Last week we looked at the sexual scandal that was taking place in the Corinthian Church as well as the scandals that were, and are, taking place amongst today’s congregations. We are called to judge, but we are not supposed to judge those outside the Church. Those of the Church are to be judged and disciplined by those (plural) within the Church, keeping in mind that not everyone that attends a service is a Christian.
Authority was given to the church by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20. And to the Disciples, the elders of the Church, Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). This judgment and discipline is not by the individual but is to be practiced by the Church and from what I can understand, the elders, not just a Pastor, but two or three at the very least.
5:11 told us that if a person claims to be a Christian, a Christ follower, a member of God’s Church, and is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler that we are not to associate with them. The purpose of this discipline, as with any discipline, is to bring that person or persons back to Christ and His Church: Restoration.
In handing this person who was practicing sin over to Satan they were handing him (or them) over to the world.
It would appear that the Corinthian congregations were used to handling their disputes like the world. They were taking their brothers and sisters to court over trivial concerns that Paul said should be handled within the congregations. Remember they thought they were wise.
Think about it, the Spirt of God resides within His people, yet we are not perfect, but we are being perfected by the same Spirit. It is within the community of the Church that we are being sanctified and overcoming the power of sin and the devil: the enemy of our souls.
When the Church turns to the world’s courts; are they, we, not turning to the very place they had just handed this man to? Is not the world where sin runs rampant? Where the desires of the flesh rule? Where the enemy rules? Would a worldly court even understand the standards and morals of God’s people?
If we have to have go to worldly courts we are already defeated. “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?”
Don’t you know! This is directed at believers, they and we, have the knowledge we need, and I am sure, us more than them. We have the very Word of God! We should know better than to fight and quarrel, to take offense, to hold grudges, and let bitterness take root. There is not a person in any congregation, or for that matter anywhere in this country, that does not have access to the knowledge of God! Those of the Church have no excuse; we know how to work out our disputes without reverting to worldly ways, worldly wisdom, or worldly courts!
The devil had deceived them into being arrogant about what was going on within their congregation, but unrighteousness, wickedness, immorality is to be done away with. Think of all that is going on within the Church today and all that is going on in the world that is contrary to God’s Word. Can you believe that God will overlook the practice of sin? Either in the individual or within His Church? No such person will inherit God’s Kingdom! This warning is told to the sanctified; His Church. That same warning is for us! Do not be deceived!!!
If we look the other way, ignore what we know to be true, are we not condoning or encouraging the sin? “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (Edmund Burke). God tells us in Romans 1:32 that we cannot condone sin!
If you don’t have the knowledge of God’s word you can easily be deceived. That is the problem with those outside the Church and many within. Think of those deceived into promoting a lifestyle that is contrary to God’s word, there are whole denominations that promote and practice some of the very sins mentioned here!
Humanity as a whole is lost in ignorance, having been deceived by the enemy into believing that “I” am to be first, that “it’s all about me,” that they should have all they want, that they deserve better (Philippians 2, Hebrews 13:5). We are manipulated on a daily basis into believing what we are told, that is easily done if you have no foundation, no knowledge of Truth, or are only hearing one side.
Anyone of us can be deceived if we are not careful. Most of our fellow citizens are living in ignorance, having been deceived by the enemy and his lies. This should not surprise us: Didn’t Jesus call Satan a liar and the father of lies? Is he not the ruler of the power of the air?
One generation ago an “alternative lifestyle” was wrong, but now it’s taught and even blessed as being right. And everyone who says differently is wrong! The same goes for every form of sexual immorality. Satan has convinced our culture that telling a lie is okay as long as it gets us what we want. Everything is relative. There are no eternal standards of right or wrong and no absolute truths according to the world. This is nothing but unadulterated deceit. People are making up and living according to their own set of rules and standards, which is nothing more than trying to excuse their sinful ways.
The Devil works especially to deceive men in either one of two ways; Some other way than Christ, or some other time than now.D.S. Warner
- Have you gone in love and talked to the person who offended (sinned against) you?
- Are you being deceived?
- Are you using the knowledge that is at your disposal: renewing your mind in the Truth?
Further Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 (14-15), Proverbs 10:9, John 8:44, Romans 12:2, Galatians 5:16-26, Galatians 6:7-8, Ephesians 4:31-32, James 1:22, 1 John 4:1