6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
If you were to read this wish out reading the rest of the book of 1Corinthians who knows what you might think it would mean. This is why we read in context, that is with understanding of the rest of the book and in this case it is important to have read Exodus. In Exodus when the people of Israel were finally leaving Egypt, they were told by God via Moses, to have a Passover feast. During the night of this feast the angel of death passed by the doors of the Israelites because they followed the instructions of God to the letter.
The instruction we remember most is that of the painting of lamb’s blood on the doorway of the house. This is remembered because the blood of Jesus is now protects us. There was however another rule concerning the bread, the bread was not to have yeast in it. Leaven, I believe is a little leftover doe that you place in a new batch of doe in order to add the yeast.
For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.
This was called the feast of the unleavened bread.
Now Paul in the above scripture compares the church to a new lump of doe and Christ to our Passover lamb. The old leaven is compared to malice and evil, as opposed to the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
So now for the application. As Christians we should not have malice and evil in our hearts but instead we should be sincere and truthful.
3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
I generally just read this and think automatically that it refers to an excommunication. However I am considering this time how the church gathering has a power. Paul speaks of his spirit being present. Using both the power of The Lord Jesus and the presence of Paul’s spirit they are instructed to “deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit might be saved”, this sounds more like the opposite of a healing. Not something that is familiar to churches today. But something is mentioned in Revelation
0 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other
Notice verse 22 “I will throw her on a sick bed” this is another person who boasts even teaches sexual immorality.
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
And now we get an example of the sort of false teaching that Paul is concerned about. The church is always being attacked for not being lenient enough toward sexual immorality but here Paul is clear that we are not lenient about these matters. This fellow he uses as an example, some guy who has been sleeping with his fathers wife is to be removed from the church. (It is to be pointed out however that in the second letter this fellow seems to have repented and is to be forgiven).
14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.
19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power.
20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
1 Corinthians 4
Paul sees himself as a father to the church in Corinthians because he was the one who first told them the gospel. He is obviously concerned about some false teaching that has entered the church and intends to send Timothy to them to sort out the false from the true. The test for this is in their power. The question that naturally comes to us as we read is : What does he mean by power? So I read over Corinthians again looking for a mention of power
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
So the power we are looking for is previously referred to in the same letter.
I find in Church their is a judgement towards those who may enjoy studying theology that is sometimes wrongly applied using these verses. People don’t like being corrected and when we are corrected it might be tempting to say that it’s not about talk but about power.
But the talk Paul is talking about is that used by Greek philosophers that were popular in that time period. A good theologian will be focusing on Christ crucified and using the bible to explain and correct.
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you!
9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,
12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
As Christians no one is better than another and we can’t be judged by the standards of this world. If the apostles struggled with getting food, clothing were treated with dishonour, then we can expect the same. The idea that if you are not rich , you do not have enough faith is ruined by this verse, Paul had faith, but look to verse 11. If God has answered your prayers and given you good things it does not mean you are more important than anyone else.
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Paul and Apollos worked together as a part of the same team. Paul as an apostle but here he has been emphasising himself mainly as a gospel preacher, and Apollos as the trainer or teacher, paster. It is tempting even now to see these people as special and above the rest. Paul explains that they should be seen only as stewards of Christ. He once again emphasises the importance of Jesus. Now he confirms in verse 2 that it is important that stewards remain faithful. That is that they share the mysteries of God truthfully. However whether or not he is being faithful is only for God to decide. So now we read Paul’s words in trust that they are the inspired word of God. It is not our job to judge him but it is God’s. We need to be aware of judging others.
I am aware that there are some well known preachers who are not teaching good stuff. In church history the Roman Catholic Church had to be stopped. So a really good question is where is the boundary for action, this passage has me believing that we must blindly trust everything that passes from the pastors lips. I don’t believe that is true.