I am surprised at how many Believers are oblivious to the workings of Satan’s Kingdom. We are so selectively involved with Scriptures which build faith and trust, that the verses which describe horizontal challenges lay neglected. Failing to understand spiritual warfare, especially when it is directed against the Body of Christ, can negatively affect the church. Sin within the assembly of Believers will destroy the effectiveness of the church quicker than almost anything else. What is even more shocking is when leadership detects sin in the church and does nothing about it. The “do not rock the boat” syndrome has allowed Satan to infiltrate and consequently destroy many churches.
The unrest in certain parts of our country has gone unabated largely because the political leadership has failed to label those activities as riots, anti-authority, and anarchy. As long as they fail to acknowledge what is really happening, unrest and unlawful activities will continue to tear this country apart.
In the church at Corinth, Paul confronted the leadership over their lack of addressing a sinful act within their assembly. A man was having a sexual relationship with his father’s wife. Paul was astonished at the lack of attention this subject was generating. He stated that instead of dealing with the issue they were “puffed up” (proud and arrogant,) evidenced by their lack of response. Paul chided them that if they did not address the situation, sin would continue to grow within the church. (I Corinthians 5:6) The sin was so pronounced that they needed to take immediate action. Paul told them to deliver the offender to “Satan for the destruction of the flesh…” (I Corinthians 5:5) That meant the removal of protective aspects from the Believer. The violator would basically be treated as an infidel. There would be no fellowship with the violator or prayer for him. He would be expelled from the church which would expose him to Satan’s workings. It is important to note that the main purpose of removing the individual from the church was to secure his “eternal salvation.” (Verse 5) Sometimes it takes drastic action to bring about drastic change.
Only one time in my ministry did I ever implement this type of action. A husband who was attending our church with his family was violating the marriage code by being involved in a number of physical affairs. He would spend his weekly check in bars and nightclubs. His wife and five children were facing eviction due to delinquent house payments. Financial obligations to keep the house functioning went unpaid. The church came to her aid and fulfilled all her monetary requirements. The husband continued to pursue his fleshly desires with no desire to assume any financial responsibility. The leadership took the drastic action described in I Corinthians 5. About three weeks later, the husband was arrested for a number of illegal violations. There in jail, he cried out to God begging for His forgiveness. Sin separates one from abundant blessings of the Kingdom of God, leaving the sinner to fend for himself. Upon hearing of his call for help, one of the Elders went to the jail and helped him reestablish His relationship with Jesus. Shortly after, he was reunited with his wife and returned to church, thankful for second chances.
Sin that is not dealt with will affect not only the individual but the church as well. May the church never close its eyes to flagrant sin that creeps into the church. (Ref. I Corinthians 5:1-13)_