Some within the church are of the mind set that you can't withdraw fellowship from those who have "quit the church". They say it is akin to firing someone who has quit their job. First of all, the Lord's church is not a job. It is a kingdom with a King. The Bible alludes to only two kingdoms. You are either in the Lord's, or Satan's. If you "quit" the Lord's, than guess what, you are in Satan's kingdom (Mt 12:30, Rms 6:16). Are we willing to fellowship those in Satan's kingdom? I don't think so! Paul likens it to being in the military (Phil 2:25, 2Tim 2:3-4). You can not just "quit" the military. But for the sake of argument, let's look at it in the context of a job. Most employers have rules and regulations, even for quitting. If one day you just stop showing up for work, most employers contact you and fire you in some manner, whether you think you quit or not!
Another argument is that the use of Paul's term "disorderly" in 2Thes 3:4-6 has only to do with those who are busybodies and will not work. I want to start first with reading Heb 10:22-29:
Heb 10:22-29 = 22)Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23)Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24)And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25)
In answering our question "is forsaking the assembly grounds for disfellowship?", one must
first decide if, according to Hebrews chapter 10, deliberately missing a series of worship assemblies is a sin against God?
Before we answer, let's look a little deeper and see if God requires us to be a part of a local congregation:
1) God, through His word, assumes and implies that a believer will be part of a local congregation of the Lord s church (1Cor 11:17-34). A body (church) can not function unless there is unity of operation among it's members. God never calls upon his children to be "Lone Rangers", but to be unified with other believers as a fighting unit against the wiles of Satan (2Cor 10:3-6). (See also 1Cor 1:10, 12:12-27, Eph 1:22-23, 4:1-5, 4:11-16)
#2) The local congregation is the only place we can fulfill a majority of our spiritual needs and requirements: Fellowship, encouragement, accountability (including discipline), prayers, benevolence, edification, communion, worship, motivation, giving, preaching, and many others. (See Rms 12:3-13, 1Cor 11:18-20, 16:1-2, Heb 10:24-29, Eph 4:1-5, 11-16)
#3) The Lord expects his disciples to be part of the local congregation under an Eldership (See Acts 20:28, 1Thes 5:11-14, Titus 1:5, Heb 13:17).
#4) It is also interesting to note that when God put forth His New Testament, a large portion was distributed through epistles to local congregations. Note especially His final revelation (The book of Revelations), which was given as a message through specific congregations.
With all of this in mind, I think it would be safe to say that yes, God most certainly wants His children to be part of a local congregation of His church. That being the case, and with regards to Hebrews 10:22-29, I submit to you that it is a most faithful and trustworthy saying that says "any brother or sister in Christ, who deliberately stops attending the local congregation's worship assemblies, is in a lost and sinful state before God Almighty".
So, seeing that a brother or sister IS committing sin when they forsake the assembly of the
church, would they not then be guilty of walking disorderly?
Let's define "disorderly" as it is used in 2Thes 3:4-6:
2Thes 3:4-6 4)And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the
things we command you. 5)Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of
Christ. 6)But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every
brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
Strong's #814 = "disorderly" (Greek: ataktws)
1) disorderly, out of ranks (often so of soldiers)
2) irregular, inordinate, immoderate pleasures
3) deviating from the prescribed order or rule
If ANY and ALL sins do not fit into the meaning of "walking disorderly", as used by Paul in
2Thes 3:4-6, then I am at a loss as to the method of logic and reasoning that draws such a conclusion.
Consider also the following scriptures:
1Jhn 3:4 = Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
2Jhn 1:9-11 = 9)Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. 10)He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 11)If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; For he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
The Lord's church (each and every faithful Christian) MUST disfellowship themselves from any and all unfaithful brethren, or they WILL be held accountable by God as per His word (Jhn 12:48). And PLEASE remember the two ultimate goals are to bring a sinner back from death (Jms 5:19-20), and, to keep the church pure (1Cor 5:4-8)! Are there any more lofty and noble goals?
Article: When Christ Withdraws His Fellowship
Article: Church Discipline - A Tragic Neglect
Article: Does Matt 18:20 Sanction
sight under construction at this time