1 Corinthians 5:11
ESV - 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler - not even to eat with such a one.
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This verse is speaking only about someone who calls themselves a 'brother', in other words who claims to be a Christian, but lives a Godless life. If you read the previous 2 verses Paul makes this clear: " I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 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." Then he goes on to the verse you quoted: "But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. " So, we can associate with people practising these sins but do not claim to be Christians, with a view to bringing them to Christ. The only reason Jesus mixed with such people was because He wanted to show them the way to escape from the lives they were living.
Just as a side note, Jesus ate and drank with sinners to blow away the Pharasees who would not even get close to sinners as they thought they were to righteous to be rubbing elbows with sinners. They were looking for ways to claim Jesus was a sinner too. They saw all the good works that He did but would not believe that He was the savior. They called Him a glutton and a wine bibber, what we would say to day is a drunk. Most of what Jesus did was to fly in the face of these selfrighteous keepers of the law. Jesus told the deciples to beware of the leven of the Pharasees. They do all the outward things, but inside they are ravenous wolves. They layed burdens on the backs of people to heavy to bear, but would not lift a finger to help someone. They added hundreds of laws that people were ot obey to make them righteous like they were.Yet, they left out the important things. Love and mercy. Rather than help people they would rather condemn people to make themselves look more righteous. I am afraid we all have a little of this in ourselves. It is so easy to see someone else not living the way we think they should and then our pride comes along and says, Boy, I am glad I am not like those sinners, It makes us feel so much better that we are so good and do so many good works, not realizing that we are just filthy beggars before a Holy God. Maybe we should show a little grace like the Lord does with us. Yes, if saved person is living in habutual sin and will not repent, then we should not fellowship with them. But our first duty is to speak the truth in love being carefull that we do not fall into the same sin or a worse one. We have to remember if the Lord had not saved us how awful we would be.
Question: “How do we do this and be like Jesus, who ate and drank with the worst of sinners and made them his disciples?” I believe we need to first ask ourselves “Who is Jesus?” Jesus is the incarnation of God the Son. God the Son is the creator of those with whom he was dealing. (John 1:1-4) Although tempted/tested in many ways in his incarnation, the desire, propensity or inclination to sin was not possible (James 1:13). In Hebrews 7:26 we read: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”. We personally have no power to make disciples; our power lies in sharing the written Word of God. Yes, for the most part God has chosen to use people in spreading the gospel of his saving grace. It is our calling and responsibility to tell unbelievers what God said but salvation is possible only by and through the Holy Spirit’s quickening power. It is he He who operates off the written Word. Romans 10:13-17 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I think a word of caution is in order. The Bible speaks voluminously concerning separation. Not just from professing believers whose lifestyles are out of God’s will but also the unsaved. Being friendly, loving, caring, telling friends about the Lord is one thing, over indulgent fraternization is another. My dear old Dad use to tell his hard-headed son (yours truly) all the time: “If you continue to play with fire, you are going to get burned”. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” I believe the yoke spoken of here is unity of the saved and unsaved in a common purpose. A true Christian who is walking with The Lord should have motives, actions and desires separate and different from the rest of the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Dear young lady, the first and most important ministry any believer has is to themselves. In Luke 10 beginning with v. 38 we read of Martha who was busy in preparation of the meal and serving guests. She came to the Lord complaining to Him about Mary who was sitting at His feet and not helping out. “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41:42) If we like Mary spend time feeding off Him through prayer and reading His Word we will be enabled to think, feel and act according to his will when we are in the world. Just remember what He told the disciples in John 15:4-5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
I believe that Paul was addressing problems within the church that he had started. As the Spiritual Authority over them he was addressing an issue that had been previously addressed. This verse was an update to previous admonishing because they had not rid themselves of the temptation. I believe this was akin to advice we might give a brother today that had a problem with pornography. DON'T EVEN GET NEAR It! This would in no way apply to lessen the great commission. A witnessing mission to the lost would be a completely different matter, however, even then someone who has had a previous problem with drinking, for example, should stay away from witnessing in bars.
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