Church Discipline (Part 2)

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
When you hear the words “church discipline,” is your response “I don’t want the church in my business!” If it is, consider that church discipline is not intended to embarrass a person–in reality, it is a necessary part of maintaining order within the church and a recognition of authority of Jesus Christ. As Christ is the head of the church and the head of the body of Christ, there is a structure within the church that requires recognizing the need for correction when necessary, but it also requires that you care about the spiritual well-being of the person who is being corrected (1 Corinthians 12:25; Galatians 6:1; Psalm 142:4). Even pastors are subject to church discipline. Church discipline, in its proper use, prevents a person or persons from getting puffed up.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

We need to understand that discipline is necessary to not allow sin to be permissible through the body because its ongoing presence is destructive not just to one, but to the entire body of Christ. It is important to be cautious of any sin in our midst, for it will spread if it is not checked.

Through grace, God has joined Himself to us. He comes in holiness and demands the reflection of His character within His church (Psalm 93:5; 1 Peter 1:16). Discipline is a tool that God uses to train us to move in the right direction.

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline is commanded by Jesus.

Matthew 18:17-18
17 If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. 18 I assure you: Whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.

The church should always be involved in discipline as it shares with the person who is being counseled what Scripture has to say about the issue. Jesus Christ is always part of the process. The church is an assembly of the body of Christ, and Jesus is in the midst of the group. Everyone present is to seek wisdom from God in prayer.

1 Corinthians 5:4-5
When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.

Titus 3:10-11
10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.

Heresy (a heretic) manifests itself in three different ways:
1. An unbeliever who has his or her own opinion.
2. The professional, “Sunday morning” believer.
3. The practical disbeliever…insincere and has own perception of life and spirituality.

All are divisive persons who cause division and disagreement within the church. A body of believers, after prayer, consideration of the fellowship, and counsel with the offender, can conclude that it is best for the heretic to depart from the church to avoid any further disruption if there is no reconciliation.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; 8 we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. 10 In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” 11 For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but interfering with the work of others. 12 Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ that quietly working, they may eat their own food. 13 Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

14 And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet don’t treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Discipline is also important in the life of the believer. Do not live according to the teaching of those who are moving in the wrong direction. Staying busy in your work or vocation keeps you put of trouble. In all of this, the most important lesson is to never get tired of doing what is right.

Discipline is to always be carried out in love and humility. God still deals with all of His people with love and grace and seeks to heal and to restore them (2 Samuel 12; Jonah 1:17; 2 Timothy 3:16). The purpose of all discipline is to win back the person in sin (Galatians 6:1).

The Holy Spirit will manifest the fruit of the Spirit…with love, long-suffering, and gentleness (2 Corinthians 2:4-8).

The church congregation is to express this love and to stand firm in its conviction (1 Corinthians 2:9, 5:4).

The discipline on on the individual is to gain a brother or a sister (2 Thessalonians 3:15) and that spirits can be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5).

1 Timothy 1:20
Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them, and I have delivered them to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

2 Timothy 2:25
…instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.

Disciplines effect upon the church: sin is dealt with in an appropriate manner in order that others may know it.

Joshua 7:19-25
19 So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and make a confession to Him. I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”

20 Achan replied to Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent, and there was the cloak, concealed in his tent, with the money underneath. 23 They took the things from inside the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out in the Lord’s presence.

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, and sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? Today the Lord will trouble you!” So all Israel stoned them to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them.

Romans 2:24
For, as it is written: The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.

1 Timothy 6:1
All who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters to be worthy of all respect, so that God’s name and His teaching will not be blasphemed.

1 Timothy 5:20
Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.

Discipline is necessary in that it is not about causing anyone embarrassment; instead, the result is that justice is done.

2 Corinthians 7:11
For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter.

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