Summary: Many thanks to Pastor Jonathan Russell of Raymond Rd Baptist Church in Mississippi for his excellent outline regarding Ahithophel. This message looks at the biblical concept of repentance and forgiveness and the consequences of not following that pattern
Who Walks The Halls Of Our Church?
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
INTRODUCTION: A few weeks ago, Sherry and I took some time away. We needed the get away. While we were away, the church conducted a business meeting for the purpose of approving a church budget.
The conversations and meetings I have had since my return have caused me to ponder this, “Would these issues have surfaced had I been here?”
Upon our return, I began to hear reports from many people. Some directly to me, and others to me through my wife. Some who spoke to me came with the attitude that they were justified in what they did, others came with the attitude that they had done nothing and were innocent. Many portrayed others as the perpetrators of disunity and fracture. In the end most if not all have probably overlooked their own involvement, and inflated the involvement of others. Each forgetting the Scripture where we are both warned and commanded;
Matthew 5:21-24 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ’Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ’Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ’You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
• We are warned against anger towards are brother
• We are warned against worship with bitterness and unforgiveness
• We are commanded to get things right horizontally before we can have things right vertically
THIS ATTITUDE OF ANGER AND UNFORGIVENESS CRACKS THE DOOR OF THE CHURCH OPEN, ALLOWING THE DEVIL TO SLIP IN AND REMOVES OUR SENSITIVITY TO SPIRITUAL THINGS.
What soon follows is a breakdown of the biblical pattern Jesus has given for dealing with issues of unforgiveness, anger, and division. Or may I call it what it is – SIN!
Jesus instructed us in the proper manner and order in dealing with issues of sin in the church:
Matthew 18:15-17 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ’every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
1. First, there is individual responsibility.
2. Second, there is group responsibility
3. Third, there is corporate responsibility
When this pattern is not followed, what results is:
• Careless remarks, “There is sin in the church”.
Careless because that is all that is heard
Careless because it is never explained
Careless because it is universal in scope
Careless because it is spread in DIRECT violation of biblical mandates, making what may have been an innocent party now an offending party.
• Secluded meetings
Meetings that serve to increase division
Meetings that violate the Biblical pattern
Meetings that stir the issue, not resolve the issue
• Thoughtless Actions
Serving less so the church struggles to fulfill it mandate ministry-wise
Stop worshipping so that the church struggles to give its full attention to God
We remove ourselves from corporate worship to talk about the “sin in the church”
We remove ourselves from corporate worship because we have not behaved Biblically and fractured our own walk with Christ
Stop Giving so that the church struggles to fulfill its financial commitments
THIS EMBRACING OF WILLFUL SIN THROWS THE DOOR OF THE CHURCH OPEN, ALLOWING THE DEVIL TO ROAM FREELY AND REMOVES OUR ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH BIBLICAL MANDATES.
Whether offended or offender, we have all placed ourselves under the control of our sinful nature, and have rejected the authority of Christ. With all of this, we have literally brought ourselves where angels not only fear to tread BUT do not tread!
2 Peter 2:10-11 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.