“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” (KJV).
Building the Church:
I don’t know where it has come from, but we’ve got this idea in the church today that we need to keep everyone who walks through our doors. “We don’t want to lose anyone!” However, I would like to suggest to you today that maybe this isn’t the healthiest perspective to have when it comes to building the church.
Every church is full of good people and bad people – those who love the Lord and want to honor and obey Him, and those who don’t. However, the seeker-driven church model today is so anxious to get more and more people to join the church that they give no thought to lifestyle concerns, and will let anyone in if they would simply make a profession of faith. However, this leads to all sorts of problems!
If you let people join your church who don’t believe in your mission or vision, they’re not going to help fulfill God’s purpose for your church. In fact you might even find them fighting against what the Lord is calling you to do. (Incidentally, the word division comes from two words: di meaning two, and vision. Two visions). This is one of the many different situations that wise King Solomon is addressing in today’s Proverb.
Kick out the Troublemakers:
In the Message paraphrase of our Bible verse, Eugene Peterson writes: “Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down; you need a break from bickering and griping!” In other words, if you have someone in your church who is a troublemaker, then it’s probably best to ask them to leave – for the good of the church!
One of my life verses is Psalm 133 which says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious (anointing) oil… For there the Lord commanded the blessing– Life forevermore.” In other words, when a church (or a family) lives in unity, that’s where God’s anointing (presence), blessing, and eternal life can be found. But where there is strife, there is every evil work. That’s why it’s better to remove the troublemaker, for the sake of the unity in the church.
The Pruning of the Lord:
Now – this isn’t easy! As a pastor, I am thankful that I have never had to actually do this, although there are times where we have had troublemakers in our church. Thankfully, the Lord in His graciousness did some pruning and removed them from our body before they could to any more damage than they already had. And in every circumstance where the Lord brought about a pruning and removed a troublemaker, we found that the church always grew again in a better and a healthier way. So maybe a good starting point in dealing with a troublemaker is asking the Lord to do the pruning, so you don’t have to!