Monday, November 4, 2013

Removing "Yeast"

God's Word is not easy.

This morning I was reading in 1 Corinthians 5.  Paul, through the inspired Word of God, tells us to remove "yeast" and not keep company with someone who is eagerly greedy, uses abusive language, gets drunk, is sexually promiscuous, attains wealth through threats or misuse of authority, exploits others for personal gain or is an idolater.

That list at first glance seems easy to obey.  I mean, who's going to hang out with the likes of them?  But wait!  Paul says, I don't mean that you shouldn't have anything to do with people of the world who behave in such manners.  You'd need to leave the world entirely to do that!  We need to be a witness to those who have not yet received the Lord.  Paul is referring to brothers and sisters in the Lord who act in these ways.  He says do not keep company with them and then instructs further, "not even to eat with such a person." (1 Corinthians 5:11)

I don't know about you, but names come to mind.  Please understand, Paul is not talking about those whose lives were marked by these practices in the past but have been forgiven and redeemed from such activity, but he's referring to those who now claim to be children of God whose lifestyle hasn't changed.  The behavior above is still part of their habits.

I fear that too often in our desire to obey the command of loving everyone, times of correction and needed, wise confrontation never happen.

I have a sweet and precious friend who did not grow up in a Christian home.  I always enjoy spending time with her.  She did not know the Lord when I met her.  During the course of our friendship she accepted the Lord as her personal Lord and Savior.  One old way remained.  She would speak the Lord's Name in vain.

I'll never forget the day that very gently it was mentioned to her that speaking the Lord's Name in this way was sin.  She was completely broken.  She said she had no idea.  She had grown up with God's Name in everyday vocabulary.  She sobbed and sobbed.  She asked for forgiveness.  She said no-one had ever told her.  Through tears she asked, why hadn't anyone told her?  It truly was the most beautiful response of repentance, yet heart-aching as well.  She wished someone had just told her.

Not all correction goes that well.  Some resist.  Some deny.  Some find ways to justify.  Some refuse to accept or see.  Some excuse.  Some receive the warning, but continue in the sin.  God's Word then is hard, but clear.  Don't pretend you don't notice.  Don't ignore.  Don't hope it goes away on it's own.  Don't keep silent thereby condoning and accepting the continuing behavior.  If after the conduct is addressed and nothing changes, if there's no repentance or desire to walk in righteousness, the Lord says, do not keep company with them.  Do not even eat with such a person.

It's not a small thing.  Don't remain with the "yeast" or you too may become infected.

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1 comment:

Cheri Bunch said...

Truth penetrates! Thank you, dear Joy. Thank you!