When I was a little girl, I was at church on a Wednesday night. We went to a very small church and my pastor preached on watching your actions and witness so that you were someone who was uplifting to those who were around you. He said at all times (publicly) at least seven people were always watching you. That night to make his point we counted the number that were at our church. There were eight people there! Even as a young child that hit home with me! I am very “old school” I guess you would call it. I love the new songs that are sung in church, and I love things to be “up to date”, but when it comes to the Bible and its principles I believe God meant what He said and nothing about that has changed!
We ARE our brothers keeper. I found myself recently seeing things that said if my “friend” didn’t treat me as I treated them I could just basically drop them because they were effecting me adversely. It all sounds good in theory, but God did not say that! In fact, God says the opposite. Jesus told Peter to forgive an offense 70 x 7 times in one day! Now, there are certain people you cannot have a steady diet of and there are some who you cannot associate with at all. You love them, but they must be loved from afar until they allow God to change them. Let us look at these people for a moment. According to 1 Corinthians 5:11-13
11 But now I am writing[c] you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[d] who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.[e]
God is referring to believers who are in known sin! He said those who are in the church and doing wrong must be confronted gently by the elders (mature Christians) of the church and if they refuse to turn from their ways as a way of disciplining them in the church you must turn away from them until repentance comes. Why would God set this in place? Wouldn’t it make sense to come along side and help them? No. Because you did come along side and they refused correction! At that point their behavior is a detriment to the “weaker” or baby Christian and you must protect the ones who ARE wanting to do what is right!
But, what do you do if someone in the church is being a distraction, causing others to not be able to receive what God has for them. They are not in sin, but they are interfering with the move the Holy Spirit wants to have in someone else’s life. The Bible tells us we are to, again, gently bring it to the attention of that person and correct with all gentleness, so that everyone is kept preserved in their place to be able to receive from God!
If you allow certain things to occur in the church that are not in line with the Word when you have new members and that new Christian stumbles and falls God DOES hold you responsible for the fall of that person! We must follow God’s guidelines, even though our emotions feel it is better handled a different way. He said, “Follow Me”, not how you feel! We follow God by doing things the way His Word says! Many times, this is how the little leaven slips in and spoils the whole loaf! Even in the gifts God has given us, we must remain balanced and that is what God expects of us! This is the reason Paul told us in Corinthians how a church service was to be conducted. The church meant well and what they were doing was Godly, but they were out of balance and new people being added to the church were not growing or being edified. Due to this, Paul had to write and make some adjustments so that the body of Christ could thrive and grow! Not just a few thriving and growing, but ALL thriving and growing!!
Let us hold fast, dear reader to God’s ways! He knew the end from the beginning! He knew what would happen 2,000 years ago and what will happen and will be done until Jesus returns to get us! Stay with what God knows and is right, not what we think we know to be right! Play it by the book and that book being the Word of God!!