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Summary: Tactful way of bringing the church back to the Biblical roots of accountability, responsibility, and discipline! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

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CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Forgotten Doctrine of the 21st Century

I Corinthians 5

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/ChurchDiscipline.html

The time to deal w/ church discipline is now…not because of any problems, but because there aren’t any problems. Our unity is at an all-time high…God’s power is upon this church, and this message is about how to keep it that way!

The last 30 years of the 20th century, and now in the 21st century, there are 3 attitudes which have become prevalent…they have become gods of our society…these 3 mindsets:

1. Open-mindedness

2. Total acceptance

3. Privacy

These are the gods of our society.

1. Open-mindedness

Is considered the highest of all character qualities in the day in which we live. I’m all for keeping an open mind, in the good sense of what that used to mean.

But, unfortunately, the open mind of the 21st century is a mind which says, there is no such thing as absolute truth…what’s true for you, may not be true for you…and vice versa…truth is relative to the circumstances…truth is constantly changing. Have you heard these things?

There was a time in our lifetime when you could appeal to the Bible in a time of controversy, even among the general public, and that settled it! That’s no longer true. Much of society today believes the Bible to be outdated. It says some good things, but let’s keep an open mind.

Politicians run for office on platforms of open-mindedness. Don’t take a stand on critical issues or you’ll be labeled as narrow-minded.

“It’s just an alternate lifestyle, and you’d understand if you weren’t so narrow-minded!”

We can point the finger at those people, but let’s face the facts:

The same attitude has crept into the church of today…so much so that preachers are afraid to deal w/ certain subjects…better not touch that one, don’t rock the boat! Wouldn’t want to offend anyone, that subject is controversial. (They wind up offending their best people, the most mature of their flock, who see the minority catered to…the whiners and gripers get their way…the squeaky wheel gets the oil!)

A local church member said something a few years ago, and it was repeated to me by one of our members, “Our pastor has sense enough not to deal w/ an issue like social drinking!”

The doctrine of church discipline described in tonight’s passage has for all practical purposes disappeared in recent years, as the church buys into the philosophy of open-mindedness.

2. Total acceptance

We are expected today, by those around us, to accept the behavior of everyone around us, no matter what it is. The cry of the day is “TOLERANCE!” And the price of intolerance is to be labeled a bigot.

The abortionist yells, “Don’t judge me, you have no right!”

The homosexual / fornicator / pervert…

We can clearly see the flaw in their thinking, but let’s not kid ourselves, that attitude has crept into the church.

Some church members today expect everyone to accept their behavior, no matter what it is… “You can like it, or lump it!” And if anyone dares to question them, what do you hear? “Don’t judge me!”

I count it my privilege to be your pastor…but did you know that I have no right to be your pastor? “What do you mean by that?” I know the vote was fair and positive, and I know God put us all together in His perfect will. What I’m saying is, that doesn’t entitle me to the position…I’m not indispensable…I’m not irreplaceable!

Ill.—Bill Cosby said to his fictitious children on the Cosby Show, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”

And God is big enough to deal with me if needed, and while He’s patient and longsuffering and forgiving, if I don’t respond to Him as my authority when He calls me on the carpet, He’s big enough to deal with me, why?…

…because He loves me. True discipline is an act of love. Discipline of our children is not an act of anger, it is to be an act of love. And love for our children isn’t displayed in saying yes to everything they want, sometimes love is saying no!

And while being your pastor is a great privilege, a great responsibility goes right along with it.

Many church members today have the idea that church membership is their right…when it is really a privilege. With membership goes responsibility, and accountability.

We have many people visiting our church right now, and they should take their time to make a God-led decision on membership. The church holds no authority over non-members. But there are certain expectations God holds for all of us as members of His church.

For that reason, I believe it is wrong to just attend a church indefinitely, w/out joining eventually, because of the lack of commitment in that. You say, I can be committed to this church w/out joining, I can attend, I can give, I can pray, I can serve the Lord! Maybe not in an official church ministry, but I can serve Him.

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Jackie Mccullough

commented on Oct 6, 2008

Good message Jerry. Accurate to the word and applicable. Thanks Jack

Gene Beezer

commented on Dec 26, 2008

Powerful message. Taking a stand may cause some stress, but doing so is the way to be blessed.

Jason Callihan

commented on Jun 4, 2009

Thank you for your sermon. Big help in my studies.

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