Dearly beloved brothers, fellow workers in the great work of the Kingdom of God on Earth!
We would like to give you instructions with which to begin and how you will be able to carry out a ministry of sanctification. We call on you to make every possible effort so that you yourselves, as well as those children of God whom the Lord has entrusted to you, will be able to be cleansed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We would advise you:
1) Assemble the Council of the ministers of your congregation and consult with each other regarding the foundations of holiness and sanctification so that you may accomplish them. This is where the decision must be made to fulfil the ministry of purification. Then a meeting of the whole congregation needs to be scheduled. Invite all those to this meeting who have become lukewarm and have forsaken the assembly. For this purpose the ministers should visit them before the meeting, counsel with them and pray with them.
2) In the membership meeting one should explain the necessity of sanctification and purification. Read the "Appeal" and the "Letter from the Ministers of a Church of the ECB" to all the brothers and sisters. Then, together with the whole congregation, make a resolution regarding sanctification and purification. Then the next membership meeting can be scheduled and a time of prayer for purification can be arranged. It is recommended to combine prayer with fasting, but this must be done in the spirit of freedom.
3) In the second membership meeting, hold a discussion on both chapters, "Regarding Holiness and Sanctification" and "Regarding Purification." Then the children of God, who, either through action or offence, have sinned against someone, should be encouraged to repentance. On the days that are free from meetings, the brothers and sisters should visit each other and be reconciled with each other and with God through repentance (2 Cor. 5:20).
Schedule and announce the next membership meeting.
4) At the next membership meeting, hold a discussion on the next chapter, "The Explanation of Sins." In the section, "The Sins against the Commandment to Chastity," do not read points 8, 9 and 10 so that no one's conscience will be defiled and no one will become unclean through this. It would be beneficial to re-read the section, "Regarding Repentance," to them in order to challenge everyone to repentance, to cleansing from all defilement of the flesh and the spirit (2 Cor. 7:1); so that, during the next membership meeting, the guilty parties may be given an opportunity for open repentance and reconciliation.
5) Conduct a membership meeting regarding purification, confession, reconciliation; offer every member of your congregation, as well as anyone who desires to become a member, for example, someone from another congregation, someone who comes from another locality, an opportunity to stand and give an answer to questions in the hearing of all members: whether he is free of any conscience pangs regarding any unconfessed sin or backsliding or transgression of the Word of God, if he has any feelings of guilt to a neighbour, that is, is his conscience free before God and regarding his walk before Him?
If his conscience is not free, then such a one must repent before those toward whom he has sinned. He must repent, and ask forgiveness of those whom he has offended, as well as of the Lord. If anyone testifies that his conscience does not accuse him, but someone has noticed something unworthy in this brother or in this sister, then this must be pointed out to them. It is desirable for the whole congregation to participate in this. Sometimes it is helpful to send the brother or the sister out of the meeting for a few minutes, so that, in their absence, the congregation may discuss freely about him or her and then give advice to him or her regarding their shortcomings and sometimes even make a preliminary decision on the matter.
If, however, someone truly has a clear conscience, he should thank the Lord and make every effort to walk even more closely with Him.
If someone has a hidden shameful sin, about which it is not fitting to speak in front of everyone, two or three of the Ministers who have themselves experienced purification should be selected so that the sinner may acknowledge his sin in their presence.
Do not require repentance for those sins which were committed before conversion or for those which have already been confessed and have been forsaken by the sinner.
Beloved brothers—ministers! You must give an open testimony before the people of God and present yourselves for the judgement of the congregation. The apostle Peter says that the elders of the people of God must govern well, not as those who lord it over God's heritage but as ensamples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2, 3). Furthermore, it is therefore necessary for you to be purer in order to understand the others better and to have more encouragement in the work. Samuel said to the whole people of Israel, "Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD" (1 Sam. 12:3-7), and only then did he begin to testify against Israel.
The most essential thing which the Minister of God must remember is that only the Lord can do the work of purification. In order that the Lord can work through us and through our prayers in the hearts of His people, one must purify himself wholly. Then our prayers will be pleasing to Him and will be heard. Therefore, pray that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and lead the whole people of God to repentance. The purity of the Ministers is essential for successful communication with souls. If a Minister is not in a proper condition, not everyone will open up their heart to him. "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out" (Pro. 20:5)
If, during your conversation with one who has sinned, his heart opens totally and his soul overflows, you must know that without the Holy Spirit no one can do anything. When the soul is in sin, it is closed, not sincere, not trusting. However, the Holy Spirit can begin His work in their hearts through your prayers. But your prayer will be heard only if you yourself are becoming pure.
Also, so that your work will bring results, you must be the first to stand before the congregation and confess all your faults or unrepented sins and ask that the members of the congregation will speak openly about every improper conduct and action which they have noticed. Ask them to forgive you and not hold anything against you. Then ask sincerely that the church will pray for you. In this way every spot will be removed and the conscience will be freed so that you may call on the Lord with a clean heart and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Your good pastoral example will be followed by all the others. May the Lord bless you in this!
6) To schedule another membership meeting. After purification, sins may be revealed over which those who have sinned have not repented. In this case, the whole congregation must make a decision to "note" such and to make a decision regarding reprimand and perhaps even excommunication. The purification of the congregation can not be considered complete if unrepentant members remain and commit further sins. "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" (1 Cor. 5:6-13).
7) The whole ministry of purification must be celebrated with a Thanksgiving service, with their renewed dedication to the Lord, with prayers for the bestowal of new power to make decisions to follow the Lord without wavering.
And to close the service, it is desirable that the Last Supper of the Lord be celebrated in order to remember the suffering and death of Christ for our sins, to thank Him for his forgiveness and mercy because we have our whole lives for which to thank Him.
So that the purification is not prolonged, it is desirable to schedule the membership meetings as often as possible, even 2-3 meetings per week. All meetings must begin with a Word of devotion which is appropriate to the theme of purification and holiness and with prayers.
It is necessary, after the message, the acknowledgement, and testimony, that each person has the opportunity to pray, to repent before God, to thank Him and to pray for strength. It is also desirable that the congregation pray for the brothers and sisters as well. However, allow yourselves to be lead directly by the Holy Spirit according to each person's need and circumstances.
Congregations with a great number of believers should divide into several groups for cleansing; but the same order must be followed. The ministers and brothers, whom the congregation will appoint to carry out the ministry of purification, must begin the purification with themselves. The number of membership meetings will be more or less, according to the number of members in your congregation.
Dear brothers! After you have read our suggestions, you may find something unacceptable for the circumstances in which your congregation finds itself. In that case, proceed as you find it acceptable; however, in any circumstance, do not depart from the Word of God, and be sure to make every effort to keep your conscience free of any known sins, a full inner freedom and to attain complete purity of every member of your congregation. We are only making suggestions, in the rest we commend you "to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).
Dear elders! As much as possible, gather all the scattered, all the weary, all the wounded sheep of the flock of Christ, take the most difficult road, search for all and make every effort to bring them back and to heal them so that, in the whole area, no sheep remains outside the fold. Pray, weep, work, and gather in, so that the Lord will not punish us for the souls which He committed to us. Read Ezekiel 34:4-10.
We will be free of the blood of all others only when, in spite of everything else, the whole will of the Lord is declared to the people of God (Acts 20:26-29).
Think of your responsibility before the Lord! Put forth every effort to lead your spiritual life and your ministry for the Lord in such a way that there will be no known sin in the congregation and so that, when the sins become apparent, those who have sinned will purify themselves—thus the Lord has commanded—and you will witness renewed blessing in the congregation and in your ministry.
The Lord establish the work of your hands, beloved (Psa. 90:16, 17).
1. Un faithfulness is against the Lord and His doctrine (Psa. 78:57). Unfaithfulness reveals itself in falling away (Heb. 3:12) and in erring from the truth (James 5:19, 20).
2. Falling away consists in the deliberate turning away from the Lord in action and in doctrine (2 Tim. 2:18). The punishment for unfaithfulness—Isaiah 1:28.
3. Erring is also unfaithfulness, although not abrupt but rather a gradual erring on the wrong way which leads to death (James 5:19, 20).
4. False teaching is unfaithfulness or erring from the Truth which manifests itself in the adulteration and perversion of the Lord's doctrine. Heresy is always destructive (2 Pet. 2:1).
a. The heresy of the Sadducees consisted of a doctrine which actually denied the fact of the resurrection and also the existence of the angels and the spirit (Acts 5:17; 23:8).
b. The heretics Hymenaeus and Philetus taught that the resurrection was already past and by this destroyed the faith (2 Tim. 2:17, 18).
c. The heretical teaching of Balaam was meant to take away the blessing of the Lord from the people of God and to corrupt them by joining with the world (Rev. 2:14, 15; Num. 31:16).
d. The leaven of Herod against which Christ warned, "take heed, beware of the leaven ... of Herod" (Mark 8:15), is a politicalization of the teaching of Christ, of church ministry and of the spiritual life, as is also the violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state. "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:21).
e. Following the modem theological directions, which, in essence, are set against the Gospel—for example, the rejection of the deity of Christ or the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, while Christ Himself testified regarding Himself: «I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) and the Apostles verify: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2 Tim. 3:16), "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).
Whatever the individual false doctrines may be, the Holy Scripture gives them all the same verdict: "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist" (1 John 4:3). "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject" (Titus 3:10, 11). "Let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:9). "But the fearful and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8). "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
5. Friendship with the world. When unfaithfulness expresses itself outwardly in deeds, it manifests itself as spiritual adultery (James 4:4), which has its foundation in the striving of a Christian to live by the law of this world, i.e. the law of the flesh, the law of sin and death (Rom. 7:23). The old man strives after this law unceasingly, to do that which his sinful nature desires. The inner sinful desires are called:
6. Lust (1 Peter 4:2, 3)—the desire for something sinful and fleshly. The urge to satisfy the sinful, fleshly desires, the Word of God calls "evil concupiscence" (Col. 3:5), and "lust of uncleanness" (2 Peter 2:10).
7. The lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16) is a powerful fleshly desire, a passion, a powerful driving force. Lust, in this instance, means a powerful desire to have and to do that which one lusts after. We must distinguish between a good longing and fleshly lust or a sinful lust when the driving force is the flesh. Whoever looks at a woman with lust commits a sin. But the one who incites lust by wearing indecent clothing or acting in an improper manner, also commits sin by these actions (Luke 17:1).
8. Fleshly passion (Col. 3:5) is an unrestrained, unthinking, sinful outburst of emotion, a strong, thoughtless, tormenting drawing toward something sinful (Rom. 7:5). The Word of God declares, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24).
9. Evil or fleshly thoughts (Eph. 2:3) are thoughts which are spurred on and directed by the lust of the flesh; fleshly thinking, that means reasoning how one can accomplish fleshly, sinful acts. There are also thoughts which are good (Col. 3:2; Phil. 4:8). Lusts and sinful thoughts are sin in the bud, which, if they are not destroyed, will definitely lead to committing a sinful act, which will lead to death. The Apostle James writes: "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15).
Jesus Christ describes evil thoughts as sin: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" (Mark 7:21, 22). The Apostle Paul says, "For to be carnally minded is death" (Rom. 8:6).
Fleshly thoughts, lusts and the desires of the flesh are inner forces which drive toward the committing of sinful acts. According to the Word of God, there are three main sinful directions in which the sinful nature of man is striving and yearns to go and through which the whole multitude of sins is aroused:
a. The lust of the flesh: man's yearning to satisfy the desires and longings of the flesh; accumulating riches, gluttony, drunkenness, having fleshly sinful pleasures.
b. The lust of the eyes: a yearning for that which is outwardly beautiful, enticing and pleasing for the eyes to see and plan how to fulfil these lusts (Eze. 23:14, 15). It can also be a heated yearning for indecent shows and for reading indecent literature.
c. The pride of life: a striving after being exalted over ; others in wealth, through outward beauty, in natural abilities, knowledge and other advantages. This abundance of temptations led to the Fall of our ancestors [Adam and Eve], and it still effects us the same way now. The woman saw that the tree was:
a) Good for food - (the lust of the flesh)
b) Pleasant to the eyes - (lust of the eyes)
c) To be desired in order to give knowledge - (pride of life) (Gen. 3:6)
These three basic desires of the flesh bring forth all other sins.
The Apostle James shows the reasons for the source of a multitude of sins and writes: "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:1-3). A little further on, he warns believers about their unfaithfulness, their turning away from God and about their love and striving not for God, but for the life according to the worldly law of the flesh: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). For after they have given their hearts to God they display betrayal and unfaithful-ness toward God who loves us with great zeal (James 4:5).
By whatever means this unfaithfulness may manifest itself, as an erring or a falling away, and in whatever way it reveals
itself, through heresy or through another conscious sin, Scripture records, "But ... the unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8).
1. Wickedness (Mark 7:22) - an evil disposition of the spirit, a seeking to do something wicked to another (Col. 3:8).
2. Malice (Rom. 1:29) - an evil character, a wicked disposition with predominantly wicked qualities and lacking love, humility, mercy and other good qualities (Rom. 1:32).
3. Enmity (Gal. 5:20) - a hostile attitude, almost a lasting attitude, in which feelings, thoughts, words and actions toward another are antagonistic, hostile and malicious (Lev. 19: 17, 18).
4. Hatred (Gal. 5:20) - the inner feeling of enmity and a strong loathing toward another when one cannot see another without feeling fury and enmity toward him. Hatred is equal to murder (1 John 3:15).
5. Implacable (Rom. 1:31) - the attitude of continuing hostility without any desire to make peace.
6. Unmerciful (Rom. 1:31) - the failure of readiness to give grace and to forgive. An example of an unmerciful attitude and its consequences is found in Matt. 18:24-28.
7. Cruelty (2 Tim. 3:3) - an unmerciful, extremely strict, severe dealing with people without any sympathy or compassion.
8. Wrath (Gal. 5:20) - a feeling of strong indignation and rebellion against anyone. The feeling of anger may come but one must extinguish it within himself by the power of God. One can do nothing good or just in anger. In anger one acts with prejudice and injustice. "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20;
Eph. 4:26, 27; Col. 3:8). Anger belongs to the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19,20).
9. Clamour (Eph. 4:31) - an agitated utterance of words in bitterness, rage and anger. Our manner of speech must always be quiet and gentle (2 Tim. 2:25).
10. Bitterness (Eph. 4:31) - a feeling of indignation against another person or against a situation which embitters others. We must not drive others to anger and we must not become embittered ourselves (Isa. 41:11; Eph. 6:4).
11. Malice (Eph. 4:31) - a strong anger which can easily turn into hatred and lead to rage (Col. 3:8).
12. Envy (James 3:14) - a person's condition in which he is unhappy when he sees the success or happiness of another and is wretched that he is missing what others have (Gal. 5:20). "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6).
13. Murmuring (Jude 16) - a condition of ongoing discontentment and grumbling. "Do all things without murmurings and disputings" (Phil. 2:14).
14. Pride (Mark 7:22) - an attitude of the human spirit in which a person considers himself of higher value than others. This self-exaltation can be based on greater physical or spiritual benefits, gifts, knowledge or physical strength and beauty. "God resisteth the proud" (James 4:6).
15. Haughtiness (2 Tim. 3:2) - the highest degree of pride. It is typical for a haughty person that he puffs himself up, behaves in a self-important manner and is full of self praise (Pro. 16:18). Haughtiness is the pride of the mind. "Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col. 2:18).
16. Highmindedness (2 Tim. 3:4) - a special kind of pride which parades itself in a deceiving manner. A highminded person is given to opulence, pompousness, ornaments, and is fond of putting his supposed advantages on display. They make themselves visible by their conversation, behaviour, clothing, etc.
17. Love of self (2 Tim. 3:2) - a special love for oneself which expresses itself in the desire for honour, fame and prominence. Such a person is easily offended when others do not give him high enough esteem or have honoured him too little. One variety of love of self is self-love. Self-love is a love only of oneself, a caring only for oneself and an indifference toward the life and well-being of others.
18. Presumptuousness (2 Peter 2:10) - audaciousness and determination for rude and improper acts and the use of rude and improper words.
19. Insolence (2 Tim. 3:4) - presumptuousness which is combined with shamelessness (2 Peter 3:3).
20. Foolishness (1 Cor. 15:36) - the failure to give consideration to actions or words. Doing or saying something without thinking about the effect of the act or word. Hearing the Word of God but not making it the rule of life—this is the highest foolishness which brings one to fall (Matt. 7:26, 27).
21. Self-willed (2 Peter 2:10) - judges itself only by its own will (my will is the highest law) without regard to the opinion of others or the Word of God.
The sins of hypocrisy and deceit are committed with particular skill.
1. Flattery (Job 32:21) is a calculated submissiveness, a pretended approval, praise with a self-centred goal for personal gain (1 Thess. 2:5). Enticement is misleading with cunning praise. Praising in order to please the other, saying something acceptable in order to gain some advantage and to attain a personal goal (Rom. 16:18).
2. Hypocrisy (Mark 7:6) is duplicity or imitation piety, when evil is hidden under the appearance of good and vice under the appearance of virtue. One can pray, fast and give his tithe hypocritically in order to gain the approval of men or to become honoured (Matt. 6:1-5; 16).
3. Respect to Persons (James 2:9) is eye-service or premeditated preference of one person over another not on the basis of worth but rather on a personal and sometimes also on a selfish basis.
4. Cunning (Mark 7:22) is a striving to do evil while he pretends goodwill and love. "He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not" (Pro. 26:24, 25).
5. Craftiness (2 Cor. 4:2) is the ability to cleverly control and apply deceit, hypocrisy, lying and so on in order to reach his goal. "And cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:14).
6. Deceit (Jer. 17:9) is cunning, craftiness, deception. A deceiver is one who goes in crooked ways, who does not deal straightforwardly in his words or deeds but rather conceals his true intentions and attitude. He acts out a spectacle, he pretends and employs double-dealing in order to achieve his evil goal. All these characteristics come from the devil who is also called the evil one (Matt. 6:13). Deceit leads to falling away from God (Heb. 3:12; 2 Sam. 22:26, 27) We must guard ourselves against evil (1 John 5:18; 1 Peter 3:10; Psa. 32:2).
1. Empty talk, foolish chatter (Eph. 5:4) These are useless words which are absolutely unnecessary. The words of a Christian must be useful, "that it may minister grace unto the hearers " (Eph. 4:29). "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Col. 4:6). "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36).
2. Corrupt communication (Eph. 4:29) This is every indecent, foul word that can defile another person.
3. Filthy communication (Col. 3:8) is an evil, filthy, indecent speech, swearing, scolding, even those who call each other "Raca" (senseless, empty-headed) or "Fool" will be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22).
4. Blasphemy (Matt. 5:22) is a slander, a defamation through which one tries to present another as bad, evil, worthless and stupid (Isa. 29:20). In this way one can slander another directly. On the other hand, one may slander the name of God before the pagans by his unchristian conduct (Rom. 2:24).
5. Mockery (Pro. 24:9) is scorning of something holy. Mocking means to speak irreverently of that which is holy, to carry on empty chatter. It manifests itself in vulgar talk and contempt for the holy Truths, for the Word of God, for the church and the Lord (Pro. 19:29).
6. Jesting (Eph. 5:4) that is: deliberately provoking laughter in others through indecent jokes and stories. "Is any merry? Let him sing psalms " (James 5:13). If it is true that jesting is not appropriate, then mockery or jesting with the intention to mock, ridicule, or humiliate someone is a serious sin (2 Chr. 30:10; Neh. 2:19; 2 Kings 2:23, 24).
7. Slander (2 Cor. 12:20) is a conscious spreading of evil, vicious and false information about anyone. As a rule, slander is used for an evil purpose. The slanderer himself and also those who accept the slander are not allowed to dwell in the house of the Lord (Psa. 15:1-4).
8. Lying (Eph. 4:25) These are statements which are contrary to the truth. Lying is saying what is not truthful and factual. Some lies have the appearance of a good purpose. Such a lie is then called a holy lie. "A holy lie," is nothing less than contempt for the truth. Lying is sin, and just as there is no holy fornication, so also, there is no holy lie. Satan "is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). The end of all liars is the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).
9. Deception (Lev. 19:11) is in its essence very similar to lying. But deception may be brought about by actions as well. Deception means misleading another through cunning words or actions in order to attain a personal goal. A person may also deceive oneself (1 John 1:8).
10. False witness (Matt. 15:19) means saying something untrue about another. Jesus Christ was sentenced to death with the help of false witnesses (Mark 14:56-59). The end of all false witnesses is death (Pro. 19:5; 21:28).
11. Talebearing (Lev. 19:16) is the spreading of information which should be kept secret. Someone who oversteps the Biblical rules of reproof is also a talebearer, who circulates the judgements against those who have sinned among others.
However, when the classified information of the church is given to those outside, who will abuse this information to persecute the believers, this deals with betrayal. (See the chapter, "Thefts, Murders and Betrayal").
"He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips" (Pro. 20:19; 13:3).
12. Slander and evil speaking (Eph. 4:31) are any evil speech, whether direct or indirect, whether defamation, backbiting or blasphemy, etc. Slanderers will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10). It is forbidden to have fellowship with such a one (1 Cor. 5:11).
1. Theft, pilfering (Mark 7:22) this is all manner of unlawful and secret appropriation of that which belongs to another (1 Peter 4:15; 1 Cor. 6:10).
2. Robbery (1 Cor. 5:11) is an insolent, lawless grabbing for oneself, a theft, a robbery using force, craftiness and deceit. The robbers steal not only possessions and property, but also life, in that they enjoy life at the expense of the health and well-being of others.
3. Murder (Gal. 5:19-21) is to do away with the life of another or refusal to help someone who is in mortal danger. The intentional cause of conditions and circumstances that cause death also belong in this category. The Word of God says that even the one who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15).
4. Betrayal (2 Tim. 3:4) betrayal means to hand over someone or something. The betrayal may consist of the giving of information regarding the life of the congregation and her members into the hands of unbelievers and false brethren. The enemies of the work of God will use this information in the pursuit, persecution and destruction of the work of God. As a rule the betrayers commit this sin for their own well-being. Being a traitor is the greatest misery. "Good were it for that man if he had never been born" (Mark 14:21).
1. Lasciviousness (Gal. 5:21) is transgressing the order, an uncivil, disorderly conduct in the congregation, in the fellowship and at home (2 Thess. 3:11). This revelling comes from a loveless attitude toward those around us. All actions of a Christian must be permeated with love, respect and attentiveness toward the others (1 Tim. 4:12). Love "doth not behave itself unseemly" (I Cor. 13:4, 5).
2. Unruliness (Titus 1:10) is the refusal to fulfil our responsibilities in following the Lord and His Word, but also, any refusal to follow the instructions and decisions which are based on the Word of God. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God" (1 Thess. 4:8).
3. Strife (Rom. 13:13) is discord accompanied with hostility, anger, quarrelling and animosity (Pro. 30:33). Dissension must be eliminated right from the beginning. "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with" (Pro. 17:14).
4. Quarrelling (Rom. 1:29) is dissension with a feeling of animosity against each other.
All these sins are the work of the flesh. Whoever does not free himself and sins consciously will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).
The Holy Scriptures command that we correct those who are disorderly (1 Thess. 5:14) and to withdraw from those who continue in this behaviour (2 Thess. 3:6).
1. Covetousness (Eph. 5:5) is the love of accumulating earthly riches, to be greedy for gain. This is idolatry. A covetous person serves mammon.
2. Seeking after gain (1 Thess. 4:6) is the love of winning, i.e. profit, gaining advantage, a striving to gain earthly riches from every endeavour.
3. Love of money ( 2 Tim. 3:2) is the love for money. It is the greed to accumulate money. "For the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).
4. Usury (Mark 7:22) is requiring excessive value from your neighbour; as a rule, taking advantage of the need of a neighbour. Things which belong in this category are: requiring interest on borrowed money, unjustified profits from buying and selling, speculation and bribery (Exo. 22:25; Eze. 18:13; 22:12). "For this ye know, that no ... covetous man ... hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:5).
1. Impropriety (Mark 7:22) is using something which is not necessary, not a necessity of life. Impropriety also includes disgraceful and vulgar actions (Rom. 1:28-31).
2. Drunkenness (Rom. 13:13) is the use of alcoholic beverages (alcohol, hard liquor, wine, beer, etc.) that is a harmful impropriety, by which the flesh is excited and strengthened and the spirit becomes enslaved. As a result, actions become extremely fleshly and foolish and often lead to obscenity, disaster and destruction (Pro. 23:29-35). Only those become intoxicated who have no joy in the Lord or in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The Scriptures forbid drunkenness (Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13). We must avoid association with drunkards (1 Cor. 5:11; Pro. 23:20). "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:10).
3. Gluttony and drinking "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3).
Impropriety (2 Peter 2:13; James 5:5) consists of: luxury, an unprofitable use of time, entertainment with fruitless shows (Eze. 23:14), smoking, etc. The Word of God calls us, instead of excess and impropriety, to participate in fulfilling the needs of the saints and to "do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7,8).
Chastity means being wise and whole; that is, to remain in innocence, undamaged and unblemished with regard to sexual life. "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctiflcation and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God" (1 Thess. 4:4,5). Chastity is commanded both for those who are married as well as for unmarried young men and women (1 Tim. 2:15; Titus 2:2-5, 11, 12).
1. Adultery (Lev. 20:10) is a sexual union with a married person.
2. Fornication (Hos. 4:13, 14) is an unlawful sexual relationship with an unmarried person.
3. Immorality (Gal. 5:19) "Immoral" is the general term for all kinds of sexual sins. Those who are sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5). Having fellowship with them is forbidden (1 Cor. 5:9).
4. Revelling (Rom. 13:13) is an inclination toward sensual enjoyment, the passion of the flesh.
5. Thirst for pleasure (1 Tim. 5:5, 6; 2 Tim. 3:4) is the same as sensuality.
6. Eyes full of adultery (2 Peter 2:14) means giving oneself over to the power of fleshly lusts and sensuality. It is the longing for continual sin.
7. Birth control (Gen. 1:28; 1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14) and abortion (Psa. 139:16).
8. Homosexuality (1 Cor. 6:9) see the explanation of: Rom. 1:27; Lev. 18:22.
9. Sodomy i.e., sexual relations with beasts (1 Peter 4:3) see explanation of: Lev. 18:23.
10. Effeminate (1 Cor. 6:9) These are homosexuals who play the feminine role. Masturbation and Onanism, which derives from Onan (Gen. 38:8-10), belong to this category. This includes the whole spectrum of unnatural self-satisfaction of fleshly appetites.
Whoever commits these sins is defiled (Rom. 1:24) and unclean (Jude 7, 8). He is a spot and a blemish (2 Peter 2:13) and will not inherit me Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9, 10).
1. Sorcery and fortune telling (Gal. 5:20) false wonders, whose purpose is to lead people away from the truth and from God, are forbidden (Lev. 19:31).
a. The Egyptian sorcerers (Ex. 8:7)
b. Simon, the sorcerer (Acts 8:9)
2. Consulting with familiar spirits (Deut. 18:11) is forbidden and is an abomination before God (Deut. 18:12). Example: the woman of Endor (1 Sam. 28:7, 11, 12).
3. Fortune telling and sorcery (Lev. 19:26) are forbidden. Example: Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6).
4. A conscious participation in either mass or private seance, likewise the use of various objects and "medicines", amulets, talismans, etc. for similar purposes. All those things give the enemy of men's souls the opportunity to take possession of the hearts of those who participate. "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:20, 21). The sinners shall have their place in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).
1. Cowardice is fear before men (Rev. 21:8). Fear is a sign of sin in the heart and separation from God. Fear binds, lays a snare, is accompanied by torment, is the result of unbelief in the power, the might and the assistance of God and on the truthfulness of His prophecies (Josh. 1:9; Psa. 118:6-9; Luke 18:7) and leads to further transgressions of God's commandments. The place of cowards is in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). Those who are faithful to the Lord say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear" (Heb. 13:6).
2. Marriages which violate the Holy Scripture. The marriage of a church member is only possible with a Christian (1 Cor. 7:39). If, when a wife is freed from her marriage covenant through the death of her husband she may marry only one who is in the Lord; how much more does this apply to those who are entering into marriage for the first time. This also applies regarding the brothers (2 Cor. 6:14). A marriage may not be terminated before the death of a spouse (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2, 3; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11).
All the complicated circumstances of a divorce and the judgement of their sinfulness must be decided from the Word of God, while they are discussed together with the congregation and are approached in a spiritual manner.
3. The sin of neglecting to bring up children in the admonition of the Lord (Psa. 78:3-7). The Holy Scripture obligates parents that they bring up their children in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. Even Christ admonished His disciples when they prevented the children from coming to Him (Matt. 19:13, 14).
4. Turning aside from the fellowship (Heb. 10:25-29) with the saints and forsaking the assembling together leads to wayward, conscious sinning and to eternal destruction (1 John 1:7).
5. Not doing good is turning away from helping others (James 4:17). A conscious avoidance of doing good is sin (Pro. 24:11, 12; Matt. 25:41-46; James 2:14).
6. Lovelessness (Rom. 1:31) is the failure to love God and the consequent failure to love your neighbour. Love is a commandment (Matt. 22:39). Without love, life and service have no meaning (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
7. Offences (Rom. 6:17).
a. To give offence to someone means to lead someone, through behaviour or with words, to sin or to en- from the truth. It has to do with giving someone an occasion or a reason to do something which is forbidden. "Woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Matt. 18:7). It is necessary to observe 1 Cor. 8:9-13 10:32, 33.
Examples: Balaam (Num. 31:16; Rev. 2:14), the sons of Eli(l Sam. 2:12-17).
b. To be offended means to be tempted, to allow oneself to be enticed to sin through privileges, through freedom from persecution for the sake of the Word of God (Mark 4:16, 17).
An offence is sin both for the one who is offended and also for the one who causes the offence. Every sin—out of the total multitude of sins—has destructive consequences. The Holy Scripture says of only a few sins—for example, jesting, foolish talking and some others—that they are unbecoming. However, even for these we will have to give account on the Day of Judgement.
But with regard to conscious sins, falling away and unfaithfulness to the Lord in general, we find numerous statements in the Word of God that those who conduct themselves in this way will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21).
Therefore, while there is still time, let each one cleanse himself from every known sin; because every sin first of all grieves and then quenches the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).
Consequently, let us cleanse ourselves and allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of God's Grace while we thank the Lord for His Patience and Grace.
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