Church discipline is messy, hard to do correctly, and not very politically correct in today’s culture.
How should we think about church discipline?
- It is the mark of inclusion in the family of God (Hebrews 12:8)
- It is an essential component in the maturity of an individual (Hebrews 12:10)
- Its benefits are only appreciated with the perspective of time (Hebrews 12:11)
Why is discipline important?
- It calls the believer back from a destructive path (1 Corinthians 5:5; James 5:20)
- It safeguards the purity of the church (1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Timothy 5:19-20)
- It enhances the church’s witness to the world (Revelation 2:5)
- It contributes to the glory of God.
What is the Biblically-prescribed process for discipline?
- There is private confrontation (Matthew 18:15)
- There is peer confrontation (Matthew 18:16)
- There is community confrontation (Matthew 18:17a)
- There is extra-community confrontation (Matthew 18:17b)
When is discipline necessary?
- There is sin that threatens the unity of the church (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10-11)
- There is sin that involves a person in immoral or ungodly behavior (Galatians 6:1)
- There is sin that involves false teaching (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
What is being accomplished in discipline?
- The unrepentant imdividual is allowed to feel the full consequences of their sin (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20)
- The unrepentant individual is identified as an outsider to Christ’s church (Matthew 18:18-20)
- The unrepentant individual is made to experience estrangement (1 Corinthians 5:11).
We should not “subsidize sinning saints” (Steven Davey). God knows better than we do how to live life well. Do you see the church as family? Are you committed to getting involved in each others’ lives?
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