Summary: What happens when a Christian sins and will not repent? What is the proper response to such a person by other Christians? God's word is not silent about this. We need to hear and heed what God tells us so that we can be what He intends. Our wisdom mig
A man was going to Halloween party one night dressed in a devil’s costume. On the way to the party it started to rain and storm, lightning began to strike and the power went out so he decided to take shelter in the nearest building, which just happened to be a church building where a gospel meeting was taking place. As soon as he walked through the door everyone turned around to see who was coming in late. When they saw him there in the dim light after their power had gone out, they began to scream and scatter like a covey of quail.
One lady got caught in her pew and fell down in the midst of all the confusion. The man decided to go check on her and make sure she was okay. He slowly made his way over to where she was. Seeing the devil coming toward her the lady said, "Satan, I’ve been a member of this church for over 30 years, but I want you to know right now that I’ve really been on your side the whole time!" (Sermoncentral Illustrations)
When we know we are in the presence of God it is easier to sing praises and rejoice in goodness. But when we think we are in the presence of Satan or his cohorts, faithfulness can be much harder. Here at church we can sing and pray and praise God with comfort surrounded by encouragement before Him. When we leave and go to work or school and find ourselves surrounded by godlessness, well, it’s a lot harder, isn’t it?
The key is to remember that we are in Christ 24/7/365.25. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses all the time, cheering for our faithfulness. But we must be tuned in to hear it.
Today and Lord willing, next week will be the last two studies in this series on how Jesus overcomes Satan. We will have covered a lot of what the God’s word says about Satan in this series and I hope this has been helpful. Again, our focus is not on the devil, but on Jesus Christ who has defeated Satan and who gives us victory over him when we submit ourselves to Christ and obey God’s word in faith.
This morning I would invite you to open your Bibles again to 1 Corinthians 5. We will be considering a somewhat shocking verse that needs to be understood and interpreted with scripture.
Look with me at verse five again.
1 Corinthians 5:5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the flesh may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
This verse is somewhat similar to 1 Timothy 1:20 where Paul writes concerning some Christian men who had turned away from faith and a good conscience and they have shipwrecked their faith. Listen to what Paul says: Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
After reading these passages and their contexts and praying for guidance I also looked them up in some commentaries to see if my understanding was in agreement with what others were thinking. Sure enough this passage is difficult for a few reasons. Not the words themselves, but the lack of information.
Remember last week we looked briefly at Acts 5:3 in the story of Ananias and Saphira? This couple had evidently pledged to give the proceeds of a sale of land to the church. But then they kept some of the money back and acted like they were giving the whole amount. It was this lie part that Peter picks up on. Why did they have to lie? Who were they actually lying to? What was the consequence of their lie?
Ananias and Saphira failed at the very foundation of faith. They were not honest. Worse, they were not honest to God! They acted as if God were not present and they seemed to think that they could lie without any repercussion. Peter asked Ananias, “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept back some of the money you received for the land? While it was unsold, was it not yours? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but to God!”
What happened next shocked the whole church. Ananias and his wife both died as a result of agreeing together in this lie.
Now, was this event, or others like it in Paul’s mind when he told the Corinthian church to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh? That is what some commentators think. But what follows in 1 Corinthians 5:5 at the end of the verse makes that harder to swallow.