NT Church - Open sin within the congregation is judged.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are (1Cor. 3:16,17). But now I have written unto you not to keep company with any man that is called a brother, who is a fornicator (guilty of immorality), or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler (slanderer), or a drunkard, or an extortioner (a swindler); not even to eat with such a person (1 Cor. 5:11).

We live in a society that has become very tolerant of sin. It is considered loving to tolerate sin in others in order to win their friendship. This outlook has twisted the attitude of many local churches toward sin. We have forgotten that the local body of believers is the temple of God and it must be kept holy. If we tolerate sin in the church, then the believers cannot be a light to a dark world. If we tolerate sin within our own body, it will soon spread to other members of the body. This applies to acts of immorality as well as false teaching. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump". In 1 Cor. 5:6 this applies to immorality that is not judged; in Gal. 5:9 it applies to false doctrine that is not repudiated. A local church will not survive very long as an effective testimony unless evil is judged.

A distinguishing mark of a New Testament church is that immorality and false doctrine are brought to light and judged without hesitation or delay. The church at Corinth was actually proud of its toleration of evil. The Apostle wrote to them: "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you (1 Cor. 5:2). He left no doubt as to what he would have done were he present with them. "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed" (1 Cor. 5:3). It is not possible to be an effective witness in your neighborhood if you are affiliated with a church whose reputation is marred by evil in its midst. It is also almost inevitable that your children will be influenced by this course of moderation toward evil behavior. In fact, given time, it is a certainty that in your own personal life you will begin to take the easy road of toleration. Confrontation is always harder than toleration.

The questions then to be asked in looking for a New Testament Church are: Does the congregation express shock and concern when one of its own falls into open sin? When open sin becomes known to those in the fellowship, do they make it known to the elders or do they seek to hide it and tolerate it? Do the elders take decisive action when they learn about open sin in the congregation?

The answer to these questions are vital in these last days. Without holiness in the church, we soon take on the characteristics of professed Christendom in the last days which is described as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:5). We become like the church at Sardis of which it was written: "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev. 3:1).