Withdraw Yourselves

I.         The concept of withdrawing comes from II Thessalonians 3:6 and I Timothy 6:5 (KJV)

            A.        In II Thessalonians 3:6, Stellomai means avoiding - see II Corinthains 8:20 (avoiding trouble)

            B.        I Timothy 6:5 (KJV and NKJV only) - aphistemi means a departure, a falling away, or a withdrawing

                        1.         Luke 2:37 - She never left the temple

                        2.         Luke 8:13 - They believe for a while and in times of temptation fall away

                        3.         Luke 13:27 - Depart from me all you evildoers

                        4.         Acts 5:37 - Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him

                        5.         Acts 5:38 - I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone

                        6.         Acts 15:38 - John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia

                        7.         Acts 19:9 - But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

                        8.         I Timothy 4:1 - in later times some will fall away from the faith

                        9.         II Timothy 2:19 - Everyone who names the Lord is to abstain from wickedness

                        10.       Hebrews 3:12 - Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

                        11.       Notice that either the righteous or the wicked can be the one who leaves.

            C.        When we speak of withdrawing then, what is being withdrawn?

                        1.         It is fellowship.

                        2.         Having fellowship is the opposite state of being withdrawn from.

II.        Verses that command the removal of fellowship

            A.        Titus 3:9-11 - Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,

                        1.         Paraiteomai - to refuse, reject, beg to be excused from, avoid

                        2.         Luke 14:18-19 - Those who gave excuse for not following the Lord.

                        3.         I Timothy 4:7 - refuse profane and old wives’ fables

                        4.         I Timothy 5:11 - Refuse to place young widows on the church’s roll

                        5.         II Timothy 2:23 - Avoid foolish and unlearned questions

                        6.         Hebrews 12:25 - See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.

            B.        Romans 16:17-18 - Turn away from those who cause division and hindrances.

                        1.         Ekklino - turn away from, turn aside

                        2.         Romans 3:12 - All men have turned away from God.

                        3.         I Peter 3:11 - Turn away from evil and do good.

            C.        II Thessalonians 3:14-15 - Do not associate with the disobedient

                        1.         Sunanamignumi - to mix together, associate with, keep company with

                        2.         I Corinthians 5:9-13 - Do not associate with immoral brethren

            D.        II Timothy 3:1-9 - Avoid the evil men of the last days

                        1.         Apotrepo - turn away from, shun

                        2.         Only usage in the New Testament

            E.        II John 9-11 - Do not receive a person into your home who will not abide in the doctrine of Christ

                        1.         Lambano - to take hold of, grasp, seize, receive, get, or obtain.

                        2.         Used over 250 times in the New Testament.

                        3.         Matthew 5:40 - Allow a person to take your shirt and coat in court

                        4.         Luke 20:29 - Taking a wife

                        5.         John 3:11 - Accepting Christ’s testimony

                        6.         John 3:32-33 - When you receive Christ’s testimony you acknowledge the truth

            F.        II John 9-11 Do not give greeting to a person who will not abide in the doctrine of Christ

                        1.         Chairo - rejoice, be glad, welcome, greetings

                        2.         It serves as a greeting, such as “good day,” “welcome,” or “good morning.”

                        3.         James 1:1 - Greetings

                        4.         Matthew 28:9 - Jesus meet them and greeted them.

                        5.         Philippians 1:18 - Paul rejoiced that the word was spread

            G.        Matthew 18:15-17 - Treat as a pagan

                        1.         Ethnikos - a Gentile

            H.        Ephesians 5:3-11 - Do not participate in deeds of darkness

                        1.         Summetochos - partaker, sharer

                        2.         Ephesians 3:6 - Gentiles are fellow partakers of the promise in Christ

            I.         I Corinthains 5:1-5, I Timothy 1:19-20 - hand over to Satan

                        1.         paradidoômi - hand over, surrender, betray

III.       To withdraw fellowship, you must first have fellowship

            A.        You cannot withdraw from a non-Christian

                        1.         Christians are in the world, but not a part of the world - John 17:15-16

                        2.         We can’t leave the world, but we can disassociate from sinful members - I Corinthians 5:9-13

            B.        Congregations have the right and responsibility to control its membership

                        1.         Ideally, congregations are composed of Christians on their way to heaven – those who are in fellowship with God.

                        2.         Churches should not exclude those who are in fellowship with God, though some have

                                    a.         Paul was excluded from the Jerusalem church for a while - Acts 9:26-27

                                    b.         Diotrephes was keeping brethren out of the church, including the Apostle John. Here are cases of wrongful withdrawal - III John 9-10

                                    c.         Note that the congregation’s exclusion of brethren had no reflection on the person’s actual salvation

                        3.         Churches should not include those who are not in fellowship with God, though some have

                                    a.         Christians share many common attitudes and beliefs

                                                (1)       The Lord’s Supper is a time of Christians to communion (share, participate) with our Lord and Savior - I Corinthians 10:16-17

                                                (2)       When we work together, we are in fellowship - Philippians 1:5

                                                (3)       We are a family with God as our Father - I Timothy 3:15

                                                (4)       We have a common faith - Titus 1:4

                                                (5)       We have a common salvation - Jude 1:3

                                    b.         What binds us together is also what sets us apart from the world

                                                (1)       II Corinthians 6:14-18 - We have nothing in common with worldly ways.

                                                (2)       We cannot communion with God and the world - I John 1:6-7

                                                (3)       If we are not obedient to God, we are not in fellowship with God or his people - II John 9-11

                                    c.         The Corinthian church accepted a man living with his father’s wife. - I Corinthians 5:1-2

                                                (1)       They were in fellowship with the man, but the man’s sin had separated him from God

                                                (2)       They were commanded to sever their ties to this man.

                                    d.         Notice that a congregation’s acceptance of a person had no reflection on the person’s actual salvation.

IV.      Withdrawal is one of several “tools” given to the church to discipline (train) its members.

            A.        II Timothy 3:16

                        1.         Teaching what is right

                        2.         Reproof - Teaching what is wrong

                        3.         Correction - Teaching how to become right

                        4.         Training - Teaching how to stay right

            B.        II Timothy 4:2

                        1.         Reprove - to show fault, convict

                        2.         Rebuke - to censure or warn

                        3.         Exhort - to encourage or give comfort

            C.        Whom did the church withdraw from? (Make a list)

                        1.         I Corinthians 5:11

                        2.         Ephesians 5:3-11

                        3.         II Thessalonians 3:6, 11

                        4.         II Thessalonians 3:14

                        5.         I Timothy 1:19-20

                        6.         II Timothy 3:2-5

                        7.         Titus 3:10

                        8.         II John 9-11

                        9.         What is it about these sins and the sinners that caused the need to withdraw?

            D.        Who did the withdrawing?

                        1.         Too often we approach it backwards. We send a letter to someone with the basic thrust of “don’t come back until you straighten out.”

                        2.         The commands to withdraw are to the faithful members of the church. It is action on their part that forms the withdrawing of fellowship.

            E.        What steps were taken to withdraw?

                        1.         Mourn - I Corinthians 5:2

                        2.         Warn twice - Titus 3:9-11

                                    a.         Matthew 18:15-17

                                    b.         It was not a long drawn out process.

                                    c.         If a rotten apple is in the barrel, you don’t take your time about removing it.

                        3.         Hand over to Satan - I Timothy 1:19-20

                                    a.         I Corinthians 5:4 - Done in front of the entire congregation

                                    b.         This is an admission on our part that we were not able to keep a member out of sin. It is an admission of our failure and a betrayal of the sinner to Satan. In other words, we are admitting we can no longer be responsible for his soul.

                        4.         All ties are severed.

                                    a.         It is as if the person is no longer a Christian. - Matthew 18:17

                                    b.         But it is not justification to be rude or harsh - II Thessalonians 3:15

                                    c.         II Thessalonians 3:14 - do not associate with him

                                    d.         II Thessalonians 3:6 - Stay away from him

                                    e.         Romans 16:17 - turn away from such men

                                    f.         I Corinthians 5:11 - Do not associate with him, even to have a meal with him.

                                    g.         Titus 3:10 - Reject him

                                    h.         II John 9-11 - Do not receive him into your home or offer him greetings

                                    i.         Are there any exceptions to these rules?

                                    j.         What if the person continues to come to services?

                        5.         Admonish (attempt to restore)

                                    a.         II Thessalonians 3:15 - He is still a brother who needs rescuing.

                                    b.         Galatians 6:1 - Restore in gentleness.

                        6.         If he repents, then forgive him and welcome him back - II Corinthians 2:5-11

            F.        Traditions

                        1.         Notice no mention of a letter being sent.

                                    a.         Why do churches do this?

                                    b.         Can a person be withdrawn from without sending a letter? How?

                        2.         Some require a public confession of their sin before being accepted back. What verse would justify this requirement?

V.        What is the purpose of withdrawing fellowship?

            A.        I Corinthians 5:5 - To destroy the flesh and save his spirit

                        1.         It is a way to get a person to leave his sin

                        2.         II Corinthians 5:11 - So Satan can’t take advantage of us.

                        3.         II Thessalonians 3:14 - To make the person ashamed.

                        4.         I Timothy 1:20 - To teach

            B.        To protect the members of the congregation

                        1.         To keep the unsuspecting from being deceived - Romans 16:17-18

                                    a.         Every church as young, new members who can be easily swayed into the wrong.

                        2.         To keep the sin from spreading - I Corinthians 5:6

                        3.         Galatians 6:1 - Lest we also are tempted to sin

                        4.         To keep from sharing in the sin by giving approval - II John 9-11, Romans 1:32

            C.        To keep our worship pure - I Corinthians 5:6-8, Ephesians 5:27

            D.        To avoid the wrath of God - Ephesians 5:6-7

VI.      Questions

            A.        Should we withdraw from those who have left the church?

                        1.         A person who has left should be treated as if he were a non-Christian

                        2.         If ties are already severed, is there anything additional the church can do?

            B.        Can a church withdraw from Christians who are not members of the local congregation?

                        1.         Mark those who cause division and hindrances - Romans 16:17

                        2.         Philippians 3:17 - Mark those who are good examples

                        3.         Galatians 5:15 - Don’t bite and devour each other.

            C.        Can a church withdraw from another church?

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