Summary: The Body of Christ here on Earth has been stained with sin. We are called to put away sin from our presence, and if we truly are of the "Body of Christ" we will strive to put sin out of our midst.
Let us Put Away Sin within Our Churches
We sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don’t know all their circumstances, nor their motives. Only God, who is aware of all the facts, is able to judge people righteously. John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him.
After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one. "Christ has made me an honest man," he said, "and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest." Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness. Daily Bread, July 20, 1992.
You have undoubtedly heard “Judge not lest ye be judged”.
In hearing and reading this many assume that we cannot or should not even judge rightly among ourselves. Nothing can be further from the truth.
We have a righteous requirement in our Churches to judge our brothers and sisters that they may walk a life that honors and glorifies God and adds to HIS witness among us.
We need remember however that the church must judge only those “within” the church; God judges those who are “without.”
Judgment of unbelievers is in God’s hands.
We are commanded to exercise discipline within the church.
Therefore, the shameful sinner who refuses to repent must be dismissed from the church.
In our day and age of acceptance of all except the righteous path of God, this is difficult to comprehend and comply with.
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:15-17).
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (Luke 17:1-3).
“And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4).
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Tim. 5:20).
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).