A Little Bible Q & A For Your Day
Posted by: Eddie Ingram
Date: Jul 13 2017 10:46 AM
I hope your week is going well. I also hope you are planning to be with us this Sunday. Our Bible class begins at 9 and worship follows at 10.
For today, here is a little Q & A.
Dear Brother: A man left the church many years ago, and lived a sinful life. After years of being away, he has started attending again. The elders here have talked with him about his sin and he acknowledges his wrong, but has not yet made a clean break with his past. One man in our church thinks this sinner should not be allowed to worship here. What do you think?
"And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly. And when they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:5-10). This event applies to your question. When Jesus chose to eat with a known and notorious sinner like Zaccheus, His critics grumbled as well. Jesus explained that His mission was to find people just like Zaccheus and save them. How we can save sinners without going to them and accepting them I don't know. I do know Jesus went to sinners, welcomed sinners and found ways to forgive and redeem sinners. That is the mission of His church as well.
The impression I receive from your question is that this man is wanting to change and do what is right, but so far is unable to make the break. The question becomes, how can those of us who are part of God's body encourage this man in his thinking. We know Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Our task is to seek and save them as well. Telling this man he cannot worship there until he is good enough seems to be harsh and legalistic. After all, Jesus ate with Zaccheus before that sinner repented.
I know God wants the church to be pure. “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler- not even to eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5:9-11). Paul gives instructions about withdrawing fellowship from those who live immoral lives. This man has not been in your fellowship for years. Spiritual men have confronted him with his sin and he admits he is wrong and wants to change. Since his goal is the same as yours, a redeemed soul that is forgiven and living for God, this sort of church discipline would not apply. Keeping this man out would not keep the church pure but only keep the church from "seeking and saving the lost".
I hope this helps.
Have a great weekend! Come see us, we'd love to have you!
Enon Church of Christ
1366 Enon Rd.
Webb, AL 36376