November 23, 2019

11/23/19


This past Tuesday I wrote a devotion from our Bible-in-a-Year reading of James 1:19-21, speaking on anger. Oftentimes, confrontation results in anger. But does that mean that we are called to always avoid confrontation? On the contrary, in Christ we are called to confront brothers and sisters in sin. Why would God call us to do this? Not for self-righteousness, not because we think we are better, not for our own egos, but out of love for the fellow believer. James 5:19-20 says,


“19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”


Think about it like this: if your young child or grandchild really wanted to go and play on the highway, if it was the thing they most wanted to do and they felt that nothing else could bring them happiness, would you let them? Of course not! You would not only forbid them from going, but if they tried to go without your permission you would discipline them to teach them a lesson. You would do everything in your power to keep them from playing on the highway because you would know that it would lead to a tragic outcome. You would not be denying their wishes to play on the highway because you hated them, but because you loved them deeply (perhaps in a way they were not yet able to understand).


In the same way, we are called to love one another. Jesus said the whole world would be able to identify Christians by our love for one another (see John 13:35). And yet we know that sin is slavery, sin brings shame, and the wages of sin is death (see Romans 6:16, 21, and 23). So why would we allow our brothers and sisters in Christ to be ensnared by sin? Jesus told us to go to our brothers and sisters and correct them. In fact, sin is so urgent that if they won’t listen we’re to take another brother or sister with us a second time to plead with them to repent. If they still won’t listen we’re to bring it before all the brothers and sisters in the local church, and if they still refuse we’re to assume they are lost and need to be saved from sin (see Matthew 18:15-18).


Some folks point to Matthew 7:1-3 and say that we should “stay out of other people’s business.” This is a false reading of Scripture. Jesus, in Matthew 7:1-3, says,


“1 Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”


But Jesus goes on to say, in the next two verses,


“4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5, emphasis my own).


In other words, Jesus says hypocrites shouldn’t correct one another. And the solution is: don’t be hypocrites. Turn from your sins, listen to rebuke from faithful brothers and sisters, and then faithfully turn other brothers and sisters away from sin when they are ensnared. Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.


We are not doing each other any favors when we ignore unrepentant sin in each other’s lives. Biblically, we’re not even loving each other when we do that. May we all strive to repent of our sins together, to help one another along the way, and to hold one another accountable that we might bring glory to God and lost people to know Christ (see Matthew 5:13-16).


If you have any questions about what it means to be saved from your sins and to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or about how to repent of sin in your life, please contact us at info@fb3c.org.


I hope you’ll come be with us tomorrow for our Sunday services! We have something for all ages and we would love to have you and your family present with us. May God bless you!


In Christ,

Pastor Chase




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