Eugene Cho

umm, don’t have sex with your mother

This is a sermon I preached recently about the dude in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 who sleeps with his stepmother. The text is also known to some as “expel the immoral brother.”

I was tempted to preach the short version:

Umm, the lesson here is don’t sleep with your mother. Amen.

Pastor Eugene tackles the difficult topic of disciplining members of the body of Christ who are engaging in on-going, unrepentant sin. He argues that there are assumptions and agreements that maintain order and cohesiveness within any community without which no organization can function. In the church, one of these assumptions is that we are all working towards becoming the person (and the people) that God created us to be. Unrepentant sin undermines that goal and needs to be dealt with.

Some points to accentuate:

1. No one likes discipline but a community without order, care, accountablity, and church discipline lends to chaos. Church discipline is important because we’re all broken nad stuff happens.

2. No one likes to discipline because we like to avoid conflict but Christian communities, leaders and pastors that refuse to demonstrate care, accountability and tough and gracious love are cowards. By refusing to engage, we’re sinning and do great harm by robbing people of this process.

3. We “discipline” in love. What does that mean? Simply, we genuinely and truly want to see people restored. We desire for a person to be blessed and prosper.  Unfortunately, when we discipline people, our motivation aren’t those things and thus, leading to the “judgmental” label.

4.  Don’t forget that church discipline is for the church and not for the larger culture.  Often times, christians and leaders make the mistake of having these certain conversations with folks not in fellowship relationship with us.

What’s difficult is that you can seek to do #3 and because some still don’t like to be confronted or held accountable…they leave.

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7 Responses

  1. Pippin says:

    I really don’t want to turn this into another heated debate about homosexuality, but I think one of the tricky things about this chapter is that it has been repeatedly been used in marginalizing non-celibate gay men and women who seek to be an active part of the church. For those who stand by a more conservative interpretation of the Bible regarding homosexuality (which I’m open to), how do you reconcile this chapter with efforts to be more loving, compassionate and open to non-celibate gay men and women in the church?

  2. RuthAnn says:

    This is the basis for my children and grandchildren to remove me from their lives. They believe God commands them to shun me forever as long as I am in a relationship with my partner.

  3. GH says:

    Nice title!

    Somehow, we need to recapture or re-imagine our language. So many words come with so much negativity that we don’t even have the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter.

  4. Samuel says:

    Glad you guys are finally uploading videos of the church sermons. We’ve been asking for over a year! This is great. Thank you.

  5. To RuthAnn:

    Stay strong, sweet sister!

    I realize this doesn’t exactly change your situation at all, but I know of a few cases where the families did finally decide it was more important to have a sister/brother/member included in the family rather than lose someone entirely.

    One family I’m thinking of in particular, after a few years of coming to grips, left their traditional church and found another church community that really helped them to become a family once again.

    So it might take disgusting amounts of time, and even more patience, but there are paths and words and communities that can help open eyes and minds and hearts.

  6. Steve Rush says:

    AMEN, Eugene! Good word, man. I’ve posted a link to this on my Facebook homepage, link posted below….

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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