Summary: This sermon explains the Biblical position and process of church discipline.
By: Pastor J. B. Hall
1. I Corinthians 5:6 – 8 (Read) – Purging out the leaven, i.e. old lifestyle, malice, and wickedness, is essential for the spiritual health and testimony of a church.
A. Leaven – def. 2. Any thing which makes a general change in the mass. It generally means something which corrupts or depraves that with which it is mixed. 2. To excite fermentation in; to raise and make light, as dough or paste.
B. Malice – def. n. L.malitia, from malus, evil. Extreme enmity of heart, or malevolence; a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge; unprovoked malignity or spite.
C. Wickedness – def. n. Departure from the rules of the divine law; evil disposition or practices; immorality; crime; sin; sinfulness; corrupt manners; Wickedness generally signifies evil practices.
D. We are instructed to keep the feast – Proverbs 15:15b says, “…but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
E. Here, feast is most likely speaking of the whole course of Christian living, spent in the exercise of spiritual joy and faith in Christ.
F. But, instead of keeping the feast of the Christian life with the old leaven, or lifestyle, or with malice (ill will toward others, or with wickedness (commonly known, open sin), we are to keep it with sincerity (2. Freedom from hypocrisy, disguise or false pretense), and truth (True state of facts or things).
2. Church Discipline begins with making an attempt to restore the wayward saint.
A. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
B. Here, the word of God, speaking of someone being “…overtaken in a fault…” is speaking of someone who has fallen into sin.
C. The church is instructed to restore such an one; meaning it is to attempt to recover the erring one from his sin; to seek his repentance, to forgive, and to return and reinstate him to his original standing in the church.
D. Notice, only those who are spiritual are qualified to complete this task.
E. This does not mean someone who has superior spiritual gifts, or superior spiritual knowledge, but someone who is walking in the Spirit.
F. If we want to distinguish between someone who is walking in the Spirit and someone who is not, Galatians 5:16, 22, & 23 give us the criteria for making that judgment.
G. They say:
(1) Galatians 5:16 – “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
(2) Galatians 5:22 & 23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
H. So, one whose life is marked by these characteristics is qualified to seek to restore one that has fallen into sin.
I. But, one whose life does not exhibit these characteristics, is not qualified to approach one who has fallen into sin to attempt to restore him.
J. One who is walking in the Spirit is sensitive to the Spirit’s leading; and is concerned about the welfare of the fallen one; when one who is walking in the flesh is not sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, and will probably be more interested in amplifying the sin of the fallen one than in his restoration.
K. Even one who is spiritual must be careful to consider himself, because he too is vulnerable to temptation.
L. One who is spiritual recognizes the vulnerability of frail humans; while one who is self-righteous thinks himself to be above falling; and in having too high an opinion of his spiritual strength, exposes himself to personal weaknesses which he either does not realize he has; or, pretends he does not have.
M. So, Church Discipline begins with those who are spiritual making an attempt to restore the wayward saint.
1. There are benefits to restoring a sinner.
A. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
B. I John 5:16b says, “…There is a sin unto death…”
C. The scriptures are clear that persisting in one’s sin will eventually end in the sinner’s untimely death.
D. James 5:19 & 20 say this, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;” “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
E. Converting and restoring a sinner from his sin will save him from an early death.