Drinking Deeply

Monday, November 07, 2005 at 11:48 AM

Judge lest ye be judged (8)

Matthew 18)

17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Recall: Tell it to the church -> tell it to the representatives. The disciplining body. I would call them the elders (but I guess some churches call them deacon boards or something).

"let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

Basically, treat him as a pagan, an unbeliever. Now, this doesn't mean that we don't still demonstrate love to him as we should to our enemies. Nor does it mean that he is not saved. Just to treat him as if he wasn't. What is different between how we treat a believer and how we treat an unbeliever? I believe at the core it's one of fellowship.

Don't associate with them:

2 Thess. 3:6, 14

6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

...

14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.

1 Cor. 5:9-11

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one.

Notice also, that in order for we as believers to obey this command properly, we must identify those that are under the judgment of this verse. That is why it is necessary for the church, if the matter is serious enough, to make public the person's unrepentance and warn the members against associating with them.

We get a bigger glimpse of what this looks like in 1 Cor. 5:4-7

4
When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.[a]

Deliver him to Satan! Cleanse the church! Expel the immoral brother. A little yeast works through the whole dough.

What is our hope through this process? We get a picture of what can happen if we faithfully follow this process in 2 Cor. 2:6-11 when Paul writes about the restoration of a fallen brother:

6For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Forgiveness is still possible! If they repent, God will have mercy. Let us willingly and boldly rebuke and correct one another, that we may encourage one another to good works. Let us pursue church discipline, that God may bring us to repentance. Let us cast out our immoral brethren, that, through testing, they may find their way through God's grace back to the fold where healing and restoration occurs.

I am all too thankful of those who have pulled me aside and said "no, you are wrong about this, and this is why." I am thankful to those who challenge me on my views (though I always think I'm right, because if I didn't think I was right, I'd change my mind). I am thankful to those who have openly rebuked me of my sin, and have extended forgiveness in light of repentance.

Let us be a body that does the same to one another. In doing so we glorify God and encourage one another. Soli Deo Gloria


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