PART 5 PERSONAL ASSOCIATIONS - Revised
Knowing When to Maintain Them and Knowing When to Avoid Them ●Personal Injury ●Suits, Cases, or Litigations ●Against an Elder Receive Not an Accusation Personal Injury If a fellow believer injures us in our person, character, or property and refuses to admit wrong, then how should we respond? Suggested Reading: Matthew 18:15-17 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. (Matthew 18:15) There will be occasions when a fellow believer injures our character, person, or property. What should we do, when this is the case? Should we simply avoid them, and not address the matter? For some it is their natural tendency to avoid conflict with another person. However, the Christian protocol is to address the matter with the hope of restoring the offending believer to God the Father and reconciling him/her to our self. Initially, we should go to the offending believer with reason and argument hoping to resolve the contention. If the believer, who caused the offense admits wrong, then the matter is closed. 16 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. If they refuse to admit wrong and there is at least one other eye or ear witness to the offense, then you should go back and address the matter again. 17 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. If the believer chooses not to admit wrong or refuses to meet with you, then bring the matter before those in the church, who have been appointed to address these issues. The accused, the victim, and the witnesses will be asked to come before them in order to determine innocence or guilt. If the accused is found guilty, and refuses to admit guilt, then the victim is to consider their fellow brother or sister in the Lord as a pagan gentile (to the fellow Jew in the synagogue this would mean they would have no religious contact or communion with this person) or tax collector, another word he/she will be considered as someone not to have association with. If the accused admits guilt, then the matter is resolved. Restoration to fellowship with God the Father and reconciliation to the offended believer has been achieved. CHAPTER 8 Suits, Cases, or Litigations How should matters between Christians, which involve suits, cases, or litigations be handled? Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? (1 Corinthians 6:1) In the Corinthian church, believers were taking legal action against their fellow believers before pagan or unbelieving judges. It appears that these suits were considered legal, constituting civil issues, which were classified as small matters. Small matters seem to refer to the smallest matters that are involved in suits, cases, or litigations. Criminal matters, however, would go before ordinary tribunals. These small matters could be placed into two different categories. They could be explained as being those minor offences that are addressed in the lesser Jewish courts known as a Bench of Three Judges or The Bench Not Authorized, which involved suits for debts, robberies, bodily injuries, compensation for damages, thefts involving a twofold, fourfold, or fivefold value to the proprietor, seduction (to persuade someone to do something bad or wrong), slander (a spoken statement that harms a person’s reputation in an unfair way and makes others laugh at or hate the person). The other category of small matters was that they could refer to real estate (land, houses, business) matters or family inheritance. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? The apostle Paul, in response to what was going on, said to the believers at Corinth, that he spoke to their shame. Another word, by not addressing the small matters by utilizing someone within the assembly, who was qualified to settle an affair amicably among brethren, word got out to the unsaved that there were lawsuits involving members of the Christian church, which was a black mark on their testimony. The qualification of this believer was that they should be wise, which describes someone who is governed by piety and integrity. Some would call this person an arbiter. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? After mentioning what the protocol was for addressing small matters, Paul made some eye-opening comments. He said to those who brought lawsuits against fellow believers, who had defrauded them, before pagan judges, why do you not rather take wrong or why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded (to take away money, rights, etc. by cheating or tricking; to suffer the loss of property)? What was Paul really saying here? Was he telling them that if a fellow believer has taken something from them that they should allow themselves to be robbed and not make an issue of it? I don’t believe this to be the case. Why not? Because this would be condoning their sinful criminal behavior. I wonder how many Christians have been defrauded by someone in leadership and they were told to just take wrong, because God would vindicate them? I believe what he was saying was, if a fellow believer takes what it yours by hook, crook, or force, then you should take wrong in the sense of: enduring what has happened to you in a patient spirit and not respond by litigating what has happened before pagan judges, but rather have the matter be addressed within the church by someone who is guided by the Spirit. What are the small matters which should be addressed in this manner? The word “defrauded” gives us an idea of what should be settled within the church. This word means to take someone’s else’s money or property by unjust means. So, I would say that these small matters involved personal property or family inheritance. The other matters such as debts, bodily injuries, thefts, which involved a twofold, fourfold, or fivefold value to the proprietor, slander, etc.), should be handled according to Matthew 18:15-17, the protocol of which was discussed in an earlier chapter. CHAPTER 9 Against an Elder Receive Not an Accusation How should the sins of a pastor be addressed? 1 Timothy 5:19 This can be a source of much divided opinion in a church. In some churches pastors are allowed to live in sin, because according to church theology they are only answerable to God. Egregious sins of slander, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, extortion (the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority), etc. are seen as actions which are supported by scripture. Scriptures that indicate that these actions are sinful are considered out of date and not with the times. If a member of a church tries to address a pastor’s sin he/she is considered as trying to cause division and is viewed as an enemy to the pastor and assembly. This person is faced with either leaving the assembly or keeping their mouth shut. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Paul instructed Timothy to not receive an accusation against an elder unless there were at least two or three firsthand witnesses. Many believe this means that if a Christian has witnessed a pastor committing sin with no other witnesses present, then he/she is to keep the knowledge of this to him/herself. 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. (Matthew 18:15) I would beg to differ. I would recommend as the scripture indicates that if a pastor has injured a fellow believer in their person, character, or property they should be able to address this matter with the pastor alone. If a scenario occurred where a believer witnesses a pastor committing sin then they could also approach the pastor in the same manner. If the pastor chooses not to admit wrong or even decides to not allow a discussion to take place, then the case is closed. In this instance, you have a decision to make. Do I stay in the church or do I leave? 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. (Matthew 18:16) If you were able to speak to the pastor and the pastor chooses not to admit wrong and there are at least one or two other eye or ear witnesses to the sin, then you have the scriptural right to approach the pastor again with the accompaniment of the witnesses. If the pastor chooses to not admit guilt or does not allow for a second meeting, then you should bring this matter before those in the church, who are appointed to handle such matters. If there are people who are appointed to handle such matters, but refuse to allow for a hearing to take place, then you have a decision to make again, to stay in the church or to leave. Likewise, if the pastor has appointed only himself to hear such matters, then again there is a dilemma. This is not an easy decision for a believer to make especially if they have been in the ministry for a long time. If you stay in the church, then you are in effect condoning the pastor’s sin. If you leave, you might be considered an apostate. What should you do? I would ask God to open up an avenue so that this indiscretion could be addressed. On your part, you should make a decision to leave the assembly. I would also pray to God letting him know of your intention and requesting his direction. 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. (Matthew18:17) If a church hearing does take place, and the pastor is found guilty of the alleged sin, then the hope is the pastor admits guilt and receives the necessary punishment (censure). It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1 Corinthians 5:1, 4, 7) If a different scenario occurs where the sin of a believer, including a pastor, is evident to the church, then it should be judged immediately with a censure being imposed. If the church hierarchy condones sinful actions or refuses to address them, then again you need to make a decision to stay or go. Acceptance of sinful behavior inhibits the corporate anointing in the church and clearly indicates to the congregation that living according to the lusts of the flesh and not according to the fruit of the Holt Spirit is the way to please God. Society or government doesn’t determine what behaviors are acceptable, God does. Some say that condoning sin clearly sends a message to the church that living in this way evidences God working in this person’s life. They might even use the statement that God loves everyone, and who are you to judge? How ridiculous! The church becomes a place that promotes sinful behavior, and calls it Christian living. The messages from the pulpit doesn’t provide conviction to restoration, calls it minding one’s business. The Holy Spirit is mentioned, but his gifts and anointing are nowhere to be found. Do you ever wonder why? If this is the case in the church you are attending, then why are you still there? What is the point of the messages, the outreaches, and the activities if they promote self in the name of God? Remember, religion pleases selfish desires and self-promotion, while godliness causes us to manifest the new person that we have become thus evidencing the divine changes that have taken place in our life. Follow this series: on-line at Weekly Messages: https://www.blockislandtimes.com/affiliate/block-island-christian-fellowship/12074 Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/James-Rondinone-560602797425740/ Website: http://www.makingtheonerightchoice.com/

Comments:
There are no messages yet
rondo
Religion
Christianity
writing rondo
Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
This has not been rated.

© 2014 WritingRoom.com, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WRITING | POETRY WRITING | CREATIVE WRITING | WRITE A BOOK | WRITING CONTESTS | WRITING TIPS