Summary: Short Bible study for church discipline

Church Discipline

Woodlawn MBC

August 26, 2007

I. The Meaning of Church Discipline

A. Define what a church is.

B. Discipline means to train, especially the mind and character. Training intended to elicit a specified pattern of behavior or character.

C. Although most people think of church discipline as the exclusion of a member for some particular sin, it begins with teaching and training.

II. The Scripturality of Church Discipline

A. In Mt. 18:15-20 we find the Lord teaching His church how to carry out church discipline.

B. Jesus had already established His church, taught it, then commissioned it to make disciples.

C. Many wrongly try to use Mt. 7:1 as reason not to carry out CD, but it is a wrong use of that verse.

D. In 1 Co. 5:12-13 we find the church being taught to discipline it’s members.

E. Other Scriptures to consider:

1. 1 Co. 5:7

2. 2 Thess. 3:6-14

3. Titus 3:10

III. The Purposes of Church Discipline

A. To glorify God

1. Eph. 3:21 - to glorify God

2. In the same manner that a spouse should remain pure for their partner, so should churches keep themselves pure as Christ’s bride.

3. Church discipline is about teaching the church what Christ desires in them and then holding them accountable to live in that manner for His glory.

B. To protect the church from slander.

C. To keep a church free as possible from sin.

1. Eph. 5:26-27

D. To gain a brother for Christ

E. To assist in the unity of the church

G. To model Christian living before others

IV. The Method of Church Discipline

A. Teach

1. No church member ought ever be excluded for something he has never been taught

2. The Bible and the Holy Spirit are the primary teachers

3. The church is God’s instrument, using the Bible, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, for making disciples

B. Warn

1. We teach our children, then warn them of the consequences of disobedience.

2. This is following with the Lord’s command to preach the Word, not just the pleasant things.

3. 2 Tim. 3:16-17

4. Gal. 6 - Law of the Harvest

C. Give room for growth

1. We would be most cruel if we cracked the whip at every little mess up.

2. The Lord gives room for growth, so should we.

3. God teaches, warns and exercises grace.

D. Discipline

1. When our efforts to teach and warn fail, then we must take more serious action.

2. Two or more should go and try to reach the person

3. As many times as is necessary

4. When that fails, then bring it before the church


A. If we would each make it our primary goal to live for the glory of God we wouldn’t need church discipline, but we don’t, and thus we do.

B. When we must exercise it, those closest to the individual in need of discipline should lead out in it.

C. Churches and members do their pastors much harm and disservice by expecting them to lead out in and carry out all the church discipline. If you love the person needing it, then you should be first to want to see that person reached and corrected.

D. Let us pray for courage to return to a biblical practice and for wisdom to know how to exercise it when necessary.

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