Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
Thesis: Brethren are not to let the pressures get to them so that they cease their service to the Father.
Introduction: As we have seen in our studies of this final issue of Paul's clarification of The Blessed Hope, one of the large factors in losing hope is, actually, the behavior of other Christians. Under the general theses that "leaven leavens" and that "Hope is critical", Paul addresses what Christians are to do when "brethren" decide to jettison "faith" and "hope", having already jettisoned "love". In a word, they are to remove themselves from close association with those who have made those decisions, even though they are members of the same family.
April 10, 2015
- I. The Objectives of Creating Distance.
- A. In reverse order, one objective is to create pressure on the wayward "brother" to return to a clear conscience before God.
- 1. The issue of "shame" is the issue of refusing to allow the "brother" to ignore the enormous contradiction of "accepting the sacrifice of Jesus for our eternal benefit" and "refusing to make whatever sacrifices God calls upon us to make for our temporal benefit".
- 2. "Shame" is an issue of the "spirit" wherein the individual is not allowed to think that his/her "brethren" are going to accept their faithlessness toward God: rejection because of willful rebellion.
- a. Thus, the "brother" is to be constantly confronted by rejection by the people of God.
- b. And, the "brother" is to be constantly confronted with the particular truths that are at the heart of the matter.
- 1) It is a favorite ploy of the adversary, and of those duped by him, to try to get all conversations "off topic" so the real issues are not addressed.
- 2) "Nouthetic" confrontation is confronting the real issue and disallowing every excuse.
- B. Then, the other objective is to disallow the rebel's "pressure" to pull oneself into the same hopeless spiral of despair.
- 1. This is not "selfish" just because one is looking out for his/her own spiritual health (no one can walk with God if his/her own spiritual health is ignored).
- 2. The fact is that "leaven leavens" and no one can ignore that and remain spiritually healthy.
- II. The Command in Light of the Requirement of Distance.
- A. The requirement repeated.
- 1. In 3:6 Paul "commanded" the creation of distance.
- 2. And, again, in 3:14 he "commanded" this creation of distance.
- B. The problem.
- 1. It can be extremely painful to be obedient to the initial command.
- 2. However, refusal to obey creates another "rebel".
- 3. Thus, the tendency is to "despair".
- a. Paul utters a prohibition at this point: "Do not begin to grow weary of doing good".
- 1) This is not "generic" good: it is the "good" of creating distance.
- 2) This is in the form of "don't allow yourself to begin...".
- b. The issues of growing weary are twofold.
- 1) On the one hand, there are multiple exhortations in the New Testament that "fainting" is not to be allowed to be an "option".
- a) Luke 18:1 -- "...men ought always to pray and not...faint".
- b) 2 Corinthians 4:1 -- "...seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not...".
- c. 2 Corinthians 4:16 -- "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward is renewed day by day".
- d. Galatians 6:9 -- "...let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not".
- e. Ephesians 3:13 -- "...I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory".
- f. There are at least three factors of "fainting" in our current context.
- i. Enduring persecution as an inevitability [Note Hebrews 12:4].
- ii. Enduring faithlessness on the part of some "believers", requiring "discipline".
- iii. Enduring needs that may well drive a person to heavy labor day and night.
- 2) On the other hand, "fainting" has an interesting etymology that makes it an "evil".
- a) The etymology is that "fainting" is an "out of evil" production.
- b) The point is that "fainting" is allowing unbelief to triumph unto despair so that God is both disappointed and antagonized: it is an "evil".
- C. The Solution.
- 1. Remember that the bottom line is the issue of "shame": God made a beyond-explanation sacrifice so that we could be forgiven and given eternal life, and we have, then, an inherent obligation to make whatever sacrifices we must in order to be "loving", "hopeful", and "believing".
- 2. Do not forget Acts 2: the Spirit is given to enable the helpless.
- a. Despair is usually the result of attempting the impossible with inadequate resources.
- b. We have a more-than-adequate Resource to be "loving", "hopeful", and "believing".