“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such person” (1 Corinthians 5.11 NKJV).
There are times when we are ministry to others and times when we are simply enjoying the company of others. Paul is explaining that when we are around non-Christians, we should always be in a position of ministry (serving). People who do not know Jesus are on the “outside” and people who know Jesus are on the “inside” of our circle (1 Corinthians 5.12). So when we are around people on the “outside,” we should make ourselves available to them with the Good News of Jesus, but we should always keep our guard up in truth and love. However, Paul gives a further dividing line. He explains that even though a person may be on the “inside” and called “brother,” we may have to be careful about keeping company with them. If the Christians are living in blatant sin or rebellion against the Lord, we must treat them as “outsiders” and love and minister to them, but not let our guard down. We are all sinners, but people who are resisting the Lord are currently not being led by the Holy Spirit. And they can be moved by the Enemy to hurt us, our ministry and our family. We can love them, but parameters must be erected until God is able to get a hold of them and turn them back to Him. We may find that there are only a few people we can really get comfortable keeping company with, but at least when we do find those special few, we can find comfort in the inner circle that God has provided for us.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12.26 NIV).