Who would even WANT "a Clean Stall"?!
We’re asked from time to time if we have encountered the need to break off Koinonia, to disFellowship folks, at some point in time. The answer is, unfortunately and of course, yes. And, naturally, we have been brutally attacked by some of them in subsequent years, even a decade and a half after they were disfellowshipped. Yeah, wow, huh?! It’s no fun to go through that. Yet, I would submit that if disFellowship has not ever needed to happen in a Body of Believers, then either they have no Standard or regard for the Bible—or they are not even really trying to help humans overcome addictions, and sins, and rebellion in their lives. You can only have a “clean stall” when nothing meaningful is going on. If there is no power or life, the stall stays pretty clean.
If you are trying at all to “seek and save that which is lost,” you will encounter the miracle of many lives transformed from the power of greed, immorality, homosexuality, ignorance, rebellion, lust for material objects, pride, fear and many other addictive sins. Hallelujah to the Maker of all!
On the other hand, sometimes you’ll be betrayed and attacked by those you risked for, those you sacrificed to try to help. So be it. Because we all are created in God’s Image, all have choices to voluntarily worship the Creator, or “deliberately forget” and live in sin. God wants “all men everywhere” to repent and know Him. But, Jesus was clear that “few will be those who find Me.” That’s a lot of people (“All men” He would prefer to Save, minus “FEW will be those” who ARE Saved) who didn’t end up in His Presence after that “great and terrible Day of the Lord.” Jesus said clearly that “most” won’t make it, as they will not “DO the will of My Father” (Mat.7). It is not that God didn’t want to Save them, since Jesus said that He “WOULD have gathered them as a hen gathers her chicks” but “they WOULD not” bend their knee to Him. It was their choice, after He made provision for ALL. But, some would not “HAVE this Man to be King over them.” That is sad, but beautiful. He makes infinite Provision for all, but He has made us in His Image and wants us to WANT Him. Some will. Most will not, according to Jesus. But, what a BEAUTIFUL thing when men choose Him!
The “Parable of the Soils” makes it clear that some people who seemingly want to follow Jesus will “spring up quickly, with great joy.” There is Life of some sort, for a time. However, eventually, when under pressure of persecution or loss, they show that they have never gone deep into Jesus. They are not ROOTED in Him for their sustenance. Consequently, they cannot be sustained on shallow life that is unRooted in Jesus when time passes and the heat is on. Jesus said that this type of shallow person, refusing to go Deep into Him, will wither and die.
Jesus said that others, too, are ALIVE. But over time they allowed greed, or pride, or worldliness, or cares and concerns regarding other false priorities (of which HE is not central) to “choke off the life” and kill what might have been. These people have real names, and you will know and shed tears for some of them!
Jesus spoke also, in Luke 13:5-9, of the Fig Tree that was given “one more year” to be cared for. In context, both in this Parable and the surrounding Text, He was clearly speaking of religious people who claimed to know Him. Jesus said that pruning would become obligatory if there was no evidence of Life, even after caring for the tree—watering, fertilizing, and supplying all that it could need. If what ought to have Life and Fruit within would not respond to the gifts given it, Jesus required that it be cut down and thrown into the fire. If it would bear no fruit of the Life it was given—even with the tender love and care of the Gardener—it must be pruned.
The examples are endless, but the point is simple: Even JESUS, PRESENT IN THE FLESH, was not anywhere near “100% successful” in turning men’s hearts to Himself. He gave them choices. He “WOULD have gathered them, but they would not.” Many to whom He extended His hand… betrayed Him. And, the majority He loved on and taught… walked away (John 6). Many who deserted Him “found a more convenient religion” when they didn’t get something for themselves, on their own timetable. It wasn’t all that hard to find an alternate religion that didn’t require a cross. In most forms of religion they could still wear a “cross” as jewelry on a necklace, and have a Jesus sticker on their chariot, but never give their lives to Him.
Most do leave Jesus, by His odds. “The Road is narrow and few are found upon it.” Why do they not love Him enough to stand by Him and His Truths? Because, they reason, “any ‘Messiah’ worth giving their life for ought to produce for them something they want.” And, if they don’t get what they want for themselves, then HE and His Truths are “false.” At least that’s how they have to play it, by their manufactured accusations and their murderous threats. It’s just how it went when He was here, and how He Himself Prophesied it would be when He was here on earth in His Church, His Body. Most don’t want the Cross, or the Inconvenient Truth of His Words.
And what a shame! His Dance to HIS Music—there is NOTHING BETTER!
Even so, it is a fact. If you are DOING anything worth doing, if you are trying to help any who are living in rebellion to their Maker and Savior, you WILL be “betrayed with a kiss” and lied about. “If they hated Me, they WILL hate you.” If you are trying to help reprobate souls find Holy Ground to live upon in Christ, you WILL eventually need to break Fellowship with the Soils #2 and #3, or the “one-more-year” fig tree. You will be hated by those who choose NOT to “do the will of My Father”—unless you totally “accept them” and pretend they are “okay” when they are not.
We can “be called-alongside one another daily” as we’re Commanded, just as Jesus did with the twelve and the 120 did with the 3000, and STILL we will end up with issues, failures, and heartbreaks. Peter did with Ananias and Sapphira, and Simon, and others. Jesus had a Judas, and even a multitude walk away from Him in John 6. Eventually you, too, will encounter and be hated by a Korah, or a Balaam, or a Cain, or a Jannes and Jambres, or a Diotrephes, or an Alexander. All situations have to be resolved one way or another. But, it is a risk worth taking. JESUS risked for you, and for me. He risked all, and we risk all, “while they’re yet sinners.” And yes, of course many will put a short dagger in your back later while embracing you. This will happen even after you have sacrificed for them and their families in every conceivable and sacrificial way. They barely took notice, and denied later that the love and sacrifice ever happened, though the tear stains are still on their doorstep from where you spent the night weeping and praying for them, again and again.
As the Verse says, the stall only gets dirty when we risk to honor and explore Jesus’ Life and Power.