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← The Love Behind Church Discipline - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 6 created 07/24/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. 1 Peter 4.
  2. I'm in no way wanting to take
  3. Brother David's thunder from his preaching
  4. through 1 Peter.
  5. It will be awhile before he gets this far.
  6. You probably will forget by then
  7. what I say today.
  8. You'll forget that I did
    this message probably.
  9. Hopefully we never forget
    the truths of God's Word.
  10. Being brought, like Peter says,
  11. into remembrance of these things
  12. over and over,
  13. and David will come along
  14. and bring us into remembrance of them
  15. again months from now.
  16. 1 Peter 4,
  17. "Since therefore Christ
    suffered in the flesh,
  18. arm yourselves with
    the same way of thinking.
  19. For whoever has suffered in the flesh
  20. has ceased from sin
  21. so as to live for the rest
    of the time in the flesh
  22. no longer for human passions,
  23. but for the will of God."
  24. There's a motivation on all life.
  25. In times past, our former manner of life,
  26. you know what guided us?
  27. Our passions. What we wanted.
  28. Lust.
  29. We wanted to fulfill our desires.
  30. It's kind of a worldview.
  31. How do you view everything?
  32. We used to view everything
    by the pleasure it gave us;
  33. by the satisfaction it gave us;
  34. by how it made us look,
  35. how it made us feel.
  36. No longer for human passions,
  37. but for the will of God.
  38. The same thing that guided
  39. our Lord Jesus Christ is now
    supposed to guide us -
  40. the will of the Father.
  41. That's how we evaluate things.
  42. No longer: how is that
    going to make me look?
  43. How is that going to make me feel?
  44. But, what does God think about that?
  45. Is He pleased with it or is He not?
  46. "For the time that is past suffices
  47. for doing what the Gentiles want to do,
  48. living in sensuality, passions,
  49. drunkenness, orgies,
  50. drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
  51. With respect to this,
  52. they are surprised when
    you do not join them
  53. in the same flood of debauchery
  54. and they malign you."
  55. In other words, you get saved.
  56. You no longer run with the pack
  57. and now you're the oddball.
  58. And they don't like it.
  59. "But they will give account to Him
  60. who is ready to judge
    the living and the dead.
  61. For this is why the Gospel was preached
  62. even to those who are dead..."
  63. You want to take that
    as dead in trespasses.
  64. Not dead physically.
  65. The Bible teaches us nothing about
  66. teaching the Gospel, preaching the Gospel
  67. to those who have already died.
  68. This isn't second chance theology.
  69. "That though judged in the flesh
  70. the way people are, they
    might live in the spirit
  71. the way God does."
  72. And there you see the spirituality
    of what he's talking about.
  73. "The end of all things is at hand."
  74. Therefore, there's a way to live.
  75. How should we live?
  76. "Be self-controlled and sober-minded
  77. for the sake of your prayers.
  78. Above all..." Aren't
    those interesting words?
  79. "Above all..."
  80. Peter doesn't just think everything
  81. is on the same playing field;
  82. that everything is basically equal;
  83. that one thing is just as
    important to another thing
  84. in the Christian life.
  85. He actually believes that
    there are some things
  86. that are more important.
  87. "Above all,
  88. keep loving one another earnestly,
  89. since love covers a multitude of sins."
  90. Now let's just think about this verse.

  91. This is where I want us to focus.
  92. "Above all,
  93. keep loving one another earnestly,
  94. since love covers a multitude of sins."
  95. More than all the other
    things Peter has just said,
  96. above all,
  97. he wants us to give
    ourselves to earnest love,
  98. intense love.
  99. Now, love covers a multitude of sins.
  100. There is a question about
    whose sins get covered.
  101. You don't have to look far to find
  102. Catholic commentators who believe
  103. the sin that gets covered is yours.
  104. That when you love others,
  105. your sin gets covered,
  106. as though somehow you're atoning
  107. for your misdeeds by your love.
  108. That would not be the way
    you want to interpret this.
  109. The key to understanding whose
    sins Peter has in mind here
  110. and who's doing the covering -
  111. the first part of the verse
  112. goes with the second part of the verse.
  113. This issue has to do
    with our loving others
  114. earnestly, intently, fervently.
  115. It's not the idea that if we love others,
  116. God in turn is going to pardon your sin.
  117. What he's saying is that Christians
  118. loving each other -
  119. when Christians love each other,
  120. one of the things that is expressed
  121. in that love is how we react
  122. to the sins of others;
  123. how we navigate those sins;
  124. how we talk about those sins;
  125. how we regard those sins.
  126. One another.
  127. The "one another" is
    really key to this verse.
  128. It has to do with our
    interaction in the church
  129. one to the other.
  130. And by the way, if you reflect,
  131. didn't Jesus say something
  132. about our love towards one another
  133. back in John 13?
  134. Anybody remember what He said?
  135. He said that this watching world
  136. is going to know that we're His disciples
  137. when we love one another.
  138. That's the issue.
  139. Now, be careful that you recognize
  140. the "one another" here.
  141. He's talking about the way Christians
  142. react with Christians.
  143. And I'm not saying -
  144. look, I'm not saying that we as Christians
  145. can never overlook
    the sins of lost people.
  146. If you're going to be kind
    and compassionate to people
  147. you're not going to just pounce
  148. on every little wrong that people do.
  149. But I will say this,
  150. that if you think very
    carefully about Ephesians 5,
  151. we are called to be light
  152. and we are called to expose
  153. the deeds of darkness in this world.
  154. So, we need to feel
    that tension, by the way.
  155. I just bring that up as far as
  156. the way we interact with the lost.
  157. But notice this.
  158. Notice verse 8, "Above all,
  159. keep loving one another earnestly."
  160. Why? Well, Peter is going
    to give us the reason.
  161. The reason Peter is so interested
  162. that we have earnest love
    among the brethren
  163. is found in what love does.
  164. You see the sense there.
  165. You see there's a reason.
  166. He says - this is interesting -
  167. you have to feel this for what it is.
  168. Look, he comes to you and he says,
  169. above everything else,
    Grace Community Church,
  170. give yourself to intently and
    fervently loving one another.
  171. Okay.
  172. And then he says I'm going
    to give you a reason why.
  173. Since love covers a multitude of sins.
  174. In other words, if love is active;
  175. if love is operative;
  176. if love is actually
    happening in the church
  177. beyond just lip service,
  178. what that love is going to do
  179. is it's going to be expressed
  180. by this very thing.
  181. You see what he's saying?
  182. Above all, let this be true among you.
  183. Why? Because there is a
    certain precious quality
  184. about this love.
  185. There is a certain precious manifestation
  186. of this love that is so desirable.
  187. That's why above all give yourself
  188. to this earnest love
  189. because what loving one another
  190. at that earnest, fervent level does
  191. is it has everything to
    do with how we relate
  192. to one another when we sin.
  193. That's precisely what he's saying.
  194. One of the most precious things
  195. about love in Peter's thinking is this.
  196. Do you think that way?

  197. You see, this verse helps us
  198. really recognize one
    of the great attributes
  199. of love as it's manifest in the church.
  200. We could think about a lot of ways.
  201. You know, Jesus gird
    Himself with that towel
  202. and He washed one another's feet,
  203. and He said I'm leaving you an example.
  204. But I'll tell you this,
    one of the greatest ways
  205. you can gird yourself with the towel
  206. and wash one another's feet
  207. according to the Apostle Peter
  208. has to do with how we
    deal with one another
  209. when it comes to sin.
  210. You clearly see that from the text.
  211. How can we know true love?
  212. There's the answer.
  213. How can we know it?
  214. Now it manifests itself other ways.
  215. I'm not saying that's the only way
  216. that it manifests itself,
  217. but in Peter's estimation,
  218. that is one of the
    great qualities of love.
  219. Think about this.
  220. Not just loving your wife,
  221. not just loving people
    indiscriminately in the world
  222. or loving your children,
  223. it's the one another.
  224. It's how we interact in the church.
  225. One of the great qualities of love
  226. in the church
  227. has precisely to do with this.
  228. How we view one another
  229. in light of our faults,
  230. in light of our falls,
  231. in light of our sins.
  232. That's what we see here.
  233. Now, "cover." You see the word.

  234. Cover.
  235. "Love covers a multitude of sins."
  236. Let's think about this word "cover."
  237. It literally means to remove from view.
  238. To conceal, to hide, to keep secret.
  239. It's basically to put down
    the knowledge of something.
  240. Let me give you a verse.

  241. Luke 8:16, which don't turn there,
  242. but just listen to it.
  243. Because this word "cover" is found there.
  244. Now, when it's used in this verse,
  245. you will pick up it's
    used in a negative way.
  246. Peter's using it in a positive way.
  247. But still, this is a very telling verse.
  248. Because just listen to it.
  249. "No one after lighting a lamp
  250. covers it with a jar
    or puts it under a bed.
  251. but puts it on a stand,
  252. so that those who
    enter may see the light."
  253. Now that's very helpful.
  254. Nobody covers,
  255. after lighting a lamp.
  256. You've got a lamp.
  257. The lamp is giving light.
  258. Nobody covers it.
  259. Now, if you think about it,
  260. what does Jesus have in mind
  261. when He's talking about this lamp?
  262. Brethren, you are the light of the world.
  263. Christ is the light of the world.
  264. He tells us we are the light of the world.
  265. We're salt and light.
  266. We have been endowed with the truth.
  267. We have a commission.
  268. You are not to take this and hide it.
  269. You are not to take what you have
    been taught by Christ and hide it.
  270. You're not to cover it.
  271. You're not to put it under a bushel basket
  272. or hide it under a bed.
  273. Rather, what are you supposed to do?
  274. You're supposed to put it on a stand
  275. so that it becomes as visible as possible.
  276. Now that's using cover
    in a negative sense.
  277. That is actually blotting out the light
  278. of something that you want to have shine.
  279. Peter is using it in the opposite sense.
  280. He's using it in a negative sense,
  281. but nevertheless, the word means
  282. precisely the same thing.
  283. And, if you think about
    just how Jesus uses it,
  284. love does not take the
    sins of other Christians
  285. and put it on the lamp stand.
  286. Sin is put under the bed.
  287. It's put under the jar
    or the bushel basket.
  288. It's hidden.
  289. That's the issue.
  290. Now, notice - notice carefully.
  291. Love covers a multitude of sins.
  292. It doesn't just say errors only
  293. or weaknesses, but sins.
  294. And it doesn't just say one or two.
  295. It's actually speaking on
    a level of multitude.
  296. Look, does this mean that we just
  297. blindly walk around in the church
  298. and act like there's no sin?
  299. Does that mean that when
    a brother or sister sins,
  300. we just ignore every one?
  301. I can remember one time at work.

  302. Some conversation came up
  303. among us engineers, and the chief engineer
  304. was in his office
  305. and something was being brought up
  306. and he came out.
  307. And he just covered his ears.
  308. He just "blah blah blah."
  309. He said, "I don't want to hear that.
    I don't want to hear that."
  310. Is that how we're supposed to be?
  311. We just go into denial.
  312. Don't tell me. I don't want to know.
  313. I don't want to hear.
  314. I'm going to shut my eyes.
    I'm going to shut my ears.
  315. Is that what Peter is teaching?
  316. All we have to do is compare
  317. Scripture to Scripture to know
  318. that is not what he means.
  319. He doesn't mean that we
    deny that sin is in the church.
  320. He doesn't mean that
    we don't call sin sin.
  321. He doesn't mean that we don't
    take recognition that it's here.
  322. He doesn't mean that it's less
    evil because we're a Christian
  323. or less detestable to God.
  324. He's not implying any of that.
  325. All you have to do is compare Scripture -
  326. other portions of Scripture
  327. to know that that is
    certainly not what he means.
  328. For one, sin is still sin.
  329. Even if sin is found in God's people,
  330. you need to recognize Jesus Christ
  331. died on Calvary's cross to pay for it.
  332. The wrath of God He atoned for up there.
  333. (incomplete thought)
  334. What is sin?

  335. We can think of sin as
  336. perhaps transgression of the law.
  337. Sin is lack of conformity
  338. to what God has expressed in His Word;
  339. to His holy law.
  340. It is lack of conformity
    to the Person of Christ.
  341. Do you believe -
    brethren, you better believe
  342. that every lack of
    conformity to Jesus Christ
  343. is very much on God's radar
  344. and He very much means
    to purge it out of us.
  345. He recognizes that which is
    detestable to Him that's still in us.
  346. Sin is still sin and it's
    called out as such.
  347. You don't find Paul coming
    to the Corinthian church
  348. with all that was wrong there
  349. and say, well, you know,
  350. I'm going to heed my brother Peter's words
  351. and love covers a multitude of sin.
  352. So I'm just not going to see,
  353. I'm not going to hear
  354. Chloe's people come to me.
  355. I'm not going to regard that
    there's division and quarreling
  356. and sexual sin and all the rest there.
  357. I'm going to be blind to it.
  358. No, no, no...
  359. That doesn't happen.
  360. That doesn't happen.
  361. God does not approve of it.
  362. God hates it.
  363. And we should not approve of it.
  364. Second, Peter says love covers

  365. a multitude of sin; he
    doesn't say it covers all sin.
  366. It definitely does not.
  367. The third consideration,

  368. Peter himself on different occasions
  369. had his own sin called out.
  370. He never tells us that Jesus did wrong
  371. or Paul did wrong.
  372. Jesus called him out.
  373. And the Apostle Paul called him out.
  374. What an illustration
    that is in Galatians 2!
  375. One apostle calls out another.
  376. And of all the apostles
    that are going to be
  377. called out for their sin - Peter.
  378. He knows from his own experience
  379. that it's appropriate to
    have your sins called out
  380. in certain circumstances.
  381. The fourth thing to think about is

  382. there are specific commands
    in our New Testaments
  383. that tell us we need to deal with sin
  384. and call it out.
  385. And perhaps you can
    think of some of those.
  386. Matthew 18 would be a place
  387. that indicates that to us.
  388. And fifth, I want you to think about this.

  389. We must remember what is motivating
  390. the covering of sins.
  391. What it is?
  392. It's love.
  393. If love motivates us to cover sin;
  394. if love is truly the guiding factor,
  395. then love at times is going to require us
  396. to call the sin out.
  397. (incomplete thought)
  398. Here's the thing,
  399. there comes a point
    when to not call out sin
  400. harms God's glory.
  401. There are times that it brings reproach.
  402. You remember how David's sin
  403. brought a reproach upon God?
  404. Sin can be a reproach upon Christ.
  405. Sin can harm the whole church.
  406. Sin can harm an individual.
  407. So if we're going to let love
    be the guiding motive,
  408. that in itself would tell us
  409. we don't cover all sin.
  410. Not if it's actually harming them
  411. or the church or God's glory.
  412. So, what does it look like?

  413. Covering sin.
  414. What does that look like in the church?
  415. Well, this is one thing.
  416. Love doesn't always look for sin.
  417. Love doesn't come along
  418. with this critical attitude
  419. where it's constantly assuming
    the worst about people.
  420. You know you get that in the church.
  421. There are certain people,
  422. and you know what, if we're honest,
  423. we can all put ourselves in that category.
  424. You know, some people are critical
  425. and suspicious at large.
  426. But then any one of us at a different time
  427. we can find ourselves becoming suspicious
  428. of certain individuals, when actually,
  429. there's not any viable evidence
  430. that we should be that way.
  431. So it's not always looking.
  432. That covering sin -
    the idea of covering sin.
  433. Brethren, it's minimizing it
    where it can be minimized.
  434. I'm not talking about
    covering sin in a way
  435. that somehow denies truth.
  436. But you know, brethren,
    the reality is this.
  437. We tend to have a knack for pumping up
  438. other people's sin and minimizing our own.
  439. Love covering a multitude of sins
  440. is going to find expression when we're
  441. really trying to deal with
    other people in their sin
  442. the same way we want to be dealt
    with ourselves when we sin.
  443. And maybe even more than that,
  444. the way we deal with our
    own selves when we sin.
  445. You know, it takes a high
    place of spiritual maturity
  446. for us to actually get to the place
  447. where we deal with
    ourselves equal or harder
  448. with our own sin than we deal with others.
  449. That is a place of amazing
    spiritual maturity
  450. when we can get there.
  451. Because by nature, that is not who we are.
  452. Love covering a multitude of sins.
  453. It's precisely where love is lacking
  454. that we constantly walk around
  455. with suspicion and distrust.
  456. You think about this.

  457. I've seen an example of this
  458. in my own life and my own family.
  459. But you think about a wife,
  460. a mother,
  461. who she dearly loves her husband;
  462. dearly loves her children.
  463. You know what?
  464. A woman who dearly loves like that,
  465. she above everybody else is acutely aware
  466. of the faults and failings and falls
  467. and sin of her husband and children.
  468. But she is also going to be the slowest
  469. that wants those things to be made public.
  470. She will seek to put the best spin -
  471. not lie or not against truth -
  472. but she will seek to hide;
  473. she will seek to cover over;
  474. she will seek to
    emphasize the excellencies
  475. that are found in
    her husband, her children.
  476. That's love.
  477. That's what love does.
  478. When she drops on her knees and prays,
  479. she's very aware of those failings
  480. and is the first to cry out
  481. and want to see those
    things healed and helped
  482. and God come.
  483. That's what we're talking.
  484. That's what love does.
  485. You see, a woman like that
  486. is not constantly trying to read
  487. the worst motive possible
  488. into those actions
  489. because love doesn't do that.
  490. Love wants to think the best.
  491. It wants to assume the best.
  492. Brethren, every one of us

  493. come from the same stock.
  494. Children of Adam.
  495. We all come from an Adamic stock.
  496. And we are all very adept at putting
  497. the most negative spin
    on people's motives.
  498. "Oh, well, you know why they did that."
  499. See, we try to put the pieces together.
  500. (incomplete thought)
  501. The truth is that sometimes we're right,
  502. but if we're going to be honest,
  503. most of the time we're wrong
  504. when we put the most negative spin on.
  505. Peter says love covers
    a multitude of sins.
  506. You see, the thing is this.
  507. Love is genuinely interested
  508. in the good of somebody else.
  509. You know one of the
    reasons we like to tale bear
  510. and we like to put the
    most negative spin on things.
  511. It's got to do with pride.
  512. Pushing down, making
    other people seem less.
  513. It makes us feel like we're
    pumping ourselves up here.
  514. But the thing about love
  515. is when you genuinely
  516. have a person's interest in view,
  517. then whether you bring
    that sin out into the light
  518. or whether you try to cover it,
  519. it all hinges on what you
    feel is going to be best.
  520. That's what's regulating.
    That's what's motivating.
  521. It's not you just being cynical.
  522. It's not just you being loving to hear
  523. the juicy tale about
    somebody else's wrong.
  524. That is such a horrible attitude
    to have in the church.
  525. People just get excited.
  526. They rejoice over other
    people's falls and failures.
  527. So often, the reason is
  528. because it just helps put
    them in a better light.
  529. If other people can be
    dragged through the dirt,
  530. (incomplete thought).
  531. Love is able to rise above being offended.
  532. See, that's another aspect
    of other people's sins.
  533. A lot of times those sins are against me.
  534. And now it's not just
    how it makes them look
  535. or how it makes me look.
  536. It's: they've wronged me.
  537. And I feel it.
  538. And I've got some grievance towards them.
  539. I've got some bitterness in my soul.
  540. So I want them to pay.
  541. And one of the ways I want them to pay
  542. is I'm going to drag what
    they did out in the open.
  543. But here's the thing,
  544. love covering a multitude of sins...
  545. love can be wronged,
  546. and it's not thinking about me
  547. and how their wrong affected me.
  548. See, I can go back to that wife.
  549. That wife who gets wronged by her husband
  550. or gets wronged by her children.
  551. But see, love still is thinking
  552. not so much about how I've been offended;
  553. how that made me hurt;
    how that made me sorrow;
  554. how that made me grieve;
    how that made me bitter;
  555. how that just wasn't true
  556. and how I've been insulted
  557. and how there's been injustice.
  558. You see, love still in that moment
  559. says: I love them
  560. and I want their greatest good.
  561. And it's thinking about that
  562. even at a time
  563. when an offense has been given -
  564. still thinking about the
    greatest good of others.
  565. That's the idea.
  566. Love thickens our skin.
  567. So that every little offense
    we don't have to
  568. bring out into the open.
  569. We don't have to deal with;
  570. we don't have to go and
    pull aside the brother:
  571. "you offended me."
  572. Love tends to put away hypersensitivity.
  573. And it can help us focus.
  574. Look, I'm not saying there isn't a time
  575. to pull a brother aside or a
    sister aside and talk to them.
  576. That's not what I'm getting at.
  577. I'm just saying people who are proud
  578. get offended easy.
  579. And that's love of self,
    not love of others.
  580. Brethren, the reality is that
    when offenses come,

  581. when sins come,
  582. we actually have to be doing
  583. a sort of spiritual mathematics.
  584. We have to calculate.
  585. We have to size things up.
  586. We have to be careful that we don't
  587. let our own sense of being offended
  588. rule the day.
  589. But we're actually able to step back
  590. and ask out of love,
  591. does covering this help
    my brother or sister more?
  592. And you know what? Peter, by telling us
  593. love covers a multitude of sins,
  594. he's got in mind that there's a multitude
  595. of sins that take place in the church
  596. that should be covered.
  597. They don't need to be
    brought out into the open.
  598. That's what he's saying to us.
  599. And brethren, if we're all honest

  600. with our own failures and our own faults,
  601. when's the last time you
    lived a perfect day, by the way?
  602. And if we just start thinking about
  603. how would we like to be dealt with?
  604. Love does not just quickly
    jump on the bandwagon
  605. to assume the worst.
  606. It's thinking about others.
  607. Instead of being offended
    by the sins of others,
  608. love is concerned with the
    welfare of that person.
  609. The love Peter's talking about
  610. doesn't take pleasure in exposing
  611. the weaknesses in our brother's character.
  612. Look, the truth is sin is ugly.
  613. Scott talked about it the first hour.
  614. There's no spin you can put on sin
  615. to make it beautiful. It's not.
  616. It's ugly.
  617. And there are many sins that come
  618. out of God's people that are ugly
  619. and they're evil.
  620. But you know the thing we
    need to think about, brethren,
  621. is God is at work in
    my brother and sister.
  622. God has forgiven that sin.
  623. God doesn't deal with them
  624. about every single sin.
  625. Isn't that amazing in your own life?
  626. You think about the falls
    and failures you have.
  627. And I can't tell you how many Christians
  628. have fallen in their Christian life
  629. and got up and they've kind of winced
  630. and they've drawn back
  631. because they've expected God
  632. to put the belt to them,
  633. And God lavished them with His arms
  634. and pulled them in
  635. and hugged them and kissed them.
  636. Christian, have you ever been there?
  637. That's how we want to be dealt with.
  638. And love is going to seek to make that
  639. very much a way that we're going to seek
  640. to deal with others.
  641. Loving disposition leads us

  642. to pass by the faults of others,
  643. to forgive offenses against ourselves
  644. without making a big deal out of them,
  645. to excuse, to lessen
    the blemishes of others
  646. as is consistent with truth.
  647. But brethren, I'll tell you a whole lot
  648. about what happens when we think about
  649. the sins of others
  650. is we assume motives all the time.
  651. All the time.
  652. And you have to remember,
  653. love believes all things.
  654. Look, you have to take that in context.
  655. Scripture doesn't tell us
    to believe a false gospel.
  656. It doesn't call us to believe everything.
  657. Believe all things is -
  658. brethren, that needs to be the flavor
  659. of our lives.
  660. Obviously, when the evidence indicates
  661. I can't believe something,
  662. you don't want to be a fool
  663. and believe what you should not believe -
  664. what the evidence clearly tells us.
  665. But brethren, we are so
    quick to believe things
  666. before we have the evidence.
  667. And love is going to seek to really think
  668. when we hear something
  669. or when we view something
  670. or something happens to us,
  671. examine the evidence.
  672. I mean, what I'm saying is
  673. do the moral calculations in your head.
  674. What do I really know
    about this situation?
  675. If I actually tried to put
    the best spin on this,
  676. what could this be actually
    putting the best spin on this?
  677. Tremendous way to encourage
  678. unity, peace, and love in the church.
  679. Brethren, to our shame,
  680. we have to admit
  681. there tends to be a natural propensity,
  682. a proneness, a quickness in all of us
  683. by nature - by that old Adamic nature -
  684. and I know we're new creations in Christ,
  685. but we have to cleanse ourselves
  686. of these impurities.
  687. And many of these impurities that come
  688. from our past - it's right here, brethren.
  689. We are very prone and very quick
  690. to minimize our own sin
  691. and maximize others.
  692. It's just a reality.
  693. There's a proneness in every one of us
  694. to receive reports - negative reports -
  695. to propagate them;
  696. to speak about them.
  697. We don't naturally
    have an over-willingness
  698. to have our own reputation attacked,
  699. blasted.
  700. Brethren, I pray that God would
    put a healthy shame in us
  701. if we have a tendency towards this,
  702. and resist every
    opportunity to indulge in it.
  703. Brethren, it takes thought.
  704. Love always does.
  705. Love takes effort. It takes thought.
  706. (incomplete thought)
  707. You know, love your wife
    as Christ loved the church.
  708. You see, He doesn't want
    us to be thoughtless.
  709. He wants us to think about
    how Christ loved the church.
  710. Love is always like that.
  711. You need to be thinking
    if you're going to love.
  712. The thoughtless person
  713. is not going to be a person
  714. that is going to excel
    in this kind of love.
  715. We're going to avoid this, clearly,

  716. Peter says, by the law of Christ.
  717. The law of love.
  718. When we're wronged,
  719. Peter wants us to do
    the proper calculations;
  720. the proper assessments.
  721. How so?
  722. Love. Does love demand?
  723. When I do the calculations,
  724. is this a sin I should let go?
  725. Or is there something about this sin,
  726. this offense, that love demands
  727. that I should confront my brother?
  728. Be careful here.
  729. Brethren, be careful.
  730. You know what we can do?
  731. We can be offended,
  732. and the real reason we don't deal with it
  733. is we're cowards.
  734. We can chalk it up to:
  735. Oh, love covers a multitude of sins.
  736. And then you go out the door
  737. and you've got a grudge there.
  738. Brethren, I'll tell you,
    if you lay it down:
  739. I am no longer going to treat
    that brother or sister the same
  740. after what they did to me,
  741. you've got a problem.
  742. Look, I would say this.
  743. You don't have to deal with
    Matthew 18 all the time.
  744. A brother sins against you.
  745. You can be thick-skinned.
  746. You can cover it over.
  747. And if you can do that and you
  748. go on your way loving
    that brother or sister
  749. just as much as you did
    before or even more,
  750. that's good.
  751. But don't in the name of love
    covering a multitude of sins
  752. walk away when the truth is
  753. you're holding a grudge
  754. and you've got bitterness in your heart.
  755. We need to be honest
  756. because that isn't love.
  757. That only creates disunity in the church.
  758. That's all that is.
  759. Harboring bitterness.
  760. Love in the church would have us to be
  761. slow to accuse,
  762. slow to assume the worst,
  763. slow to be offended.
  764. Quick to admit our own faults.
  765. Quick to repent on our own.
  766. Quick to forgive others.
  767. That's the issue.
  768. Yes, brethren, we want a holy church.
  769. So we need to deal with sin.
  770. But we want that holiness always
  771. side by side with love.
  772. You just consider God's love for you.
  773. And you consider how heavily laden
  774. you yourself are with faults;
  775. how often you stand
    in need of forgiveness;
  776. how often you are blameworthy;
  777. how often you fall short
    of the glory of God;
  778. how often you offend others;
  779. how often you are not kind to others.
  780. Brethren, have you never thought really

  781. about those words at the
    beginning of Romans 2?
  782. Basically, what Paul is saying right there
  783. is you who judge others,
  784. you basically just convicted yourself.
  785. Every single time any
    one of us in this room
  786. has pointed the finger at somebody else
  787. and their faults and their sins,
  788. you've been guilty of the same thing.
  789. Not typically good when the convicts
  790. are standing out there
    and they're lined up
  791. and they're pointing fingers at each other
  792. when they're standing before the judge.
  793. Just take heed, brethren.
  794. Take heed.
  795. This is all the opposite of love

  796. when you drag poor brother so-and-so
  797. or sister so-and-so's sin out.
  798. And you know, we can bring
    up things with people
  799. that other people never
    would have even suspected.
  800. You just smeared somebody's reputation.
  801. You just smeared their name.
  802. And you know what, even if it's true,
  803. it doesn't mean you needed to do that.
  804. Brethren, do you recognize,
  805. there are lots of things that are true
  806. that don't need to be said.
  807. Truth does not dictate that
    we bring everything
  808. out into the open.
  809. Do you see it here?

  810. You have a mission as a Christian.
  811. A mission of love.
  812. You have a mission as a Christian
  813. to be a coverer of sins.
  814. So I would say this, apply yourself to it.
  815. Really give yourself.
  816. Like I say, it takes effort.
  817. You need to pray this in.
  818. You need to ask God to forgive you
  819. where you've fallen short of this,
  820. and you need to ask God to give you
  821. the grace to be precisely
    what we have here:
  822. a coverer of sin.
  823. Here's the thing.
  824. It's like this,
  825. it's almost like if you have information
  826. about somebody else that's negative,
  827. it's like God has put a responsibility
  828. into your hands.
  829. Like you have this information.
  830. And He is saying to you,
  831. you have a responsibility
  832. to guard that information
  833. and to be responsible and let love
  834. dictate what you do with it.
  835. Because every one of us,
  836. you get in a church like this,
  837. you're going to find out
    things that are wrong.
  838. You're going to find out sin.
  839. God's thrown a lot of saved people
  840. with a lot of faults still and flesh,
  841. He throws us together in a church.
  842. And if you're here any amount of time,
  843. people get to know you.
  844. The good and the bad.
  845. And so we all are basically being given
  846. this deposit of information
    about one another.
  847. You see what Peter's saying?
  848. Protect it.
  849. Guard it.
  850. Let love dictate how you use it.
  851. Never think -
  852. never think you're going
    to make yourself great
  853. by tearing down other people.
  854. Love one another fervently.
  855. So it's a great part of our Christian duty
  856. to cover the sins of others.
  857. But brethren, think with me here.

  858. There are times when
    we must not cover sin.
  859. And to do so would be wrong,
  860. because certain sins, like I say,
  861. they're not honoring to God,
  862. they're not safe to the church,
  863. and they're not safe for the individual.
  864. (Incomplete thought).
  865. I'm just going to give you some examples

  866. when you don't want to cover sin.
  867. One: When sin endangers
  868. the entire church's relationship to God,
  869. and I might say to the holy God.
  870. You say, what do you mean by that?
  871. I mean Achan's sin brought
    down the whole camp.
  872. You say, really? Does that
    happen in the church?
  873. I'll tell you this,
  874. I think one of the most telling
  875. of the seven letters written
  876. to the churches in Asia Minor
  877. is that letter to Thyatira.
  878. You know what He says to them?
  879. You - you as a church have tolerated
  880. this sin, this unqualified teacher,
  881. and this bad teaching in your church.
  882. And He calls the whole church to task.
  883. Do you know when you go over
  884. to 1 Corinthians 5
  885. and they are allowing
    the sexual immorality
  886. that they were allowing in the church?
  887. He finds fault with the whole church
  888. and he calls them out as being arrogant.
  889. And I'll tell you this,
  890. we can grieve the Holy Spirit of God
  891. and we can quench that Spirit.
  892. If we allow sin in this church
  893. that allows the Spirit
    of God to be quenched
  894. with the operation of the whole church,
  895. don't believe that because
    somebody else is sinning
  896. and you know about it,
  897. you're aware of it, and you cover it over
  898. when it ought not to be covered over,
  899. don't for a second think
  900. that Christ Himself excuses you.
  901. He that is Lord of the church
  902. and walks in the midst
    of those candlesticks,
  903. He looked at the whole church
  904. and He said you as a whole
  905. are tolerating this sin in your midst,
  906. and He faulted them
  907. as a whole church for it.
  908. When they allowed the sin
  909. that was allowed at Corinth,
  910. the inspired author Paul
  911. faulted the whole church.
  912. We have a responsibility there.
  913. Next: When sin causes
    us to lose a brother.

  914. You say, what do you mean?
  915. Well, Matthew 18 says this:
  916. If my brother sins against me,
  917. you go to him.
  918. Does that mean you have to
    go to him about every sin?
  919. Look, Scripture says this:
  920. Proverbs - the prudent ignores an insult.
  921. Does it mean every time you're insulted,
  922. you have to deal with it?
  923. No, it does not.
  924. Is Jesus Christ teaching
    that every single time
  925. somebody deals with you in any way
  926. that's less than perfect,
  927. you need to go to them?
  928. That is not what He's saying.
  929. That is not.
  930. Brethren, you know what Paul said
  931. to the church at Corinth?
  932. You guys are suing one another.
  933. He said you'd be better off
    if you were just wronged.
  934. I know you can say, well,
    is that necessarily saying
  935. that they shouldn't deal with
    people that sin against them?
  936. I'm just saying this.
  937. Paul is saying just accepting
    being wronged at times
  938. is a better way to go.
  939. I know it may be compared
    over against what?
  940. I think of this.

  941. Jesus Christ said to His own disciples,
  942. "Gentlemen, I am going to Jerusalem,
  943. and I am going to die."
  944. They turned to each other and they start
  945. arguing with each other about
    who's going to be the greatest.
  946. And I would ask you this:
  947. is that an insult against
    our Lord Jesus Christ?
  948. Massively so.
  949. He who is greatest of all
  950. is going to do one of the
    greatest demonstrations
  951. of His greatness.
  952. And these guys are arguing
  953. about who's going to be greatest.
  954. And He does not turn to them and say,
  955. "you know what?
  956. You guys are an offense to Me."
  957. Do you know what love does right then?
  958. He turns to them.
  959. He's been insulted.
  960. They basically just
    blew right past the fact
  961. He's saying "I'm going to die."
  962. And He says, "Gentlemen,
    I want to teach you
  963. about humility."
  964. Rather than condemning them,
    He teaches them.
  965. That's the kind of thing
    that I find in Scripture.
  966. You think about Joseph.

  967. You know when Joseph found
  968. that his wife was with child.
  969. Isn't it interesting?
  970. Scripture actually says this about him.
  971. It says that "Mary's husband Joseph,
  972. being a just man,
  973. he was unwilling to put her to shame
  974. and he resolved to divorce her quietly."
  975. In other words, the very
    justness of the man -
  976. he was still going to divorce her,
  977. but you know, a woman that was unfaithful
  978. should have been stoned.
  979. He covers this over.
  980. I'm saying this,
  981. just because you're sinned against
  982. doesn't mean you have to
    bring it out into the open.
  983. It does not.
  984. It doesn't mean you have to deal with it.
  985. God, give us a thick skin
  986. to have to deal with less and less.
  987. But you see the reality of Matthew 18 is

  988. you go to the brother,
  989. and it talks about if
    your brother hears you,
  990. you've gained your brother.
  991. And I would say this,
  992. if your brother or sister has
    done something to you
  993. that has caused you to lose them -
  994. you've fallen out of fellowship
    with them because of that -
  995. then you go to them.
  996. Don't let the unity of the church;
  997. don't let the harmony be affected.
  998. If what somebody has done to you,
  999. you can't put it away
  1000. and forgive it and be done with it,
  1001. then you make sure you go.
  1002. When sin causes us to lose a brother.
  1003. When sin pollutes the
    church with destructive error.

  1004. Look, the reality is
  1005. when error comes into the church,
  1006. we need to deal with it.
  1007. Paul has some of the strongest words
  1008. you can imagine towards those
  1009. who introduced error into the church.
  1010. We want to deal with that
    kind of sin immediately.
  1011. I would say this, when sin divides.

  1012. You have this reality in Romans.
  1013. "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out
  1014. for those who cause divisions
  1015. and create obstacles
    contrary to the doctrine
  1016. that you have been taught."
  1017. Divisive people.
  1018. Divisiveness is something
  1019. that needs to be brought to the surface.
  1020. Divisive people in the church
  1021. destroy the unity of the church.
  1022. They pit people against each other.
  1023. People that are obviously doing that,
  1024. it needs to be called out.
  1025. Brethren, unrepentant sin.

  1026. One of the things is
  1027. you think about the
    whole flow of Matthew 18.
  1028. If you go to your brother
    and they don't respond,
  1029. you bring more.
  1030. If they don't respond,
    you take it to the church.
  1031. You see, unrepentant sin
  1032. should not be tolerated in the church.
  1033. That can't be allowed.
  1034. That is going to grieve the Spirit.
  1035. (incomplete thought)
  1036. We want to encourage that good soil
  1037. of constant repentance.
  1038. If we see people becoming stiff,
  1039. becoming hardened,
  1040. becoming calloused by sin,
  1041. and there's a lack of repentance,
  1042. we need to deal with it.
  1043. We need to deal with it for their sake.
  1044. We need to deal with it
    for the sake of the church.
  1045. And that brings me to this:

  1046. We need to deal with sin when sin
  1047. leavens the whole lump.
  1048. And you know that argument comes
  1049. from 1 Corinthians 5.
  1050. That is the reason that
    Paul tells those people
  1051. to deal with that specific man
  1052. that was in the sin in that church
  1053. because he did not want that unholiness
  1054. having effect on the whole.
  1055. Brethren, if it is known amongst us
  1056. that there is sin in our midst
  1057. and it is not being dealt with,
  1058. you know what it does?
  1059. It sends a signal that that's tolerated.
  1060. We don't want to do that.
  1061. It lowers the bar.
  1062. We don't want to do that.
  1063. I want you to know this.

  1064. Sins are brought to the elders ears
  1065. fairly regularly.
  1066. You get a church of this size,
  1067. there's some sort of sin
  1068. that seems to be going on all the time.
  1069. And certain people are made aware of it.
  1070. And they may try to deal
    with it to some degree.
  1071. And for whatever reasons,
  1072. it gets reported to us elders.
  1073. We sit in elders meetings
  1074. and we discuss certain things.
  1075. And there's always a wrestling
  1076. with how should we proceed forward;
  1077. how do we deal with this.
  1078. Let me tell you this, brethren.
  1079. There is no perfect science.
  1080. You can say, well, doesn't it deal
    with false doctrine over there? Yes.
  1081. Doesn't it deal with
    division over there? Yes.
  1082. Doesn't it deal with sexual
    immorality over there? Yes.
  1083. But let me tell you something,
  1084. it is never a perfect science.
  1085. None of the examples in Scripture
  1086. ever seem to precisely deal
  1087. with the situation that
    we are confronted with.
  1088. And brethren, Scripture is that way
  1089. because God doesn't want us
  1090. to simply live by a set of rules.
  1091. He wants us to live walking with Him.
  1092. He wants us to live searching Scripture,
  1093. taking the principles,
    taking the passages,
  1094. seeking wisdom from Him,
  1095. and seek to apply those.
  1096. No perfect science.
  1097. The truth is we've got
    to be led of the Spirit.
  1098. Now, right here at the end,

  1099. I want to take you to 1 Corinthians 5.
  1100. I want you to see something.
  1101. 1 Corinthians 5.
  1102. Let me tell you about the situation.
  1103. Paul received a report.
  1104. Sexual immorality among
    the Corinthian church.
  1105. It's a pretty severe kind.
  1106. And he accuses the church as a whole
  1107. for being arrogant because they have not
  1108. properly dealt with this sin.
  1109. Let us not be arrogant this way.
  1110. They should have been mourning.
  1111. And he says this:
  1112. "Let him who has done this
    be removed from among you."
  1113. Now, I would just point this out.
  1114. He doesn't say send the elders
  1115. and see if they're repentant.
  1116. Look, I'm not saying anything like that
  1117. necessarily happened or didn't happen.
  1118. How the elders of the church of Corinth
  1119. were involved with this man I don't know.
  1120. Every appearance is that
    nobody in the church
  1121. was dealing with this the
    way it needed to be dealt with
  1122. because that's why you're
    getting the accusation
  1123. made against the whole
    church the way they are.
  1124. They basically looked over this;
    they looked past this.
  1125. Here's the thing,
  1126. he doesn't say, okay, you
    all have been wrong
  1127. in dealing with this.
  1128. Why haven't you enacted Matthew 18?
  1129. Because there are different
    ways of dealing with sin.
  1130. And he doesn't say go
    see if he's repentant.
  1131. Go see if he'll move out
  1132. from living with his step-mother.
  1133. There's just an immediacy here.
  1134. Do this.
  1135. Now, I believe that if you
    search the second letter,
  1136. I believe to the best of my understanding
  1137. that it is very likely that there is a man
  1138. in that second letter that is restored
  1139. from some sort of situation.
  1140. Although it doesn't
    specifically say it's this man,
  1141. perhaps it is.
  1142. But here's the thing, you go down
  1143. through this account,
  1144. and you go down to v. 11.
  1145. "Now I am writing to you not to associate
  1146. with anyone who bears the name of brother
  1147. if he is guilty of sexual immorality."
  1148. Guilty for how long?
  1149. Guilty when? Guilty how far back?
  1150. You notice that Paul doesn't say -
  1151. (incomplete thought).
  1152. As elders - even as Christians -
  1153. we want all these details.
  1154. Lord, give us all the facts.
  1155. Give us more than this.
  1156. They're just told to put him out.
  1157. Here's what I would say to you.
  1158. These are the kind of things
  1159. that in reality we get
    faced with as elders.
  1160. What if a man's committing grievous sins
  1161. like you see here,
  1162. and is confronted about his sins
  1163. and he says he repents?
  1164. Case closed?
  1165. Actually, he doesn't say that you should
  1166. find out if the man repents,
  1167. because evidently by his life
  1168. there was not at that
    moment in time necessarily
  1169. significant evidence of any repentance.
  1170. What if this man had said,
  1171. they had their meeting,
  1172. they're getting ready to put
    him out of the church
  1173. and he showed up and he said,
  1174. "hey guys, I repent."
  1175. What do you think?
  1176. Should they still have put him out?
  1177. We're simply not told.
  1178. But if you're letting love dictate,
  1179. because that's really where
    we have to come back to,
  1180. we have to ask a lot of questions.
  1181. We have to ask about what's
    being communicated to the church
  1182. about how we maintain
    a standard of holiness.
  1183. What's being said to the
    watching community
  1184. about the way our church handles holiness?
  1185. How are we portraying God by
    the way we deal with this?
  1186. Yes, we want to portray Him on the side
  1187. of being gracious and kind, but we also
  1188. want to portray Him on the side
  1189. that He hates sin,
  1190. and He wants a pure church
  1191. and He wants sin dealt with.
  1192. What if a man committed sins
  1193. of this type of nature
  1194. that we're being told to
    disassociate from people,
  1195. and in the past, we have
    dealt with that person
  1196. and they have apologized
  1197. and they have said they repent,
  1198. and we then gave them
    opportunity to prove that
  1199. and they haven't?
  1200. And we've gone back to them again
  1201. a second time, a third time, a fourth time
  1202. and they keep saying they're sorry
  1203. every time we go back,
  1204. but the fact is
  1205. there's not any change.
  1206. You see, these things
    are not always so easy.