Converse with the Ungodly
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
I wrote to you in an letter not to company with fornicators:…

I. IN OUR ORDINARY LIFE WE MUST ASSOCIATE MORE OR LESS WITH THE IMPURE AND GODLESS. Our legitimate business leads us among such, our duties as citizens and subjects as well. If we kept ourselves entirely apart, we should have "to go out of the world."

1. Christianity is not designed to drive us "out of the world." We are to live among men righteously. Here we have an argument against monasticism, which is "going out of the world" to escape from its evils.

2. Our Lord and Master mixed freely amongst men.

3. We have many opportunities of witnessing for Christ when we come in contact with men of the world. This should never be lost sight of; private Christians thus may become ministers and missionaries. And they may thus reach classes beyond the ordinary aggressive means. Christians should live the gospel amidst a crooked and perverse generation.

4. Still, we must recognize the peril of such association with ungodly men. Duty may call us to mix with worldlings, but duty will never call us to shut our eyes to the danger of doing this. The hunter may be right in running into peril, but he can't be right in refusing to recognize the peril, and in making no provision for it. When we go into the world we should go armed. "The whole armour of God" should be our panoply. We should not go alone; we may go with Christ if the path be the path of duty. Prayer, watchfulness, God reliance, not self reliance, should be remembered. We are then not only in an enemy's country, but the enemy is around us and will soon attack. "Be ye also ready:" many have been unready, and have been sorely wounded of the archers. Go not further into the world than duty bids you.

II. BUT WE ARE NOT TO ASSOCIATE WITH A PROFESSED CHRISTIAN WHO WALKS DISORDERLY. The case is here altered. Those outside are as strangers to us, though we mix among them; this one we know and have been identified with. Those outside are left to the judgment of God; we have no part in judging them. But we have in the case of an offending brother. As members of the Church, it is our duty to sit in judgment upon him (vers. 4, 5), and, if the offence be sufficiently serious, to expel him. Hence, forth, until he repents we are not to have fellowship with him, not even to eat with him, but to show him by our conduct what has been expressed in the Church's decree, viz. that he is separated until repentance and amendment. If this were not so:

1. The force of Church discipline would be seriously weakened. It would become largely unmeaning. It would be very idle, as well as scandalously contradictory, to cut off from fellowship and to admit to it at the same time.

2. The effect upon the offender would be lessened. Church discipline does not lose sight of his welfare; it is directed towards his recovery and restoration. But if it is to produce this effect it must be felt. It cannot be felt if practically it is destroyed.

3. It would seem as though the evil were lightly esteemed. This would bring a great scandal upon Christianly. It would not only expose it to contempt, but justify contempt.

4. There would be much peril to the other members of the Church:

(1) In the association. There is often more peril in associating with a false professor than with an open evil doer.

(2) In the conviction that they could sin with comparative impunity so far as the Church was concerned. We may ask - What kinds of sin involve such separation? The apostle gives a list of transgressors.

(1) Fornicators. The unclean; professing purity, practising impurity.

(2) The covetous. Those who make a god of the things of sense. Heart idolatry.

(3) Idolaters. Probably those who, professing to serve the only true God, identified themselves very closely with idolaters, joined in their feasts and sacrifices, and so became partakers of their guilt. There are many professors now who pay homage to "the god of this world." A little wholesome Church discipline might not be altogether thrown away upon some of these.

(4) Railers or revilers. Those who say they have a clean heart, but keep a foul mouth.

(5) Drunkards. Those who claim to be akin to Christ, and yet sink themselves lower than the brutes.

(6) Extortioners. Greedy, grasping souls, who overreach and cheat others, but who overreach and cheat themselves pre-eminently. We may not company with these; we may pray for them, we may labour for their recovery. We may do so gratefully, humbly, remembering that we stand because Divine grace upholds us. - H.

Parallel Verses
KJV: I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

WEB: I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners;

Converse with the Ungodly
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