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The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, "You must remove the evil person from among you."
— 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California, shares the Gospel with a sold-out crowd of 19,000 for Harvest America at the American Airlines Center and Victory Park in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 5, 2014. | (Photo: rever Hoehne for Harvest Ministries)

When I'm around nonbelievers, I don't expect them to behave like believers. I don't hold them to the standards of Christians. But sometimes Christians will get really uptight around nonbelievers. They used a cuss word. They said something that is contrary to my faith.

I am not saying that we should condone everything that nonbelievers say or do. But I am saying that we should love them, be kind to them, and engage them as much as we can. We want to build a bridge to nonbelievers.

The apostle Paul told the believers at Corinth, "When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn't talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that" (1 Corinthians 5:9–10).

If we break off all communication with nonbelievers, then how will they ever become believers? So we do want to have relationships with people who don't know the Lord. The goal is to win them to Christ.

But there are certain people whom the Bible says we are not to associate with. Paul said, "You are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don't even eat with such people" (verse 11).

The apostle was talking about those who claim to be Christians but are engaged in sexual sin, are drunkards, or are involved in the other things that he mentioned. Paul was saying, "Don't hang out with those people. In fact, don't even have lunch with them." Why? Because they will drag you down spiritually.

Copyright © 2015 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000 Used with Permission

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