In my sermon at our Church today, I will continue our look at what it means to be a caring Church based on I Corinthians 5:1-13.
Here’s a question I will explore:
Q. How can we proclaim and celebrate a gospel of grace and forgiveness while enforcing standards of morality — without becoming a prideful and self-righteous or watchful and legalistic Church?
A few examples of what I will say:
- A caring Church must be a place of loving, grace-based accountability.
- Accountability – Helping people keep their commitments to God.
- Accountability should offer protection based on positive and corrective reinforcements in a context of loving relationships of mutual care and encouragement (see: Hebrews 3:12-13; 13:17).
- “Fellowship is more than unconditional love that wraps its arms around someone who is hurting. It is also tough love that holds one fast to the truth and the pursuit of righteousness.
- For most Christians, the support side of the equation comes more easily than accountability… Maybe it’s because we simply haven’t taught accountability. Or maybe it’s because, in today’s fiercely individualistic culture, people resent being told what to do, and since we don’t want to “scare them off,” we give in to cultural pressures.”
- “But too often we confuse love with permissiveness.It is not love to fail to dissuade another believer from sin any more than it is love to fail to take a drink away from an alcoholic or matches away from a child. True fellowship out of love for one another demands accountability” (from, Chuck Colson, The Body, p. 130).
- “If we can restore to full and intimate fellowship with ourselves a sinning and unrepentant brother, we reveal not the depth of our love, but its shallowness, for we are doing what is not for his highest good. Forgiveness which bypasses the need for repentance issues not from love but from sentimentality (Chinese – 多愁善感, Korean – 감상벽) (from, John R. W. Stott, Confess Your Sins).
Three Foundational Truths
- The costly nature of saving grace (v. 7- “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”)
- The transforming power of salvation (I John 3:9 – “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” cf. James 2)
- The necessity of community for spiritual transformation (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24; 13:17)