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When Subtraction = Multiplication

 Serious Business

In biology, there are substances that inhibit the growth of other substances. Our immune system for instance has killer cells that roam about looking for foreign invaders like bacteria. When these killer cells are removed, then bacteria can multiply rapidly producing sickness.
In the same manner, when bacteria are removed, damaged tissue can be repaired and replaced with healthy tissue producing growth.
In the church, growth is the product of purity. That is, the removal of things that are inconsistent with the mind of Christ promotes the Body of Christ.
First century Corinthian society was not unlike our own. Whatever standards existed, they were loosely interpreted. Truth was defined by expediency. It was whatever the prevailing majority said it was. There was no objective standard of truth. There was no truth outside of themselves. Calling something sin and confronting it was considered deviant behavior.
In contrast to this cultural taboo, Paul urged the Corinthian believers to examine themselves to see if they are really in the faith. (2 Cor 13:5) Because if they are church of God, then Christ is with them in their midst. He is the objective standard of truth that they are to live by and sin is to be judged by.
Paul was concerned for the need of discipline among the believers. Judging sin in our lives produces purity and church growth.
Really? Removing sinning believers from the church produces growth? 

Subtraction produces multiplication.

Isn’t it interesting that at the inception of the church, the Holy Spirit carried out discipline in a very convincing manner? There was a married couple named Ananias and Sapphira that decided to sell some land and give the price of it to the church.
Yet, they lied about the price of the land in order to make it appear that they were giving it all, when in reality the land was sold for more than they said. They did this so that they could keep back part of the money for themselves.
In this they lied to the Holy Spirit and as a result they lost their lives. This subtracting discipline brought growth to the fledgling church as others were made to see the reality of God in the midst of His people: “…None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women…” Acts 5:13,14
When people were afraid to join the church by reason of discipline being exercised, the church grew in numbers of both men and women. This church was the real deal. There was no hypocrisy or pretense allowed in their midst.
By means of this discipline, the Holy Spirit made it clear that those who lied to the church were lying to God. (Acts 5:4)
Now, Paul was distraught that the Corinthians were allowing hypocrisy and pretense to remain unjudged. He did not want to come to them in harshness and make a public show of power. He wanted the matter to be taken care of by themselves through the order that God had already established.
That order is that Christ is the head of the church with authority to appoint under-shepherds who have the responsibility of exercising discipline first of all among themselves and then among the flock. (Hebrews 13:7)
This is very serious business.
smc

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