How does the congregation retain a person´s sins?

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If a person remains impenitent, and does not heed the warning and admonition of God’s Word that the congregation has given, the congregation finally excludes that person from the congregation.

If a person’s sin is not publicly known, the following instructions given by Jesus, are observed:

Matt. 18:15-17: 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.

The first two steps are not necessary, if the sin is a matter of common knowledge. In that case it is an offense and sin against the entire congregation. The congregation can then directly discipline the offender.

1 Cor. 5:3-5: Concerning him that hath so done this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Je

The congregation declares those, who despite admonition, stubbornly teach and spread doctrine contrary to God’s Word, to be such with whom they cannot be in church fellowship.

1 Tim. 6:3-5: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud... from such withdraw thyself.

Tit. 3:10: A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition, reject.

A person that has been excommunicated from the congregation cannot partake of Holy Communion, be a sponsor for a baptized child, or serve in any other position of trust in the congregation.

Assignment: Discuss on the basis of 1 Cor. chapter 5, how a congregation is to relate to those, who wish to be in fellowship with believers, but who live in manifest sin. How does a Christian relate in family situations, at work and in the community?

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