I Cor 5:8 "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
I love it when we make bread. We don't do it the old fashioned way. Instead we use a bread machine. It is great. Usually, when we make it, I am the one who puts the ingredients together. (I can handle that job. It isn't very complicated.) The weird thing is that when you put the flour in the container, you have to make a little pocket in the middle of it to put the yeast in…kind of like a volcano. Then you pour the water around the flour making sure the yeast does not get wet. The thing that I have learned is that yeast is important. It has to permeate the flour so that the whole ball of stuff can rise. Without it, it would be a flat and dense. With it, it is light and airy. Why? Because of the yeast. It spreads and affects the whole loaf. In bread making yeast is good. In church making yeast is horrible.
After the first four chapters in I Corinthians, Paul got to write to this church in specific terms. He knew what is going on. In fact, the report about this church had gone out into the unsaved world of a very shocking thing…even to the Gentiles: Some guy was having sex with his father's wife…and the church was accepting it. Churches like to be known. They like their reputation to get out into the community. They want to be known as accepting, or loving, or caring, or worshipping, or Bible teaching, or evangelistic. This church was known for sure…as sexually immoral, and Paul was calling them on it. He was telling them to deal with it. He was telling them to judge it. He was telling them to get rid of it. He was telling them to turn this guy over to Satan. Pretty powerful stuff. Why? Why was this so huge? Because it was affecting everyone. It was yeast that was permeating through the whole church and bringing them all down. How do I know? Because not only was this one guy messing around, but the whole church had become puffed up and proud (v2), malicious and wicked and it was because they were accepting and condoning this sin.
Instead of this garbage impacting the whole church, Paul told them that they needed to be like unleavened bread. No junk. No yeast. No sin. Rather, purity and truth should be what they were known for.
Church-building is hard. Why? Because the church is people and we all mess up. We all sin. And when we sin, we have to deal with that sin. We have to repent. We have to confess. We have to stay humble. When we don't, we are in trouble…and not just the person who is sinning, but the whole body. We are all impacted. As John Donne said: "No man is an island." The leaven, the yeast of one person's sin can permeate through the whole loaf and before you know it, the whole church is a mess with a rotten reputation before the world. That is why confrontation is huge. That is why accountability is huge. It isn't easy. It isn't fun. But it must be done and purity and truth must be the standard.
God give us grace.