Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. - Matthew 18:15-17.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. - Corinthians 5:4-5.
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. - Jude 1:22-23.
In Austin, Minnesota, a three-year-old boy became trapped inside of a toy chest claw machine at the Godfather’s Pizza place. Devin crawled into the machine through a discharge chute. The space crawled through was about seven by nine inches in size. Firefighters who responded to the emergency had to pry the machine open to get to the boy. However, Devin being surrounded by stuffed animals had no desire to leave.
The Fire Chief, Dan Wilson, stated, "When we got it open, he didn't want to come out. One of my firefighters had to reach inside and get him. He was happy in there.”
Some people are like a three-year-old in a toy machine - they do not want to leave. They want their sins and they do not want to give them up. That is the condition of many people before salvation and it sadly is the condition that some find themselves in even after they know the Lord.
What should our response be to the lost who appear to be perfectly happy being lost? What should be our response to those who know the Lord but who appear to be perfectly happy living like the devil?
Some will say and think things like, "Live and let live”, "That’s their choice” and, "It’s not hurting me.” Is that what we are to do? Nothing?
No, the example and instructions of the Bible are clear. We are not to leave them alone. We are to be proactive and do all we can to shock them and to drag them, kicking and screaming if necessary, out of the Devil’s toy machine. Someone who has an addiction is usually not able to think clearly. Someone who has become involved in adultery or sexual sins is probably not thinking clearly. Someone who is involved in sin most likely has a flaw in their thinking processes and we as Christians should try to intervene to every extent possible.
How should we intervene? We should confront them with the spiritual truth of their situation just as the prophet Nathan confronted David with the truth about his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12). In Matthew 18 we are given instructions about how to proceed. If they will listen to you like David listened to Nathan fine. If not, take one or two more with you and continue to confront them. A practice of the church at that time was to take such a person to the church and if they would not then change - fellowship with the church was withdrawn. That is what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians. This was done for two reasons. First, to protect the church. Second, to try to bring the person to their senses so that they would return to God.
How should we intervene in the life of a lost person? We have the instructions of Jude 1, "snatch others from the fire….” We should actively work in the lives of the lost even if they appear to be happy in their toy machine. We should pray for them, visit them, witness to them, invite them to church, send them tracts, give them tracts, send them emails, write them letters, etc. We must not give up on them!
The spiritual fact is that many are happy in the Devil’s toy machine but to leave them there would be like leaving a three-year-old trapped inside of a claw machine with the stuffed animals.