Monday, October 31, 2011

Can You Imagine!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Can you imagine a Christian church where fornication and adultery are not only tolerated but the immorality condoned is shameful even to the non-Christian community? The church members are smilingly self-satisfied in the midst of this moral cesspool. Can you imagine?

Believe it or not, the celebrated church was Corinth, and Paul was its de facto pastor. How did he handle the crisis? Enforce a super-tight church discipline?

YES! He urged the church to discipline the immoral member severely. He sharply rebuked their moral complacency in a way similar to Christ's rebuke to the leadership of the church in Laodicea (who felt "rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing," Rev. 3:14-18). The Corinthian church, like the Laodicean church, has become world-famous for self-delusion--striding naked on the stage while blissfully unaware. Paul's sharp rebuke brought the church in Corinth to their knees; they promptly disfellowshipped the erring member. They received, not resisted or rejected, from God a gift of repentance. They "sorrowed to repentance" "after a godly sort" with "carefulness," "clearing of yourselves," "indignation," "vehement desire," "zeal," spiritual "revenge," intense "godly sorrow" (2 Cor. 7:9-11). As captain, Paul ran a tight ship.
But Paul also knew that disfellowshipping right and left could not be the solution. Discipline may be great in the nation's military, but Paul knew these "naked" people needed the robe of Christ's righteousness. They had to understand the gospel. No soft-soap "Jesus forgives, it's okay, you can't help sinning." Their pastor "determined not to know anything among [them], save Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:1-5). His own heart was broken. The church members saw a pastor "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." They saw tears in his eyes (oh that youth today could see tears in the eyes of their pastors, their teachers, their parents!) Their pastor's message always was agape, the self-emptying love of a Savior who went to hell in order to save them. That did more good than all his cracking of the whip.

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 11, 2003.
Copyright © 2011 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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