Summary: If we want to be a powerful church, we need to be a clean church - a holy people.
In Cleveland a few years ago, this banner proclaimed the virtues of a certain grade of motor oil: "A Clean Engine Always Delivers Power."
This is what church discipline is all about--a clean church. If we want to be a powerful church, we need to be a clean church, a holy people.
(1 Pet 1:13 NKJV) Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
(1 Pet 1:14 NKJV) as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
(1 Pet 1:15 NKJV) but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
(1 Pet 1:16 NKJV) because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
(1 Pet 2:9 NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
(1 Pet 2:10 NKJV) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
(Eph 5:5 NKJV) For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
(Eph 5:6 NKJV) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
(Eph 5:7 NKJV) Therefore do not be partakers with them.
(Eph 5:8 NKJV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
(Eph 5:9 NKJV) (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
(Eph 5:10 NKJV) finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
(Eph 5:11 NKJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
I. Elements of Church Discipline
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.) Restoration - Restoring fellowship and service with God and the brethren
C. The Person of Discipline
Galatians 6:1 tells us those 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 - What provokes or initiates church discipline?
It starts every day as one goes before the Lord in prayer and during the study of the Scriptures.
2.) It starts when we sin against a brother or sister or a brother or sister sins against us.
E. The Process of Discipline
Step One - Examine Yourself. (Self-Discipline)
Step Two - Tell Him His Sin Alone. (One-on-One)
Step Three - Take Some Witnesses (One or Two Others)
Step Four - Tell The Church.
Step Five - Treat Him as an Outsider.
We see an example of step five occurring in the Corinthian church:
(1 Cor 5:13 NASB) But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.
We need to take some time to learn what Paul means by this statement.
A. How are people "removed from the midst" of the assembly?
The New Testament uses other terms and expressions to describe the dismissal of a member from the care and discipline of the church. The way the New Testament puts it is:
1. Remove him from your midst (1 Cor. 5:2);
2. Clean out the leaven (1 Cor. 5:7);
3. Get him out of your midst (1 Cor. 5:13);
4. Deliver this person to Satan (1 Cor 5:5);
5. I have handed them over to Satan (1 Tim. 1:20);
6. Treat him as a heathen and a tax collector (Mat. 18:17b).
In step 5 you treat him as if he is not your brother because he isn’t conducting himself as a brother. He is simply treated as if he is not a member of the family.
B. How are members in the assembly to respond to this person?
We've already learned that when you treat a person “like a heathen and a tax collector” you do not ostracize or banish the person. You do not avoid speaking with the person treating him like public enemy #1..
When you treat a person “like a heathen and a tax collector” you treat the person as if he doesn't know Jesus Christ.
The person is acting like a non-believer in that he or she doesn't want to obey Christ, so you respond to them just like you would any other non-believer--you want to win them to Jesus Christ.