Whaddaya mean confront sin in the church?

bugeyed womanSome Christians hate to publicly disagree with the degenerating culture. A few actually seem to prefer its ways over God’s and allow it to flourish in the church.

1 Corinthians 5 sends all those folks into bug-eyed seizures:

I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something so evil that even the pagans don’t do it. … And you are so proud of yourselves! … Why haven’t you removed this man from your fellowship? … You must cast this man out of the church and into Satan’s hands, so his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved when the Lord returns.

How terrible that you should boast about your spirituality, and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don’t you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected? … You are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people. … It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways. You must remove the evil person from among you.

Paul isn’t calling for a witch hunt. He is, however, requiring people who claim to belong to Jesus to submit themselves to the clear teaching of Scripture and make a genuine effort to follow Jesus’ way. If we turn a blind eye to a Christian’s willful disobedience to the Lord, before long everyone in the congregation will be affected. Do you wonder why a church is plateaued or declining? Ask the members who is publicly defying the Lord’s clear teaching about how to live. (Don’t forget to include a question about loving our neighbors the way we love ourselves. Ignoring “the least of these” leads to awful consequences.)

Does the idea of “exercising church discipline” fill you with horror? Paul isn’t talking about some mealy-mouthed private reprimand. He’s telling the congregation to formally throw the man out of the church and turn him over to Satan! Paul understands we are at war with our sin natures, and our tendency is to collaborate with the enemy, instead of standing our ground and resisting for the cause of righteousness. Verse 5 says the sinful nature must be destroyed if we are to be saved when the Lord returns.

What gross disobedience is your congregation terrified of addressing?

It’s up to us. We can take responsibility and address the problem ourselves, or the Lord will use Satan to do it.


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
This entry was posted in church discipline, Sin in the church and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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