Real LIFE Stories
So, yes. Because we have, by God’s Grace, had true Fellowship (Acts 2:42-47, 1Cor.12), we have had dis-Koinonia as well. A number of times over the last 22 years we have been Required to break Koinonia—“not eat with them...” “not associate with them...” “expel them from our midst.” Most of the dis-Koinonia we’ve been involved with happened over a decade ago. I suppose if we hadn’t been so young and unwise with “bad building” twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have had so much of that kind of thing required of us ten and fifteen years ago. But, it happened. We had to break fellowship with many who told a good story (in an external sense), and some even had been so-called “pastors.” Guess how much THAT matters about how much they love Jesus, or even were ever Christians by Jesus’ definition? Not a whole bunch. Many we have known “knew their Bibles” in some way, but had virtually no Life whatsoever within them. By their fruit, and their commitment to Holiness for the Lamb of God, you shall know them.
Twenty years ago, due to misUnderstanding of what a CHURCH really is, we allowed many to come and join our number who were religious, and some even “wildly” enthusiastic. “Oh, I have carried around a picture of the Bride in my pocket my whole christian life—and now I’ve found Her! I have to move here with my family! Please?” But this man, as one example, while boisterously quoting “famous historic teachers,” would return home and abuse his family, as well as live in wretched wild, religious obsessions, shopping obsessions, vanity obsessions, food obsessions, and other dark things. Honestly, his personal life was repulsive in every way. I suppose, with the candor with which the Bible is written, John, Peter, and Paul would probably have named the dude’s name right here, for as much evil as he has perpetrated in his lifetime, while pretending to be spiritual. But, we’ll spare him that since he is just an example for your benefit. The point is, he was not yet Converted to Jesus, yet we allowed him to move to be with the church. We were still infants in our existence as a church when he asked to come, and frankly we didn’t know any better. If a person “talked a good game,” or were “friends of a friend” or some such nonsense, we were naive enough to consider that sufficient to receive them when they asked.
As for this man of this example, let’s travel forward for eighteen years of God’s people pouring out every effort for him, offering Koinonia and “no needy persons among them” daily love. The amount of money given to him was staggering, just to make a point that is impossible to “counterfeit” and is inescapable “evidence” of his later perjury. Several tens of thousands of dollars were spent to help him in times of need (ten jobs in thirteen years, according to his Christian wife whom he threw out), along with giving him and his family two cars and a van, over time. Even a newly constructed house was purchased amongst a neighborhood of a hundred or so Saints, since he wanted to live near us. There was daily love, working on his house (literally hundreds of man-hours with him on two different houses for him), going places and doing things with him, finding him jobs, and constantly meeting his needs. As God said through the Prophet, “What more could have been done for My vineyard than was done? And yet it bore for Me only thorns and thistles.”
Because this man never came “In” on the Ground of love—of God or love of others—his unRegenerate heart eventually mutated into deep and illegal sins. And, of course a satanic hatred and slander of those who had spent a decade and a half trying to save his life. “No good deed goes unpunished,” as they say. But, would he have been welcomed in the first place, years earlier, if we had known the God of the Bible as well as we should have? No way. Would we have welcomed a man who claimed Christ, but showed so little evidence of knowing the Biblical Jesus in his daily life? If we had been mature enough to discern what should have been obvious, if we had taken a Stand way back then, what would have happened instead of all of the heartache that was returned for God’s Love through His People? Only Father knows. But, so be it.
Jesus knew He would be betrayed with a kiss by Judas, and changed nothing to avoid this later agony.
If you are like us twenty-five years ago, and all you have ever known is cultural religion, where do you learn these things? We were never “mentored” by anyone who had ever experienced Biblical Koinonia and daily Corporate Christ-Life. So, where do you Learn these things? It IS all in the Bible, so I suppose you learn it “at His Feet” in the trenches of daily life. Perhaps we call to the Lord of the Harvest, desiring to Fellowship with Him and one another, regardless of the cost to reputation or earthly gain? Yes, surely that.
Father actually DID make a Plan for how we can Learn by His Spirit in the midst of daily consecrated Life with one another. “The pillar and foundation of Truth is the Ekklesia.” And, “God’s Intent is, now through the Church, to make known His many-faceted Wisdom.”
Of course, twenty-five years ago we just “bought into” what we were “told in seminaries and conferences” or “saw in elders meetings” or “read in books.” (We didn’t notice until later that these christian books are often published by companies owned by pagan parent companies, with “pastor-authors” taking millions of dollars from God’s people.) How much can one learn from those who are not themselves LIVING the Life? “Wisdom is proved Right by her CHILDREN,” not her slogans or marketing. It is the OFFSPRING we want to see, not the flowery words. UnBiblical lives and “churches” can only yield so much Truth before the contradictions between them and the Bible dismantle the Paradigm they are selling.
It took awhile to sort it out, and of course we’ll always be “sorting it out.” But, needless to say, when you welcome people who are “flattering” (see Jude) and enthusiastic—but who don’t know or obey Jesus at all—well, eventually you’ll either see them Converted to Jesus, or they will gouge your eyes out with a blunt stick when you ask them to leave God’s Family. And, as we’ve already shown, God’s Family, HIS Body, HIS Church is only for Christians, Biblically speaking.
Back to practicals. There have been only a very few instances we have needed to disKoinonia anyone in the most recent decade. But it has happened, and will likely happen again. The “one more year” of waiting, and loving, and giving, and working for something that looks like the Life of Jesus...it’s seldom exactly one year, of course. Sometimes it has lasted, for us, for 18 years of care and sacrifice for them. Sometimes their terrorizing sins and obdurate heart can only be tolerated for 5 weeks. That has happened, too. But, unless there is repentance, there can only be so much “time” to protect and wrestle with the unhidden stench of death, or fabricated christianity, or mutant christianity, or corrupted christianity. The Body of Christ must reflect the Head’s view of such matters, and break Fellowship with them, if there is no honesty or repentance. They need to move on down the road and do something else.
Nearly always, when we have had to break Fellowship with someone who is married, or with a family, we have sent the entire family unit away together, when possible. Even if there are true Believers in that biological family, we have for twenty years tried to send them away together—in order to give the one who is in serious trouble Spiritually every opportunity to be Changed by the disFellowship. The one who has violated, abandoned, or has never found Jesus… will usually get the Best Chance to be found in Him if their biological family sacrifices themselves in order to try to help him or her find Jesus. In hopes that Day will come. But, disKoinonia is mandatory for God’s People, at certain times. His Commands are clear. “If we love Him, we will obey Him.”
Back to the earlier example person... After the “Walls of Protection” were removed, he was “free” to sin “at will” with no one left around him to try to reason with Him in Christ. You need to know what really can happen in the real world of serving God and standing up to Satan, rather than playing religion on Sunday. Within months of living 250 kilometers away, and still viewing himself as the most spiritual person he knows… this man we disFellowshipped totally abandoned his biological family with several young children, was confronted by the police for abuse, divorced his wife and family against their will and public objections, took their van away from them, cancelled their lease and, in so doing, was throwing them out on the street. Within four weeks he moved in with another divorced woman he met where he worked. While he was spending money every which worldly place, he would have been starving his several children to death on the street by illegally refusing to support them—except that some Christians stepped in to help the family. Simultaneously, the disFellowshipped guy was fabricating stories, defaming those who cared for him for many years, lying on the internet, and soliciting a pagan “journalist” to blackmail his wife and children he discarded to try to keep the law from his doorstep—all recorded in email and voice messages he should never have sent. Last we heard, he was on the verge of serious trouble for many criminal offenses with three different government agencies and the courts, in addition to the other immoral lifestyle he is engaged in as of this writing. That is the nature of deranged sin-life. And that is the practical reality of what you will face if you decide to take satan and his marionettes head-on, instead of “play church” and brush Truth and Jesus under the sunday rug. But, what cost Jesus His physical life also caused Him to be Raised in Resurrection Power! Amen. “It is the same now.”
So then, from time to time in going on 25 years, we have needed to break Koinonia with some. At times it became necessary because there was virtually no evidence of their relationship with Jesus, or love of others. God IS love, and a man without love is a man without God, according to the Scriptures. Such a man or woman cannot be Saved without repentance. Some we have removed Koinonia from because of blatant sin, or zero evidence of Revelation of the Son, or spineless man-pleasing, which negates any chance of knowing God until there is a turning to Him and finding their life in Him. Some we have broken Fellowship with because our endless pleas to cease their love of the world went unheeded.
Since everyone in a true church, large or small, is known intimately by many other saints, in all circumstances, on a nearly daily basis—at some point it’s not a “guess” when a person doesn’t really care about Jesus or want to stop “crucifying Him afresh.” In an “attendance-based” group, large or small, there is no way to know the difference between weakness and rebellion. But, just as any decent parent would know if their child is trying to live a secret life of sin, so also where there is true Life in Christ, together, it’s not that hard to know whether a person wants to live for Him, or not. And when there are no options left, Jesus Commands that Koinonia be removed.
Most organizations and “meeting-based” groups cannot avail themselves of this Miraculous Gift of disKoinonia to help change lives, precisely because they are “meeting-based” and not built upon daily Life in His Body. If we have dared to Live together as He has called us, there will be times when you will have to remove that Koinonia from those in stubborn sin—in order to “snatch them from the fire.”
Practical Life, again. Some we have had to disFellowship over the years were very “lovable” in every “earthly” way. It can be confusing if we are not wise in God’s Ways, but “lovable personalities” who would “give you the shirt off of their backs”—that is not what the CHURCH is allowed to “be about.” We were merciful over the years towards such as these, and they do themselves readily speak loudly of our record of kindnesses and generosity and sacrifice for them. We have finally had to say “goodbye” to some we love dearly because they don’t know JESUS, as “nice” as they are. They “have no Root” in JESUS, unfortunately, and were not going towards Him in change. So, with tears in our eyes we have asked them to do something different, with others. Our parting words and actions to such as these have been, they attest: “We will love you, and will watch and pray for you, forever.” We have gone out of our way to visit with many of these, sometimes again and again, for years later, even when they have moved to other countries. We have paid mortgages, even years later, for some we have had to ask to leave. We have purchased vehicles, painted houses, paid bills, put on roofs, bought food and furnaces, helped with child or health tragedies, and many other such things—even long after we had broken Fellowship with them. Why would we do this? Because they are loved and respected, and very dear to us. But, even when loved and respected, that is not to say that anyone who is not Connected to the Vine in daily life can remain a part of the church.
If a person is not, with much care and love and outpouring of Truth and Opportunity, willing to live in the Spirit of Christ, they are not Biblically part of the church. There are evidences God gave us to help us know and understand who is just talking the talk, and who is Living in the Vine. Some of these “evidences”—penned sixty years after Pentecost (sixty years after the Church was Born)—are found in 1John, chapters 1 through 3. These are especially potent since John was writing to some second and third generation followers of Jesus. These guys may have been just following in their parents’ footsteps, right, with no real relationship with Jesus of their own? John, by the Spirit, gives us some “ways to know” if the Spirit of Christ lives in these folks (in his generation, and ours) who “knew the vocabulary,” but may or may not be Saved by knowing Him.
A person is not yet saved if they only know the vocabulary, but have never been Touched by the GodHead in a way that “flesh and blood could not have revealed.” We cannot merely memorize what someone else has said, or be motivated by emotion, or peer pressure. Translation from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Beloved Son comes from relating to God Himself. If that hasn’t rrrrreally happened, until they bend their knee to Jesus and are enveloped in His Life, then they certainly cannot be part of His Body, by definition. As the Head thinks and feels, so also must the Body. What makes Jesus sick must make His Body sick as well, if we are connected to the Head, Jesus.
There are no options available to “love people more than Jesus does.” Of course, with unBelieving biological relatives, coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances, we do love them. And naturally we will continually call out to God for His Mercy to make Himself irresistible to them. We will “always be ready to give a reason for the Hope that lies within us” and desire to “seek and save that which is confused and lost.” We will always do what we can to serve, and love, and help. I would guess that over twenty thousand miles have been travelled by Saints here in recent months to visit biological relatives, to help in financial or health crises, or just to try to share the love of God with them. While we can’t “yoke” or have “friendships” with unBelievers or those who are still unRegenerate, we certainly can love and share Jesus’ Truths with “whosoever will.” You’ll even find, as we have, that there will be times for you to care for the needs of even vile blasphemers, and bail them out of serious moral and legal trouble. For Jesus’ sake. We will always try to embrace in Adam even those we cannot yet embrace in Christ. And all of this with a smile of recognition that love in the first Adam can turn into love intertwined in the Second Adam.