Puffed Up

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
(1 Corinthians 5:1) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. (1 Corinthians 5:2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. The church at Corinth was full of itself. They were, as noted here, puffed up and furthermore wise in their own conceits, or, as Paul elsewhere described it, vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds (COL 2:18). They were not the spiritual church that Paul had hoped they would be as a result of his initial efforts teaching them the word of God for one and a half years (ACT 18:11). To the contrary, they were a strife-ridden, divisive, carnal lot (1CO 3:1-4). There was a full measure of spiritual gifts bestowed upon them (1CO 1:7), but gifts do not make a spiritual church, grace does---in the form of faith, hope and especially charity (1CO 13:13). Charity “...is not puffed up” (1CO 13:4). Corinth had grown in knowledge (of sorts) but not the grace of charity. Such knowledge “...puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (1CO 8:1). Corinth was full and rich, reigning as veritable kings in Paul's absence (1CO 4:8), and some were puffed up as though he would not come to them, as though he could do nothing about them (1CO 4:18). Paul assured them, though, that if the Lord willed, he would come and know “...not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power” (1CO 4:19). Some at Corinth (perhaps the “puffed-ups”) had made light of Paul's speech (2CO 10:10) in his absence, but how would they fare in his presence? Talk is cheap. Paul's power was valuable: “Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present” (2CO 10:11). Corinth's was a misguided fullness and richness. They were full of (among other things) the desire to give ear to rival teachers, even, as it were, “...ten thousand instructors...” (1CO 4:15). It was not just a matter of Apollos later coming there to water what Paul had planted (ACT 19:1 c/w 1CO 3:4-6). The Corinthians had even managed to turn that into an occasion to get “...puffed up for one against another” (1CO 4:6). Swollen with the fullness and richness of their newfound wisdom to the extent that “...every one of you hath...a doctrine,...a revelation,...an interpretation” (1CO 14:26), they all seemed bent on leaving Paul in their exuberant dust. Paul was much concerned that their willingness to outrun him and be puffed up by “...enticing words of man's wisdom...” (1CO 2:4) might even lead them to inhale the philosophical flatulence of the corrupt Jewish teachers purporting to be ministers of Christ (2CO 11:22-23) and even false apostles (2CO 11:13-15). “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2CO 11:4). Foul winds puff easily into minds that are a little too open. Openmindedness has its limitations. Solomon once said, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge” (PRO 19:27). Apparently Corinth had “advanced” far beyond that base and rude Paul (2CO 10:1 c/w 2CO 11:6) and his teaching to a “superior” Christianity. It seems that with the “help” of their “ten thousand instructors” they had attained unto a new, improved tolerance. Now (per our text), scandalous sexual deviancy was even deemed to have its place in the church! Instead of mourning this vile cancer of the church body and excising it, they were puffed up about their inclusiveness and retaining a fornicating pervert in their membership contrary to clear previous instruction: “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:” (1CO 5:9). Of course, this whole scenario is eerily similar to the perverseness of our day. Modern teachers using modern “bibles,” puffing out noxious winds of doctrine (EPH 4:14) have managed to convince many churches to abandon “outmoded” Pauline doctrine and holiness. For every Biblical Pauline minister, it seems like there are ten thousand rivals convincing an all-too-gullible, all-too-carnal and all-too-open-minded church populace of the acceptability of sexual uncleanness. Some churches are even puffed up with sodomites, having bought into the deception that same-sex connection is natural and holy. For these super-inclusive churches, Puff is no longer a magic dragon who lives by the sea; Puff is a tragic drag-queen who gives liberally, you see. This is the wretched outcome of departing from divine absolutes and sound doctrine, of being led by a misguided emulating desire to “improve” upon a no-nonsense, no-frills gospel or preacher so as to puff up the church role and the offerings. The love of money is the root of all evil (1TI 6:10). May God's people awake to the desperate need for a Pauline revival which adamantly says, “...neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind...shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1CO 6:9-10). The word of holy rebuke to such sinners is, “Repent,” only after which the word of mercy, forgiveness and victory comes, saying “...such WERE some of you...” (1CO 6:11). Sexual uncleanness must be forsaken in a genuine conversion. If sexual uncleanness be found in the church, the word of the Lord is, “...Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1CO 5:13).

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