Summary: How can we be involved in restoroing the fallen? Should we ever excommunicate or ’disfellowship’? Should leaders who have fallen be restored to their previous ministry?
Restoring the fallen. 2 Cor 2:5-11. WBC 1 May 05pm
Recently, a church that is well known and dear to me has been dealt a huge blow.
Actually- it is being dealt with well, and some good is already coming from it. The church has always kind of ’fancied itself’, almost like God was ’lucky to have it’ and you were lucky to join it- but the church has met recently to repent of arrogance, pride and self-satisfaction. Some have stood to say how quick they have been to judge others… staff included.
A long-waited for turning point may have been reached.
Their youth Pastor, who was due to have his leaving do on the Friday to start a new church the following week, was discovered on the Monday as having had two affairs the prior year. All were absolutely devastated. Church, partners…. Youth Pastor who had been so frustrated that he hadn’t been able to do what he wanted in the Youth the prior years…and now had torn some of that work down and, resultantly, had no church.
In the previous 12 years 2 elders had behaved similarly
It’s a huge issue. Dealing with falls. Dealing with the fallen
- it happens. (need to be humble and human about it)
- it happens in the charismatic church (has been a major weakness of the last 30 years)
o leaders (sometimes) in the church (often)
How do we deal with these things? How do we proof our churches so they don’t happen to us? How do we restore those who have fallen
- though negligence, weakness, own deliberate fault?
How do you proof our churches?
- proof your/our lives!
o There is no substitute for walking close with God… and in the right way with oneanother
o Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God- that’s what the Lord requires of us. In the end it’s v simple
" But it’s not for religious, restless, zealots. Walking with God is not enough
Illustr: Angela. We were working on her husband. He respected and liked the people in the church. Would often come to church things. It was good and getting there. Slowly. Until Angela left him for one of the men in the church with whom she felt she could ’serve the Lord better’. We tried to talk to her. Reason with her. Discipline her. In the end they both left to ’worship’ elsewhere
(God have mercy on us all)
Keep your lives free from sin. Do not covet. Seek the Lord rather than a ’high’. Watch inappropriate closeness. Be careful who you counsel.
There are many different ways in which people can fall, of course
So- what had happened here in Corinth?
- traditionally this has been about he restoration of the fallen person in 1 Cor 5:1-12 (read)
However- this can’t be the whole of the story as this (2 Cor 2) is about someone who has grieved Paul personally (and he’s being very humble and playing it down)
- 1 Cor is sexual sin. This is something else
- After 1 Cor there has been (2 Cor 2:1-4) a painful visit and a painful letter (involving the discipline spoken of, here)
o Paul wrote that letter to (2 Cor 7:12) demand disciplinary action and test whether the church would respond
So- it’s kind of hard to tell what issue/person is being spoken of, here. We only have one side of the conversation.
- most theologians think this was an issue of someone who opposed and hurt Paul deeply
If it’s linked to the 1 Cor 5 issue, here’s what I think MAY have happened. MAY not MUST… but it serves to illustrate
- Paul writes 1 Cor for many issues (not ’painful letter’), and ONE is to address the almost incest of 1 COr 5
- When the letter is read to the church no action is taken!
o The man disregards it. Attacks Paul’s ministry: ’what right does HE have….!’
o And the very atmosphere of the church enhances the problem:
" Lots of immorality. Like yeast through the dough
" The Paul/Peter split. Some were questioning Paul, anyway.
" Their wrong understanding of love: not ’tough’ love
- Paul visits and is verbally assaulted by this person (hence sin against him)
- Thinks it best to leave and writes a very hard painful letter (that we don’t have)
Now- the situation has progressed
- they have excommunicated him. Disfellowshipped him. As Paul requested. Got more serious/mature about their faith….
…. And Paul sees another way in which Satan (who has been used to teach this bloke a lesson) could outwit them
- he could snatch this person out from the church and a person, dear to Jesus, could be lost. To the church. To Christ