Today in our 3rd of 4 sermons regarding issues raised by the church family as those to which Jesus would draw our attentions we focused on "Confronting Sin."
Pastor Jeff drew largely on the text of Galations 6:1-5.
I think one of the primary reasons I fail to address sins face to face with brothers and sisters in Christ is the fear that they would then inquire as to the sins of my life. It is as though most Christians have an unspoken mutually understood agreement that we will not poke around too much in each others lives so that we can all avoid both confronting the sins of others and having them confront the sins of our own hearts.
I am also a coward. I am opinionated and passionate in the privacy of my own thoughts and in the presence of company not directly affected by my thoughts. I am judgmental and critical. I find very few contexts where I am comfortable enough in the strength of the conviction held to open my mouth and voice said concern in a gentle spirit.
Pastor Jeff pointed out that we must confront sin in order to build the body and not also be found guilty of sin in failing to address that to which Christ has called us expose and minister.
If the person fails to repent, Jesus' words in Matthew 18 gives guidance on how to proceed.
(side note: the whole "where 2 or 3 are gathered in My Name" verse at the end of Jesus' diatribe on church discipline is not intended to mean that wherever 2 or 3 Christians are in agreement about anything, He is also in agreement with them on said thing. If that were so, Paul was really on his own when he was deserted by all his friends. Jesus was not with him because there was only one, not the 2 or 3 necessary for Him to be present. Clearly that is ridiculous and not what Jesus intended. Context people! Context!)
Lastly, Pastor Troy mentioned that several years back he was confronted by Pastor Jeff and an Elder at Cornerstone regarding some bitterness and unforgiveness they had observed in his heart through his words and actions. They commented that they were prepared to begin the process of finding a new lead pastor if Pastor Troy did not repent and seek forgiveness in Christ. Pastor Troy was both cut to the quick and hopeful that he had friends who loved Jesus enough to confront him with regard to this. Pastor Troy repented and was restored as the verses indicate is the purpose of the initial confrontation performed by Pastor Jeff and the Church Elder.
It is a blessing to be part of a church that does not see the lead Pastor as being above Jesus. Jesus is the Head Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Ames, IA. Praise God for it!