The Blessings and Hazards of Companionship

April 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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“Don’t cave in to peer pressure.”
“Don’t run with the wrong crowd.”
“Be a leader, not a follower.”
“If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”

Such are some of the worldly cautions about carefully and wisely choosing your friends. The Bible says it like this:

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 13:20

The Lord tells us to “walk with” wise men. This is obviously not a reference to the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other. It is a reference to those with whom we spend time on a daily basis, and with whom we form bonds of friendship. We are to join ourselves to friends who are “wise,” and those who are truly wise are those who follow the teachings of God found in the Bible.

The flip side of this advice to walk with wise men is the warning to avoid the companionship of fools. Fools are those who refuse to acknowledge God.

The consequences of ignoring Proverbs 13:20 are dire. Those who fall in with a company of fools are not promised a period of trial-and-error, or even a second chance. The outcome of making a wrong decision about our friends is “destruction,” and destruction, in the Bible, is a thing that may come suddenly, without warning. Destruction speaks of finality and utter obliteration. It is a serious warning.

For those of us with junior high or high school aged children, we need to be especially careful of modern Christendom’s “youth group” or “teen ministry” mentality, which says that children (characterized in the Bible as “simple” or “foolish”) need to find their primary sense of belonging with others of their own age. The children which God has entrusted to our care need to “walk with” and learn from men and women of “wisdom:” those who have reached a level of Christian maturity that causes them to base their attitudes and actions on Scriptural principles and precepts.

Spiritual Body Shaming

March 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Posted in I Corinthians | Leave a comment
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I Corinthians 5 moves from an up-close view of a specific instance of church discipline to a big-picture view of how pride can infect an entire local church body.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

I Corinthians 5:6

Leaven works secretly. It spreads through the whole lump. It puffs up. When Knows get puffy (and true Christians DO struggle with pride), they sometimes have to be purged. This is different from how the Know-Nots are to be treated. False professors do not just contain leaven; they themselves ARE leavened.

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

I Corinthians 5:7

And the only reason the Knows can have it purged is because our Passover was greater than the original Passover (Exodus 12). Our Passover has already been sacrificed, and His sacrifice was spiritual and actual, not partial and figurative.

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

I Corinthians 5:9

This verse does not teach us never to be in the presence of fornicators, but it does warn us not to form a bond of approval with them.

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

I Corinthians 5:10

This is one of many of the Bible’s admonitions to Christians, telling us to separate ourselves from this world’s system, while remaining actively involved in hands-on ministry IN the world itself.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

I Corinthians 5:11

To “eat with” someone in Bible times had a connotation of forming a covenant-type relationship of trust, assistance, and approval. Those who openly and unrepentantly practice fornication, covteousness, idolatry, railing, drunkenness, and extortion must not have their behavior condoned by Christians, even if the people doing these things choose to identify themselves as fellow-Christians.

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

I Corinthians 5:12-13

The Corinthian believers were proud of being “nonjudgmental” when it came to those within their ranks who lived just like the open sinners without, while at the same time enthusiastically judging the Know-Nots who never claimed to be Knows. Such judgment is hypocritical and pointless. Sinners who sin egregiously are just doing their job, in a sense. They are powerless to stop their behavior. God is the One Who will judge them unless they repent and turn to Christ. When it comes to the Knows judging the other Knows within a church body, such judgment is not wrong IF:

1. It is done in love.
2. It is done in the hope of restoration.
3. It is based on the actions of the offenders, not suppositions or conjecture.


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