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Reach OutOne of the most devastating failures of church leadership in my lifetime has been our refusal to judge God’s way. Our lack of understanding, obedience, and diligence has led to a compromised message and produced a hypocritical body of believers. We condemn the world – something we are commanded not to do (Matthew 7:1-2) – while neglecting our responsibility to lovingly help our sister and brother identify and remove the sin in their life.

We will have to answer for our failure at the judgment seat of Christ. I wish I could say with some certainty that we will not be shown the consequences our disobedience has had on God’s kingdom and His children.

These are hard words to write and read. I am just the pen, and just as convicted by the truth. We cannot go back to correct our mistakes. We must trust God’s grace and mercy for those we have betrayed, and commit ourselves to God’s way for judging the brethren.

Even now, I suspect someone reading this will find issue with this matter of judging. Please read our article on Jesus’ “Judge Not” saying, as well as the first part of this one. I believe you will discover that:

  1. Jesus’ “judge not” refers to condemnation: the pronouncement of guilt, sentence and punishment for the sin in our sister or brother. Such condemnation is reserved for God.
  2. Identifying and addressing the sin in a sister or brother is not condemnation. It is an act of love, that they might not face the judgment of God (1Corinthians 5:1-5; James 5:19-20). Conversely, to ignore or accept sin in a sister or brother is failure to love them.
  3. To hold our tongue when God has made us aware of sin makes us guilty of that sin and subject to God’s judgment (Ezekiel 3:16-21).
  4. God’s children are to be His instruments of sanctification for the church.
  5. There is a process for helping our sister and brother – and ourselves – find the grace of God to live a life without sin.

The Part 1 to this article introduced God’s process (aka, way) for restoration from sin. For your convenience, here is a summary of the first five steps:

  1. Ask God to search our hearts, to see if there is any wicked way in us (Psalm 139:23-24).
  2. Repentance: to think differently about ourselves and our sin (Luke 5:32).
  3. Confession: to agree with or concede (1John 1:9).
  4. Allow the Holy Spirit to remove anything from us that would inhibit His gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
  5. Focused our minds against the real enemy (Ephesians 6:12).

Now (and only now) are we prepared to meet with our sister or brother. If their sin is against God or someone else, our responsibility is to encourage, to find restoration, and to walk with them as they desire. We must never abandon them in their time of vulnerability to the enemies’ attacks.

For sins directed towards us personally, the following represents the continuance of God’s way for restoration with them. Read the rest of this entry »

This and several subsequent articles are based on the assumption that God is after something, He is trying to do something to get what He is after, and He is willing to tell us all that we need to know for our participation. God is using this time of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that will be exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

The purpose of this specific article is to direct our perspective and meditations beyond the current situation and our spiritual condition, even beyond what He is requiring of us, to what He is after in and through those who will join in His good work. At some point (perhaps next week), we will consider His conditions for our participation but, for now, we strongly encourage you to look ahead.

You might be wondering why we are starting with the future. For so many of us, it is difficult to shift our focus away from our current situation and condition. We become captivated by its comfort or its concern. In our attempt to maintain or manage the status quo, we forget that God desires to transform us from one level of glory to another (2Corinthians 3:18).

Furthermore, our first thoughts about joining God in His transformative work tend to be “what will it cost me?”. Believe me, we all do it. Counting the cost is both normal and encouraged by Jesus. The problem comes when we fail to weigh the cost against the return/reward. And that’s what looking to the promised future will help us to do. We will use Isaiah 58 as an example. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowTherefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:23-26

This saying is about as straight forward as they come: If anyone, brother or adversary, has something against you, do all in your power to be reconciled with them. In the kingdom, alienation invalidates our offering to God (see Romans 12:2). In the world, it simply does not end well for us; nor for those who depend on us. If we have wronged an adversary, the challenge will likely be in the area of our trust in God to protect us as we pursue reconciliation in the way Jesus has instructed.

As threatening as an adversarial situation may seem, we should be most careful about this with our brothers and sisters in Christ; for the consequences are much greater. Where those in the world are less likely to let something go, those in our fellowship are apt to forgive and move on. Their forgiveness does not mitigate the requirement for our initiating reconciliation with them; nor does it reduce the consequence for our failing to do so.

The beginning point in both of these situations is the same: Commitment to do the sayings of Jesus, in faith and obedience. This is the solid foundation that will ensure the stability and strength of our house in the storm.

Humbly yours and forever His,

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