My Thoughts . . .
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 NIV).
Warnings like the above are given several times in the New Testament. Satan may have appeared to Adam and Eve as a serpent, but today he dresses up and appears educated and appealing. The image some have created and laughed over is a man with a swinging tail all dressed in red. The devil is not stupid but uses his intellect to make fools of some of the world’s smartest people. Jesus warned “take heed what you hear” ((Mark 4:24). The Corinthian church had members who had received the gift of prophecy, yet they did not remain on that inspired road. This led to confusion during the assembly (1 Corinthians 14). God is not the author of confusion, but church members have often dressed themselves in that mantle (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
1 John 4:1 was written by the apostle to Christians and congregations in the first century. Those assemblies were made up of the “saved” (Acts 2:47 ASV). Those assemblies were referred to as “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Jesus was the head of his body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Paul wrote a letter to the membership of saved individuals in the city of Corinth. Among that membership were prophets who received inspired messages from God. Yet those prophets were involved in Corinth’s Sunday error of confusion.
Although the saved in Corinth needed correcting, only ONE MEMBER was delivered to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5). Correction was needed by all, yet despite their rejection of Paul as an apostle, denying the resurrection, the weekly confusion in their assemblies, and the rest of their multiple faults, none but that one individual lost his fellowship with God. That fact makes the two Corinthian letters a thorn in the side of some interpretations on withdrawing fellowship that is being practiced today.
In today’s church, most have experienced one or multiple divisions where they attend. In those divisions, both sides claim to be right. Fellowship is usually lost and rarely regained. In most, the topic which led to the cessation of fellowship is based more on control than scripture. That fact makes the withdrawing of fellowship contradictory to how God dealt with the church in Corinth.
The Holy Spirit was not as demanding as modern-day believers are when it comes to withdrawing fellowship from one another! We could learn a great lesson from God if we would open our hearts to His instruction. Sadly, the lesson of 1 and 2 Corinthians remains lost to those who need it most.