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Breaking Fellowship

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So, to get this clear in my mind, all of you say the church( not the body of Christ) is for Christians only. No sinner should attend!

 

No idea where you got that idea from?

Saints are Believers.

The Lost are those who have not believed in Jesus.

The local church is first for evangelism (proclamation of the Gospel) and second for discipleship (growth through the Holy Spirit's teaching, prayer, reading God's Word, studying God's worth with others, fasting, etc.) . :thumbsup:

God bless,

GE

 

 

I'll disagree. The 'local church' meetings are actually supposed to be an assembly of believers.

 

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 

The saints (believers) gather to be taught, edified, for the perfecting, so the saints are prepared to do the work of the ministry. Some of the work of the ministry is evangelism. The saints are trained, and then do the work of the ministry.

 

In the NT, the gatherings of the saints are for the saints only. Then the saints were sent out to preach the gospel.

 

Today, many try to bring in the lost, into the assembly of the saints, so that the lost can hear the gospel. There are many difficulties with that scenario. First, the message to the lost is a different message then what is needed for the training of the saints to prepare the saints for the work of the ministry. If that is viewed as the first purpose of the assembly of the saints, the saints are never trained for ministry. That is happening in the church today, especially in the U.S., and the lack of training has damaged the effectiveness of the church.

 

Another difficulty is that an church is only focused on their neighborhood as their effort is not just for salvation but also for numbers of bodies in the church. If the number of bodies in the church which are 'sinners' exceeds the number of saints in the church, a huge future problem is building. In history, a community oriented church which had numbers of unsaved in the building, donating money, and having influence as people and money have influence, the church soon loses it's salt so to speak. It is no longer a church with a gospel message.  If you want to study and example, look at the history of the Methodist circuit riders. The Methodist church was a born again Church and the fastest growing in the pioneer days.

 

Most people who are lost, will not step foot inside a church building. As some say, we live in a post Christian time. So the number of people raised nominally Christian, are dwindling. It is the people who were raise nominally Christian, but never were born again, who will go into a church. The majority are no longer that group, and that majority must be reached by going to them. Again, the command is to go out and preach the gospel, so the model of inviting people in, does not work to reaching with the gospel for majors groups of people who are growing.

 

If a church wishes to do an outreach, that is fine, but using the assembly of the saints as an outreach has shown issues in history, and will set us up for problems in the future.   

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Dear Qnts,

 

I SO agree w/your post above.  And because of the lack of understanding in this issue, this is why there is no training in breaking fellowship....because the whole order of the church is amiss.

 

I am currently doing a study on "sanctification" and in reading this, you can see the severe problems with today's church setup.  Just with regard to this passage we can see that something is amiss within the church:

 

Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

 

2 Tim. 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

 

 

In His Love,

Suzanne

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Going back to breaking fellowship in the case of unrepentent sin, from what I have seen, that is all over the place.  

 

I have seen people who want to exercise mercy at all costs, so fail to deal with sin in a stronger way.

I have seen people deal with things which are not sin, but are customs which have been designated as if they are sin, and block a person due to a custom.

I have seen personal issues get in the way, either too harsh or too lenient, or disfellowship used as manipulation.

 

But, let's say that a person is sinning, and should be dealt with. They are approached as per scripture and refuse to repent. They are then disfellowshipped and kicked out of church. So, that person simply goes and finds another church to attend. The purpose of the discipline by the first church has now failed. The person is to be put out, in hopes that they repent and return but another church took them in instead.

 

Now let's suppose all of the pastors in an area get together and agree, that if a person gets put out of a church, they would communicate so that none of the churches would take that person in. Ok, but.. Suppose one pastor kicks a person out for personal reasons, or a church custom. Now that person has no Christian community to join, does not need to repent as they did not sin, so the entire Christian community has now sinned. I have seen this scenario in reality. There are a lot of disfellowshipped Christians in that area. Some are in house churches and the pastor group is trying to recruit the leaders of the house churches. If the house churches won't cooperate, they are disfellowshipped by the local churches.

 

I'm not sure what the solution is. But, the end goal is a restoration of that believer who was in sin.    

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But, let's say that a person is sinning, and should be dealt with. They are approached as per scripture and refuse to repent. They are then disfellowshipped and kicked out of church. So, that person simply goes and finds another church to attend. The purpose of the discipline by the first church has now failed. The person is to be put out, in hopes that they repent and return but another church took them in instead.

 

 

I think what we're forgetting though, is that in the scenario above, hopefully the that person made close friends within the body, and what is supposed to happen w/regard to breaking fellowship, is that the person truly misses that close fellowship/friendship of the body.  This is what should happen, and this is also what may bring true godly sorrow.  The friends dissapproval and heartache over the sin, should cause that person in sin to want to repent and restore the relationships.  We SHOULD be building these kinds of close relationships within the body, so that breaking fellowship is truly a loss and brings a person to true sorrow and repentance, because of true love within the body.  So going back to the scenario, hopefully that person would not be so quick to go to another church, because he's suffering the loss of true friendships.

 

 

Suppose one pastor kicks a person out for personal reasons, or a church custom. Now that person has no Christian community to join, does not need to repent as they did not sin, so the entire Christian community has now sinned. I have seen this scenario in reality.

 

I also have seen this and experienced it personally...IF this has happened, then I believe it is because God intends for this to happen, even though it is painful...sometimes a church may fall into apostasy and a person who stands against the falsehood may be shunned out of the church, if so, then that person needs to be open to where/what God has in mind.  Sometimes, it's just time to go.

 

In His Love,

Suzanne

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I am still thinking this thru. Somehow I am not sure. Repenting because you miss your friends doesn't seem to fit what repentence should be in my view. 

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I'll disagree. The 'local church' meetings are actually supposed to be an assembly of believers.

 

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 

The saints (believers) gather to be taught, edified, for the perfecting, so the saints are prepared to do the work of the ministry. Some of the work of the ministry is evangelism. The saints are trained, and then do the work of the ministry.

 

In the NT, the gatherings of the saints are for the saints only. Then the saints were sent out to preach the gospel.

 

Today, many try to bring in the lost, into the assembly of the saints, so that the lost can hear the gospel. There are many difficulties with that scenario. First, the message to the lost is a different message then what is needed for the training of the saints to prepare the saints for the work of the ministry. If that is viewed as the first purpose of the assembly of the saints, the saints are never trained for ministry. That is happening in the church today, especially in the U.S., and the lack of training has damaged the effectiveness of the church.

 

Another difficulty is that an church is only focused on their neighborhood as their effort is not just for salvation but also for numbers of bodies in the church. If the number of bodies in the church which are 'sinners' exceeds the number of saints in the church, a huge future problem is building. In history, a community oriented church which had numbers of unsaved in the building, donating money, and having influence as people and money have influence, the church soon loses it's salt so to speak. It is no longer a church with a gospel message.  If you want to study and example, look at the history of the Methodist circuit riders. The Methodist church was a born again Church and the fastest growing in the pioneer days.

 

Most people who are lost, will not step foot inside a church building. As some say, we live in a post Christian time. So the number of people raised nominally Christian, are dwindling. It is the people who were raise nominally Christian, but never were born again, who will go into a church. The majority are no longer that group, and that majority must be reached by going to them. Again, the command is to go out and preach the gospel, so the model of inviting people in, does not work to reaching with the gospel for majors groups of people who are growing.

 

If a church wishes to do an outreach, that is fine, but using the assembly of the saints as an outreach has shown issues in history, and will set us up for problems in the future.   

 

 

Q, I guess it depends on what you mean by the “local church” meetings.

The way I view Eph. 4:11-14 the passage is talking about equipping church leaders for the purpose of discipleship in ministry.

Ministry is something everyone does though. Telling others about Jesus is every Believer’s role. Not just those in leadership.

There are some who say that the Church is meant simply for discipleship purposes.

The better answer is the local Church is to be about both preaching the Gospel and discipleship. If a pastor preaches through the entire Bible the Gospel will be presented many times over. Why? Because everything in the Bible points to God’s reconciliatory story of glory through Jesus Christ. This means that the messages are both for the Believer and non-Believer.

I would agree that the model of inviting ppl into the Church and having Sunday School is not working. Just look at how many people are atheists/agnostics (20% I think it is in the U.S. now) or how many claim another religion.

That said I think there is a new shift to Believers gathering in homes in many local churches. What a novelty idea no? As Believer’s gather in homes, have meals together, do life together they will touch the lives of those around them. Believers will learn together, laugh together, cry together, live together, and share together. This also means bringing new people into the fold who might hear the Gospel and believe in Jesus.

There is a balance between reaching the lost and discipleship. Both are important for any church to continue to grow in Christ.

Do you see my perspective clearer now?

God bless,

Ge

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I am still thinking this thru. Somehow I am not sure. Repenting because you miss your friends doesn't seem to fit what repentence should be in my view. 

 

No, I guess that's how that sounded, but to me, it's much deeper than just friends, it's the Body of Christ...it is something that is very sacred in unity, and to be broken off from this is very serious and painful.  Love for one another should play a role in this.

 

 

In His Love,

Suzanne

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I am still thinking this thru. Somehow I am not sure. Repenting because you miss your friends doesn't seem to fit what repentence should be in my view. 

 

No, I guess that's how that sounded, but to me, it's much deeper than just friends, it's the Body of Christ...it is something that is very sacred in unity, and to be broken off from this is very serious and painful.  Love for one another should play a role in this.

 

 

In His Love,

Suzanne

 

 

Ok, this is off topic somewhat, but let me make a scenario. 

 

You are attending a congregation with member of the Body of Christ. You are a member. The leadership of this body become involved in a questionable doctrine, a heresy. You approach the leadership to discuss your concerns. They think you are over-reacting and will continue with the 'heretical' teaching. You then approach others who have heard the pastor teach this heresy, and they don't see it as a heresy.

 

Do you leave the congregation, this Body, rather then sit under a heretical teaching, or do you remain because of the sacred unity?

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There's no question, if the teaching is heretical, you leave.  God's Truth is always first and foremost, even before the relationships of man....this is the foundation of what we do, we abide in His Word.  If there is no rectifying of the situation then you must leave.

 

In His Love,

Suzanne

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