“If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14)
The apostle Paul speaks on the subject of professing believers who continue in sin (1 Cor. 5:9-12; Titus 3:10-11) several times in the New Testament. In Paul’s day it would have been a shameful thing to be removed from the church and for the church to not associate with a certain person because of sin. Paul gave directions to do this knowing that it would shame true believers unto repentance. It would be as if a man was removed from church for a sin and then he would have no place to worship, no place to hear God’s Word preached, no place to fellowship with the people of God, no place to give unto the Lord, and no place to serve the living God.
The true believer would be heartbroken over these issues and come to repentance and be restored into the church with much joy. The erring brother would come back to the church confessing his sin and seeking forgiveness and the church would then embrace him with open arms. These circumstances would strengthen the faith of all involved. However, in the 21st century this process has just about become impossible. This does not imply that it should not be done, but rather it reveals the despicable state of the American church. Today if one is removed for church discipline, they simply go down the street to the next church and find that people will embrace them without making any issue of their sin. People can be removed from a biblical church for sexual immorality, homosexuality, forsaking the church, and other public sins and then the next Sunday they can be teaching Sunday School and singing in the choir of the church of the same denomination just down the street.
It is as if churches confirm and condone sin and slander churches who seek to be obedient to the Scripture. A great deal of the fault lies with wimpy, weak, wormy preachers who will not stand for anything and are led around like a puppy dog by the hand of self-centered, flesh driven power structures of people who have money. Dearly beloved, what type of church are you a part of? Does your church confront sin or embrace sin? Does your church gladly entertain those who run from the truth? When was the last time you removed someone in order that they would be shamed unto repentance? Are you a part of a true church or are you a part of a social gathering with religious overtones? Pray earnestly for true churches to rise up for the glory of God.
Pastor: J. Randall Easter