Summary: This week we will be introduced to the steps or the process of church discipline.
Because God loves us, He disciplines us…
(Heb 12:3 NKJV) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
(Heb 12:4 NKJV) You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
(Heb 12:5 NKJV) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
(Heb 12:6 NKJV) For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."
(Heb 12:7 NKJV) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
(Heb 12:8 NKJV) But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
(Heb 12:9 NKJV) Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
(Heb 12:10 NKJV) For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
(Heb 12:11 NKJV) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:6 tells us that God loves us.
Hebrews 12:6 also tells us that because God loves us, He chastens or disciplines us.
By considering Hebrews 12, and coming away with a greater appreciation of God’s love and care for us exhibited in His disciplining us, then we are better able to grasp why a truly loving church will discipline straying sheep (as Paul commands in 1 Corinthians 5).
We discipline straying sheep not because we think ourselves righteous but rather because God commands us to in His Word.
We discipline straying sheep not because we think ourselves "having arrived," but rather because we love our brother or sister and we will push through the difficult process of discipline that they might be led to repentance and forgiveness for their sins.
Last week we discovered that Church discipline is never to get even or to expose sin. “Brother so-and-so is in sin—we’re going to nip it in the bud!” No! Church discipline is always restorative.
It exists for one purpose— to lead God’s people to repentance and faith that they might experience the grace of Jesus Christ found in the true Gospel and be restored to full fellowship and joy in His church.
This week we will be introduced to the steps or the process of church discipline. In summary, here they are:
The sinning Christian is first to judge himself. If we all did that regularly, there would never be any need for further discipline.
If that doesn’t happen, a mature believer is to confront the sinning Christian privately and seek to lead him to repentance (Repentance is a turning “about face” from sin—it also includes a change of mind and heart about the sin).
If that doesn’t work, the mature believer is to take one or two others with him and again confront the sinning Christian.
If that doesn't work, the Church is to be informed of the situation, presumably leading to excommunication–the taking away of the privileges of membership in the Body.
And if even that doesn’t bring the offender to repentance, there is the final step of social isolation or shunning.
We must never forget that the goal of Church discipline is never punishment but rather correction and restoration of the sinning member and the protection of the purity of the Church.
I. Elements of Church Discipline - Part One
A. The Place of Discipline - The place of discipline is the assembly of believers-- the church (Mat. 18:17).
B. The Purpose of Discipline
1.) Prevention – The fear of sinning
2.) The other purpose for church discipline is restoration.
C. The Person of Discipline
Discipline is not just for church officials; it’s for everyone, including those who lead in the church.
In fact Galatians 6:1 tells us exactly who should do it: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such an one.” Those who are walking in the Spirit, who are obeying the Word, and who are in fellowship should restore the fallen brother or sister.
D. The Provocation of Discipline
When does discipline start?
It starts every day as one goes before the Lord in prayer and during the study of the Scriptures.
2.) Discipline also starts when we sin against a brother or sister or a brother or sister sins against us.
There are two ways a fellow believer’s sin can affect you—directly and indirectly.