The history of the church is filled with examples of wicked and riotous living. It is a cycle of sin, God’s judgment, Israel’s repentance, and God’s redemption. The same can be said of the New Testament church. From Revelation, in the letters to the seven churches, we learn of the different stages and ways of church apostasy, from churches that are pure and above reproof to dead orthodoxy, false doctrine, godless living, and everything in between. In our own churches we have fought several great doctrinal battles. The walls and ramparts are fairly strong on that front. Satan, however, does not limit himself to doctrinal battles. Satan knows that one of the easiest and best ways to destroy the church is through sin. Satan also knows that if he can get the youth of the church to eat of the forbidden fruit, it is that same youth that will soon be the parents and elders of the church. Sinful youths lead to sinful parents, sinful parents lead to a sinful church, a sinful church leads to an apostate church, and an apostate church leads to no church at all. Right now Satan is on the offensive. He is using his children to entice and tempt the children of God into the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The battle is more intense than ever. From television, movies, video games, internet, cell phones, radio, billboards, magazines, and even our choice of clothing, iniquity bears down upon us.
But these are outside the sphere of the covenant. What about the sin within our midst? What about those in our schools, in our churches, and in our homes who lead godless lives. We hear about those who go to parties and get drunk nearly every weekend, even every day. How about those who are thought of as being pot-heads or druggies? What about those who are reported to be having sex or friends with benefits? Maybe those rumors of abortions are true. As the Preacher says, there is nothing new under the sun.
In Exodus 32, we read of the sin of the golden calf. Israel had just seen the ten plagues upon Egypt. They had passed through the Red Sea and watched Pharaoh and his hosts drown in the Red Sea. They had just been given the Ten Commandments on Mr. Horeb. Yet not more than 40 days later, they are running naked, committing fornication and worshiping a golden calf. When Moses came down from Mt. Horeb, he saw their sin. He asked a powerful question, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” It was the Levites who answered, “We are!” The Levites were zealous for the Lord, so Moses told them to go and slay those who were found to be sinning. We are told about 3000 men were slain that day. In our own life and wilderness wanderings, we are constantly confronted by our own sins, the sins of the world, and the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ. God says to us, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” And then this command: “Let him come unto me.” Let us discuss how we answer the call today in the world, in our church, and in our own life.
- How do we know who is not on the Lord’s side? (Exodus 32:7-10,22; Matthew 12:33-3, John 14:15-24; Matthew 7: 15-20)
- If someone is not on the Lord’s side, then whose side are they on? (John 8:34-47; 1 Samuel 2:12,17)
- When we hear or know of someone who is acting like they are not on the Lord’s side what must we do about it? How do we show we are on the Lord’s side? (Ezekiel 2: 1-10; Ezekiel 3:4-11; Ezekiel 3:17-21; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Duet. 21:18-21; Deut. 13:6-11; Numbers 25:1-13; Matthew 18:15-18; I Corinthians 5:1-13; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
- Why is it often so hard to call an erring brother or sister to repentance? (Matthew 7:1-5)
- Is it really all that necessary to call someone to repentance? As long as I don’t sin, isn’t that good enough? Besides, they eventually will grow out of it, won’t they? They are just sowing a little wild oats after all. (Psalm 37:1,2,7-9; Joshua 7:11-12; Numbers 15:22-26; Exodus 20:5-6; Psalm 37:28; Luke 12:42-47; Numbers 15: 27-36; HC Q&A 64)
- Are there sins you see in your peers that are known by others but they are not being addressed properly?
- How do we know there has been true repentance? (Form of Readmitting Excommunicated Persons)
- May we seek to be friends with or have fun and fellowship with those who show they are unrepentant? Why or why not? (Genesis 13:11-13; James 4:4)
- Why do we rebuke and separate from those who are walking in unrepentant sin? (Form for Excommunication)
- What is the proper way of separation from someone in the sphere of the covenant who is showing themselves by unrepentant sin to be a son or daughter of the devil? (Matthew 18:15-18; Church Order Article 71-77)
- The Levites had swords, but what weapons do we have to fight against those that act as sons of Belial in the sphere of the covenant?
- What comfort does the soldier of God have when he answers the Lord’s call zealously and fights for truth, holiness and righteousness in the church and in his own life? (Numbers 25:10-13; Romans 8:31; 1 Kings 19:18)