On Monday our Take Up Your Sword reading plan wrapped up 1 Kings. If you haven’t read it in a while, it’s not the most encouraging book of the Old Testament. Back in Deuteronomy, soon after God had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He had told them that when He brought them into the Promised Land they were to clear the land of the nations and all their idols lest their sons “turn away from following Me, to serve other gods.” Then He reminded them of their calling:
“You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:6-8).”
Sadly, they failed to clear the land as God had commanded and it didn’t take many generations to see what He had predicted come to pass. The downward slope began with Solomon and king after king (with few bright exceptions) abandoned the Lord and outdid their fathers in leading the people further and further into sin.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul shares a similar fatherly concern for the church. He sees seeds (or leaven, to go with his metaphor) that, if left unchecked, could spread within the church.
“Cleanse out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you really are leavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Cor. 5:7).”
Grace, God has made us “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, [and] a people for His own possession.” We are to be on guard for another out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the glory and witness of Christ to a watching world.
This Sunday Kenny Clark will be preaching 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 and Walt Harrah will be leading our time of sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? We encourage you to read the passage ahead of time and reflect prayerfully on it in preparation for worship.
See you Sunday. Let’s come hungry!