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Driving Out Wickedness

The term wicked suggests that one of two spiritual conditions is present. Either an individual has become poisoned by evil. Or the moral state within a human heart has become corrupted, spreading like gangrene within their soul. In both cases, the conscience designed to convict wrong actions, behavior and choices has stopped working properly. Those teetering on the brink of temptation are vulnerable, at risk of opening the Devil’s Door. Unless these sinful urges are resisted, common sense will disappear, replaced by enticement and a lust for more.

What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? – 1 Corinthians 5:12

When these conditions are present, it won’t be long before the righteous and unrighteous will meet at the intersection of sin. In the context of the passage above, a believer and non-believer partake in a shocking sex scandal. Instead of accusing an unbelieving mother, the apostle Paul places the blame on a wayward Christian who disregarded a vow to put to death his former way of life. This unfortunate event gives Paul an opportunity to discuss the biblical view of judging others. As a former high school Bible teacher, judging is one of the most misunderstood concepts today.

God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church], 1 Corinthians 5:13.

Since atheists, the worldly and un-churched haven’t accepted or believe in the Bible, they follow different standards. Subsequently, Paul states that only God is allowed to judge those outside of church. As for Christians who have been baptized, made statements of faith and verbally profess a desire to follow Jesus, the church is the forum for judging believers. The purpose for church discipline isn’t to shun the wicked. Rather, Jesus introduces a 3 step process for the wayward, Matthew 18:15-18. Known as the Matthew 18 principle, this is God’s plan for driving out wickedness.

by Jay Mankus

The Value of a Soul

One of Jesus’ commands made to first first century followers involves the human soul.  After the heart, the soul is placed in front of the mind as the second most important part of the human body.  The context of this passage summarizes the first and greatest commandment.  This message highlights the value of a soul.

Jesus replied: “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ Matthew 22:37.

While talking to his disciples, Jesus suggests that its possible to forfeit your soul.  Maybe He was trying to warn Judas Iscariot of his initial thought of betrayal.  On the other hand, Jesus appears to recognize an unhealthy pattern within Peter.  Beginning to think like Satan, Jesus brings this concern front and center, afraid that one of his leaders could have their soul poisoned by evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:26

This caution continues today with countless distractions to lure a soul away from God.  The Devil still uses the same temptations Jesus endured in Matthew 4.  Every day physical, mental and spiritual obstacles lurk around every corner.  The question is will you allow temporary pleasures to alter your standards?  Whatever your decision, may you embrace the value of a soul by resisting the Devil and drawing near to God.

by Jay Mankus

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