you were going and going the opposite direction. Repentance is saying to God, "I’m sorry I was going my way… but now I want to go your way." You see the church is not just about passing STD’s (supernaturally transmitted doctrines) but transformation. And if there is no change then it is all in vain.

So as Christians we have two options: repentance or discipline. Jesus said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent" (Revelation 3:19).

Time and again we hear the same thing… John the Baptist came preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 3:1-2). Jesus began his ministry preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 4:17). The apostle Peter told the people, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…" (Acts 3:19). And Paul said, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

A new batch as you really are… For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed…

So today if you don’t want to be addicted to pornography any longer? You don’t want to be a slave to those illicit relationships? You don’t want to be labeled a pervert? And you want to change, then repent, and turn to God. By His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit you can be victorious. And you’re not in it alone… the church is here to walk with you. We love you, we’ve been there, and we’re going to help you. Together we’re going to acknowledge that we’re sinners, that we’ve all fallen short of God’s righteous standard, but we’re going to change, we’re going to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

So here’s the deal: as we close, let me just say that we are an alternative lifestyle church. But the alternative lifestyle here is to keep your pants on, to get married, make kids, read the Bible, mow your lawn, and pay your taxes. So if you want to be really radical and counter-cultural, it comes down to you and I saying that we will live repentantly. That we’re going to call sin, sin. But first we’re going to call our own sin, sin. And we’re going to deal with our sin. We’ll have humble hearts that are willing to change for the sake of the reputation of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the town to which we’ve been called, for the sake of our eternal destiny, and for the sake of the character of the church. So let’s trust that God would give us the grace to do so, that we’d have a clear conscience, and that one day we’d see him face to face, and hear Him say those words, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

Read Part 3: Defeated, Wronged, & Cheated. Why not?

Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott

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