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Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: Catechism, 33 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Q. May those be admitted to the Lord's supper, who teach false doctrines, or lead offensive lives? A. No; lest the covenant of God be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole church. When such people are admitted to the Lord's supper, who show through their words or in their lives, that they forsake the LORD; when such are admitted, God's covenant is profaned. Such people, with their ungodly lives, profane all what they touch, and all places where they are. When God's covenant is profaned through the congregation, then God's wrath is kindled against them. This is, what Paul taught us. He said: "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (1 Corinthians 11:29,30) Let's explain these words. He that eats and drinks unworthily, that is he, who is not worthy to come to the Lord's table. He has made himself unworthy by his ungodly life. What result would it have, if he came to the supper? "He eats and drinks damnation to himself", says the apostle. That is, while eating and drinking, he aggravates his present and future damnation. Such a person, who heedlessly comes to the Lord's supper, is "not discerning the Lord's body". What does this mean? Not discerning the Lord's body means, that he does not discern the holy matters from his profane life. He does not see, how holy that table is, and thinks that even sin can be tolerated there. But, who is discerning the Lord's body, considers the worthiness of the Lord's death, and comes to the table with great reverence. Paul has warned the people, not to admit the ungodly to the Lord's table. After they listened not, and admitted the unworthy, he continues with: "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep". This is God's wrath, which is kindled against that congregation, and became visible in many who were weak, sickly, and asleep. God deprives the congregation of the spirit of soundness, and of judgement, and many fall spiritually asleep. When the congregation is in such a state, matters become very dangerous. When the watchmen are asleep, together with the rest of the people, the enemies may invade. Nobody will stop them, since many or all are weak, sickly, or asleep. Satan enters the congregation, and carries out there his destroying work. And the cause? Because the people admitted the ungodly to the Lord's table. And then God took His Spirit away, so that the congregation was deprived of the necessary gifts to stand in this ungodly world, and to resist the enemies. And then, the end of the congregation was there. Through too much passing over of sins, they put into effect their own destruction. Let us now return to the question and its answer. Question: May those be admitted to the Lord's supper, who teach false doctrines, or lead offensive lives? Answer: No, lest God's covenant be profaned, His wrath kindled against the whole church, His Spirit taken away together with the gifts, and the enemies destroys the church. Let then the watchmen stand on the walls, and keep out the enemies. And let they also pay attention to the inside, for many future enemies come forth from the congregation itself. This is what Paul foresaid us. He said that from outside and from inside, the enemies would arise: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:29,30) Let we then stand guard at the Lord's supper, lest we be destroyed. Having spoken about such people, who teach false doctrines, or lead offensive lives, the next question asks: Q. How must we then deal with such persons? A. According to the appointment given us by Christ, Matt. 18:15,16,17: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, you have gained thy brother but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established; and if he still neglects to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." How must we deal with the ungodly? We must deal with them according to the appointment given us by Christ. So, not according to our own pleasure, nor to any other's will, but according to Christ's appointment. In Matthew 18, we read, how He wills that we deal with the ungodly in the congregation. First, let one go to the offender, and speak with him. Perhaps, when he accepts admonition, he might be brought back from his sins. Thus, when one speaks with him, the rest of the congregation will not know the sin, and the matter may be settled without much offence. But in the case the offender continues in his wicked life, let then a second person, or a third, together with the first, go to him, and let them speak with him. His sin is then become somewhat more public. Also, those persons might function as witnesses; for there is written, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Let these persons be witnesses against the sinner. Let them also talk with the sinner. And, if he returns from his evil ways, then the brother is gained again. He is brought back to the right way. However, if he, in spite of several admonitions and warnings, obstinately refuses to obey God, let then these two or three witnesses tell it to the church. The whole congregation will know it then. The sinner is become public, and will be warned in public. If he also resists this, let him then be cut off from the congregation. He must be regarded as a heathen man, and as a publican. Some people, of too tender character, say: "Let the sinner at least be connected to the congregation. Let we not throw him out. For, when he is still with us, he at least hears the Word; and who knows what God might do?" So speak the tender-minded, but God speaks totally different. "Let him be as the heathen man", cut him off. Let not the rotten member be in the body, lest the whole body becomes sick. Let we then not listen to the hypersensitive people, who allow all evil, to destroy also the rest. Let we keep the body of the church healthy, and weed out the weeds. Listen to our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who said that God takes away every branch that bears not fruit. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:1,2) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teus Benschop -- firstname.lastname@example.org Listowner of email@example.com "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-033.txt .