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A Call for Repentance

A Call for Repentance

We’ve been looking at Paul’s “open letter” to the unsaved society around us.  That’s how he starts his letter to the Roman church.

He warns that without Christ, judging each other is pointless.  Of course he gets to the heart of the matter.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Romans 2:4

That’s the real question that those in the world need to be asked.  It’s our job as believers to show them the kindness, tolerance, and patience of the Lord.  All the while we should be leading them towards repentance.

The problem is that many times we do the first part while ignoring the second half of this verse.  We love and accept the unsaved just as they are.  However, if we never show them the way of salvation, they’ll be lost for eternity.

Too often we stay silent because we fear rejection.  But they’re refusal of the Gospel is not on us.  It’s a choice that they might make.

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.  God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

Romans 2:5-6

Remember, Paul is speaking as if to the unsaved.  As believers, we don’t need to worry about God’s wrath.  There’s no wrath in Christ.  (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

Most of us don’t like to think about this truth.  Yet, I believe it’s something we need to ponder.  If I, as a Christian, don’t understand what’s at stake, I’ll be very uncaring about the lives within my sphere of influence.

We have a responsibility to warn the ones we love about this future event that everyone needs to prepare for.  The apostle shows us the clear choice.  It all hinges on what a person is seeking in life.

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For God does not show favoritism.

Romans 2:7-11

This passage is actually a great guideline for checking someone’s readiness to receive the Gospel.  You can tell by their works what they’re seeking in life.  The words, glory, honor, and immortality, have more than just a religious meaning.

It’s talking about an unsaved person who consistently shows certain qualities.  They try to do things that raise dignity, add value to life, and produce long-lasting effects.  These are the ones who are ripe for the Gospel message.

Those who are self-serving and only accept what they want to believe need to be interceded for.  They need a change of heart by the work of the Holy Spirit first.  Then they’ll be ready for that saving Word.

But the bottom line is, no one is outside of God’s love or His grace.  Everyone has the potential to receive the forgiveness and salvation of Christ.

Question: Who needs to hear the Gospel in your sphere of influence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2020 in Faith, Ministry, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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Looking Below the Surface

As we continue through Second Corinthians, Paul is talking about the authority we have in Christ.  We’ve been given powerful spiritual weapons that everyone needs to know how to use.

He now talks about why this is the case.

And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:6

The way this verse is written in English makes it sound like we get spanked for our wrongdoings after we’ve already started obeying.  That’s not really what it says.

In Greek, both the words disobedience and obedience have the root word of hearing.  There is no word, act, in the original.  This is about hearing and doing God’s will.

The disobedience that Paul is talking about could be either a misunderstanding or a willful ignoring of God’s will.  Now that the church has received correction from the apostle in his first letter, this has been resolved.

So, in essence, Paul is telling them that there is vindication because they’re now walking in obedience to God’s plan for them.  They listened to, and are now following Paul’s correction.

The key is, how well are they listening?  It goes toward motive.  When we know what God wants us to do, are we willing to obey?

This goes right along with something Paul wrote earlier in this epistle.  He referred to the sorrow and repentance that his first letter caused.

See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
2 Corinthians 7:11

They had done some things that looked like they were ignoring God’s desire for them.  It might have been done innocently or willfully.  The point is that when Paul brought it to their attention, they repented and turned back to obedience.

That is what vindicated them.  Now they need to examine their inner man.

You are looking only on the surface of things. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he.
2 Corinthians 10:7

In this verse, Paul is simply talking about drawing logical conclusions.  Looking on the surface it’s clear that the Corinthian people belonged to Christ.  By that same line of reasoning, Paul and his ministry team belong to Christ as well.

We need to see through the eyes of Christ.  Sometimes what believers do, doesn’t exactly line up with what the Lord wants them to do.  However, that doesn’t make them any less a follower of Christ.

We need to give people the opportunity to grow and mature without judging and accusing them.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work in His own way.

Question: What are some things that you’ve changed as you’ve matured in Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2020 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Godly Sorrow

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s joy over the repentance of the Corinthian Christians.  He now explains why this is so important.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10

The first thing we need to see is that there are two types of sorrow or sadness.  There are both godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.

The difference is the object of sorrow.  Godly sorrow sees God as the injured party.  I’m sorrowful because I sinned against the Lord.

Worldly sorrow has me as the object.  I’m sorry that I got caught sinning.  Or, just as bad, I’m sorry that I’m not as perfect as I thought I was.

Godly sorrow brings us closer to God and His provision for us – the ongoing work of salvation.  Worldly sorrow produces death by causing us to shy away from God.

Look at the evidence of godly sorrow in a believer’s life.

See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.  At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
2 Corinthians 7:11

These characteristics are how you can tell if you’re truly operating in godly sorrow.  They describe the road to repentance.

The word Paul used for earnestness, is the Greek word from which we get our English word, speed.  We want to deal with the matter quickly.

The phrase, eagerness to clear yourselves, is the Greek word for apology – to give a reason.  However, this isn’t you trying to justify yourself.  It’s an attempt to understand your own motives.  It comes from a desire to clean up your thought life.

The word, indignation is important.  It’s displeasure that moves you to action.  You want to see the situation changed and you’re willing to do something about it.

The word, alarm, is actually the word, fearphobia.  This is the type of fear that causes you to change what you’re doing.  It affects you.  You’re afraid of doing something that could mess up your relationship with Christ.

Longing is an intense craving.  You have an overwhelming desire to get your life back on track again.  You don’t want to continue heading in the wrong direction.

The word, concern, is actually the word for zeal.  It means that your emotions are getting worked up over it.  You’re not going to rest until you make this problem right.

Finally, you want to see that justice is carried out – even if it’s against yourself.  That means if you owe someone an apology, you give it.  If some type of payment is needed, you do it.

All of these things working together bring us to the place of repentance.  Never let the sun go down on unrepented sin.  Allow the grace of God to forgive, clean, and make you right.

Question: How often do you find yourself in the place of repentance?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2020 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Place of Repentance

As we continue in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we begin to see the back story of the situation.  In Paul’s first letter to this church, he was very strong in dealing with the sins of some of the members.

Later on, he sent Timothy as his representative, to see how things were progressing.  Now we’ll see the results of all of this.

For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn — conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.  He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7

It turns out that Timothy’s report to Paul was better than expected.  The apostle was greatly encouraged by the response of the Corinthian church.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it.  Though I did regret it — I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while — yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.  For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
2 Corinthians 7:8-9

Paul’s joy was made complete because the Corinthian believers were brought to the place of repentance.  This had to be done in order for them to receive forgiveness.

Of course, we don’t like this word. It has a bad connotation for us. In Greek, it’s the word metanoia which means to change your mind. It also means to turn around.

“I was wrong. I want to change.”

Repentance is usually preceded by distress, sorrow, or sadness. We don’t like these feelings. In our relationships with other people, we would much rather use a word like apologize.

“If you apologize, I’ll forgive you.”

The fact is you don’t really want an apology. The Greek definition of the word apology is to give the reason. In that case, you might hear something like, “The reason I did that was that I hate you and I want you to be miserable.”

What you want from the other person is repentance.  It’s the same in our relationship with God.  He already knows why you did it.  He simply wants you to see that you were wrong and now you have a desire to change.

“I’m sorry over what I did.” (Godly sorrow) “If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it.” “I will never do that again.”

But we have to remember that with God, His forgiveness is given before repentance. It then takes repentance in order to position yourself to receive His forgiveness.

True repentance isn’t easy.  In my next post, we’ll see how Paul describes the road to repentance.

Question: How quick are you to go to God in repentance when needed?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Ministry Qualities Part 2

We’re continuing to look at the qualities of a true ministry according to Paul in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

…in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love…
2 Corinthians 6:5-6

In my last post, I talked about hard work, now we’ll go on from there.

Sleepless Nights – The Greek word used here literally means awake.  In the New Testament, it’s normally used to mean keep watch.  The Scripture teaches that church leaders keep watch over the souls in their care (Hebrews 13:17).

Those who are in leadership can’t afford the luxury of falling asleep spiritually.  We need to stay alert as to what’s happening in society around us.  We also need to be listening to what the Holy Spirit would have us speak.

Hunger – This is not the normal word for being hungry.  It’s a choice to abstain from eating food.  I believe that it should rightly be translated fasting, as it is in the KJV.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I think fasting should be a normal part of any Christian’s life.  So for those who are following the call of God in their life, it’s a necessity.

Purity – this literally means cleanness in the original.  We need to keep ourselves spiritually clean.

Does that mean we need to live a perfect life?  Absolutely not.  What it does mean, is that we’re always quick to repent when we realize that we’ve missed the mark.  Don’t let a day go by without confessing your sin to the Lord.

Understanding – In the above verse, this word simply means knowledge.  I believe that we need to constantly be learning and growing in our knowledge.  That not only includes Scripture but also the world around us.

Technology is changing so rapidly, and we need to be aware of these things.  Each day brings new advantages to how we present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Always stay teachable and open.

Patience – In the Greek, this is a compound word.  It means long tempered.  A true minister doesn’t get immediately angry in a bad situation.  They don’t let their emotions carry them away.

We have to be careful to always be led by the Holy Spirit.  We can’t afford to do or say something that we’ll end up regretting later.

If you have an anger problem, it will help if you spend time in the Lord’s presence.  Intimacy with the Holy Spirit brings great changes in our lives.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in these last two posts and we’re not finished yet.  Don’t get discouraged.  None of us are perfect, but this gives us something to strive for.  I’ll continue this in my next post.

Question: How do you see these qualities at work in your ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Return to Fellowship

As we continue in the epistle of 2 Corinthians, Paul deals with a subject that was started in his first letter.  At that time he told the church to bring discipline upon a member who was unrepentant in an obvious sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent — not to put it too severely.  The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.
2 Corinthians 2:5-6

Apparently, the church at Corinth followed Paul’s command to break fellowship with the believer who was in sin.  After hearing the letter, they became grieved over this problem.

The way Paul describes this discipline process is very interesting.  The phrase, punishment inflicted, is actually a word that comes from a tax being levied.

The only people who are taxed are the citizens.  By using this word, Paul affirms that even though they broke fellowship with this person, he still belonged to Christ.

Now, because of their obedience, this man repented.

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:7-8

Now we come to the most important part of the discipline process.  Three things are required so that the repentant believer will not give up through self-blame.  This is especially needed in the body of Christ where we are so often rightly accused of “shooting our wounded”.

The first is thing is to forgive.  The word Paul used is not the normal one for forgiveness.  It actually means to show grace toward.  We need to bestow the same grace God shows us when we repent.

Next, we need to comfort.  The closest English word to this is the idea of coaching.  Once they repent, mature believers must come alongside them to help them back to their rightful place in the church.

Finally, we need to reaffirm our love for them.  This is the most important step.  The Greek word translated as reaffirm, actually means a public reinstatement to right standing.

This is usually what we ignore in the church today.  Someone falls into sin.  They’re confronted by it and they respond in humility and repentance.  We coach them back to spiritual health.  Then, they quietly fade into the background and are never heard from again.

That’s not right.  If someone was publically rebuked and disciplined, they should also be publically acknowledged when they are restored.  I’ve seen many ministries destroyed because these steps were not followed in the love of Christ.

The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.  If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven — if there was anything to forgive — I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11

The apostle closes this section by emphasizing the importance of this step.  Even when someone repents, the devil can still outwit us if we don’t respond correctly.  Too many ministries have ended prematurely by an unforgiving church.

We must be a blessing to those who truly repent.

Question: How has God shown you grace in your repentance?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2020 in Fellowship, Relationships, The Church

 

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Tough Love

As we continue to look at Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we can begin to see his heart for them.  His first letter was very bold and authoritative.  He dealt with many of the sins and failures of the church.

I’m sure that many who read that letter were convicted and sorrowful over their actions.  Paul understood this and now he addresses this issue.

I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.  Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
2 Corinthians 1:23-24

The first thing Paul does is to let the church know that he understands his place in this process of correction and renewal.  It’s something that modern church leaders need to follow after.

He essentially says that “I am not the lord over your faith.  Instead, I’m a fellow worker with you.”  That’s an important concept for all leaders to grasp.  There’s only one Lord in the church – Jesus Christ the Son of God.

It’s not up to me, as a church leader, to make people do what they’re supposed to do.  All I can do is instruct in the way of Christ.  Then, the choice is theirs whether they’ll follow or not.

I can’t make them stand firm in their faith.  Faith is personal.  Everyone needs to stand on their own as they trust in God and His ways.

So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.  For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved?  I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice.  I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.
2 Corinthians 2:1-3

Now Paul bares his heart to them.  He’s overflowing with love for them.  After all, it was Paul’s ministry that gave birth to this church (See Acts, chapter 18).  How could anyone ever think that he was out to hurt them?

Usually, Paul is lifted up when he’s with his spiritual children.  But as he was going through that area, he knew that they had just received his letter.  He also knew, by the Spirit, what the effect upon the church would be.

He assumed that there would be much sorrow and guilt.  He also knew that as it ran its course, this sorrow would produce the repentance necessary for the church to get back on track.

Paul was operating in wisdom.  He knew that if he showed up too early, he might short-circuit the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  So Paul made a painful choice to put off his visit until a later time.

For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
2 Corinthians 2:4

This final thought lets us know what Paul was going through as he wrote First Corinthians.  First, he says that he felt under great distress – literally pressure – to write his letter of correction.

Also, he had great anxiety.  This word means that he felt like everything was falling apart.  It was through his great love for the Corinthian people that he forced himself to write a strong word to them.

It took a tough love to help them to get back to their first love for Christ.

Question: How have you experienced someone’s tough love for you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2020 in Leadership, Ministry, Revival

 

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Revival Starts with Me (and You!) (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to be involved in some ministry events.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

Revival – a lot of people talk about it, but few understand it.  For the most part, we like the idea of revival, but lack the drive to see it through.  Like it or not, if we want to see revival in the church, then it needs to start in the individual.

A number of years ago I went through David’s experience with revival as recorded in Psalm 51.  To see the original series, click here.  I believe that it will give us the understanding we need to head in that direction.  The desire is up to you.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Psalm 51:1-5

The conditions surrounding the writing of this Psalm are very important.  David was the king of Israel.  His word was law.  One day, from the rooftop of his palace, he saw the wife of one of his generals taking a bath.  He was infatuated with her and eventually they had an affair that got her pregnant.

Since the general was away at the front lines, this would be an awkward situation unless it was taken care of quickly.  After a few failed attempts at a cover-up, David had the general assassinated.  He then took the “grieving widow” as one of his wives.  Now everything was fine and they could live happily ever after…or could they?

The prophet, Nathan, was given a Word from God about the situation.  He confronted David with the truth.  Psalm 51 is David’s response.  I’m glad to say that David was able to turn around and renew his walk with God.  By writing it in a Psalm, we can see the principles of personal revival.

In order for us to experience the joy of a personal revival, it always starts in the same place.  We must see the condition of our lives from God’s perspective.

Please understand me.  I realize that we’re righteous, by position, in Jesus Christ.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m looking at the day to day condition of our physical walk with God.  Are we where we should be?  Am I living up to the high calling of God?

It seems that one of the most dreaded exercises for most Christians is to take a long, hard, look at themselves.  We must be brutally honest in our assessment – comparing ourselves with the example of Christ.  No whitewashing, no excuses, and no justifications.  I can’t compare myself with anybody else – after all, I can always find someone doing worse than me.

This then is the first step toward personal revival.  Taking inventory of your spiritual walk as a believer.  Finding and admitting those areas in which you fall short of your calling to walk as Christ did.

Only then you can truly seek God’s power to change you.  Let this be your prayer.  “God, help me to see myself as I really am before you.”  Then take the steps necessary to bring the revival of God into your life.

Question: Why do we hesitate to take a spiritual inventory of our lives?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2019 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Bad Examples

We’re continuing our look at the example of Israel.  The way they served God in the wilderness should be a sign to us of how NOT to do it.

There are three specific characteristics that Paul wants us to beware of.

We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did — and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did — and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel.
1 Corinthians 10:8-10

The first thing that you need to know is that we’re now under God’s grace.  I’m very glad that I was born on this side of the cross of Christ.  We don’t have to worry about plagues and destroying angels anymore.

On the other hand, just because God won’t immediately judge us, doesn’t change how strongly the Lord feels about these sins.  Participating in these activities is displeasing to God.  Our goal should be to live a life that’s well-pleasing before Him.

The first thing listed is sexual immorality.  I guess nothing changes.  That’s probably the biggest area in which Christians refuse to change.

This covers all sexual activity outside of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman.  Even pornography is included in this.

This is a huge stronghold in the lives of many believers, yet not many people talk about it.  Maybe they’re afraid that they may lose church members or followers.  But I can’t just gloss over it, because some of your future rewards depend upon the purity of your walk before God.

The next issue he talks about is testing the Lord.  This problem was recorded in the book of Numbers, chapter 21.   It was all about the people being impatient with the Lord.

When we pray, we want the answer right now.  With Israel, it got to the point where they accused God of sending them into the desert to die.  They also told Him that they hated the manna that God was providing for them.

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming impatient as you wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled.  It will develop ungratefulness for the things that the Lord is already doing in your life.  Rest assured that the Lord will fulfill His plan in you.

Finally, there’s a temptation for us to grumble about where we are in life.  This word means to speak a complaint in almost inaudible tones.

That’s something that used to really bother me as a pastor.  Someone would approach me and say something like, “Brother Joe is mad at you and has now left the church.  You need to talk to him.  He’s telling everybody mean things about you.”

The funny thing is that when I called Joe, he tells me, “Oh Pastor Nick, I’m not mad at you.  Who would say that about me?  I love your ministry.  I haven’t been in church because I have to take care of some family issues.”

Grumbling is when you voice your complaints to people who aren’t a part of either the problem or the solution.  You’re just looking for someone to tell you that you’re right and the other person is wrong.

Unfortunately, grumbling will open the door to the attack of the enemy.  Don’t give any ground to the devil.

The example of Israel is a negative one.  But they show us certain activities that the Lord hates.  He won’t kill you with a lightning bolt from heaven.  But your ministry will be hindered until you repent.

Question: Why is the walk of purity better, even though it’s a tougher road?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Keeping Your Distance

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5, is dealing with the matter of how carnal Christians are to be treated.  In many cases, we find ourselves off the track of God’s will in our generation.  There are times we either totally ignore sin in the church, or we kick people out of our fellowship.

As we’ve seen through these last few posts, Paul was not endorsing either of these options.  Instead, he tells mature believers to take authority over the situation in the spirit.

Now Paul shows us the way a carnal believer should be treated on a personal level.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler.  With such a man do not even eat.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11

Once someone has been identified as a carnal believer who has no desire for repentance, the work of restoration begins.  There must be intercession in the spirit for this person.  But that alone is not enough.

It’s the love shown to them that will draw them closer to God.  That’s why an understanding of this passage is so vital to church leadership.

The word, associate, in the passage literally means an intimate friendship.  It speaks of a mixing together of two lives.  It’s not referring to a casual acquaintance.

Paul is not telling us to cut all ties with this person.  Instead, we’re to love them back to the cross.  We can treat them in a friendly way without being best friends with them.  The goal is for them to desire a closer walk with God without their lifestyle or attitudes rubbing off on us.

The subject of eating together also needs to be addressed.  In our fast-paced society, meeting someone to discuss business over lunch has no intimate associations at all.  When Paul wrote this, eating together was a long process that usually meant a close, intimate friendship.

The key is that we’re not to develop an intimate friendship with carnal believers.  This goes right along with what Christ taught concerning those in unrepentant sin.  Look at what Christ says to do after repeatedly trying to restore this person.

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Matthew 18:17

I’ve seen people who use this verse to kick members out of their church.  Let’s understand what Jesus is saying here.

I think that I can sum it up in two simple questions.  How did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors?  Did He shun and exclude them or did He spend time with them in order to bring restoration?  I think the answers are obvious.

The Pharisees judged people for their sins and had them expelled from the synagogue.  Jesus loved people and spent time with them to bring them nearer to God.  Would you rather your life imitate Christ or a Pharisee?

It’s time that the church started to deal with sin in a scriptural, Christ-like way.  Our goal should be healing and restoration for the body of Christ.

Question: How have you seen scriptural restoration exemplified?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2019 in Fellowship, Leadership, Ministry, The Church

 

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