48. Part 3 OF WHEN IRON SHARPENING FAILS
ALLOWING IRON SHARPENING TO FAIL,
MAKES ONE AN ACCOMPLICE TO SIN
II John 10-11
"...he that biddeth him 'God speed' is a partaker in his evil deeds."
If one of the congregation refuses to disfellowship the offender, the result is that he/she will become an accomplice in their rebellion. We can condone sin by word, action, or inaction... and thereby be guilty. Paul held the coats of those stoning Stephen, and thereby became an accomplice in the murder.
I Corinthians 5:1-13
"...little leaven leaveneth the whole lump..."
This was Paul's warning to those who were refusing to disfellowship the incestuous member. They were tolerating sin, and were arrogant about it (I Cor. 5:2). Paul said they should have mourned the sin. Mourning is more than a sanctimonious gab session. It is more than raising one's hand as a gesture of prayer request. Mourning means to be upset, and to weep and to pray over it.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
The people at Corinth were to:
I Corinthians 5:5
"deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
How do you "deliver" someone to the devil? The members of the church enjoy the hedge of protection of the congregational body. When the devil attacks, he attacks the whole. When a congregational body is no longer putting their blessing on the offender, he is susceptible to the evil designs of the devil. The offender's flesh will suffer the attacks of the devil. The offender is going to realize more quickly that the approval of the congregation and of God is gone. Repentance is more likely.
"In their affliction, they will seek me early."
WHAT SINS CALL FOR THIS DRASTIC ACTION?
I Corinthians 5:11
"I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of a brother, if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber - not even to eat with such a one."
Paul simply tossed out examples of everyday sins that do not belong in a congregation. Too many have felt in our day, that only gross sexual sins call for congregational discipline. To many only want to judge the pastor's sins.
The offender will learn by shock and isolation. The congregation learns through the heart-searching process of the ordeal.
THE DREADFUL DISFELLOWSHIPPING
The offenders are to be treated as the Jews treated the tax collectors of their day. We are not to eat or socialize with them. We are to remove such a one from the congregation. We are to cease interceding for the protection of the offender from the attacks of the devil. Our only prayer is to be for the offender's salvation. None of this is inconsistent with love. The saving of the soul is the ultimate desire, and God's Word tells us that the disfellowship of the offender may be the last available method of bringing the offender to salvation.
True congregational discipline is not fun. The greater the love, the greater the pain.
II Corinthians 2:4
"For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart, and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love I have for you."
Those, as Paul, who engaged in this type of discipline, know the hurt, the grief, the self doubts, the tears, and the hopes of it.
Hopefully, the end result of the disfellowshipping is the restoration of the salvation of the offender. We should be ready to forgive and reconcile.
II Corinthians 2:6-10
"So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him... Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive."
II Corinthians 7:9,11
"I rejoice... not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting, for you felt a Godly grief... at every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter."
Extreme discipline does not always result in the salvation of the offender. We do not do it because it always works. We do it because Christ taught us to do it. Even when it fails to bring the offender to repentance, it does reap fruits. At least the congregation is guiltless. By following the proper process, they have not sinned.