“When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 5:4–5)
Okay. Now that just kind of expanded things from verse 2, so verse 2 in I Corinthians chapter 5, it said, “Let him who has done this, who is living in unrepentant sexual immorality, be removed from among you.” And then Paul says, “When you come together, as the church assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus, with the power of the Lord Jesus,” and remember this is exactly what Jesus said to do in Matthew chapter 18. And he said, “I’ll be with you. You have my authority to do this.” You look back in Matthew chapter 18 verses 15 through 20, he says, Paul says, “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.” That’s a picture.
Lord, we ask that You would use church discipline to bring people to repentance.
That’s another way of saying, “You are to put him out of the church. You no longer recognize him as a follower of Christ. He is excommunicated. He is no longer in the church, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” So, the hope is, the hope in taking this step of removing this person from the church, is that they would see, this is serious. Unrepentant sin shows you’re not a follower of Christ. So the hope is, the prayer is, that this man, because brothers and sisters in Christ lovingly, graciously, patiently address the sin in his life and confront him in that, say “Turn to Christ.” He says “No.” And so they say, “Okay, we don’t want to do this. With tears and mourning, we’re going to place you outside the church because you’re not showing that you’re a follower of Christ. And you continue down this road, you’ll show in the end that you’re not a follower of Christ, and we don’t want that, but you’re not seeing it. We want to help you see it.” So send him outside the church.
And the prayer is that outside the church he would realize, what have I done, that yes, I’m not following Christ, and this is an extremely dangerous place to be. “Yes, I want to follow Christ,” and so then he’ll be saved and then he’ll come back to Christ through what is called your church discipline.
I’m just going to pray. You’ll see why I’m just kind of overwhelmed right now, because God, You know, people who I love, who have been in the church alongside me, who are outside the church now because of this process and have still not come back, God, I pray that You would bring them back. God, I’m obviously not going to mention names right now. You know the names. You know their names. God, please bring them back. Please bring them back. God, we pray that You’d help us, help us to take this step so that people might be saved, Lord, for their good, for their good. We trust from Your Word here that it is not good to let someone just continue in the church in unrepentant sin, no desire to turn to You. This is not good for them to be deceived thinking they’re following You and they’re not. So help us to take this step and please use this step. We pray, God, please use this step. We pray to bring them to repentance.
Please use this step to bring these people that are on my heart and mind right now to repentance, and I’m guessing others, others who … people who I’ve walked through this process with and they’ve been excommunicated from the church and have still not returned. God, please draw them back. And I praise You. I praise You for how You have done that. I praise You for other stories where you have brought about restoration, reconciliation. You’ve done this, You’ve done it. You’ve used this process to bring about salvation. Thank You God, for all You’ve done that, and those names, and just pray that You would do in these other names. We pray You’d help us to do this in the church, Your church, not ours. Your church. Help us to do what You are calling us to do in Your church. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.