The Purity of the Body of Christ
Both in the past and today, God’s camp/the Body of Christ must be clean, because that is where the Lord dwells. (He/Satan has nothing in Me. John 14:30; Your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you; therefore, your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:14 Take them out, otherwise they will defile the camp wherein I dwell. Numbers 5:3)
God, who is the architect and builder of the Body/Church, has made the laws of the body to function in such a way as to keep it undefiled. Christ takes good care of this body because it is His Body! (No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, so does Christ with the Church; for we are the members of his body, the flesh of his flesh, and the bone of his bones. Ephesians 5:29-30)
If a member of the Body of Christ becomes ill/defiled through neglect and temptation, Lord Jesus cares/participates with the members of His Body for the healing of the sick member. If the diseased organ does not agree to be cared for, it must eventually be removed. One of the reasons for the removal is that the sick member will contaminate and negatively influence others through his life. He will urge others to live in the same way as he does. (See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Hebrews 12:15; They will turn your sons away from following Me… Deuteronomy 7:4)
Jesus does not allow sin to dwell in His Body, so He commands His members to watch to not find any worldly person among them. The sin/infection of a limb also infects the limbs to which it is closely related to. (See that there is no fornicator or worldly person among you. Hebrews 12:16; Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole dough? Sweep away the old yeast. 1 Corinthians 5: 6-7)
For this reason, when we observe a sin, we are called to go to our brother and raise him with the spirit of gentleness to correct him; and if he does not listen, he must be handed over to the Church. (If your brother has sinned against you, go and rebuke him between you and him alone. And if he does not listen to the Church either, treat him as a pagan and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15)
Many will perhaps say: how can someone sitting on the same bench contaminate us, when he has almost nothing to do with us, when we do not know anything about his life outside the church walls? However, if we ask ourselves this question, it means that we are not connected to the members in the church. It is then clear that we belong to a scattered herd, a place where everyone does what they want, where talking about obedience, rebuke, correction is not possible…it is a place where one cannot speak of the Body of Christ, which was designed to have its members closely connected to one another.
Before God, every single soul is responsible for the penetration and tolerance of evil in the Body of Christ. If each member is closely related to another member, then it is easy to understand that when one becomes ill, it will affect the other one it is attached to. If a limb becomes ill with slander and is not detected and disciplined, it will contaminate those to whom it is closely connected to. (Make no mistake: “Evil companionship spoils good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33)
If through negligence, the limbs of Christ’s body come to tolerate sin, the Church will eventually end up being separated from Christ. (I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot; so, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15; I will destroy her children to death. Revelation 2:23)
When the commandment in Matthew 18:15 is ignored, sin multiplies, the body becomes sick, and if no healing is done, it will eventually die. (Because the judgment against bad deeds is not carried out quickly, the heart of the sons of men is full of the desire to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11)
The Church at Thyatira
At the time this Church was investigated, it found itself in a situation where sin had entered the congregation and was tolerated. The Church allowed a “woman who called herself a prophetess” to teach heresies and to deceive the Lord’s servants. (But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies. 2 Peter 2: 1-2) One can notice the Lord’s care for the limbs of His body; firstly, with Jezebel, who was given time to repent. (I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her immorality! Revelation 2:21)
Even though the Church had been praised for many things, the Lord rebukes it for this sin of carelessness, of tolerating sin. (I know what you’ve been doing—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance—and that your last actions are greater than the first. But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and who teaches and leads my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. Revelation 2:19-20)
The Church was guilty of disregarding the Lord’s teaching, which tells us that women are not allowed to teach others, and of the commandment that tells us to watch over, so that not to be related to anyone who practices disobedience towards God’s Word… (See that there is no fornicator or worldly person among you. Hebrews 12:15-16; Women are not allowed to teach others, nor to rise above men, but to be silent. 1 Timothy 2:12) This “yeast” of sin, which was tolerated in the Church, was to leaven all the dough, that is, the death of the flock. (Do you not know that a little yeast… Cor. 5:6)
If the Church, for the most part, gets to allow sin, what do you have to do with the few who still want to remain faithful to the Lord? May they still remain in this Church, and live according to the law of the Body of Christ, where every single joint brings its own input? Does the Lord teach them to stay with those who live in sin?
If we pay close attention to the written Word, and do not go over it, it provides us with answers to these questions. When sin is tolerated, Lord Jesus has commandments for the members who want to remain in obedience to Him. As such, in order to remain clean and uncontaminated by the disease of sin, the Lord separates them from uncleanness by commanding them to come out of their midst. (Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord, “And do not touch what is unclean”. 2 Corinthians 6:17; For men will be lovers of self, with no self- restraint, slanderous, holding only a form of godliness, but denying its power. Depart from these people. 2 Timothy 3:2)
We warn those who decide to remain in congregations where sin is tolerated, we warn them not to deceive themselves, perhaps by taking the example of the five Churches of the Revelation, by which we might get the impression that injustice can dwell together with righteousness and purity. However, the Lord tells us that Satan has nothing in Him. The Lord cannot allow sin in His body, but in His mercy, before removing/cutting off from the vine, He first tries to heal the sick limb.
We will highlight a few sins which, if tolerated, will bring the death of the assembly: Disregarding the authorities by violating its laws through undeclared work, disobedience to traffic laws, loving and tolerating the things of the world…
Defamation/slander, a sin so prevalent in many congregations today, is as serious in the eyes of the Lord as fornication and drunkenness. The Lord asks us not to have anything to do with those who practice it, even if they call themselves brothers. (I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is… a slanderer or drunkard. Do not even eat with such a person. 1 Corinthians 5:11)
Another sin which nowadays is ignored, but is just as serious, for which we must turn away from self-proclaimed brothers, is self-love; these are the brothers who do not live for the benefit of other members. (Know that in the last days there will be hard times. For men will be lovers of themselves… They will hold to an outward form of godliness but deny its power. Stay away from such people. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5)
- How much time per day/week do you spend for yourself? How much time do you spend for the spiritual benefit of others? 5%, 10% … Have I learned to live for the benefit of others?
- Can God be with me if I do not turn away from those who practice slander/evil speech, and from those who promote self-love?