Not to Judge

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”


Do you like butterflies? Butterflies look harmless and beautiful; they are pollinators to fruit trees because they feed on flower nectars. But farmers might not appreciate small white butterflies at all. Why? Small white butterflies lay eggs under the leaves of plants; their eggs become worms and eat the plant leaves.

Spiritually, we are also warned of spiritual problems that may probably cause damage inside the church. Together, let’s seriously meditate on what Christ had declared in John 15:5, 5I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 

Christ is the Vine; we are the branches. Christ expects branches to remain in him, to abide in him and bear much fruit. Pray that the Lord removes spiritual pests around you, and you may bear much fruit. Like white butterfly, spiritual pest may appear harmless and may behave like Christians which is more dangerous.

Be prayerfully watchful. It warns us in Romans 16:17, 17I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

            Apostle Paul warned the Roman Christians that division happens, if they’re careless. In Corinth, there’s quarrel, faction and division in the church. Sad to say that quarrel, faction and division happen to every local church. We do not judge, but we should be careful and seriously regard this biblical advice to be watchful.

 1.  Advise

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 

The immoral, greedy swindler idolaters who don’t believe God are excluded from this advice of not to associate with sexually immoral people. Who are those people that we are advised not to associate with? Sexually immoral people who claim to be brothers or sisters! Take note of the term “Associate” that Apostle Paul used here as compared to the term “Yoke” he advised in 2 Corinthians 6:14!

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

            What is the difference between, “to associate with and to be yoked with?“To associate with” is “to mingle, keep company, connect or get acquainted with.” To associate with acquaintance pertains to shallow, not very intimate interaction.

In comparison, “to be yoked with,” entails or requires intimacy of relation with the same objectives, goals, especially spiritual values, principles and beliefs.

            We avoid and not associate with immoral people who claim to be brothers or sisters. We may associate or mingle with unbelievers but don’t yoke with them. However, we must intentionally testify of our transformation before unbelievers.

It advises in Colossians 4:2-6, Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Heavy Trunk

            Several years ago, church members visited some potential believers. They helped clean their yard. They pruned some trees. They removed trash. A neighbor asked for help to move a heavy trunk in his yard. The stronger men gladly helped the neighbor named Glenn and moved the heavy trunk. Over the course of time, Glenn accepted an invitation to attend the church. Eventually, he found friendship and joined the church; he was baptized and served the Lord with devotion.

            Reflect on the first time you attend a local church. Did someone invite you? Why did you accept the invitation to attend church? Accordingly, most first timers were invited to attend church by someone, a friend, relative or acquaintance.

            Watch out for any involvement, ordinary activities or special occasions! Any occasion like Christmas party can be divine chance to invite potential believers. Do you believe that the Lord had already prepared potential believers for us to show kindness and goodness? He wants us to invite them attend church. Right?

Together, let us reflect on what Christ our Lord instructed in Luke 14:12-14:

12 When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

            Most often we miss opportunities to testify for what Christ has done in our life. Why? To testify is also transformational work of Christ in us. We’re instructed to wait for and always rely upon the empowerment of the Holy Spirit of Christ.

What do you think? Is it also considered as transformational work of Christ in us, if we avoid and not associate with immoral idolater brother or sister?

2.  Associate

11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

The Lord does not appreciate disobedience to his godly commands. Right? Do not associate; do not even eat with anyone who claims to be brothers or sisters but are sexually immoral, greedy, idolater, slanderer, drunkard swindlers. It’s a must. No otherwise option. God forbids and prohibits us to associate, mingle or simple acquaintance with them; do not even eat with them. That’s tough!

Interestingly, Apostle Paul did not even consider such people as Christians.

Can you accept that it is disobedience to God, if we associate and eat with them? Will you avoid eating with such people, even if they are relatives, friends or family members? If together with immoral, greedy, drunkard brother you are employed in the same company, what can you do? Pray for wisdom and proper behavior. God can solve any complicated concern. Right? What else should we pray for?

Pray for stronger faith to fully trust what Christ declares in Mark 10:29-30,

29Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 

Can you personally testify that you had better compensation when you followed Christ as Lord? Has your life been better when you prioritized his gospel?

Here’s a warning: Be wise and careful when you share the gospel of Christ; seriously pray to be inspired by his Holy Spirit; and patiently wait for confirmation that the Lord is with you. How? You will sense his joyful peace in your heart.


Someone shared of personal experience. A quiet woman regularly attended their women’s fellowship. For several meetings, she displayed little to no interest. It was confirmed that she welcomed bad elements in the society in her apartment that her neighbors complained about, and she was forced to leave her apartment. After the pandemic, she tried to join the women’s fellowship again, but at that time, she was argumentative as compared to her former quiet demeanor.

            If the Lord situates you in such adverse circumstance, how do you express practically the love of God to argumentative person? How do we choose anyone we may associate with and still obey the Lord? Philippians 4:5-7 admonished us,

5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            The gospel of Christ is not always appreciated. Unbelievers resist the Lord or the Scripture, but they may appreciate gentleness and kindness. Unless the Holy Spirit regenerates their heart, their behavior is rebellion to the Lord but we should not avoid them. Right? It is not our business to judge or adjudicate them.

3.  Adjudicate

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Like Apostle Paul, it’s not our business to adjudicate anyone who rejects us. It’s not our business to judge them. God is the judge; he adjudicates impartially.

So, how could we constructively resolve issues of sexually immoral, greedy, idolater, slanderer, drunkard or swindler who claims to be a brother or sister?

            Christ had prescribed it in Matthew 18:15-17, 15If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

This biblical discipline is really tough; we need inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Surely, we don’t want to alienate anyone, but we also want to obey the Lord. The church in Corinth tolerated immoral wickedness that even pagans cannot accept.

So what happened: The church was spiritually polluted; they were divided; there’s no harmony among them. Possibly, new believers were confused what to follow.

We pray that the Lord would bless our leaders to be exemplary in their lives and behavior privately and publicly. Be prayerful of what you may imitate. It says in 3 John 1:11, 11 Do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Slave Girl

It is easy to be good when everything is fine. But if situation is very difficult, what good can you do? What worst situation you were situated in? Imagine this:

You were forced to be a slave against your will. Can you imagine that? Now, if your master is sick or has leprosy, do you care for him?

Reflect on 2 Kings 5:1-3 1Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

            Commander Naaman ordered Aramean raiders to attack Israel. The young Israelite girl might have seen her parents, siblings, relatives and friends killed; and their properties destroyed. She had all the rights to hate Commander Naaman. Can you agree that it’s divine plan of God for her to become slave of Naaman?

            Naaman listened to the advice of a young slave girl and he was healed. Eventually, Naaman believed in God. He told Prophet Elisha in 2 King 5:17-19: 17“Please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” 19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

            Accordingly, Naaman brought soil from Israel to Aram and made altar from it where he worshipped the God of Israel. But, he still served the king of Aram.

            Where does God situate you? God situates you for his divine plan to invite someone to attend church. So, watch for divine appointment; potential believers are waiting for you to invite them attend church, and be reminded not to judge!

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