A Question About Discernment and Discipline

Question: 

“What if the “desire to excel” isn’t the motivation in allowing sinners into the church? We invite our unsaved friends (worldlings) to church and hope they repent. Sometimes that takes a long time! Is this intervening or being missional? I understand your point that Believers aren’t to live in continual sin but am foggy about what we do with the sin saturated culture around us. Do we draw away or let them draw near?”

My Response:

“Great question/comment.  Jesus made it clear, with the salt & light analogy that we will be distinctive and visible. We need to learn to accentuate and use that distinctiveness, with talent and forethought. All available effort should be used.

The issue of believers in habitual, continual sin should be approached as ‘church discipline’. This falls on people who we call pastors and elders. 1 Cor. 5 gives this oversight a template to follow. It is a sticky thing to judge someone. When we have to, we don’t want to. (Unless the person is a ‘control freak’.)

The issue of sin in the church is interesting. To have water outside a boat is a good thing, but to have water in the boat is decidedly worse. We are to preserve our distinctiveness, without diminishing our witness. It’s like we are a flock of lambs living in a pigpen. By their very nature the are different. One has a sheep nature, the other a pig’s. There will be at times confusion. But the sheep don’t belong.

To sum it up, there is church discipline for believers, that really needs to be in place. But we are missional people. The world is very much like a pigpen. But I say, let them come in and let the Holy Spirit touch them.”

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This was a recent post and follow-up comment for “Through the Sheep Dip”, posted on September 28, 2010.  The link is located at:  https://brokenbelievers.com/2010/09/28/through-the-sheep-dip/

Photo: The Way Things Are

A perspective we need, it enables us to look at our existence here on earth with some assurance.  Everyone you meet today is first and foremost a “soul” making their way to heaven.

Salt That is Not Quite Salt

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

–Matthew 5:13, NIV

In the Middle-East, salt has a real impurity problem.  Comparing it to what you have on your table would be foolish.  There is simply no comparison.  The idea of salt degrading to non-salt was expected.  It just didn’t measure up.  Jesus in declaring that His disciples were “salt”, was taking a risk.  Could His followers remain distinctive in a virtual flood of antagonistic hostility?

Salt has a challenging destiny.  It must remain distinct while preserving everything around it.  That is not easily done.  Salt has an inherent savor that makes it very distinctive.  As a Christian there exists a distinction and a uniqueness that differentiates one from the world about him.  I have become different because He has made me distinct.  We dare not think that we are believers simply because we are exceptional.

Jesus warns that we can dilute ourselves into a state of self-imposed obsolescence.  We simply compromise ourselves to the point of losing any distinctiveness.  We just become a non-entity, by choice.  We basically zero ourselves out and allow the World to roll over us, all without a squeak. In this case, compromise is disguised as flexibility.  We betray our Lord with a soothed and bandaged conscience.

Jesus stated that saltless salt would become a non-factor, an anachronism of devastating loss.  It would no longer be able to ally itself as an agent of change, but be as common and as ubiquitous as common dirt.  Lo, how the mighty have fallen! To be regarded as common dirt.

Warned of this outcome, we find ourselves in the unique position of needing to be authentic.  Authenticity however, directs us down the path of irrevocability.  We simply find ourselves in a corner, and we have to come to a decision.  Will it be faithfulness to Christ or compromise to soothe our conscience?  Trust me, it is easy to compromise.

Jesus boldly declares that His real followers will come through.  They will believe in Him to the point-of-death.  We have been given the blessing of both time and space to make our decision.  We, ourselves have been caught in the valley of decision.  Can we be able to make a choice that becomes a real spiritual difference?

PLEASE, do not continue to compromise.  Do not vacillate and attempt to call it enlightenment and adaptability.  You are salt, and you will be different.  Let the world go on without you.  You don’t belong anyway.

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