Hand This Man Over to Satan: Marriage & Sex
Sunday’s Message | October 11, 2015
1 Corinthians 5
1 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. 2 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? 3 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. 4 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, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 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. 8 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.
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Do you feel loved this week?
If you’re like most people, that feeling comes and goes. One week is more full of love than another. And, it’s not always determined by those who we seek love from. Sometimes in our days when we feel the least loved, it’s not because people aren’t loving us. Sometimes, it’s because the stress of the week, the stress in other people’s lives and the fear of our future get in the way. It’s possible to be loved, and not feel it. It can be worse when it’s our own performance that gets in the way. Some weeks it’s hard to feel loved when we know we’re not that lovable.
One of our natural reactions is to avoid God when we just don’t feel lovable. It’s been ingrained in our flesh since Adam & Eve: hide from God. We will even convince ourselves that love for another person is more important than loving God – that someone else will give us love without judgment, or attachment without jealousy. More specifically, we often don’t seek out 1 Corinthians 5 as Scripture to reinforce the fact that God, above all others, loves his Church – even before we were lovable. There’s a judgment in 1 Corinthians 5; there’s a hard situation that just doesn’t sound like love to us – especially when love is hard feel.
The good news is, 1 Corinthians 5 is actually about God’s love for his people.
God is passionate about his people. The LORD is a jealous for the love of his people.1 His love for them is eternal.2 Those who the Father draws to the Son cannot be lost,3 and those who trust Jesus for atonement will not see God’s wrath.4 This God is so concerned for his people, that he does not want even one of them to mistakenly lead others away. You who have faith in Christ as the Son of God and your atoning sacrifice: you are so precious to the God of the universe that Jesus would rather separate out someone from the church who was confusing God’s love rather than allow their confusion to ruin the love of others.
God is passionate about his people.
Notice 2 things above in chapter 5. 1) The man to be handed over “to Satan” is a believer. God is not saying he takes away the man’s eternal forgiveness, just that this man needed to be excused from the group of believers while he was confusing the love of God for sin. God will not tolerate this kind of blatant, unrepentant sin in his Church. He loves you too much to say, ‘Hey, let this guy go. It’s okay.’ God is so passionate about having us know him and love him for who he is, that he doesn’t take it lightly when people confuse his love for sinfulness.
2) God does this for our benefit. God knows we’re weak. He walks with us through the daily struggles and knows what it’s like to have people’s expectations crush you and to have your hopes cut short. He is not about to excuse people (even believers) when they put unholy notions of sin and grace in your heart. God would rather remove them for a time than allow their sin to “work through the whole batch of dough.”
God talks tough because he loves much. Neither our marriage nor our singleness will satisfy the longing for love we really need, because no sinful person can love us as purely as a holy God can. A guy who really doesn’t care if other men romance his wife doesn’t really love her. God is not that guy. He doesn’t laugh it off. He takes the side of building up love and removing sin from his people. Sometimes, this may not feel like love. But even when it doesn’t feel like it, Jesus still stands by his Father, having beaten death in order to protect his bride. Be assured, even from 1 Corinthians 5, you are loved.
1 Deuteronomy 4.24.
2 Psalm 136.
3 John 10.28.
4 1 Thessalonians 5.9.