What Does Delivered Over to Satan Mean?

Would you explain the words “delivered over to Satan” as spoken by Paul of certain men in 1 Corinthians 5:5 and 1 Timothy 1:20?

In 1 Corinthians 5:5 we read, “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 Jesus.” In 1 Timothy 1:20 we read, “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

In Romans 6:17, 18 we read, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” When one becomes a Christian, there is a transfer of ownership. That ownership is transferred from sin and Satan to righteousness and God. 1 John 3:10 states, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” When one is born into the family of God, one stops being the child of the Devil and starts being the child of God. In Galatians 4:6 we read, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” When a person becomes a child of God, they are delivered into the care and keeping of their heavenly Father.

But what happens when a Christian leaves the ways of Christ and goes back to their old ways of sinfulness? Are they not delivered back into the clutches of Satan? Do they not return to their old father, Satan? In fact, this is exactly what happens. We read in 2 Peter 2:20-22 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” When a child of God chooses to go back to Satan, God honors their free choice and delivers them back over.

Paul’s statement regarding his delivering them to Satan is merely the earthly recognition that this person has chosen not to walk in the ways of Christ and is once again under condemnation unless true repentance can be found in their life. In the case of the man at Corinth, he was engaged in such sin so as to cut himself off from the hope of salvation. Paul tells the church to “deliver him to Satan,” that is, to acknowledge that he has chosen to no longer live the life of the Christian and to withdraw fellowship from him. In the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander, Paul himself delivered those two to Satan for making shipwreck of the faith. They were teaching false doctrine and Paul withdrew fellowship for this reason.

When the church withdraws fellowship from individuals, they state that there is nothing more that we, as the church, can do to help this individual. He or she is now under the ownership of Satan, no longer servants of God, been delivered over from the care of God to the dominion of Satan. The one withdrawn from has been delivered to Satan. The purpose for such action is to get those who are guilty to repent, by cutting them off from the blessings and benefits that they would normally enjoy in fellowship with the church. Additionally, he is cut off from the spiritual blessings that he would have in a right relationship with God. Such knowledge should cause one disciplined to realize the error which he has committed and return to God�s grace by repenting and confessing sin before the church. This then reestablishes the relationship with the church and with God.

The statement, “delivered over to Satan” refers to the final act of disfellowship which the church pronounces upon those who refuse to repent of sin. With such an act, it is acknowledged by the church that this individual no longer serves God, but Satan, and thus is not under the care of God, but the dominion of Satan.

Posted in Kevin Cauley | Tagged , , | Comments Off on What Does Delivered Over to Satan Mean?

Is Dating Wrong?

Could you go over the wrongs of dating like Willie (Franklin) did? My boyfriend says it’s stupid. Should I agree?

The information to which the question is referring was heard at the recent youth rally in Springfield at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ. Willie Franklin was the speaker and he had some good things to say regarding dating. I can’t put words into Willie Franklin’s mouth and he is going to be here for our youth rally in August, so I will let him explain his own self in this regard. However, I would like to take the opportunity to share some information from God’s word that certainly would apply to dating. So let’s look at a few things at this time.

Dating as we know it today is a relatively new concept in the history of the world. In ancient times, one’s wife was often taken from his own family. Abraham’s wife, Sarah was his half sister (Genesis 20:12). Jacob’s wives, Rachel and Leah were cousins (Genesis 24:29). Women were also treated as property and the prospective husband sometimes had to earn his wife by working for her or paying a dowry. This is the situation that we see in regard to Jacob (Genesis 21:15-30). The Father of the bride was usually the one to make the decision as to who the girl could be wed and this was also the case in New Testament times as well. We read in 1 Corinthians 7:36-38 that it was the Father’s decision as to whether or not the available daughter could be married. Additionally, there are some instances of marriage in the Bible where the man merely chooses his bride with no indication of the father’s consent such as Cain in Genesis 2:17. Another such example was David and Abigail (1 Samuel 25:39). Still, the decision seems chiefly to be that of the man and not of the woman. So there was not a lot of dating in the times of the Old and New Testaments. Marriages were arranged in advance or the decision was made by the father or the bride-groom and that was it.

In today’s modern dating scene, things are much different. Much of the time, the family is taken out of the equation all together. Men and women who meet each other today usually have not grown up with each other and do not know each other very well. There are some exceptions to this, but those who eventually become husbands and wives don’t start out in life knowing each other and usually their families don’t know each other either. This means that there has to be a period of time for the man to get to know the woman and vice versa. This is usually done today via what is called dating.

The problem with dating today is that the expectation of those who go on dates is to get to know someone intimately, i.e. passionately. This usually involves kissing and hugging, and many worldlings who date often engage in petting and sexual intercourse. Let me make it clear that heavy kissing, close body contact, petting, and sexual intercourse before marriage are sinful. The Bible calls this kind of behavior lasciviousness. The basic meaning behind this word is causing sexual excitement through lack of restraint; it also involves engaging in lewd or lustful behavior. Jesus condemns this in Mark 7:22 as one of the evils that come from the heart. Paul condemns the church at Corinth for practicing this particular sin in 2 Corinthians 12:21. It is listed as one of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19. So engaging in heavy kissing (what Willie called “sucking face”) and intimately close body contact is sinful. Of course, petting (that is, hand to genital contact) and having sex before marriage is sinful as well.

Now let me state that there is nothing specifically wrong with hugging and kissing as long as such behavior is done in a chaste way. Romans 16:16 says salute one another with a HOLY kiss. There is a way to kiss that does not arouse sexual desires. There is a way to hug that does not arouse sexual desires. Both men and women know how to do this. It is not a great mystery. If, however, you are kissing and hugging to arouse sexual desire, then you need to put a stop to it if you are not married. Marriage is the proper place for sexual activity. Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Sexual activity outside of marriage is at best putting oneself in the way of temptation and at worst sinful. Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Sexual desire is certainly a lust which wars against the soul and as such those who are not married should abstain from it.

Does that mean that you can’t go out on dates? No, but it does mean that you need to set some rules. So here is my advice in this regard: young men and ladies, you should let your date know that you are not interested in him or her as an object of sexual desire. You should tell your date that you have no desire to engage in heavy kissing, close bodily contact, petting or sexual relations. If your date wants to get physical in this regard then you need to instruct him or her that you are ready to go home. If you are dating another Christian, then this should not be a problem. If you are dating a non-Christian, then you as the Christian are going to have to make things clear to your date in this regard. If your date tells you that he or she is not interested in observing such rules, then the bottom line is that person is not worthy of you as a potential mate and you need to find someone who is. If you, as a Christian, can behave appropriately on a date and not engage in sinful behavior, then dating can be fun and rewarding as you get to know other people (hopefully Christians). However, if you engage in activities that stimulate sexual desire, then dating will be a life long regret that you carry with you until the day that you die. I beg you, young people, take heed to these things. I can tell you story after story of men and women who destroyed their lives because they did not respect God’s will in this regard. Don’t do the same to your life. Young men, if you have questions in this regard, talk to any of the married or older men here. Young ladies, if you have questions in this regard, talk to any of the married or older women here. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in this regard. We love you and we don’t want you to have to learn the hard way.

Now, in regard to the question you asked, “My boyfriend says it’s stupid. Should I agree?” I would say that if your boyfriend is only interested in you to satisfy his sexual desires, then he is the one who is stupid. You are NEVER stupid when you obey God. You are wise. So my answer is that you should NOT agree with your boyfriend in this regard. Don’t let your boyfriend push you into doing something that you know is wrong. Your boyfriend is not worth your relationship with God–that comes first.

Posted in Kevin Cauley | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Is Dating Wrong?

Were the Bereans Believers?

In the 17th chapter of Acts, were those Paul preached to in the synagogues in Thessalonica and Berea already believers or became believers after hearing Paul?

This is a good and interesting question because it takes us back to the context in which a very familiar scripture is often used. Acts 17:11 says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” A majority of the time, we use this scripture to encourage Christians to search the word of God to make sure that what is being taught is true. And there is nothing wrong with making that application of this particular scripture. The original context in which it was written, however, was in regard to non-Christians. Let’s look at Acts 17 and see what the context of this verse is.

In Acts 17:1 Paul and his companions arrived at Thessalonica where a Jewish synagogue was found. Upon finding this place, as was Paul’s custom, he began to preach the gospel to the Jewish people there. Verse 4 says that “some” of the Jews believed; it also says that many of the gentiles believed as well. However, the passage says that of the Jews that did not believe, they stirred up trouble in the city for Paul. Verse 10 finds Paul and Silas being sent away from Thessalonica to the small town of Berea. Here again, as was Paul’s custom, he entered into the synagogue of the Jews and preached the gospel to them. These, however, were more noble than those in Thessalonica. As a result of their nobility, verse 12 says that “many” of them believed. However, the Jews in Thessalonica came to Berea and continued to cause trouble for Paul and Silas.

The question as stated above really answers itself. One cannot become a believer until one has heard the word of God and accepted it, for faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). So whether a person was living in Thessalonica or Berea, he had to hear someone preach the gospel before he became a Christian/a believer. So those in the synagogues were not believers until after they heard Paul preach the gospel.

The questioner, however, already knows this so I am not sure that this is what is being asked. If I remember correctly, the question was originally raised in the context of Acts 17:11. In that verse, a comparison is made between those in Thessalonica and those in Berea. Those in Berea were “more noble” than those in Thessalonica. Perhaps the questioner is asking whether this particular verse is in reference to Christians being nobler than other Christians or unbelievers being nobler than other unbelievers. If this is not true, then the questioner may correct me on this, but I believe that this was the context out of which this question was asked and I would like to address this more specific question.

The comparison between those in Thessalonica and those in Berea more likely refers to unbelievers. The unbelievers in Thessalonica were belligerent with Paul and Silas. The text says, “But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.” This was not the attitude of the Jews at Berea. In contrast, their attitude is recorded in verse 11, “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” So it was not a case of the Bereans studying the scriptures MORE than those in Thessalonica as much as it was the case of their having a completely different attitude toward the word of God. The one not only rejected it, but stirred up trouble; the other received the word and then followed up to make sure the things that were taught were true. Consequently we see a different result in Berea than in Thessalonica. We see in verse 4 that “some” of the Jews believed in Thessalonica. However in verse 12 we read that “many” of the Jews believed in Berea.

So does this passage apply to us today as Christians? Absolutely. The principle is one of a noble attitude toward the preaching of the word of God verses an ignoble or base attitude toward the preaching of the word of God. Christians ought always to have a noble attitude toward the preaching of the word of God. They should receive the word and search the scriptures to see if the things taught are so. Christians should not behave in such a way as the unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica and try to stir up trouble regarding those who are preaching the gospel of Christ. The attitude of the Bereans is going to produce good fruit; the attitude of the Thessalonians is going to produce division. So in that regard, we should be noble like the Bereans and not ignoble like the Thessalonians.

Posted in Kevin Cauley | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Were the Bereans Believers?