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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Good Grace and Confrontation - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good Grace and Confrontation - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good Grace and Confrontation - Part 2
TOPICS: Grace Gone Wild, Confrontation

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. No one is perfect, which shouldn't come as a big surprise. As much as we might try, all of us mess up from time to time. But in some situations, sin crosses the line and requires serious intervention. Today, I'm going to explain how to discern when church discipline is necessary and the biblical way to go about it. My message is titled "Good Grace Confrontation" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

In Hebrews 12:8, the writer says, "But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons". God only disciplines those who are a part of his family not those who aren't part of his family. If you go to the mall and you see some child misbehaving, yelling at his parents, yelling out obscenities, do you go over and correct that child? Probably not, I mean, if you tried to do it, the child, even the parent would say, who in the world do you think you are? But buddy, that's not your business. And they would be right. Parents only discipline their own children. So the way with God, God disciplines his children who are caught up in sin. And the fact that hard things come into your life when you sin as a Christian, is approved that you're part of God's family and that God loves you too much to allow you to get away with it. One of the channels God uses to bring discipline in your church, is through other Christians in the body of Christ. Or what are the purposes of church discipline correction? The scripture mentions three.

First of all, write this down. To reclaim a Christian who has been overtaken by sin. My first acting experience was when I was in the first grade here at our church and our Sunday school class was going to do a dramatic reenactment of the story of the good Samaritan. And I was chosen to play the lead role. My parents were so proud. I still remember them coming in and watching my performances, the good Samaritan. They dressed me up in a bathrobe and gave me a first aid kit and I was part of the story that probably everybody even with a cursory understanding of scripture knows. Remember the story in Luke 10, Jesus had said, love your neighbor as yourself and there's a lawyer in the crowd looking for loopholes. And the lawyer said, well, wait a minute, Jesus, this love your neighbors, yourself stuff, exactly who is my neighbor?

He was looking for a way to get out of that. Surely you don't mean anybody. Wouldn't my neighbor be somebody that I like and care about? And so Jesus answered his question, who is my neighbor, by telling the story that we call the good Samaritan. He told the story of a Jewish man who was walking and on his walk he had been ambushed by a group of thieves who had beaten him, robbed him and left him for dead. And there he was bleeding in the street. When a priest walked by, saw what had happened, said, isn't that a shame and on he went. And then assistant priest walked by and again, stopped to do nothing. But for third man who walked by was a Samaritan from Samaria. The Samaritans hated the Jews and the Jews certainly hated the Samaritans but he, an outsider was the one, that was the one who stopped and rendered aid and took him to the end and paid for his healing. Jesus was saying, your neighbor is anyone who is in need. That's who your neighbor is.

Now, what does that have to do with church discipline? Every day we see Christians who've been assaulted and beaten by sin in this world. They are the victims of sin. Through immoral relationships, broken marriages, addictions, they are getting beaten up by sin and being left for dead. If you see a Christian who is under assault from sin, what are you supposed to do? Just walk by, say well, that's his problem, that's his relationship with God, I can't get involved, no. To walk by a Christian who is the victim of sin, it's a show contempt toward that Christian. It is our duty to stop and help whenever we can. The evangelist Charles Finney once claimed, reprove, that is, correction is a Christian duty. If you see your neighbor sin and you pass by and neglect to reprove him, it is just as cruel as if you should see his house on fire and pass by it and not warn him of it.

You see again, the reason people resist this idea of church discipline is they don't want to get involved. It may be messy and they don't want to be involved in condemnation of another sinner. The purpose of church discipline is not condemnation, but restoration. Let me show you that in the Bible. In Galatians 6:1-2 Paul wrote, "Brethren, if any one is caught in any trespass," that word caught literally means overtaken, somebody who is overtaken by a sin. What are you to do? "You who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ". Or to restore somebody who's overtaken in sin, that word restore, is used two ways in the Greek language. Sometimes it refers to the mending of a fishing net that had torn. The mending of a net. Sometimes, dealt with the setting of a bone that had been broken. But whether it's the mending of a fishing net or the setting of a bone, the idea is the same, to restore something is to repair something that has been broken.

When we see a Christian who has been broken by sin and a spirit of gentleness, we're to help restore them. That's the first purpose of church discipline. To reclaim a Christian overtaken by sin. Secondly, to maintain the witness of the church. To maintain the witness of the church. The church is often called, as I mentioned, the body of Christ. One reason that's true is because we're all connected to one another like the body and Jesus is the head, but by body, it also means we are the visible representation of church to unbelievers in this world. Non-Christians can't see Jesus, he's not here, he's in heaven. But Jesus has left Christians on earth, we are the body, we are the visible representation of Christ here on earth. And that means to a large extent, people's attitudes towards Christ is often shaped by their attitude toward the church. After all Christians are the only thing they see, and so they shape their attitudes of Christ by what they see in your life and in my life. And when they see Christians who are just as entangled in sin with no difference in their lifestyle, as they're experiencing, they would say why would I bother to want to be a Christian?

I remember years ago watching Larry King Live and that used to be a must watch TV show, Larry King Live, he'd always have interesting guests. And I remember one night he was interviewing a Christian personality, and their mate, this Christian couple. And they had both left their former spouses to marry one another. What interested me in that interview was the caption, the crayon that underneath their interview. The title of the interview was "Christians attracted to each other married to other people". I thought what a damning indictment that is of the church. For the whole world to see this is a normal thing. Christians who are attracted to one another even though they're married to other people. It makes me think of gandhI's observation. He said, I might consider becoming a Christian if I ever met one. The church is the visible representation of Christ on earth. And that's why we have to deal with the problem, the sin, by the way, the idea of Christians being a poor witness for Christ because of their lifestyle. That's not a new problem. It was found 2.000 years ago in the church at Corinth.

Turn over to 1 Corinthians 5 for just a moment. Remember the story, Paul was writing them a scathing letter for what was going on, the scandal in their church. He mentioned and said in 1 Corinthians 5:1, "It is actually reported to me that there is immorality among you and immorality of such a kind as does not even exist among the gentiles," the unbelievers, "That somebody in your church has his father's wife". Apparently, the scandal was there was a man in the church, who was having an affair not with his mother, with a stepmother, his father's wife. And it had become the scandal not just of the church, but of the entire community. People were saying, look at what is happening down at that church. They're doing things we don't even approve of and we're pagans. So what did the church do about that? Absolutely nothing. In fact, they bragged about the fact that they didn't intervene in that sin.

That's why Paul says in verse 2, "You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst". The church probably said, you know, we're a church of grace, not of judgment. Everybody's welcome into our church. Who are we to judge other people? They were perverting the doctrine of grace and they were doing so, not because of their holiness but because of their unrighteousness. They had sexual sin in their own lives so they didn't feel comfortable correcting other people. Or perhaps they didn't want to go to the trouble or possible danger of correcting ascending members, so they let it go. And Paul goes on to chastise them for their unwillingness to get involved. So many times it's our tendency to want to criticize unbelievers who sin. Now unbelievers who are involved in abortions or homosexuality or drug addiction, we go after unbelievers.

I had somebody write me this week. Why don't you speak out publicly against so-and-so? Well, so-and-so is not a Christian. Why would I judge them? I quoted them Paul's word in this passage, verse 12 in 1 Corinthians 5, "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church"? Now I'm not saying we don't speak out against those sins, but there's no reason to judge unbelievers who commit those sins. I mean, what else do you expect from unbelievers except the sin? Sinners, sin. That's all they can do. They're unbelievers, they don't have any ability or any reason to do anything else. We're not to go after unbelievers who sin, the most futile work in the world is to try to keep sinners from sinning, you can't do it. Now word correct Christians inside the church not outside the church, but inside the church who are involved in sins. Because if we don't do so, it destroys the witness of the church.

In my previous church, our church made a well-known stand against two pro-homosexual children's books that had been placed in our local library. And it was a controversy that generated national attention, a federal lawsuit, our entire city was caught up in it for a year's time and while that was going on publicly, it came to my attention that one of our believers, one of our staff members was having an affair with another man's wife. And I have to confess to you my first inclination was to sweep it under the rug. Not to do anything about it. And I rationalized it by saying, with all of this local and national attention we're getting if this becomes public and we deal with it, well, we're going to lose our reputation and hurt the cause of Christ.

My first inclination was to sweep it under the rug but some leaders in our church took all the credit said, pastor we can't do that. We can't do that. The Bible says we've got to deal with this. And the truth is people in the community probably know about it already anyway. And so we went through the process outlined in the scripture in Matthew 18, and he was removed from the staff. And after all of that happened and blew up, I was walking through downtown and a woman, not a member of our church stopped me. And she said, I heard what you did to so-and-so, talking about the staff member, we were all watching to see if you folks down at the First Baptist Church really practice what you were preaching. People were watching. People are watching our church right now as well. They're watching any church that claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And that's why it's important to exercise church discipline to maintain the witness of the church.

The third purpose is to sustain the health of the congregation. To sustain the health of the congregation. You've probably heard the same, one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. Well, Paul had another saying in verse 6 of 1 Corinthians 5, "Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough"? Now I've never baked anything in my life and never intend to, but if you know anything about baking, you know leaven is used, it takes just a little pinch of leaven, put in a lump of dough to make the entire lump of dough rise, leaven is used to cause a dough to rise. But in the Bible, leaven is used as a illustration, a metaphor for sin. It only takes a little bit of sin to infect a whole lump so to speak of dough.

Paul uses that analogy in verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 5, look at it, "Clean out the old leaven, so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact, unleavened. For Christ our passover has also been sacrificed". People read that verse and they think, now I know I don't read my Bible more. What in the world does that mean? Leaven, lump of dough, Jesus the passover, how does that all make sense? Well, let me explain it to you real quickly. This alludes back to the book of Exodus.

When the children of Israel were held bondage in Egypt, remember the story God sent 10 plagues to convince Pharaoh to let the people go. If you haven't read the story, you've probably seen the movie anyway. But you remember the story. God sent these awful plagues, nothing changed Pharaoh's heart but God saved the best one to last. He said, I'm going to send the death angel to destroy the first born of every child, every Egyptian and every Israelite. But he said, before I send this final judgment, if you will take the blood of a blameless lamb and if you will kill the lamb and take its blood and put it on your door post, when the death angel passes through the streets, when I see the blood on your door, I will pass over you in judgment.

And that's exactly what happened. That night there was wailing in Egypt as the angel of death came and killed the first born of every one who had not taken the blood of the lamb. One of those people was Pharaoh and when he lost his first born son, that was it. He said, get these Israelites out of here as quickly as possible. And so the word came to Moses and the Israelites, leave while you still can. And they left in such a hurry that they didn't have time to even leaven the bread they were baking. They took the bread with them unleavened. They left the leaven back in Egypt as they headed toward the Promised Land. Leaven represents sin the old way of life in Egypt. God has called them out of Egypt to a new land. And so they leave the leaven, the sin behind and they take the unleavened bread representing a new life they have.

And that's what Paul is alluding to here. We need to get rid of the leaven, the sin of our old way of life. God has called us to a newness of life. If we have received the blood of Christ in our life, now listen to me. When he says, Christ is our passover all of that about the lamb and the blood on the doorpost and the death angel, that was all pointing to the day when Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, would be sacrificed on a cross, not for his sins, but for our sins. And the only way we can escape the coming certain judgment that God promises, the only way we can escape it, is by having the blood of Christ so to speak, placed over our life. The moment you trust that Jesus died for your sins on the cross, that he made the payment that you and I deserve to make, but can't make, when we trust in Christ as our Savior, God says, when I look at you, I'll no longer see your sin but I'll see the blood of my son and I will pass over you in judgment. But as God passes over in judgment, as we head to that new way of living, we're to leave sin behind, the leaven, the uncleanness in our own life, it has no place in our new life. And that's what this passage is.

Listen to me, it's a call first of all, to personal holiness. We need to take the light of God's Holy Spirit and search every crevice of our heart to see if there is anything displeasing to God and we need to sweep it out, get rid of it. But this isn't just a call to personal holiness. Paul's talking about the church, the whole lump of dough. It's not just you, it's about the whole lump of dough. Did you know you're part of a lump? Turn to the person next to you, and say, I'm glad you're in this lump with me. Yeah, we're all part of a lump. We're all together in this. And we're to do everything we can to sweep out the leaven and keep it from permeating and infecting the body of Christ. That's what this passage is. And we do it to maintain the health of this organization, this organism, the church of Christ.

We know that raises some really interesting questions. Pastor, are you saying that we're just go around identifying sins in one another and correcting one another and having church business meetings every Sunday night and throwing people out of the church? That's going to be the all consuming purpose of first Baptist, Dallas. Do we want to be known as FBC, First Baptist Confrontation? Who wants to be a part of a church like that where all we do is go around and identifying sins in other people? And if not, when do we confront other people? What kind of sins, deem confrontation, correction, maybe even expulsion from the church? And if we do try to correct another Christian, how do we do it in a positive way without hurting them or dividing the church? We're going to answer those questions next time as we talk about how to perform good grace spiritual surgery.
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