Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5.9-13, “9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.”
So we are not to associate (v. 11) with those who claim to be believers and yet are excommunicated from the church. We are not to eat with them (v. 11). In this way we are putting “away the evil person from among yourselves” (v. 13).
We have excommunicated 3 members in 6 years and all 3 to my knowledge still claim to be Christians. One is family. So do I really have to obey the Lord’s commands here? Since this family member doesn’t live in my house I believe I and all Christians not living with him should dis-associate, not eat with, and put him away from among them as long as he says he’s a Christian. I wasn’t sure that I would have the resolve to do this at a family party. But after reading 1 Kings 13 today, I have fresh resolve. I copied the section relevant to me obeying God today.
1 Kings 13.7-30
Then the king declared to the man of God, “Come home with me, refresh yourself, and I’ll give you a reward.”
But the man of God replied, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat bread or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of theLord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or go back the way you came.’” So he went another way; he did not go back by the way he had come to Bethel.
Now a certain old prophet was living in Bethel. His son came and told him all the deeds that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. His sons also told their father the words that he had spoken to the king. Then their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” His sons had seen the way taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him, and he got on it. He followed the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
“I am,” he said.
Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”
But he answered, “I cannot go back with you, eat bread, or drink water with you in this place, for a message came to me by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’”
He said to him, “I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate bread in his house, and drank water.
While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back, and the prophet cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lordsays: ‘Because you rebelled against the command of the Lord and did not keep the command that the Lord your God commanded you— but you went back and ate bread and drank water in the place that He said to you, “Do not eat bread and do not drink water”— your corpse will never reach the grave of your fathers.’”
So after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. When he left, a lion attacked him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too.
There were men passing by who saw the corpse thrown on the road and the lion standing beside it, and they went and spoke about it in the city where the old prophet lived. When the prophet who had brought him back from his way heard about it, he said, “He is the man of God who disobeyed the command of the Lord. The Lord has given him to the lion, and it has mauled and killed him, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke to him.”
Then the old prophet instructed his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” They saddled it, and he went and found the corpse of the man of God thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse or mauled the donkey. So the prophet lifted the corpse of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back. The old prophet came into the city to mourn and bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own grave, and they mourned over him: “Oh, my brother!”