Welcome to Corinth

Today’s Daily Bible Reading reading is 1 Corinthians 5. Click on the link to read the text… or click on the little speaker icon in the top left and listen to the text being read to you. This is also the text that I’m preaching from on Sunday. Here is a little preview--

Several years ago, I remember hearing Don McLaughlin ask, "Where did Corinth learn that tolerating incest was OK?" We think that’s an easy question— "They learned it from their sinful pagan culture." After all, Corinth was saturated by all kinds of sexual immorality. I mean, the pagans in Corinth went to "church" to hook up with a prostitute! What do you expect from folks in Sin City? It was their culture to be immoral.

Maybe. Maybe not. Paul begins this who discussion by asserting that even pagans wouldn't have been OK with what was going on in Corinth. Oh, the pagans knew all about sexual sin; they were experts at it! But what they didn’t know about was how to feel morally superior and spiritually smug while being immoral! What has Paul so torqued is that the church not only accepted such blatant immorality; they felt so smug in doing so. It was the church that invented accepting sin while feeling and acting superior!

So here was McLaughlin’s question: Are we more concerned with guarding our church worship than we are about guarding our holiness? People will literally walk out if we do something in the worship hour they don’t like— perform a drama, present some special music, play an instrument or (horrors) have a woman read a scripture. I had a friend that was preaching and that some visitor stand up in the middle of church and yell, “Oh, fooey!” and walked out. People will walk out if you do something non-kosher (in their mind) during the worship hour.

We are concerned about doing worship right... even if right is only in our owns minds based upon our own traditions. But will we walk when something is amiss in the realm of holiness? Are we concerned enough about being holy that we will walk out (literally or figuratively) to preserve it?
  • Will we walk out of movie where illicit sex acts are portrayed?
  • Will we walk away if someone tells gossip or off-color joke?
  • Will we walk to confront a brother/sister who mistreats their spouse?
  • Will we walk to the side of someone who is the victim of racism?
  • Will we walk way if someone disrespects the president we are to pray for?

At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, “Why is that?” It is because we are more concerned with right church rites than we are with living a holy life before God? We think that being Christian is about how we do church! The important thing about church (we think) is being right in doctrine and worship. But if we aren't right in our holiness before God and others—if we cheat on a spouse, gossip about people, get drunk on Saturdays, lie to our boss, cheat on our taxes, or show prejudice in our treatment of others—well, nobody’s perfect! After all, we’re saved by grace, right. And we hear the tour guide say, “Folks, welcome to Corinth!”