J N Darby – French Letter No. 125 – Excommunication and Restoration

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

London – 26th April 1881

To Mr P

Very dear Brother

As for the excommunicated brother who eats with his masters, to give thanks at table is fellowship just as much as at the Supper, and I could not do it with one excommunicated. The fact that does not matter to me, he works but I would be reserved, to say to him only what is needed, and in this particular case if this man goes well, he could perhaps regain his life.

As to the other case, if it is a scandalous sin, he would be excommunicated; the question of repentance would come afterwards. If a great lapse of time had passed and his soul has been really restored, and he had been already humbled and had shown this by his conduct, and finally the state of his soul had been clearly renewed by grace, then I would not put the thing on the carpet and especially in another place than that where sin had been committed. If he had always been in the same place, it would be necessary to confirm that the public conscience was satisfied as to this renewal. This case is presented in V, the same question many times. Sin remains sin, however many years have passed since it has been committed, until, for the soul, all is cleared before God and the conscience is in full communion with God in the light. The Lord has had to wash the feet so that the ashes of the red heifer are applied with water, twice over, to give, I believe, the sense of the seriousness of sin, because it is against the grace which is above the sin. Once communion is restored, it is necessary only to abide there. I believe that it is important to maintain the holiness of our relations with God; if it is not so, the power of communion, God’s secret, is lost, and there is a danger that the brethren go to sleep as to these matters; and both joy and the testimony are then lost, even when God does not withdraw His blessing. But I tell myself to stop.

Salute the brethren

Yours affectionately in Christ

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 124 – Excommunication and Restoration -2

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

March 1881

To Mr P

Very dear Brother,

Hidden sin is always a great evil for a soul and for an assembly. It may be that a soul is really humbled, and in this case there is no profit in publishing the evil, but it is something very delicate to take on oneself the responsibility of judging whether he who has sinned has been humbled. There are indeed things which do not appear in your account. Was the young man already in fellowship when he committed this sin? I suppose from your letter that he was converted, and if this was before being in fellowship, was there a long interval between his coming among us and his fault? He was not already married: this changes the character of the sin. If the interval between the sin and his reception has been short, there is room for asking if there has been lightness with him. To humble oneself when the fact is known can be sincere because of the work of God, but the matter can hardly be avoided – what of course one would prefer – that it should go farther. If he is indeed broken and humbled, it is better for the peace of all and the glory of God that things should rest; because sin made public tends to make the mind get used to sin, which is a great evil. I hope he will no longer feel ‘at the head of the assembly’, but, without pointing it out, that he will hold himself more in reserve. Your great concern is, not to pursue him, but to be completely assured that he is humbled. It will show itself in his spirit, in his walk, and in your discussions with him. How long had he been converted when he sinned? Was he then already active in the assembly, exercising a ministry, when he continued to do it? All this says a lot about the state of his soul, and the judgment that he would have of the facts that I list would say a lot more about his present state. As the responsibility lies, when you wrote to me, on you and on X, you will do well to be clear on these points. If the affair is indeed past, and judged, there is no benefit in putting it back on the carpet; but that is the question. God does not lightly dress the wound of his people, but, in his sovereign grace, He does not remember pardoned sin any more. The interval is something, but a sin not judged is a present sin.

Salute the brethren affectionately

Yours affectionately in Christ

—-

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 110 – Sad News of a Wayward Brother

December 1873

To Mr P

Very dear Brother,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

… He was, and I have said this to him, entirely under the influence of this guilty inclination, fallen in heart, if not in body. And when one is thus, in a state of folly and bondage: one deceives oneself, one knows it, and one deceives oneself still. And nothing astonishes me about what has created this state. Look at the beginning of the book of Proverbs; see the epistle to the Corinthians, and how the apostle goes over this point. I do not say that our brother’s soul will not be restored, but I do not know if he has recognised all his prevarication, and how he seeks to avoid the accusations, while doing evil; but once in a fault, with the reputation of Christian and minister, one is guilty of all. This is not hypocrisy, it is the deceitfulness of the flesh. It is a state of soul in those who judge and I do not believe can be the fruit of the Spirit of the Lord. To judge the act, the evil, the loss of truthfulness, everything natural is in the state where this poor friend was, is all very well. But to judge evil as severely as it deserves, is something else than to say that the one who does evil is hypocritical. I fear that he is not bottomed as he must. But there is little spiritual power to restore among the brethren. For there has been among them a very strong reaction following the great confidence they had in him. They feel wounded in their affection, their confidence betrayed. In this I sympathise with them, but their spiritual judgment will have had to rise above the inward wounds of heart. I understand them; but personal regret, however just it may be, does not suit a judge, and in this case they are in the position of judges. However, it is time that the same things are severely smitten … What heartbreak, what a humiliation, what a disgrace it is to the Lord! I am surprised at His goodness, I may say, in not judging, because if God does not keep us, we are all capable of doing this too; but it gives us to think much of the danger in which the Lord’s workmen are, and particularly when, by having superior light, they are put forward. My consolation is that the Lord manifests His government here: it is a sorrowful way to learn but the thing that one learns is very precious.

Pinkerton[2] has found much encouragement; he is now in Syria; he has imported with him a press to print tracts in Arabic; a local person is able to work with him. I have blessed God indeed. In Haifa also, he has found opened doors, this will also tend to enlarge the brethren’s horizon, although it is in a certain sense still within the kingdom.

Everywhere here where Christ is fully announced one finds a numerous and attentive audience, souls everywhere are famished. The Nationalists[3] have been compelled to begin a kind of mission in the churches, which has equally attracted a lot of the world. The floods of evil rise, but evidently God works; the Lord is waited for more. There must be much to encourage in the work here, for one can only suffer here; but He who does all will do His work …

 

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Corinthians

In first Corinthians, we have the internal responsible ordering of the church by the guidance and power of the Spirit of God. In the second epistle he explains the power of life in Christ, connecting His work, so as to bring in the righteousness of God. He contrasts it with law in chapter 3, showing its supremacy over death in every way.

Outline of Bible cover1 Corinthians

In first Corinthians, we have the internal responsible ordering of the church by the guidance and power of the Spirit of God. Paul acts with it, asserting his own authority in case of need. He begins by owning the power of the Spirit amongst them in gift, and recognises the grace that would keep them to the end. In chaps. 1 and 2, he presses the power of that Spirit in contrast with the wisdom of the flesh, asserting that we, as believers, have the Spirit to search what the eye has not seen nor the ear heard. These things are revealed by the Spirit to whomsoever God pleases, communicated by the Spirit, and received through the Spirit. We thus have revelation, inspired communication, and reception. Also an important thing is that we have the mind of Christ.

Having shown that he had rightly laid the foundation, in chap. 3, the apostle puts the building of God’s building on the responsibility of those who carry it on. He defends his own ministry and authority (chap. 4), and then faces the matter of purity and their conduct, insisting on their exercising discipline on the wicked man. He also covers going to law, marriage, and eating things offered to idols (chaps. 5-8). He again defends his own ministry, and calls their attention to the fact that they may be partakers of sacraments and be lost after all. In connection with the Lord’s supper, he presses the point of not mixing themselves up with idolatry (chaps. 9, 10). Then, in chapter 11, he treats of comeliness in spiritual service, praying or prophesying, Christ being the Head of all men, and men subordinate. From verse 17, we have order in the assembly, especially at the Lord’s supper. He contrasts God’s discipline with condemnation.

The subject of spiritual manifestation follows: the place that gifts hold, the unity of the body, and individual membership of it (chap. 12). Note that gifts are of the Spirit; administration by them is under the Lord; the operations are of God. He shows the more excellent way – love is better than the best gifts, (chap. 13). In chapter 14, he returns to the gifts, and shows that those who have gifts and understanding are subject to one another. So all are edified. Then in chap. 15 we have resurrection, Christ’s glory, an our place in it. Lastly, chap. 16, he refers to the collection for the saints. At the close we get, in the diverse salutations, the abiding liberty of individual ministry – the principle of some giving themselves up to the Lord’s service among the saints, and that all such are to be respected and submitted to.

 

2 Corinthians

Paul had received news from Titus that his first epistle had its effect. He had just been in danger of his life, and, now speaking freely to the Corinthians, he opens up his heart at about it, and explains why he did not come to them on his way to Macedonia. In the first five chapters he explains the power of life in Christ, connecting His work, so as to bring in the righteousness of God. He contrasts it with law in chapter 3, showing its supremacy over death in every way.  In chapter 4, he shows that the practical power of life may be in earthen vessels and that this power of God. The vessel is held to be dead under the cross. Hence only eternal things are looked at; and we do not know Christ after the flesh. The Lord helps His own. Chapter 5 gives us deliverance from judgment as an occasion of fear, while it urges by the love of Christ to deal with men’s souls. We have the ministry of reconciliation, and are to be ambassadors for Christ, saying, “Be reconciled to God.”

In chapter 6, he urges entire separation from the world in order to have a relationship with the Father. He presses their perfecting holiness in the fear of God, while recognising their integrity and their repentance, the news of which had comforted his spirit (chap. 7). He next enlarges upon the collection for the saints (chaps. 8, 9), and is then, against his will, forced to legitimise his ministry by speaking of himself (chaps. 10, 11). He closes that part by reference to his being caught up to the third heaven. His strength, though, did not flow directly from that, but from the power of Christ working in his weakness. He was a little uneasy lest not all should be right, and he be forced to be what they might not like (chap. 12). Lastly, in chapter 13, he appeals to their own certainty of their being Christians as proof of Christ’s speaking by him.

 

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes, July 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original