Summary: The Bible teaches that when a member of the church errs in doctrine or conduct, the other members should hold him accountable and seek to restore him.
Becoming a Peacemaker in the Local Church
1. The words “disciple” and “discipline” come from the same root word which has to do with education or learning.
2. The church should be a place where learning is taking place so that believers can, in turn, become mature, Christ-like disciples. The local church should be a place where learning and living the Bible is natural and normal.
3. There should be an environment in the church that encourages learning and encourages demonstrating Christ-like maturity in our walk with the Lord.
4. Division, contention, discord, and unresolved conflicts are extremely detrimental in creating an atmosphere of learning and spiritual growth.
• Illustration: If a school classroom is full of fighting, bickering, chaos, and confusion, it creates a poor environment of learning. The same is true in a church.
5. This is why the Bible teaches that if there is a person or group of people that are threatening the unity of the church or the doctrinal soundness of the church, the members and leaders of that local body have a responsibility to deal with that individual and seek to restore peace to the local body.
6. Our God is not a God of chaos, but a God of order and structure. He expects His church to function this way. 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40
7. The Bible teaches that when a member of the church errs in doctrine or conduct, the other members should hold him accountable and seek to restore him.
8. If that person refuses to listen and is determined to continue on the path of sin or discord, then the other members may have to separate themselves, and the leadership may have to ask him to remove himself from the local body. Romans 16:17-18;
• Keep in mind, this is after a lengthy process of attempted restoration.
9. Why is God so emphatic about this?
First, because the church is to maintain a testimony of unity and purity
1. Christ’s purpose for the church is to sanctify it and present it to himself without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27). Everything in the church should aim towards this goal.
• The church is to be a light in a sin darkened world. Philippians 2:15
• Our life and our love should demonstrate to the world that we belong to Christ. John 13:35
2. If a church member is involved in serious misconduct or is creating contention and turmoil, this brings defilement to the church and its testimony. This is exactly what happened in the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 5:1
• Paul strongly reprimanded this man for his gross sin.
• Nothing was being done about it by the local body, so Paul also expressed his displeasure to the church for allowing such misconduct to continue. 5:2
3. Paul uses the illustration of leaven, which in the Bible is a picture of sin. He says, “Remove the leaven.” 5:6-7
• When it comes to matters such as these, the welfare of the church is at stake. Clearly, Paul taught that the leaven was to be cleaned out. The other members had to hold the man accountable. They couldn’t just sweep it under the rug.