PART 5 ABUSE OF TRUST
CHAPTER 6ADDITIONAL TOPICS FROM THE TESTED LEADERSHIP MODEL, PART II so wish that I had a manuscript like this when I was newly converted. At least I could have been able to recognize the leadership model that I was under and have a better understanding as to the differences in church theology as well as an awareness of what these different theological views are. The next topic that we will examine is derived from the book of Proverbs.
TOPIC: DOES GOD’S LOVE CONVEY TO US THAT WE SHOULD CONCEAL (HIDE) THE SINS COMMITTED BY THOSE IN LEADERSHIP?
The Mandatory Leadership Model
Love covers all sins:Proverbs 10:12
Love covers (forgives and forgets; does not expose the sins of a neighbor to others; conceals) all sins.
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
The Mandatory Leadership Model CharacteristicThe mandatory leadership model says that when we are privy to the sins of those in leadership we should conceal them, and not tell anyone else. We can, however, pray that they will be able to address this area of infidelity. This verse is used to convince the assembly that they must conceal the sins of their leaders because if they expose them they are guilty of judging, and will subsequently receive discipline from God.
The Tested Leadership Model
If we are privy to the sin of a person in leadership should we conceal his or her sin and not tell anyone else about it? There is one verse in the book of 1 Peter that is relevant to our discussion.
For charity shall cover the multitude of sins:1 Peter 4:8
This verse says that we, believers, are to have fervent charity among ourselves, which means we are to have an intense and eager love that gives of itself toward one another. This love, which is God’s love produced in the heart of the saint by means of the Holy Spirit, will cover a multitude of sins.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
What does the word “cover” mean? To better understand this word; let’s take a look at different sections of scripture. First, let’s go to the book of James.
Shall hide a multitude of sins:James 5:19-20
On occasion, when a fellow believer or someone in leadership strays away from expressing the form of truth in their habits of thoughts and modes of living, someone in the assembly who is aware of their sinful behavior will hopefully approach him/her in order to help them turn from their wrong direction.19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
If the erring believer can move ahead on the path toward spiritual maturity when they are converted (caused to turn) from their wrong manner of life, then the results of their turning is that their soul will be delivered from the misery arising from sin, and the multitude of sins that they were engaged in shall be hidden (forgiven) by God the Father.
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
These verses clearly indicate the protocol for addressing sin in a believer’s life, even if he/she is in a position of leadership. A fellow believer would go to him/her to convert them back to the right path in their thoughts and actions. They shouldn’t walk away and not become involved in their fellow believer’s life, leaving the matter for God to judge. If this sin had been committed in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law, then the leader would have been answerable to God alone.
What if the person in leadership chooses not to turn from their sin? If nobody else is aware of the situation, we are to not mention their sin to the other members of the assembly, but I believe there is one exception; if the erring believer’s sin were criminalwe should report their offense to the civil authority a.s.a.p., as has been mentioned before.
Let’s briefly discuss the verses in the book of Matthew again.
Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:Matthew 18:15-17
These verses talk about addressing a sin in which a fellow believer or leader sins against us personally. The idea is to address this person in leadership alone with the hope that they would “hear” us, meaning to admit guilt, in which case the matter would be closed. The main idea is to restore the erring brother. If there are witnesses to the believer’s sin, then the hope is that if they haven’t admitted guilt when approached alone, they will reconsider when the victim returns, accompanied by the eye or ear witnesses to their sin.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:15-17
There are two more verses that talk about approaching a fellow believer or someone in leadership, who has been caught in the act of sin. Please go to Galatians 6.
Restore such an one in the spirit of meekness:Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
In this case, if a fellow believer or someone in leadership has been caught firsthand committing sin, then the idea being expressed is to “restore” them. The word “restore” can have two meanings; used of one, who by correction, may be brought back into the right way, and to equip someone to go on living the Christian life the right way14. It should be made clear to them that their behavior is ungodly and unbecoming of a Christian. It is inferred that if they admit guilt, then they will be instructed to be equipped so that they won’t fall into this sinful behavior again. I believe that this idea of equipping means that they are provided with pertinent scriptures that provide God’s mindset for them to appropriate in this area of weakness.
I have one last thought to mention before moving on. Let’s open our Bible to 1 Corinthians 5.
Purge out therefore the old leaven:Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
In this instance, a believer’s overt sin is known, having become evident to all in the assembly. In this case, either a pastor or a tribunal of believers would meet immediately with the erring believer, along with the eye or ear witnesses and impose a censure that would remove him/her from fellowshipping with the assembly for a fixed period of time, or possibly indefinitely.
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
This model does not mean to conceal sin by covering it up, but to address it by means of correction with the hope for restoration. The characteristic or perspective concerning covering a person in leadership’s sin under this model is as follows.
The Tested Leadership Model CharacteristicCovering another believer’s sin, which could refer to the sin of someone in leadership, does not mean that the observing believer or the victim should mind his or her own business. Any believer, including someone in leadership, found in the act of committing sin should be approached for correction and equipping. (James. 5:19-20: Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15)
If they choose not to admit guilt and there are no other witnesses, then their sin is covered (the believer who witnessed their sin should not tell anyone else about it). (1 Peter 4:8; Matthew 18:15) Sin, which is not acknowledged after being addressed privately, doesn’t mean that it is to be covered (concealed). If there is more than one witness, the matter can be approached again. If the offender does not admit guilt or turn from their wrong manner of life, then the matter should be brought before the church (before whoever is in charge of handling such matters) to judge. (Matthew 18:16-17)
Sinful behavior that is publically known by the assembly is to be brought before the church immediately and judged. (Matthew 18:16-17; 1 Corinthians 5:7)
The next topic can ignite a firestorm of response by those in leadership. This has to do with giving financially.
TOPIC: IS THE TEACHING ON TITHING STILL RELEVANT FOR THE CHURCH AGE BELIEVER?
Will A Man Rob God?Suggested Reading: Malachi 2:1-17, Malachi 3:6-11
The Jews had returned to their homeland following the conclusion of the Babylonian captivity. However, the people stopped giving their tithes and offerings. As a result, the priests left the temple and did not keep God’s ways. The Lord said to the people through the prophet Malachi that if they would bring their tithes of corn, wine, and oil into the storehouse (refers to a special room or rooms in the temple15 for what was tithed), then he would pour out a blessing of rain for agricultural prosperity, and would not cause the fruits of the ground to be destroyed by locusts.
The Mandatory Leadership Model CharacteristicThese verses are used to substantiate the characteristic that as the Jews would receive blessing if they brought forth tithes and offerings, so will the New Testament saints receive blessing if they follow in their steps. If a New Testament saint chooses not to give tithes and offerings in the collection, then they will be cursed (the fruit of their labor will suffer hardship). (Malachi 2:1-17; Malachi 3:6-11) This view says that if you don’t give tithes and offerings, then you are depriving God of his due.
Many churches espouse that every believer in the assembly is mandated to offer tithes (10% of their gross income), and at times to add more than this, often called free will offerings, to the money collection. Is this the protocol for the New Testament saint to follow? Let’s begin by taking a look at the book of Matthew.
For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin:Suggested Readings: Matthew Chapters 21-23
Jesus was speaking at different times in these chapters to various groups of people (e.g. the multitudes, the scribes, the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the disciples). This particular instance concerns the Jews, who were meticulous in tithing to the minutest detail, but were very far away in giving attention to the other duties of the Law such as judgment, mercy, and faith, with the same precision. Jesus was telling them that they should be as scrupulous in judgment, mercy, and faith as they were in paying their tithes.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matthew 23:23
The Mosaic Law was divinely ordained for the Jewish people, and Jesus didn’t say that tithing was no longer in effect. Neither did he say that any of the other observances of the Law were no longer in effect such as (e.g. offering sacrifices; observing the 7th Day Sabbath; observing the four major yearly feasts; continuing to circumcise; etc.) The unveiling of the truths through which the New Testament saint was to operate in was not revealed yet. Whether some of the Law or all of the Law was to be observed by the New Testament saint would be revealed during the Church Age.
Jesus did make it clear that whoever believed in him in the upcoming dispensation would receive another member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Following the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the disciples, the protocol for the New Testament saint would be revealed over many years to the apostles and prophets. These new truths would be written down and be taught in the assemblies.
Please go to the book of Acts.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple:Suggested Reading: Acts 2:14-47; 5:12-18; 8:1-4
Initially, the newly converted Jewish saints met daily in the temple for public worship and prayer. They did not separate themselves from their Jewish brethren, or from the Old Testament institutions (e.g. tithing; offering sacrifices; observing the 7th Day Sabbath; observing the yearly feasts; etc.). Christian institutions, therefore - the prayers, the breaking of bread, the prophesying and speaking with tongues, and the apostolic teachings- were supplemental to the temple service16.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Acts 2:46
The apostles’ message to the gathered Jews at Pentecost was that Jesus is both Lord and Christ, and they needed to repent and believe in Him for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. This declaration was responded to favorably by about 3000 of them. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:38, 41
As time went on, the message that Jesus had been raised from the dead, that he was the one of whom the prophets of Israel spoke who was rejected, and that by repenting and believing in Him they would receive his blessing of the Holy Spirit was received by the common Jew, but not by most of their hierarchy (e.g. the priests, the Sanhedrin, etc.). Eventually, the apostles’ message was not welcomed in the temple at Jerusalem and in the surrounding synagogues. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. Acts 5:16-18
The Jewish hierarchy set out to capture Jewish Christians and put them in prison. Many Jewish Christians chose to depart from Jerusalem; and as a result were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1
This resulted in the gospel being presented throughout these regions not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. House churches began to spring up everywhere. The churches were now composed of Jews and Gentiles, and issues involving the observances of the Mosaic Law began to surface. Decisions needed to be made in order to understand how much of the Law was to be followed.
Let’s take a look, and discover what the mandate is to the Christian Church regarding observance of the Mosaic Law.
As God hath prospered him:Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
The Christians in Jerusalem needed financial assistance.The early church met on the first day of the week in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ17.This day is not considered Sunday, but according to Jewish thought the first day of the week following the 7th Day or weekly Sabbath. In the early days of the Messianic Community, Jewish believers continued to observe Shabbat (Saturday) as a day of rest and met for Messianic worship in the evening (at the beginning of the first day of the week) after it was over18. Each believer was to set aside his (missionary) offering at home and then bring it to the assembly on the first day19 as God had prospered them (as much as each person could spare; all that one’s prosperity may permit).
The apostle followed the rules of the Jewish synagogue concerning the collection for the poor. It was a regular custom among the Jews to make their collections for the poor on the Sabbath day, so that they might not be without the necessities of life. For the purpose of making this provision, they had a purse, which was called 'Arneqiysheltsdaqaah’, "the purse of the alms," or what we would term, the poor's box. This is what the apostle seems to mean when he says, Let him lay by him in store-let him put it in the alms' purse, or in the poor's box20.
There are two thoughts to consider. First, if the Christian church was to follow the tenets of the Mosaic Law, why didn’t they continue to assemble on the 7th Day Sabbath? Second, the collection for the Christians at Jerusalem was not to be collected in the form of a tithe, but as each believer could afford. If the normal procedure for collecting money was by means of the tithe, why didn’t the apostle Paul give clear instructions to the Corinthians when they gathered together by recommending that after the tithe was collected they could collect the free will offering to benefit the Jewish Christians of the Jerusalem church? Let’s go to the book of Galatians.
Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?Suggested Reading: Galatians 3:1-29
The apostle Paul was addressing the believers in the church at Galatia. In chapter 3 he began by asking, “Are you so foolish (irrational)?” In other words, “Having begun in the Spirit (of the initial entrance of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the Galatian Christians when they put their trust in the Lord Jesus21) are you now made perfect (advancing to the state of spiritual maturity) by the flesh (by means of self-effort in an attempt to obey an outward legalistic system of works22)?”
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The Galatians were turning away from the teaching and the reality of the ministry of the Spirit and were attempting to adhere to a religious system, the Mosaic Law that kept them busy with ceremonial performances, observance of days and festivals, distinction of meats, and other matters of ceremonial prescription23.
The answer to the question about being made perfect (advancing to the state of spiritual maturity) by the flesh (self-effort in an attempt to obey an outward legalistic system of works24) is no. There is no tenet of the Mosaic Law that, if obeyed, can assist the believer in bringing them to spiritual maturity. Let’s go back to the book of Acts.
The Gentiles are not commanded to keep the law: Suggested Reading: Acts 14:26-28; Acts 15:1-30
Certain men contended with Paul and Barnabas, teaching that circumcision was required in order for Gentiles to be saved. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem in order to discuss this matter with the apostles and elders, who were residing there.
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Acts 15:1
After much discussion it was concluded that an epistle be written and given in the care of four men, Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas, who would go to the churches of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia and read the epistle to them, which would inform them that the Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the Law of Moses. However, they should abstain from the pollutions of idols, fornication, from things strangled, and from blood.
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
The idea expressed here is that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised in order to guarantee their salvation; they were not obligated to keep the Law of Moses; and they were asked not to drink beverages or eat animals with blood in them because these practices were not in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. So, why, if the Gentile believers were not commanded to keep the Law of Moses, were they asked to observe the Jewish dietary Laws? It was because the early church would meet together for group meals, called agape feasts, at which time food was shared amongst one another. Instead of offending fellow Jewish believers, who still adhered to Mosaic dietary Laws, the Gentiles were asked to bring the food of animals that had no blood in them. Likewise, if they brought something to drink they were to make sure that it contained no blood.
The Jews were not told by anyone that they couldn’t continue to practice their customs, which were based on the Mosaic Law. However, a couple of things were made very clear to them. Salvation has nothing to do with the rite of circumcision, and sanctification has nothing to do with the keeping of the Mosaic Law. This revelation probably did not sit well with many of them, and I assume that many Jewish Christians left the Christian faith. Going back to the synagogue or temple would remind them that their Messiah had not arrived yet, and that they were to continue in adherence to the demands of the Law until then. This is very sad.
Surely, you are aware that I am not selecting scriptures that only have to do with the giving of finances. The reason I have chosen to do this is because I think that the determination concerning whether tithing is the protocol for the New Testament church can be deduced by determining whether or not any of the tenets of the Mosaic Law are protocol for the New Testament church. Look at one more section of scriptures.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us:Suggested Reading: Romans 7:1-8:5
Before his conversion to Christ, the apostle Paul was a Pharisee. This was the strictest sect in Judaism. Paul adhered to the duties of keeping the Mosaic Law and the interpretive traditions of the scribes without fault (blameless). When Paul became born anew in Christ, he was having a very difficult time in his walk with God. The moral aspects of the Law would express to him what he should and shouldn’t do. He would try to comply or obey the Law in his mind, but found that there was another law, which was warring against his mind. This was the law of sin and death—the old nature that has affections and lusts, which delights in breaking the Law, and Paul asked the question, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This is the condition of a mind in deep distress, and conscious of its own weakness, and looking for aid25.
…Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24b)
A couple of verses later, Paul said in effect that he had found that the answer to being delivered from the body of this death is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus operating in his life. This involves putting on a renewed mind (that which is illuminated by the Spirit of God, so that it understands and wills aright26), and being empowered by the Holy Spirit, which causes us to be delivered from the desires, passions, or propensities of the flesh (sin nature).
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
Walking after the Holy Spirit causes the righteousness (the requirements of the moral precepts such as thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) of the Law to be fully satisfied or accomplished in the believer.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit Romans 8:4
In other words, the Christian should not be occupied with the same mindset of the Jews in the Old Testament concerning obedience to the moral precepts of the Law. They are now to serve God in the newness of the Spirit (how the Spirit causes us to live) and no longer in the way of a written Law.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6
A Christian is not obligated to obey the Ten Commandments, but by the Spirit he/she is able to live a righteous life. The characteristic or perspective that can be derived from these scripture sections are as follows.
The Tested Leadership Model CharacteristicJesus didn’t say that tithing was no longer in effect during his incarnation. Neither did he say that any of the other observances of the Law were no longer in effect, such as offering sacrifices, observing the 7th Day Sabbath, observing the four major yearly feasts, continuing to circumcise, etc. The unveiling of the truths that the New Testament saint was to operate in was not revealed yet. Whether some of the Law or all of the Law was to be observed by the New Testament saint would be revealed during the Church Age. (Matthew 23:23)
Initially, the newly converted Jewish Christians met daily in the temple for public worship and prayer. They did not separate themselves from their Jewish brethren, or from the Old Testament institutions (e.g. tithing, offering sacrifices, observing the 7th Day Sabbath, observing the yearly feasts, etc.). Christian institutions, therefore - the prayers, the breaking of bread, the prophesying and speaking with tongues, and the apostolic teachings - were supplemental to the temple service.27 As a result of persecution the church was scattered, and eventually its members were comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, and issues involving the observances of the Mosaic Law began to surface. Decisions needed to be made in order to understand how much of the Law was to be followed. (Acts 2:46, Acts 5:16-18, Acts 8:1)
The financial contribution for the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem was not to be collected in the form of a tithe, but as each believer could afford. (1 Corinthians 16:1-3) Also, there is no tenet of the Mosaic Law that if obeyed can assist the believer in bringing them to spiritual maturity. (Galatians 3:2-3) The Jews were not told by anyone that they couldn’t continue to practice their customs, which were based on the Mosaic Law. However, a couple of things were made very clear to them. Salvation has nothing to do with the rite of circumcision. Sanctification has nothing to do with the keeping of the Mosaic Law. The Gentiles did not need to be circumcised in order to guarantee their salvation, and neither were they obligated to keep the Law of Moses for spiritual growth. (Acts 14:26-28, Acts 15:24, 29)
A Christian is not obligated to obey the Ten Commandments in order to try to live morally, but it is by the Holy Spirit that he/she is able to live a righteous life. (Romans 7:1-8:5) Is this characteristic or perspective that was derived from the tested leadership model what you expected?
Endnotes14Weust.15Bible Knowledge Commentary.16The Pulpit Commentary.17The Bible Exposition Commentary.1989, 08 Nov. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.18Jewish New Testament Commentary PC Study Bible version 5, 1992, 09 Nov. 2014 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>. 19The Bible Exposition Commentary.20Adam Clarke’s CommentaryPC Study Bible version 5, 2004, 10 Nov. 2014 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.21Weust.22Weust.23Weust.24Weust.25Barnes.26Calvin's Commentaries.
E-mail: [email protected]Website: http://bit.ly/1RQnYJ8 Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AQ0997O Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesrondinone Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JAMES-Rondinone-Publications-204871026659204/ Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-rondinone-54587956/ Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-rondinone
New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios Nuevo Pacto Sunday & Thursday Worship 7:00PM Domingo & Jueves 7:00PM Meetings at Harbor Church, Block Island Spanish (401) 580-1156 English (401) 533-6768