“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.” – Matthew 13:47-48
In Matthew 13:47-48, Jesus is speaking about the end-of-time judgment. Still, for every person, our last opportunity to be saved is in our moment of death. So, the first question that I see from what Jesus said is, “How do you and I know if we are ‘good fish’?” Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has provided us with ample promises in the Scriptures for us to know. For example, “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:24
A Wide Net
However, the Church casts a wide net and draws into itself both true believers and believers in name only. It is the responsibility of the ordained leadership to deal with false Christians within the Church. This is an aspect of church governance.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. – Acts 20:28
Great harm can be done to new, weak, or wayward Christians when the laity assumes the role of church governance by taking it upon themselves to confront a person they’ve discerned as a ‘bad fish’ within their fellowship. By this, I don’t mean to imply that the laity is to take a laissez-faire attitude, but we all should operate within our commissioning within our church. “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (Romans 14:1)”
The Church has a long history of “killing” its wounded. It takes divine discernment for each of us to distinguish between a weak Christian and a person that is still of this world. Thankfully, when the Church functions as Jesus intends, then the whole Church is blessed.
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