ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE CHURCH

The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians not to keep company with a brother in Christ who is a practicing fornicator.

In these instructions, Paul makes a distinction between fornicators in the world and those within the church, because those who within the church need to be held accountable to a godly standard.

It seems that the Church in America has gotten this one backwards. We have taken a stand against the LGBT agenda in the world, while failing to deal with fornication within the church.

Yet according to Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians, it is the fornicators within the Church that we should have no company with, while being light in darkness to the fornicators in the world, in the hopes that some would come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we attempt to influence culture regarding a sin that we refuse to deal with “in house,” we fail miserably.

One might argue that fornication is not the same as homosexuality. This is a weak argument because homosexuality is fornication. Fornication in the Biblical context is all inclusive regarding all sex outside of the marriage between a man and his wife.

Jude refers to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as fornicators.

Paul applies this same rule to those who are covetous, idolaters, railers (the verbally abusive) drunks, and extortioners (swindlers).

As long as we allow fornicaton in the church, we are not embracing the doctrine of godliness.

Here is Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians:

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Paul also instructed the Thessalonians not to keep company with those who refuse to work so that they may be ashamed of their actions.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15

HOMOSEXUALITY, SODOM, AND MISAPPLIED SCRIPTURES

In scripture, the sin of homosexuality falls into the category of fornication, and like all other sexual sins, it is forgivable by God.

Some Christians have a very harsh and unloving attitude towards homosexuals because they think the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah justifies their personal prejudiceness towards gays.

I once fell into that category, but I have changed.

The men in the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah were not simply men whose sexual preference was towards other men.  The men in ancient Sodom and Gomorrah were corrupt to the core, and very wicked. They were vicious sexual violators of others.

It is apparent that Lot knew this, as he quickly urged the two strangers, who were actually angels from God, to get out of the streets and lodge in his house. Lot also encouraged them to leave early the next morning.

Had you been a man living in the time of Lot, before Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, and had you been simply passing through those cities, the men there would have wanted to rape you. This is exactly what they attempted to do to the two angels of God, as well as to Lot.

When Lot pleaded with the men of Sodom who gathered at his house to refrain from their wickedness, they became angry with Lot and began attempting to rape him. At this point, the angels pulled Lot inside the home, and blinded the men who were attempting to violate them and Lot.

The men of Sodom were sexual violators of the worse kind, and actually they were more than sexual violators of others, they were proud and haughty idolaters. When we attempt to project the wickedness of the Sodomites onto all homosexuals, we completely misapply those scriptures.

When the whole counsel of scripture is taken into account, we get a clearer picture of just how wicked the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were.

God said the following to Jeremiah regarding the false prophets in Israel:

I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. ~ Jeremiah 23:14

Notice that the sins of these prophets which were adultery, strengthening the hand of evil doers, and no repentance in them; is likened to the wickedness of Sodom.

Now consider God’s word to concerning the wickedness of his people through the prophet Ezekiel:

And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, Thou was corrupted more than they in all thy ways. As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. ~ Ezekiel 16:46-50

In his description to Ezekiel, of the wickedness of Sodom, God uses some of the same language as he mentioned to Jeremiah. Yet, here he ads that they were prideful and haughty.

The wickedness that God saw in the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah was far more than an attraction to the opposite sex. It was utter corruption.

Again, homosexuality is a sin forgivable by God, but we need to be careful not to misuse the Biblical account of Sodom out of it’s contextual setting, because within the context of the whole counsel of scripture, Sodom and Gomorrah serves as an example for all ungodly (adulterers, idolaters, murderers, etc…) who will be punished for their ungodliness because they refuse to repent.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished… 2 Peter 2:4-9

For more on the Biblical approach to homosexuality, please follow the links below:

THE HOMOSEXUAL QUESTION
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/the-homosexual-question/

ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE CHURCH
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/accountability-within-the-church/