Provoking One Another to Love | Part Four

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Paul Rotua

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Let’s see an important instruction Paul gave in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 5 (Amplified)
11 But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.
12 What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?
13 God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

And also in 2 Thessalonians he gives us a similar instruction on how to deal with erring brethren who persist in sin:

2 Thessalonians 3 (Amplified)
14 But if anyone [in the church] refuses to obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.
15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but simply admonish and warn him as [being still] a brother.

It is very clear what he says we should do. He instructs us to make it clear to the person I believe after several warnings that the church will dissociate itself from him or her. This is actually what Paul meant by handing him over to Satan (which is a figure of speech). Remember as love beings we shield one another. Withdrawing fellowship from a brother or sister is the way to convey in its strongest terms the church’s disapproval. Now, where the love of God has been practiced strongly, this should be missed by the brother from whom fellowship has been withdrawn by the brethren. Paul says it’s so he may be ashamed and turnabout and repent. If he repents, we restore him to fellowship.

One thing I want to emphasize is that we must build a strong community of love that absence from it can be felt by the isolated person. Where there is strife and contentions, and ill treatment of one another, such a withdrawal will not be missed. A person may ask, “Does that mean the person loses his salvation?” No, it doesn’t. But if he persists in it, God will judge him or her so he won’t be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). It is one of the reasons Christians can die young.

The goal is that we should not permit wrong doing to thrive in the Body. Part of walking in love is to keep the testimony of Jesus within the Body and outside the Body. Scripture itself is for correction. Not correcting in love is also not walking in love.

However, the attitude used in correcting must not be a condescending “holier than thou” attitude but with meekness. Paul says in Galatians:

Galatians 6 (Amplified)
1 Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.
2 Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].

That is the attitude we are to employ in correction and restoration. How do we carry others’ burdens? In prayer! When a brother or sister persists in wrong doing, we ought to pray for such and not just talk about it. Jesus interceded for Peter, remember?

In conclusion, I urge us to open up to practice the love walk more. Yes, we may falter, we may be taken advantage of sometimes, but don’t consider it as a sign of weakness. No. God’s love is the place of strength. You keep yourself IN THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH NEVER FAILS!

I trust you have been blessed by my short exhortation. Contributions and questions are also welcome

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