This is the next blog continuing the theme of gaining a Christian World View. This blog is on Church discipline that is given by us from God. God sets the rules for dealing with a fellow believer that has gone into rebellion or unrepentant sin.
The Bible takes a great deal of time to describe our interaction inside the Body of Believers, i.e. 1Cor 5:5-7, 1Cor 11, 1Cor 7, for continuity of harmony. But the Body ignores some of them.
One of them that I want you to pay attention to is the four steps in interpersonal-interaction of believers discussed here in this blog.
“There are four steps of interpersonal interaction discussed and defined in the Bible for church-confronting-and discipline
- You are to encourage a person on a matter
- If no response-You are then to exhort the person on the matter
- If no response-You are then to rebuke the person on the matter
- If no response-You are to go to the body and then to discipline the person on the matter”
I look for men to look into my life and raise a flag on any drifting behavior I may exhibit.
Have a good read.
Gaining a Christian World View
6. Moral discipline of brothers and members of the family-church discipline
What is the church* in the scripture?
The first century church* was a small group of people in a town who came together to worship, hear teaching of the Apostles and obey Jesus. Today churches we see are large organizations or institutions, with big overhead and a plethora of programs.
If I correctly see Jesus teaching, the church should be a group or organization where the work and word of God is being propagated. Size does not qualify them as a church nor does size disqualify them as a church. A seminary trained person is not required to have a church.
I think we should see today’s church* (institutions) as a conglomeration of smaller fellowship of people bound together in worship, seeking a relationship with Jesus and with a common Christian function, i.e., the first century church. A real church is a group following Jesus. Some of these groups are found within the organization or institutional church and some are found outside the institution.
For the rest of this blog, the church is considered to be the small fellowship of believers.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Reason for discipline.
When a body of people are living together there is always a conflict concerning people who violate the rules of the group. This is why we have police and courts. For a body to stay together and prosper, there must be a uniformity of obedience to the “laws”. As Christians, our laws are the biblical commands. Read the book “Obey God” to understand how to obey the different kinds of commands.
Jesus gave us a prescription for dealing with “sin in the camp,” i.e. church discipline.
Church discipline is the process of correcting unrepentant, sinful behavior among members of a church* body. The process has as its purpose the restoring of the sinner to a right walk with God and renewing fellowship among the church* members.
The phrase church* discipline has been created by us it is not a
Jesus’s prescription is for the brother who abuses the commands and is unrepentant, Matt 18:15-20:
Mat 18:15 But if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear you, take one or two more with you, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he neglects to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax-collector.
Mat 18:18 Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven.
Mat 18:19 Again I say to you that if two of you shall agree on earth as regarding anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.
Through Mat 18:15–20 we learn the procedure and authority for a church* to practice church* discipline. Jesus instructs us:
- That one individual (usually the offended party) is to go to the offending individual privately.
- If the offender refuses to acknowledge his sin and repent, then two or three others should go to confirm the details of the situation.
- If there is still no repentance—the offender remains firmly attached to his sin, despite at least two chances to repent/change—the matter is taken before the church* body.
- The offender then has a third chance to repent and forsake his sinful behavior.
- If at any point in the process of church discipline the sinner heeds the call to repent, then “you have gained your brother” (verse 15,).
- However, if the discipline continues all the way through without a repentant response from the offender, then, Jesus said,
“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he neglects to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax-collector.”
Notice: This would be breaking fellowship out of love and concern for the person’s soul. They are not to be treated like a lost person, but rather shunned to be made aware of the loss of fellowship.
Notes on church* discipline
- Discipline is not a punishment. Discipline is not to punish the person but to get their attention and their “focus”, have them repent and return to God.
- Discipline is for the rehab of the violator.
- Discipline is for protection of church*.
- It is hard for church* discipline to work in an institutional-church* because
- The whole body of the institution will not normally back a disciplinary action.
- The person being disciplined can just go down the street and join another church* that is more tolerant.
- People in the institution are afraid of this kind of action.
- Repent in the Greek means: to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction), to change.
- The discipline is designed to encourage the person to repent. It is to awaken a person to the consequence of their sin with God and have them repent.
- Once people know you have done this with a companion, they all have a person they want you to discipline. No one can be the moral sheriff in town. If the violator is not in close spiritual relationship with other people, the odds of reaching them is very low.
- Your family is subject to church discipline directed by you. My family are people I love, ergo I would discipline them and they know it.
- Church discipline to me is a command. We cannot ignore it.
The church* is responsible for the spiritual well-being of its people, not of everyone in the city or the institution. In the context of church* discipline, Paul asks, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Cor 5:12). The candidate for church discipline must be “inside” the church* and accountable to the church* i.e., small fellowship group.
Paul explains that Jesus saved us so that we might be set apart from sin, free from that which causes spiritual decay (1 Cor 5:7–8). Christ’s desire for His bride, the church, is that she might be pure and undefiled.
A negative effect of commandment disobedience is shown in the Old Testament:
2Sa 12:14 Only, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, this child born to you shall surely die.
When David sinned with Bathsheba, one of the consequences of his sin was that the name of the one true God was blasphemed by God’s enemies.
The two sins documented for discipline in question in the New Testament were:
- Mat 18:15 But if your brother shall trespass against you.
What does “trespass against you” mean? What problems fall into this area is not clear to me.
Read Matt 5:23-26. They give you the other side of your response to being “trespassed” against.
- 1Co 5:1 Overall it is reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even named among the nations, so as one to have his father’s wife. These sins are clear to me. Church* discipline for sexual violations: All sexual improprieties in the Bible are cast in a negative commandment so they are easier to detect and confront.
I can conclude that the disobedience to negative commands would also be a qualifier for church discipline. Looking at the reasons for discipline at the top of this section, only with the negative commandments can I be sure when the individual is in sin.
Other verses for your review that influence discipline:
- IThess 3:6-15
- Gal 6:1
- 2Cor 2:6-8
- Heb 13:17
- Romans 12:18
- Romans 2:4
- Micah 6:8
- Titus 3:10,11
- 1Cor 5:1
Out of love for a brother(s) do not be hesitant to challenge sin in their life. You owe it to them. And hope they would do it for you.
There are four steps on the way to confronting a fellow believer on their issue
- You are to encourage a person on a matter.
- If no response, you are then to exhort the person on the matter.
- If no response, you are then to rebuke the person on the matter.
- If no response, you are to go to the body and then to discipline the person on the matter.
Sometimes it is valid to call a person out on drifting into sin and especially with the opposite sex.
We need each other during our trip here on earth.
Question: Who have you invited into your life to be the person or persons to watch over your soul? (Heb 13)
PS: A verse that is used often to refute the call to church discipline is in Matt 7
Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Judge has at least 2 meanings in the Bible.
- Judge means to evaluate. To discern is ok. This is biblical and is encouraged.
- The Greek in Mat. 7:1-2 means to condemn, try, punish. Biblically it is not ok.
In the dictionary, Judge means: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
Synonym: discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, common sense,
In chapter 7, the word judge is to condemn, which is prohibited.
Gaining a CWV is critical for your life. This list is just a cut at issues and items you must think out for your CWV. Most men I meet have a hybrid World View. Some culture and some my emotion and some the Bible.
Some areas you need to get a clear view from the scripture for your CWV are– This list is from an earlier Blog on CWV.
- My Purpose in Life
- Authority and accuracy of the Word
- My marriage
- Sexual relation to spouse
- Your children
- Respecting their Mom/Dad
- Honoring your Parents
- Learning and thinking
- Words, Words Count
- Dating and then marrying non-believers-you and your children
- Moral discipline of brothers and members of the family
- My dealing with sexual deviants or the overall moral decay of my society.
- How to serve my boss
- My view and my obedience to authority in my life, i.e.
- the Word,
- the President,
- the Governor,
- the Police,
- the Church leadership,
- the Father,
- the Mother,
- the Spouse,
- the driving laws,
- Fearing God, parts 1 and 2
- My “generosity-giving”
- The church*
- My contentment with my life and where God has me
- My motivation
- My Legacy with the Kids
- What is Success
- View of death and life after
- My good works
- My Contending-Contend*
- My Theology
- My Hope
- Why do I work
- Legal action with a brother
This is a life time journey and some of your thinking and application may be altered with time. But be in the pursuit.