Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Counterfeit Christianity

We have been studying the book of I Corinthians on Sunday evenings. This week we were on chapter five, the discussion Paul has with that congregation about their seeming acceptance of sin in their midst. As the text discusses the disfellowshipment of the sinful brother, we began to talk about those who "disfellowship themselves". The term is often used in speaking of those who have stopped worshipping with us, thus absolving us from the responsibility of "disfellowshipping" them. That mindset really really bothers me! I searched and searched and could find no mention of "disfellowshipping" oneself. The closest term I could think of was "falling away". And it seems to me that we do have a responsibility to those who have fallen away. Aren't we to go try to bring them back to God? Shouldn't we pray for them? Isn't it our duty to try to restore them? I think so and if I read scripture correctly, so does God!
I believe the principle in James 2 applies here: "Suppose a brother is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed' but does nothing about his physical needs what good is it?" In context this is talking about a working faith, faith in action. James calls faith alone faith without life, a dead faith. So the principle seems to be when we see our brother in need, it is our obligation to do something about it, right? So if we see our brother in danger of losing his soul, do we not have the same responsibility? When we make the decision to "mind our own business" are we not saying that we do not love our brother? For if we loved him, would we not care about his very soul? And if we ignore his sin, are we not exhibiting a dead and lifeless faith?
When God repeatedly tells us to focus on the eternal more than we do the physical, doesn't it seem we should be concerned about sin? I know that it is difficult to go to our brother or sister and tell them how frightened we are about the choices they are making, but that confrontation should be so much easier than just sitting by and watching them be spiritually shipwrecked! Don't you think?
I read quite a few blogs and have noticed a real push toward meeting the physical needs of those around us. I think that is great! We need to be benevolent and care for those less fortunate than ourselves. The authors of these blogs very eloquently remind us that being a Christian is so much more than just attending worship, than saying beautiful prayers and praising God in song. Just doing those things only makes us fakes, phonies, counterfeit Christians, if you will. And I agree, we have to be the church, all the time, in every place!
However, it takes more to be an authentic disciple than managing the food, clothing and shelter of others! We are brothers and sisters in Christ and while it is easier to believe none of us are caught up in sin, that is simply a foolish notion. And although avoiding conflict is usually a good thing, sin is a spiritual problem, it is a salvation issue, one that cannot be swept under the carpet or hidden behind the pulpit! How dare we say we love each other and turn a blind eye to the very sin that will condemn and result in a tortured eternity! To do so is to lie--you cannot love me and allow me to die! Should I try to "disfellowship" myself, love me enough to come get me. Should I get so caught up in sin that I don't see its danger, love me enough to come show me. Should I go out of my way to hide my sin, love me enough to expose it! Please don't say you love me, unless you are willing to try and save me!
God does indeed want us to care for the widows and orphans. But He also wants us to encourage, teach and even rebuke one another. He wants us love one another enough to work for our collective souls! He wants us to be real, genuine and authentic in our love. That may mean confronting sin, it may mean the process of disfellowshipment, it may mean we need to summon up our courage and fight for the very lives of those we profess to love. To do less would make us dead, lifeless and counterfeit Christians.

Blessings
Neva

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You are so right! Love has to have with it the willingness to confront sin or else it is empty!
Great post, one of your best!

Pat

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Neva,
In the past, churches cared more about the sin issue and the men or the elders were often called upon to go help a brother come to repentance, in fact when my father was an elder, he did that a lot. He hated it but knew it was an important part of shepherding the flock. He found that most of those when confronted with their sins readily repented but there were a few who needed the entire congregations participation. It was unpleasant for everyone but also necessary. My father spent many hours in tears for those who refused to repent and I know we as a family prayed for them. However, dad knew he had to not only look out for the lost soul but also protect the body!
Too bad we have forgotten to love each other enough.
Thanks Neva

Carlos

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! Sin is a pressing issue! It seems we all know about it but choose to ignore it and in doing so, we also sin! Great job, Neva.

Rachel

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

This is a powerful post with a powerful lesson. How sad that we often let satan and his wiles lead our spiritual family away and we jsut sit and watch.


Dean

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and praise God for those who came to me and with genuine concern and love helped me to come home. I had taken grace for granted and was living a life that shamed my God and my church. I will be forever grateful that those men did not have a counterfiet christianity.
thank you for your thoughts

6:35 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Neva,
Excellent post yet again.
"Counterfeit Christianity" goes on all the time. I have a story about a cons people that took my dad's church for a couple hundred dollars and other congregations in Abilene for several thousand by going forward to be baptized and then asking for help with rent, bills, gas money, and then left the church never to return again after countless pleas from the elders. Elders then look in and found they had done it at other congregations taking other congregations for thousands. Doing the same coming forward to be baptized. Then asking for rent money, food, etc.
I believe their are others that are out their as well.

Your post is so right on.
We must confront sin.
Jesus did it with a spirit of love.
He told the woman caught in act of adultry go and sin no more.
Other countless example as well.
But it was always with love and grace.
We must learn from his example.
Thank you for your wonderful post.
Keep it up sister.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jarrod said...

Why can't we get this concept? Why don't we see that it does not show more love and respect to "mind our own business" and "stay out of it"? We are losing too too many of our brothers and sisters and we don't have too.
Great post, Neva

Jarrod

1:04 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Neva,

So true. Too often, in today's church, the leadership just bides their time, until an offending person decides to leave. This, they think, relieves them of their responsibility of disfellowship. Though it is a painful process, it is a necessary process to help those who sin to see their way back to Christ in a loving fellowship with their brothers.
We need to face this need head on, and stop the bleeding, that is those who are crying out to us through their hurting and then quietly slipping away from the church, and confront Satan when he embodies one of our own.

1:12 PM  
Blogger ben overby said...

Neva, this is an important post. Thanks! If we attempt to effect the community around us while neglecting the spiritual formation of the body of Christ, we maginalize oursevles as little more than an socially active club. I think it's easier to give food to the poor than a rebuke to a brother or sister who needs it. The poor tend to want our food; the brother in need of a rebuke rarely responds with his hands out stretched. Jesus' way was not purely "spiritual" or totally "social." He was a whole human being looking after the whole need of the person. He's our guide.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, amen and amen!
I agree on all points. Good work!


Dan

8:45 PM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Whoa, once again you preach the Word in season and out of season. What a committment to make as a Christian, "love me enough to come get me."

I love you,

Monalea

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Corinne said...

May we all love each other enough to protect, rebuke and restore!

Thank you sister for yet another stirring and convicting post.

Corinne

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

I agree with Pat-"WOW"
This is such a relevant topic for churches today. We continually embrace sin and allow it to contaminate the Body, we will eventually die.

Carol

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

PS--I think I am finally caught up now! Whew!

Carol

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Georgian Peach said...

Powerful and convicting!


Georgia

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,
If we sincerly loved each other enough to "go bring them back", to pray and cry and plead, for and with those who have fallen away as scripture tells us, we would not have the problems in our families, in our churches and in our nation that we have today. When we neglect to do that, we sin against that borther/sister and against God. God's way is ALWAYS best! Wonderful post. I love you.
Mom

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how often I have heard that exact excuse or the scripture copout of judge not, when we let someone sin
and eventually die

Good post!

Karli

7:39 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

This is a hard thing for me......I really hate confrontation....AT ALL COSTS. But you are right, so right......the truth hurts today!! Have a great day!!

8:16 AM  
OpenID scotti said...

Thanks for being such a blessing to me, Neva.

Jesus loves you dearly!

Scotti

9:50 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I love the way you bring things out like that. Thank you you have blessed me.

10:16 PM  

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