Heresy…

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NASB)

This topic has definitely been on my mind…

It was strongly on my mind before going to sleep early (surprisingly early for me) last night and I’ve woken up early this morning and still can’t get this topic off my mind…

I need to explain where I’m coming from on this before launching in…

I am by no stretch of the imagination perfect with respect to the above list of sins…

God knows my heart and He knows that my new self doesn’t want to do or do any of those things and when His Holy Spirit is working through my new self neither does my body…

I’ve shared on this previously in A New Creation

Sin which dwells in me, however, wants to do and does the things on the above list of sins both inside me and also out through my body at various points in time…

Paul clearly states in Romans 7 that this is not me doing those things but sin which dwells in me…

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:7-20 NASB)

So what exactly is Paul talking about in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 above?

Because honestly, based on my forty-seven years of life experience to date, I wouldn’t be able to associate or eat with anyone (including myself) who called themselves a brother, i.e. I would never be able to go to any Church or meet with any so-called fellow believers based on those words if I interpret those words to mean that those sins are going on within a person on the inside and practised by them on the outside when the Holy Spirit isn’t in control of their bodies…

Holding each of our lives up to God’s truth means that each and every one of us falls short of the glory of God, whether we have a new creation or whether we don’t…

Those who don’t have a new creation fall short 100% of the time, those of us who do have a new creation fall short somewhere <100% of the time, but we all fall short…

So what is Paul trying to say?

If we were to believe his literal words in the scripture above from 1 Corinthians (factoring in what he says in the above scripture from Romans 7), Paul wouldn’t have been able to associate with or eat with himself either…

Only Jesus would have been able to associate with and eat with Himself but not with any other so-called believer…

And yet we see Jesus living with and eating with the twelve (who called themselves followers) for three years, even cooking them breakfast on the beach when they’d patently disobeyed His command to go to a certain mountain and wait for Him but instead went back to their old fishing jobs (to me that disobedience is being covetous of money, looking after themselves and their livelihoods instead of waiting on the Lord for His provision), they’d also forsaken Him in His hour of need with one of them even denying that he knew Him (and this was the one whom Jesus reconfirmed to be the leader of that group)…

You might argue, “No Andrew, Paul isn’t speaking about what goes on on the inside, he’s speaking about what is actually practised on the outside – it doesn’t matter what goes on on the inside as long as you ‘keep it together’ on the outside”…

I disagree with this, Jesus Himself said, that if a man looks at a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery with her in his heart – deed done…

That’s the severity of God’s Law…

It’s absolute, no one is practically perfect, no one is practically sinless…

If someone had of been then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come and sacrifice Himself…

When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus to be stoned to death, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” which is the verse Paul is quoting from the Law, what did Jesus say?

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…

How dare we condemn what God has justified!!!

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1-5 NASB)

So knowing that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what exactly was it that the Holy Spirit was meaning through what He wrote through Paul?

Was the Holy Spirit wanting each of us to have the gift of discernment to such a degree that each of us could look into every other potential brother or sister and see whether they were thinking or doing the sins of that list every time we were about to say hello to them or head out for a bite to eat with them?

Did the Holy Spirit want us to have to complete sleuth work, like private detectives with respect to any potential brother or sister we ever encountered before we’d even acknowledge their existence?

That would not be the Holy Spirit that I know…

I’m just calling a spade a spade here…

The Holy Spirit I know has given me discernment about what’s going on inside certain believers and He’s specifically told me to keep that to myself and pray for them, to encourage them and to accept them, just as Jesus has accepted me, to forgive them and encourage them, to point them towards the good plan that the Lord has for them, to encourage them that the Lord loves them, has accepted them, that there is no expectation on them from the Lord to perform but that He will, through His Holy Spirit within them, do the work and that Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light…

I encourage them that anything else is striving…

I take the pressure off them and encourage them that it is God who works in them to will and to work for His good pleasure…

I don’t want to know what is going on inside my brothers and sisters hearts, I honestly don’t…

When the Lord gives me discernment to see some of those things I then have a responsibility to pray for them and that is honestly hard work…

What I’m trying to say is that I’m much happier to just mind my own business and not know what is going on inside my brothers and sisters…

To their own Master, they stand or fall and stand they will because the Lord is able to make them stand…

I have no business to be a busy body and focus on all my brother and sisters potential faults and think I’m offering some service to them by pointing those out…

That’s why the Holy Spirit has been given to each of us – operating inside each of our new selves – to point out to us the lies which we’ve believed which are allowing sin which dwells in us the ability to keep practising the sin which it so loves to practise…

Love always trusts and love covers a multitude of sins…

Who would want to be a part of a ‘church’ where your behaviour was continually scrutinized (by your fellow ‘members’ and ‘leadership’) with the end result being that you could potentially be removed from that ‘church’ because of your behaviour?

I know that I personally wouldn’t want to be part of such a ‘church’ – that reminds me of being in Communist China/Russia or Nazi Germany – I’m just being honest…

I don’t believe the Church should be on an introspective witch-hunt amongst its own members – life is too short…

Our job is to surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit, allow Him to lead us into all truth from the scripture and to transform us as He wills – it is His will to sanctify us – we just offer ourselves to Him in this process and trust Him to do the work…

I’ll never forget back in my twenties how I did a street ministry called ‘Drug Arm’ on Friday nights and my fellow team leader was a guy who’d been saved out of drugs (which I believe is included in the ‘drunkard’ category from the list above) and how his Pastor at the time wisely told him, don’t worry if you get high a few more times, don’t focus on it…

It was that advice, freeing him from the fear of failure and showing that his Pastor accepted and believed in him (really believing in the Holy Spirit within him and seeing his new heart) which freed him from his drug addiction…

That’s the Holy Spirit I know…

The Holy Spirit I know has sat with me in all my sexual addictions and promised me that I will be free…

He hasn’t ‘excommunicated me’ or told me that He won’t associate Himself with me or eat with me until I’m perfectly whole sexually…

In fact, He’s done the opposite…

If it wasn’t for Him I’d still be just as sexually addicted as I was on the inside before He saved me in the first place…

He’s done a lot with me in respect of the renewing of my mind so far but He’s still got a lot more to do in the future – I know this, I’m happy with this and I’m content to let Him do it in His time…

Jesus Himself welcomes us to associate with Him and eat and drink with Him as often as we take the bread and wine to remember that it was His death, burial and resurrection which gave us life…

OK, so here’s what I believe this scripture means…

I believe the Holy Spirit is telling us that if we come across a person who says defiantly, openly, proudly and publically, “I practice [insert name of particular sin from the above list], I have no intention of ever stopping, God’s OK with it, God’s got nothing against it, it’s not a problem, I’m a Christian but I’m also going to keep doing this for the rest of my life, you should accept me into your Church, I should also be able to have a leadership position, I fully belong with the rest of you as an equal but I’ll be practising [insert name of particular sin from the above list]”, in that case – being as (a) that is the testimony of that particular person, (b) in giving that testimony they are encouraging others to ‘go and do likewise’ and (c) being as that testimony has been heard by two or three witnesses, i.e. it wasn’t ‘witch-hunted’ out of that person but they declared it freely themselves as their intent – they shouldn’t be allowed to be a part of that Church, that local group of believers…

There’s a huge difference between saying, as I have personally stated in the article above, “Look, I believe in Jesus, I submit to the authority of the scripture, what scripture says is sin, is sin, it is wrong, I believe the Holy Spirit will remove it more and more and more from me, I’m not perfect yet, I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to sanctify me more and more and more, every sin is surrendered to Him by me, I want Him to fill me entirely and Baptise me with His Holy Spirit and with Fire more and more and more, as per His word I am ‘hanging limp’, I have ‘ceased striving’, I am ‘being still’ and knowing that He is God, I am trusting Him to transform me into His image and as such I submit myself to the Church to receive any genuine words or insights from the Lord and in accordance with scripture to head me in that direction”, and the preceding statement…

The preceding statement is proud and arrogant and willful and rebellious and is setting up an alternative authority to the word of God as revealed in scripture – that just doesn’t belong in the Church…

There can only be one authority in the Church – and that is Jesus Christ Himself and His written word the scripture…

It’s OK for us as believers to be broken, I am broken, I understand brokenness, I understand addiction, I understand the importance of undoing lies which we have believed, I understand the importance of forgiveness, I understand that there are layers in our behaviour which bring us into deeper and deeper and deeper freedom in the Lord, it’s exactly that – and exactly that pursuit that we should be pursuing together in our Churches – without any shame or any ‘looking down on’ behaviour – but encouraged by the leadership of the Church knowing that there are no taboo subjects in the Lord, that the Lord is not scared of us openly discussing our failures, our failings and our sin, as in that open discussion – that bringing of those things hidden in darkness out into the light – in that place and in that place alone (not in jamming them down inside us and hoping no one will ever find them because we’re scared of being rejected or despised by our so-called ‘church family’), that we will together find freedom…

When one suffers we all suffer…

When all are free, imagine what that freedom will look like – we will all share each other’s joy in being free… 🙂

So the person who does not submit themselves to Jesus and His word revealed in scripture – His truth revealed in scripture – to the person who does not align their confession or their testimony with that of scripture but endeavours to establish an alternative truth, i.e. they call evil good and good evil, they are not welcome in the Church of Jesus Christ…

I personally believe that those people are to be treated as if they are not believers at all – they should not have any part in our meetings or voice in what we believe, I believe we need to tell our Church members what those people have said so that our Church members can know what they stand for and make their own decision as to whether they agree with them and also want to leave our Church or whether they submit to scripture and the process of believing truth which we have not yet perfectly walked but are surrendered to continue to believe as we’re transformed more and more and more into the image of Christ but with no time-frames set (i.e. no expectations set) on how quickly this must happen for any of us – just the trust in the Lord and in each other (the discernment) that we belong to the Lord and are here to help each other (without any force or control) as He leads us towards us as a Body becoming individually and collectively more like Him…

Thus our testimony to the world is intact, i.e. that we submit aspirationally to the practice of all the truth revealed in scripture, but we are also seen by the world as being real in that we have not yet attained to this aspiration but are on a journey of trust and discovery as we look to the risen Jesus to achieve this transformation within us as we journey together from grace to grace… 🙂

About andrew james horton

Hi, my name is Andrew James Horton... I am a Kiwi (New Zealander), born in Christchurch (05 September 1971), now in my late-forties (I feel so old saying that)... I am blessed to be married with five children and six grandchildren... :-) I am at present a Principal Structural Engineer, Director working in Christchurch, New Zealand... I am passionate about prophetic intercession and about revival both in New Zealand and throughout the world... I am passionate to pray that the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, will be all that He - the Lord Jesus Christ - desires her to be in our generation... I felt that the Lord gave me the name of this blog site, "a house of prayer for the nations - prophetic intercession for worldwide revival" and wanted me to "put it out there" and start recording the prayers which are on my heart to pray in the hope that others would also be encouraged to share the prayers which are on their hearts to pray and that in the unity of the Spirit we could participate together in this activity in different locations around the world as He leads us... If the Lord leads you, let's join in prayer for the Lord's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven in our generation... Love in the Lord, Andrew
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