I Corinthians 5:9-13

The Scope of Church Discipline


When we think of the word “scope” we are thinking of the range of view or our outlook on something. In the case of the microscope we are looking at particles that the naked eye cannot see but with the microscope we see almost another universe. When we think of the telescope we are viewing the broadness of outer space such as the hubble telescope, a universe untouched by man.

The NASA Voyager spacecraft was launched in 1977, and is far and away the most distant man-made object from the sun; at more than 11 billion miles away from the sun. It was reported this week that Voyager is now outside of our solar system.

When it comes to the scope of the church it is relatively narrow in scope in view compared to the world. The church’s scope is made up of believers in Christ, baptized and intricately part of the body of Christ. Each Christian is a member of the visible church on earth. I Cor. 12:27 and each believer is a member of one another (Rom. 12:5).

  1. Church Separation – v.9-11

  1. The apostle Paul’s imperative mood – “not to associate” (“not to get mix up with”) II Thess. 3:14

  1. Going outside of the world – (monasticism, Amish religion and others)

  2. Believers will eventually meet up with gross sinners v.10

  1. Jesus’ Intercessory Prayer – John 17:11-16

  1. Point of clarification – v.11

  2. About fornicators – “immoral” Gk. Pormos – “fornicators’

  1. List of sins that are public in nature – v.11; Exo.20:4-5

  2. Fellowship – v.11b. II John 1:10

  1. Jesus ate with sinners – Matt. 9;10,11,13; 11:19

  2. Paul encourages to eat with sinners – Turn To: I Cor. 10:23-31

  1. Church Discipline – v.12-13

  1. Distinctions between those inside and those outside the church.

  1. Paul and the Corinthians have no business judging those outside the church.

  2. Paul and the Corinthians have jurisdiction of judging those inside the church.

  3. Illustration- (Joining a club)

  1. Applications: Turn To: Matthew 18;15-18 cf. Deut 17;7

  1. This passage clearly assumes the function of church courts.

  2. The church only has jurisdiction over professing Christians who are under her care.

  3. The church elders must remove not only immoral gross behavior individuals but divisive heretics. Titus 3:10-11; II John 10-11

  4. Our Confessional standards: “there is no ordinary possibility of salvation “of those outside the visible church. (There are exceptions)


The visible church is assumed throughout Scripture:

  1. The great commission - Matt. 28:19-20

  2. The book of Acts is filled with examples of those who were added to the visible church – Acts 2:41,47

  3. The Lord added to the church – “and none of the rest dared to join with them” Acts 5:12-14

Pastor Nick Iamaio, Reformed Presbyterian Church

207 South First Street, Fulton, NY 13069

Web Site fultonrpc.org 3/24/2013