1 Corinthians (The Message Version unless otherwise noted)
1 Corinthians 5
The Mystery of Sex
1-2I also received a report of scandalous sex within your church family, a kind that wouldn’t be tolerated even outside the church: One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. And you’re so above it all that it doesn’t even faze you! Shouldn’t this break your hearts? Shouldn’t it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn’t this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with?
Jesus, help me to have a true and deep sorrow for my sins. Help me to repent on my knees and in tears. Give me sorrow over every one of my sins so I can better know Your love and mercy, and change forever.
3-5I’ll tell you what I would do. Even though I’m not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what’s going on. I’m telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out in the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community—I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.
Jesus, I sin, but You have never held me up for public scrutiny. True, I haven’t done what is described here, but does it really matter. When You see all the sins in my life, I doubt he is worse than me. Jesus had to die for us both. Is my day of reckoning still on the way? I do want to end on my feet and forgiven, so Lord, do as You see fit.
6-8Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing,” but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this “yeast.” Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread—simple, genuine, unpretentious.
Jesus, after being the sinful person I have been, You would think I would never have a problem with pride…but we both know I can. Why is it difficult for me to just live a simple life? I have lost most of my desire to get noticed. Thank-you for that Jesus. I have lost most of my pride for now. I feel closer to the sinners than the saints in some ways. But Lord, keep me humble. Give me joy in the simple things. Give me joy in pleasing You and You alone. Change me Lord.
9-13I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn’t make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous. I didn’t mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You’d have to leave the world entirely to do that! But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.
Jesus, how many of these have I, a professed Christian, broken in the last month? I’ve had promiscuous thoughts, and I’ve drank too much. I’ve been self-centered, and I’ve probably been flip with You. You would think I would be past all this Lord. Help me Lord. Change me.