Dealing with Sin in the Church by Pastor Don
Taught May 27, 2011
Before we began, Pastor Don prayed out the spirit of offense. Someone asked about suicide and if a person who committed suicide could be forgiven or was it a mortal sin.
Matthew 16:21-23 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Offense has a good and a bad side. We can be offended at inconsequential things, or we can be offended by the things that are not of God’s Kingdom or plan. Sometimes in the Church we are trying so hard to be inclusive and loving that we overlook things that are not of God, sins in the Church that need to be addressed.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!
Paul became aware about a situation in the church of Corinth that was so bad, that not even the pagans would permit it. A man was having sex with his father’s wife. We have to assume it was the father’s second wife, not the mother of the son for that would be incest.
1 Corinthians 5:2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
You are proud and not dealing with this to remove the sin. This church fell into the same error that is evident in many churches today, we think of God as forgiving sins, and therefore any sin will be forgiven. God does not condone sin and there will be judgment. When a person is saved, their lives should begin to look more and more like what God wants for them. We do sin even after we are born again, but we need to repent and move beyond the sin. We are works in process. God will not condone this circumstance. It needs to be addressed for the sin of this man can affect the whole church. In churches we cannot overlook sin and what is against the Word of God, we are to judge and deal with the sin.
1 Corinthians 5:3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
Even Paul, from a distance has judged this as sin that cannot be condoned. We are not to be soft on sin – we can love the sinner, but not condone the sin. When someone is dealing with private sin, we want to get into their lives, help them fix themselves back up and get back into the race. We win them with love, but point out the sin. Paul’s already judged this sin, and the Church in Corinth should have done something about it.
1 Corinthians 5:4-5 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
We need to remove the covering of protection from over the person. God is not required to protect a person in disobedience. With the cover of protection removed, the effects of his sin and satan’s actions will begin to affect the person. The enemy, satan may kill the body of the person, but they will still maintain their salvation. But the destruction of the body can prevent further sin. It seems harsh, but is really loving. And who knows, maybe the person will be shocked back into obedience to God as they face the repercussions of their sin. If the person sticks close to God and doesn’t reject their salvation, they will still have their spirit enter Heaven.
When you are saved, your spirit is saved, but your flesh (mind, will, and emotions) still needs to come under obedience to God. That is a process that occurs as we turn more and more of our lives over to God. If our heart is right, the flesh will at some point come under control of the spirit.
We are told to confess our sins one to another, to repent (which means to turn 180 degrees around) and change. We may still be in sin, but if we are repenting and making steps toward change that is vastly different from deliberately choosing sin. God knows our heart.
If a person deliberately sins and doesn’t repent, and the Church says nothing to them, it affects the whole congregation. If one man sleeps with his father’s wife, and nothing is done, the congregation sees that and some other members may wonder what else they could do and get away with.
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
This one man’s sin affects the whole Body and the sin will spread in the church if not addressed.
2 Corinthians 5:7-13 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
The person must be judged and removed from the congregation so his sin does not spread. We know that there is sin in the world, but when sin enters the church, it is important for it to be judged. If the person refuses to change their behavior, to repent of their sin, for their own good and the good of the congregation they must be asked to leave.
Is it forever? Not always. In this case, the man changed and Paul asked the church to accept him back into the congregation.
2 Corinthians 2:1-3 But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me? And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.
Paul writes to the people that he didn’t want to come to them until he knew that they were in obedience to God and he could come to them happy. He didn’t want to beat them up.
2 Corinthians 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
Paul sent the letter of correction because he loved them. He had to address the sin so that it stopped it from becoming a greater problem for the church. Public sin needs to be addressed publicly, but if a person is in private sin one can address it privately with the person, so it doesn’t become public sin.
2 Corinthians 2:5-6 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,
The church in Corinth listened to Paul and everyone in the church addressed the sin. But even with such a banishment, the punishment, according to Paul is not to be too severe, just sufficient to pull the man back in obedience to God.
2 Corinthians 2:7-9 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.
Now that the man has changed his behavior, Paul instructs the church to forgive and comfort the man so that he is not overwhelmed by sorrow and he be driven away from God.
Not only was this man judged, but the Church was judged and passed the test, of addressing sin. Paul says the church is not to be overly hard on this man.
2 Corinthians 2:10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
If the church forgives him, Paul forgives him too, in the presence of Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
We need to be wise and aware of satan’s devices and not let him take advantage of us.
2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,
Paul was able to continue preaching the Gospel, and doors were opened because Paul acted in obedience to God.
There is the possibility of the covering of God being removed from people because of unrepented sin. If people do not obey and examine their lives to see what sins need to be dealt with, the covering is removed and their lives become a mess. Instead of recognizing that it is their sin causing the problem, the person could begin to think that the world was against them. When the man began to repent, he began to come more in alignment with God’s plan.
Pastor Don pointed out that sometimes a person makes a bad decision. If a person decides to kill themselves it is because of the influence of satan. We don’t know what happens in a person’s mind between the act of suicide and their death. It is possible that they repent of their act and either someone comes to save them and their lives are turned around, or they die, but are still saved for they turned to God. We won’t know, because there may be others who do the same act and don’t repent, don’t turn to God and their outcome is hell.
Workers of iniquity and evil sin in a premeditated way, and they do not desire to repent or change their ways. There is a difference between workers of iniquity and a person who is a sinner who succumbed in a moment of weakness.
We know that in the presence of the Lord the heart changes. We can’t know what happens in a person’s spirit, we can see the flesh, but we can’t see their last encounter with God.
God is the one who knows the ultimate end of a person’s life.
I hope this helps you. Pastor preached a sermon on this recently. I will try to find it and put the transcript up for you for further edification.
Praying your day is awesome.
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