PASTORS: Do not make an effort to keep your church full. Instead, spend your energies on keeping your church pure.
I’ve known of more than one instance where a couple would be attending a church, and one of them would begin cheating on the other. They would soon split. The cheater would then show up at the church with his or her paramour. Even after the situation would be pointed out to the pastor or elders, nothing would be done. No one would be confronted.
I know there is a fear of confrontation in our society. (I think sometimes that I am the one who invented it.)
But, this sort of thing outght not to be.
In our small town, there is a local church where it is alleged that the piano player is committing adultery. The situation is spoken of all around town. The wife said her husband told her he was doing it, and she could leave if she wanted.
This particular church takes a strong stand against having a divorced person serve as pastor.
I spoke to one of the teaching elders about this situation a few days ago. I was able to bring up the subject, because he said he had been teaching on “the wiles of the devil.”
I said, “Since you are teaching on the wiles of the devil, then why are you allowing an adulterer to lead worship in your church.”
“He’s not the worship leader,” was the reply.
“Yet you allow him to be up front, leading the people by playing the piano. How is that okay?” I asked.
“Well, it hasn’t been proven. There are just rumors.”
“Don’t you think the rumors ought to be checked out?”
“Maybe. But we should wait until there are two or three witnesses. But what really gets me is how the devil uses babies in the service to distract from the teaching of God’s Word.” He then went into a tirade about how children should not be in the service because they can be used by the devil to disrupt.
When he took a breath, I said, “Don’t you think sin in the church is something the devil uses to keep the church powerless?”
“Yes, but we don’t know for sure that he is doing that. What really needs to be dealt with are those who say they are going to do something–like teach children’s church–and then don’t show up. Then you find out they’ve been out on a bike ride or something.”
He had become visibly uncomfortable, shrugging his shoulders and twisting his neck like his collar was too tight. (I never knew that was possible for a tee shirt.)
I am fairly confident that this sickening scenario could have been played out in just about any town in Amreica. The situation may be somewhat different, but the toleration of sin in the camp is an all-too-common problem in today’s institutional churches–be they denominational or independent.
How can a Bible-believing church skip over Matthew 18:15-20, or ignore 1 Corinthians 5:1-7a, or not get the lesson of Achan (Joshua 7)?
We beg and plead with God for revival, but nothing happens.
Should we not “consider our ways…, because of the Lord’s house that lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:7-11)
Until we “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit” (2 Cor. 7:1); until we “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17); until we “come out of her” (Babylon), we will continue to “share in her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).
If you know your church tolerates sin–especially sexual sin–then you are required to speak up or get out. It is better to not have a place of fellowship, than to have fellowship with the unfruitful, life-destroying, spirit-damaging, self-serving works of darkness in the name of maintaining peace.
“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured” (Heb. 13:13).
4 thoughts on “There is Sin in The Camp”
If I had the time and talent, I would create a comic strip called “The Church Social”. It would feature the fat church ladies stuffing their faces with pie while gossiping about everyone else’s sin activities.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sin was a serious matter. The problem is that we still categorize sins (smells of Babylon, does it not?)-Some worse than others. And, then there are the “big” ones. You know which ones they are. It just depends on your system which one(s) tops your list.
…and whatever is not from faith is sin. Rom 14:23 Perhaps our churches “tolerate” sin because we have not been taught to live by faith in the Son of God and His completed work of nailing sin to the cross.
Dale ends his article with Heb. 13:13: “Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured”
Why go “outside”? Because: “The altar from which God gives us the gift of himself is not for exploitation by insiders who grab and loot. In the old system, the animals are killed and the bodies disposed of outside the camp. The blood is then brought inside to the altar as a sacrifice for sin. It’s the same with Jesus. He was crucified outside the city gates—that is where he poured out the sacrificial blood that was brought to God’s altar to cleanse his people. So let’s go outside…” Heb 13:10-13
When we go “outside” (from religious systems & to the cross) we are reminded of the finished work of our Lord. We are brought to a fuller understanding of His sacrifice and of His grace. We can then, in true humility, approach a fellow believer about their sin. Not for the sake of exposing, but for restoring. The Law gives sin its power much more than us tolerating it. Our focus should always point to the sacrifice, not the sin/sinner. The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world through His death on the cross. His risen Life gives Life to all.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1Cor 1:18 Let us first re-introduce the power of God to our brethren. Then confront.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3
“But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” How does that happen? I think, when dealing with “sin situations” among us, we revert to the law; focus on the sin, and loose sight of the cross.
There are several reasons for this. Unfortunately one that is all too real in today culture is the fear of lawsuits. However, I still believe God is in control and will be so, even in the midst of what we would find unthinkable and horrible to go through. And as long as Satan knows we will be bound by that fear, he will use it.
Another too real one is that too many of those in leadership are themselves involved in sexual immorality of some sort and it hits too close to home. Possibly there is even collusion and so they have no power to confront.
Concerning promises, it is much easier to tear down the irrelevant — like those who supposedly (maybe they did, maybe they didn’t) promise to do something and then don’t show up.
And finally, the children. Oh yes. We can’t let Satan distract us by them. There are 2 very valid issues here — 2 that pastors don’t want to address, often for the same reasons.
First, possibly teaching needs to be done that once again encourages parents to stop indulging their precious angels and make them mind — with the parent/ministry leading the way; and second, maybe the congregation needs to learn to focus and have a little bit of mercy, compassion, and understanding with parents who are trying to teach their children to be able to sit in a service.
I have set in thousands of settings with children there and have never — repeat, never — seen a situation where the parent did not ultimately (maybe after 5 whole minutes? SHOCKING!!!) leave the room if necessary. Oh, but then, I’m forgetting. A bit of distraction irritates me and after all, it is all about me — and My Comfort.
P.S. I overlooked one very crucial thing — forgive my skepticism, but, in my opinion, there are very few, if any, really Bible-believing churches in America. Doctrine believing, yes; Bible-believing, no.
P.P.S. Your introductory Pastors note is exceptional.
I have recently started a blog, and the information you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanx for all of your time & work.
Glad to be of service, Willetta.