Borrowed Truths

If (Part 4)

Borrowed Truths

If (Part 4)

Are there any individuals within the congregation of the fellowship that you attend that are not obeying the Word of God, that you, and perhaps others, know are not living a life that is pleasing to the Lord, one that will bring will shame upon the name of the Lord God. If you know of such a person, what are you doing about it, discussing it with only those you trust the most, speaking about them behind closed doors, as it were, but never publicly, never in open conversation. If not only you but others know of this person’s actions, why are they tolerated within the assembly, why are they even allowed entrance into the building.

This individual resides in almost every church, and is allowed to continue attending for many reasons, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8:7) seems to be the most general answer for their continued admittance, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Luke 18:11) This is a close second, believing ourselves to have this Pharisaic attitude if we were to mention the actions of this person to others, much less address the known issues to their face, “It is a matter for the pastor, the hierarchy of the church to address, I am never to judge” is another lie we try to deceive ourselves with, in large part, we can find a plethora of Scripture verses that we believe gets us off the hook from having to confront and reprove the individual in question.

We need not even go to the spiritual end of the spectrum to find an excuse to continue to just sit in our designated spot in the pews, to just mind our own business, as it were. The offender may be a man, or woman, of means, donating regularly large sums of money, perhaps he is respected in the community, a well-known city or business leader, having an assumed power over others. The One who holds power over all mankind has spoken differently though, and we are not to find excuses or “pass the buck” when these incidences arrive, we are to obey, and act according to the word of God. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thess. 3:14-15)

What we are to do is be polite, be Christ-like in all of his attributes, not count him as an enemy, but have no company with him. No more pleasant conversations, no more open discussions, not even the basic communications, polite, kind, but shun that person, have absolutely nothing to do with them. And for what end result, well to bring them to the point of being ashamed, embarrassed and ashamed that he has been acting in such a manner. This cannot be accomplished of course unless the individual is informed of the reasons for your newfound actions, and here is where many Christians falter, and live in the land of excuses that began this letter to you, they fear open confrontation with sin. That “if,” if any man obey not our word by this epistle is too much of a burden for them to obey.

Do not think that our Lord is speaking through Paul here only on the subject of not working, of the one who is living off the labors of others, for he speaks of the epistle, the entirety of what he has been commanded to write, what has found its place in the inerrant and eternal word of God. Would you decide that these two verses hold no power over the one who sits in the Sunday service each weekend, but is known to be in an adulterous affair, or one whose every other word outside of the church walls is a curse word? These are not those who have snuck in unawares, (Jude 1:4) they are not there to intentionally sow discord, they are disobedient to the will and word of God by their own design, seeing it a light thing to lead a life of mockery against Christ, while standing in the congregation and singing songs of praise and adoration. “If any man obey not, have no company with him.”

It does not get much plainer than that, does it. You must ask yourself, if you know of such a person within the congregation, if the rationalizations, if the excuses you have taught yourself to believe will be viable to the Lord on your day of accounting. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) How much more than the chastisement of the Lord upon one who knows the commandments and does not obey them. It is one of the great downfalls, one of the traps of our adversary that many who profess Christ as Lord have fallen into in these days, using the excuses of never wanting to offend in any way above the commandments of God that we are told to obey. Rationalizations and excuses have taken the place of obedience to the Scriptures, and many do not think they are that important, it is not their place, grace, they believe, has allowed them to be disobedient.

We are to admonish this individual as a brother, it has been commanded by the Lord God Almighty to do so, but many concern themselves with the possible reaction of the offending brother instead of how our Lord will look upon them if they deny to do what they have been commanded to do. This individual’s possible reaction is more important than God’s reaction to disobedience. This posses no problem to those who do not fear man, but fear instead the living God, the reaction of the one that is to be admonished is of course a concern, for we are to admonish him as a brother, but it is secondary to being obedient to the will and word of God. Satan will tell you not to bother yourself about such a small matter, you will try to persuade yourself that you should not get involved, that it really is not your place to do so, God says “Note that man, and have no company with him.”

These incidences will occur, they cannot be avoided, in fact, they are many times placed before us to show us who we are in Christ, to make known to us exactly where we stand, and many times we will find that we are standing in the wrong spot. This “if” requires not only personal accountability, but open and loving confrontation, note not only that man when he is placed in your path, but your own reaction to the precepts of God in this moment.

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