1 John 1:3-8
...He was turning one member against another with lies and half-truths. I dealt with this man once and for all after a board meeting one Sunday night. I bloodied his nose with my fist and we never had another problem.
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The 1906 Discipline has a clause under the topic of "Duties of the Pastor" similar to the following:
"The pastor shall have the duty of disciplining sinful members of the congregation to the extent of expelling them from the assembly and terminating their membership."
Dealing with members who hinder the move of the Spirit in the assembly - How should a pastor deal with such?
One preacher from the first decade of the previous century heard of a solution:
"I had a friend -- he was a father to Illinois Methodism. He came to the assembly at one time that was badly split and torn. There was one element that would not work with another element. He dealt with them patiently, and tried to bring them together, but there was no revival.
"He astonished the congregation one morning by saying, 'I am going to open the door of the assembly. It is going to be the back door, and I want the following members to come forth.' He called forward several [members]. With tears streaming down his cheeks he said to them: 'You have become a curse to the assembly; you have hindered Jehovah's work, and you have been in the way of the salvation of souls. Now without causing the assembly further disturbance, I want you, as you gave your hand years ago to the pastor to join, to take my hand and withdraw [out the back door].'
"Men and women withdrew, realizing that they were without the assembly. The result was a great season of revival."
An old-timer told me how he disciplined a trustee years ago -
"He would slander me outside the assembly and curse me inside. He hindered the work of Yahweh and persecuted committed believers. It got to the point where he was turning one member against another with lies and half-truths. I dealt with this man once and for all after a board meeting one Sunday night. I bloodied his nose with my fist and we never had another problem."
There are people in the assembly who fear Yahweh to such a small extent that they broadcast bold lies, gossip and outright slander against their brothers and sisters in Messiah. Some feed on stirring up trouble for the saints, pretending themselves to be pious Believers. I even heard that some people say they actually despise some assembly leaders, myself in particular. And though I wonder what I've done to deserve their spite, I count it all joy to be worthy of being persecuted for the sake of Messiah.
As spiritual head of this assembly, I know that Yahweh's will is that we deal in love and not in hate; With unity and not division; With prayerful understanding and not slander. But the question has been asked, "What shall we do with those who are bitter, unloving, and mean-spirited?" Should we open the back door, then give them the left foot of fellowship? Should we do like the old-timer and just punch 'em in the nose?
I've questioned myself over and over again - "What more can I do with my people who make it their business to slander others in the assembly?" The answer Yahweh has for me is, "Deal firmly, but deal lovingly."
Still I wonder how we can find the ability to love those who hate us or spitefully use us...those who are our declared enemies or ecclesiastical saboteurs? "Lord, how do we love our enemies and help our enemies love us?"
You see, the Father has loved his chosen so that he has recreated them as his children - love children. Knowing this we confess that we are his children remade for love. How many are love children?
Yet there are other children that we must contend with. These are 'children of the world' - sons and daughters of a devilish father, the evil prince of this world. The children of the world can't abide the children of the Father because they neither know the Father nor follow him, nor have they been reborn in his image. They have no spiritual eyes to behold the beauty of Messiah. Because of their origin in Satan, the children of the world hold resentment and hatred for the elect. And they can't even tell you what they hate nor why they hate. But there is a demonic envy at the root that reeks hatred.
Until Messiah took over our lives, we all were children of the world. But when we allowed Messiah in, that all began to change. When a company takes over another company, there's a sign outside the company building that says "Under New Management." No sign so accurately summarizes what takes place when a child of the world is transformed into a child of the Father. When Messiah takes over a life, that life is "under new management." The old is destroyed as that one becomes a new creation.
How hard it is for those human edifices that have cracked and encrusted under the foulness of the world to endure the renovation and renewal of someone else's life. How enviously gray they become in the shadow of the new and the clean. How they resent your conversion; how they hate your new look and life. How they wish to bring you back to the world and its devil.
But to be under new management - to be converted from the world unto the kingdom of the Beloved - is required in being a child of the heavenly Father. And all who hope in Messiah must take part in their own transformation! They must no longer sin, but deal in love with all.
On the other hand, verse 5 advises us that
I've heard 'sin' defined as 'unloving acts.' The Apostle Paul talks about what it means to be lawless and unloving in Galatians 5. Among the lawless, unloving activities he lists are
To be participating in divisive behavior, little-white-lying or denigrating the children of Yahweh or the assembly is a serious, serious felony against the law in Yahweh's judgment, and Paul speaks directly to those who do these things:
If you are a divider and a slanderer and a sinner masquerading as a child of Yahweh, you will ultimately be destroyed. Look down to verse 8:
If it's your habit to commit unloving words or deeds against your brother or sister, you qualify as the child of Satan, and eventually you'll be destroyed in the hell of fire. You'd better be careful of who you speak against - you'll surely pay the price.
You see, the people of Yahweh simply don't slander, envy, or stir up strife with others. Look at verses 6:
How is it that we are to be sinless in this life? Imagine if I told you that I no longer sinned. You would really think me arrogant. You'd probably write a letter to the bishop about me, if you haven't already. But the scripture is plainly saying that as long as I live in Messiah consistently, I am unable to sin. And the evidence that shows whether I am abiding in Messiah or not is my action and my fruit. Righteous people are known because they do what is right.
I'm really not claiming I'm perfect; far from it. But I am claiming that we can destroy strife and contention in our assembly, in our homes, and at work, and become perfect if we will, first of all, allow change into our lives through the power of Messiah.
If you are a slanderer, a change can only do you good. How can YOU make the transition from devilishness to righteouness?
First: Accept Messiah, be born anew, and be converted.
In England there's a paper factory that makes the finest stationery in the world. One day a man touring the factory asked what it was made from. He was shown a huge pile of old filthy rags and told that the rag content in the paper is what determines the quality of the stationary. The man wouldn't believe it. But in 6 weeks he received a package of paper from the company with his initials embossed on it. On the 1st page were written the words: "Filthy Rags Transformed."
The filthier you are in your sins, the more quality you will be in your transformation. Messiah takes the filthiest rags of your sinful words and deeds and uses them to make perfect stationary so he can write wonderful love letters on you to others. Wouldn't your miserable, worm-eaten life be sweeter if you allowed Messiah to make you into a love letter?
Yes -- First, you need to surrender your life to Messiah; How many are being converted to the image of Messiah in this place?
Second: we must not act lawlessly, but act always and ever in love, even if it is only an act. Paul tells us that the evidence of our conversion is found in the way we act; our fruit should be
Father Wesley taught the Methodists that the evidence of our conversion is found in our fruit. In essence, he taught that "they will know we are Believers by our love."
This love is not some sentimental feeling, but a behavior that publicy displays one's peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in dealing with others. Good fruit indicates a person is abiding in Messiah and is finished with sin. Good fruit indicates perfection. How many here are trying to act in a Messiah-like manner towards others every day?
Even true children of Yahweh have difficulty treating others graciously. Have you seen the "Dummies" series of books, like DOS For Dummies, or Cooking For Dummies? These how-to books contain very simple step-by-step instructions for doing a number of things successfully, even if the reader is a dummy. If I were going to write a book called Believer Love For Dummies, I would have to include the simply how-to advice of C. S. Lewis, which really helps put it all into perspective:
Believer's Love For Dummies might say, "Be converted through the blood of Messiah, then practice loving acts until you find yourself loving real."
There were three demons who came to earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were tested by Satan about their plans to ruin humanity. The first demon said, "I'll tell them there's no Yahweh." Satan said, "That won't delude anyone; they all know Yahweh exists." The second demon said, "I'll tell them not to be born again because Messiah didn't really rise from the dead." Satan answered, "You'll deceive no one that way; the resurrection is a documented fact." The third demon said, "I'll tell them to lie about Believers and sow hatred and resentment in the assembly." "Go," said Satan, "and you'll ruin them by the thousands."
The most dangerous delusion is the notion that you can slander the children of Yahweh and get away with it. You can't - Daddy won't let you. Wouldn't it be better to act in Believer love, even if you are a dummy about doing it?
Intercession group pact -
1. no more talking against one another;
2. when such is heard, expose it.
How many will join with us in acting in love?