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The Glory of a True Church- Of Disorders, or causes of Discords, and how to be prevented, corrected, and removed

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Of Disorders, or causes of Discords, and how to be prevented, corrected, and removed

I. One cause of Discord is, through the Ignorance in some Members of the Rules of Discipline, and right Government;90 particularly when that Rule in Matth. 18. is not followed.

But one Person takes up an Offence against another, and speaks of it to this or that Person, before he hath told the Brother offending of it; which is a palpable Sin, and a direct violation of Christ’s holy Precept: and such must, as Offenders themselves, be in a Gospel-way dealt with.

To prevent this, the Discipline of the Church should be taught; and the Members informed of their Duties.

II. Another thing that causes Trouble and Disorder in a Church, is want of Love, and tender Affections to one another; as also not having a full sight and sense of the great evil of breaking the Bonds of Peace, and Unity:91 O that all would lay this abominable Evil to Heart, how base a thing it is to break the Peace of a private Family, or Neighbourhood;92 but much more sinful to disturb the Peace of the Church of the living God, and break the bonds of the Unity thereof. Behold, how good, and how pleasant it is, for Brethren to dwell together in Unity!93 But, O how ugly and hateful is the contrary!

III. Another disorderly Practice is this, When one Member or another knows of some sinful act, or evils done by one or more Members, and they conceal it;94 or do not act according to the Rule; pretending they would not be lookt upon as Contentious Persons:95 but hereby they may become guilty of other Men’s Sins, and also suffer the Name of God, and the Church, to lye under Reproach, and all thro their neglect. This is a great Iniquity.

IV. When an Elder, or Church shall know that some persons are Scandalous in their Lives, or Heretical in Judgment, and yet shall bear or connive with them.

V. When Members take liberty to hear at other Places, when the Church is assembled to worship God:96 this is nothing less than a breaking their Covenant with the Church, and may soon dissolve any Church: For by the same Rule, one may take that liberty, another; nay, every Member may. Moreover, it casts a Contempt upon the Ministry of the Church, and tends to cause such who are Hearers to draw off, and to be Disaffected with the Doctrine taught in the Church, (they knowing these Dissenters do belong unto it.) I exhort therefore, in the Name of Christ, this may be prevented: And any of you that know who they are, that take this Liberty, pray discover them to the Church. We lay no restraint upon our Members from hearing such, who are found in the Faith at other times.

VI. The Liberty that some take to hear Men that are corrupt in their Judgments; and so take in unsound Notions, and also strive to distill them into the Minds of others, as if they were of great Importance. Alas, how many are Corrupted in these days, with Arminianism, Socinianism, and what not. This causes great trouble and disorder.

VII. When one Church shall receive a Member or Members of another Congregation without their Consent or Knowledge: Nay such that are Disorderly and may be loose Livers, or cast out for Immorality; or Persons filled with Prejudice without cause. This is enough to make Men Atheists, or contemn all Church Authority, and Religion: For hath not one regular Church as great Authority from Christ as another.97

VIII. Another disorder is, when Members are received without the general Consent of the Church;98 or before good Satisfaction is taken of their Godly Lives, and Conversations: Or when a Church is too remiss in the reception of her Members.

IX. Another disorder is, when a Church shall receive a charge against a Member (it being an Offence between Brother and Brother) before an orderly proceed has been made by the offended Person.99

X. When judgment passes with Partiality; some are connived at, out of favour or affection. Levi was not to know his Father or Mother in Judgment.

XI. When Members do not constantly and early attend our public Assemblies,100 and the worship of God on the Lord’s day especially,101 but are remiss in that matter: This is a great Evil.102

XII. When part of a Church shall meet together as dissatisfied, to consult Church-matters, without the knowledge or consent of the Church, or Pastor. This is disorderly, and tends to division; and such should be marked.103

XIII. Another thing that tends to disquiet the Peace of the Church is, when there are any undue heats of Spirit, or Passion shewed in the Pastor, or others, in managing the Discipline of the Church. Have we not found by experience the sad effect of this? Therefore things must be always managed with coolness, and sweetness of Spirit, and moderation; every Brother having liberty to speak his mind, and not to be interrupted, until he has done; nor above one speak at once.104

XIV. When one Brother or more Dissents in the sentiments of their Minds from the Church, in any matters circumstantial; either in respect of Faith, Practice, or Discipline, and will not submit to the Majority, but raise Feuds;105 nay, will rend themselves from the Church, rather than consent.106

I Query, what reason, or ground, hath any Man to refuse Communion with a Church that Christ hath not left, but hath Communion with?

XV. When any member shall divulge, or make known to Persons, not of the Congregation, nor being concerned in those matters, what is done in Church-meetings, the Church in this respect (as well as in others) is to be as a Garden inclosed, a Spring shut up, a Fountain sealed.107 This oft times occasions great Grief, and the disorderly Person should be detected. Is it not a shame to any of a private Family, to divulge the Secrets of the Family? But far greater shame do these expose themselves unto.

XVI. Another disorderly Practice is this; viz. When a Member shall suggest, and seem to insinuate into the minds of other Members some evil against their Pastor, yet will not declare what it is; and may only be evil Surmisings, & out of Prejudice; and yet refuses to acquaint the Pastor with what it is:108 This is very abominable, and a palpable violation of the Rule of the Gospel, and Duty of Members to their Minister. Such a person ought to be severely rebuk’d; and if he confess not his Evils, and manifesteth unfeigned Repentance, to be dealt with farther. Moreover, it is a great evil in another to hear such base Insinuations, and neither rebuke the Accuser, and so discharge his Duty, nor take two or three more to bring the Person to Repentance. If he deal thus by a private Brother, it is a great Evil, but far worse to an Elder, whose Name and Honour, ought with all Care and Justice, to be kept up, as being more Sacred.109

XVII. Another disorderly Practice is, (which causes much trouble) When the publick Charges of a Church are not equally born but some too much burdened, when others do but little or nothing.110

And also, when every one does not Contribute to the Poor, as God has blessed them, on every Lord’s day, or first day of the Week, as he hath Commanded.111

XVIII. Another disorder is this, When Members refuse to communicate with the Church at the Lord’s table, because some person or persons, they think are guilty of Evil, and yet they have not proceeded with them according to Rule:112 These either Excommunicate the Church, or themselves, or those Persons at least, they censure unwarrantably.

I beseech you for Christ’s sake, that this may never be any more among you: You ought not to deal thus with them; or refuse your Communion, (tho faulty) until the Church has dismember’d or withdrawn from them; or at least Suspended them.

XIX. When one Member, shall believe, or receive a report against another, before he knows the truth of the matter.113

XX. When an Accusation is brought against an Elder, contrary to the Rule, which ought not be without two or three Witnesses, as to the matter of Fact.114

XXI. When the word of God is not carefully attended upon, on Week, or Lecture days, by the Members generally; tho the said Meeting being appointed by the whole Church.115

XXII. When Days of Prayer and Fasting, and of publick Thanksgiving, or when days of Disciplining are not generally attended upon.116

Lastly, When Gifted Brethren are not duely encouraged: First privately to exercise their Gifts; and being in time approved, called forth to Preach or Exercise in the Church: And when encouragement is not given to bestow Learning also upon them, for their better Accomplishment. What will become of the Churches in time to come, if this be not prevented with speed?

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

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The Glory of a True Church- Of private Offences of one Brother against another

Of private Offences of one Brother against another

1. As touching private Offences, the Rule Mat. 18. is to be observed, only this by the way must be premised, viz. if but one Brother or two have the knowledge of some Members Crime, yet if it be publickly known to the World, and the Name of God be reproached, it being an immoral act, a private Brother is not to proceed with such an Offender, according to Mat. 18. but forthwith to bring it to the Church, that the publick Scandal may be taken off.

2. But if it be a private Offence or Injury done to a Brother or Sister in particular, and not being a notorious scandalous Sin, that Brother must not mention it to one Soul, either within, or without the Church, until he hath proceeded according to the Rule.

(1.) He must tell his Brother his Fault. Moreover, if thy Brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault betwixt thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother.63

Thou must labour in Love and all Affections to convince him of his Fault; but if he will not hear thee,

(2.) Thou must take one or two more, but besure see they are discreet Persons, and such that are most likely to gain upon him; and they with thee are to labour with all Wisdom to bring him to the sense of his Fault: ’tis not just to speak to him, as if that were enough; no, no, but to take all due Pains, and to strive to convince him, that so the matter may be issued, and the Church not troubled with it: But if he will not hear thee, take one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three Witnesses every word may be established.64

(3.) But if he will not hear them after all due Means and Admonitions used, then it must be brought to the Church; and if he will not hear the Church, he must be cast out: The Elder is to put the Question, whether the offending Brother be in their Judgments incorrigible, and refuseth to hear the Church; which passing in the Affirmative by the Vote of the Congregation, or the Majority of the Brethren by the lifting up of their Hands, or by their Silence; the Pastor after calling upon God, and opening the nature of the Offence, and the Justness of their Proceedings, in the Name and by the Authority of Christ, pronounces the Sentence of Excommunication to this effect.

That A.B. being guilty of great Iniquity, and not manifesting unfeigned Repentance, but refusing to hear the Church, I do in the Name, and by the Authority of Christ committed unto me as Pastor of this his Church, pronounce and declare that he is to be, and is hereby excommunicated, excluded or cast out of the Congregation, and no longer to be owned a Brother, or a Member of this Church; and this for the destruction of the Flesh, that his Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.65

And this we believe is the substance of that which the Apostle calls a delivering up to Satan, he being cast into the World, which is called the Kingdom of Satan, where he rules and reigns.

“The delivery unto Satan (saith Dr. Chauncy) signifies only the solemn Exclusion of a Person from the Communion of the Church, the Visible Kingdom of Christ, and disinfranchizing him, or divesting him of all visible Right to Church Privileges, casting him into the Kingdom of the World, where the Prince of Darkness rules in the Children of Disobedience.” And this being done, he is to be esteemed to be not better than an Heathen Man, or Publican, or as an evil Person, and not to have so much as intimate civil Communion withal.66

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

The Wednesday Word: What If? Pt 1

My Aunt Eileen died just a few days ago. She was my Father’s younger sister and she will be greatly missed by friends and family.

Death is a sorrowful time for those left behind. However, in spite of the sorrow, for the believer, death and the grave have lost their sting and victory. This is because of the certainty of the Resurrection.

What if, however, Jesus has not risen from the grave?

I’ve recently read some Christian writers who explain that, even if they discovered Jesus did not rise from the dead, they would continue to follow Him. After all, they reason, as they look around at the field of religious Gurus from human history, Jesus is by far the superior one.

Personally, I think that kind of thinking is daft! Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 15:12-21, Paul lets us know just how silly this mentality is. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us several awful things that would be true if Christ had not risen from the grave.

The first of these is that, if Christ is not risen, preaching would be an exercise in futility (verse 14). I know there are some who would readily endorse that sentiment at the best of times. However, notwithstanding their views on preaching, if there is no Resurrection, the minister is wasting his time being in the pulpit. If Christ is still in the grave there is no good news. No Gospel. The preacher is just a wind-bag!

Also, according to verse 14, if there is no resurrection, our faith is vain. At the end of the day, why would we put faith in a dead Messiah? Faith, as you remember, is only as good as its object. Faith itself saves no one. It is Jesus who saves and a dead Jesus is useless in this matter of salvation. The ghastly truth is that, if Jesus is still in the grave, He can bring no one to heaven. A dead man can do nothing for us!

Now here’s another thing. If Jesus has not risen from the grave, then the disciples were awful liars (v15-16). These men went everywhere telling people they had seen the risen Christ. They had touched and handled Him, they claimed (1John 1:1). But, if Christ was not raised from the dead then they were perjurers. Remember this, if Christ was not risen from the dead, the apostles weren’t just mistaken, they were malicious. They were part of a gargantuan conspiracy to deceive mankind!

So then, were the Apostles liars? If they were, why did they lie? ‘Oh’ says someone, ‘just like any of these modern preachers, they lied for gain.’ But what gain did they have? It certainly was not financial. And, furthermore, consider how they died. They all (except for John) died as martyrs. They were tortured and brutally executed. There’s no worldly gain in that.

By the way, liars and martyrs are not cut from the same cloth. Only deranged lunatics would embrace martyrdom to further a deliberate lie.

But, if Christ is still in the grave, then indeed, the Apostles were liars, hypocrites and deceivers. That would follow then that we cannot read the New Testament since it was written by these same frauds. If Christ is not risen, we, therefore, have no New Testament!

But it gets worse than that; if Christ is yet in the grave, then we have no hope of forgiveness (verse 17). God cannot overlook sin, He must punish it! God is Holy and His holiness demands the death of the sinner. Either our sin has been punished on Christ at the cross or we will be punished for it in Hell. But, if Christ has not been raised from the grave it means that the Father has not accepted the sacrifice of Calvary. That means we are lost. It matters not how sincere and earnest we are. We are yet in our sins. We will perish!

But, here’s the good news. Christ was delivered for our offenses and raised again for (because of) our Justification (Romans 4:25). He is alive. His blood has secured us, His sacrifice has been accepted and He is alive forevermore.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

To be Continued…….

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Whatever you do to appease God for your sins, is also tainted with sin

But if sin be thus offensive to God, then are you in a fearful situation. If you had the whole world to offer for your ransom it would be of no account. Were that which you offered ever so pure, it could have no influence whatever towards atoning for your past guilt, any more than the tears of a murderer can atone for blood: but this is not the case–those very performances by which you hope to appease the divine anger, are polluted with sin.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

The Happy Debtor

Ten thousand talents once I owed, and nothing had to pay;

But Jesus freed me from the load, and washed my debt away.

Yet since the Lord forgave my sin, and blotted out my score,

Much more indebted I have been, than e’er I was before.

My guilt is cancelled quite I know, and satisfaction, made;

But the vast debt of love I owe can never be repaid.

The love I owe for sin forgiven, for power to believe,

For present peace and promised heaven, no angel can conceive.

That love of Thine, Thou sinner’s Friend! Witness Thy bleeding heart!

My little all can ne’er extend to pay a thousandth part.

Nay more, the poor returns I make I first from Thee obtain;

And ’tis of grace that Thou wilt take such poor returns again.

‘Tis well – it shall my glory be (Let who will boast their store)

In time and to eternity, to owe Thee more and more.

John Newton