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