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Church Discipline | Dealing With Sin Through Church Discipline

Church Discipline | Dealing With Sin Through Church Discipline


– If we don’t deal with people who are sinning against others, people are gonna be hurt. So we’re not just helping the person who’s committing the sin, but the people who might be
impacted by their sinning. These are reasons we can’t just ignore sin in the midst of the church. (upbeat music) – Welcome again to the
Straight Truth Podcast. I’m your host, Josh Philpot. As always, I’m joined by
Pastor Richard Caldwell, the pastor of Founders Baptist Church. And we would like to interact with you about these discussions. So please leave a comment
right below this video or interact with us on social media. And then lastly, go to the iTunes podcast section for us, and please leave us a review. Well Pastor, in our church, we place an emphasis on church discipline. It’s part of the protection
of the body of Christ. It’s part of our own
accountability before the Lord and for his word, and for the purity of the church overall. We wish, of course, that all churches practiced church discipline for the purity of the saints, and for the church as a
witness obviously in the world. Jesus outlines for us in Matthew 18 the steps of church discipline. He says if a brother
has sinned against you, is who he says in particular, then he gives these few steps. The question is first of all, what are those steps? If somebody is caught in a sin and they refuse to repent as Jesus says in Matthew 18, they don’t hear you out, what should happen? Why does the church
discipline its members? And what should be the motive behind that? How should it be enacted within the body? And what does that do for the church and for its witness in the world? – We practice it because we’re taught to by Jesus and throughout the New Testament. We practice it because it is an expression of our mutual responsibility
and accountability toward each other under the
Lordship of Jesus Christ. It expresses love for each other. And that’s the motive
that stands behind it. You asked about the motive. The motive is love. The motive is rescue. So the motive is not retribution. The motive is not embarrassment. The motive is not exposure. The motive, in fact, we’re taught to cover sin
to the degree that we can in a way that, not cover up, but in the sense of making sure that as we’re dealing with sin, the dealing with it is restricted to those who have knowledge of it, and those who are
responsible to deal with it. So love is the motive. Rescue is the motive. Restoration is the motive. God’s glory is the motive. I think about the book of Titus where older women are to teach younger women to live in a certain kind of way. And he says so that the
word of God will not be blasphemy, it was the word blasphemed. You know, held up to scorn in the world. So we’re thinking about
the testimony of Christ, the testimony of the truth. These are the reasons why we
practice church discipline. We might also add to that I guess, if we deal with people who
are sinning against others. Let me reverse that. If we don’t deal with people
who are sinning against others, people are gonna be hurt. So we’re not just helping the person who’s committing the sin, but the people who might be
impacted by their sinning. These are reasons we can’t just ignore sin in the midst of the church. The steps, you first go one on one. If they won’t listen, then you go with two or more. If they won’t listen, I’m just thinking about Matthew 18, then you tell it to the church. And if they won’t listen
even to the church, then you put them out of the church. They’re no longer a member of the church. And now we regard them as
people who need Christ. Because the assumption is believers respond to
these steps of discipline. But you can hear even in that process, what I meant by restricting
it to the people involved. If you go one on one and
you win your brother, the matter’s over. – Yeah, it’s over at that point. – There’s no reason to tell
it to two or three people, or tell it to the church. And if they respond to
the two or three level, there’s no reason to
tell it to the church. So this is love that’s operating, not some sort of vindictiveness. It’s concern for their soul. So that would be the process. I would say about this
process, it’s not mechanical. I’ve seen this sometimes in churches that they are so zealous to obey scripture and practice discipline. They deal with in a
very mechanical fashion. Like, hey we went one on one last week. So we’re gonna go two or three this week. – [Josh] So quickly. – It’s just so quickly, yeah. And you know, let’s make
sure we follow the rules, sort of mechanical in nature, not really thinking about the person. You know this, Josh. We’ve walked through discipline cases here that have taken us a year to walk through. – Long time. – A long time to walk through as we walk through these steps. Because you gotta give time
and space for repentance. God does this. He doesn’t always do this. Ananias and Sapphira it was quick. And I even think there
are discipline situations in the church that we
have to deal with swiftly. So you know, someone who’s in leadership, and they’re dividing the church, those are things you can’t wait on. But we want to be patient, and we want to give people room, time to repent. Also the two or three witnesses helps to make sure that
we establish the factual nature of what the person’s being accused of. So those are some thing
that I have in mind. You mentioned we wish that
other churches practiced this. We wish that all churches practiced this. Why, because God commands it. He teaches it. And I’m thinking now about
1 Corinthians chapter five where the Corinthian congregation is reproved by Paul because there was a man living
in open sexual immorality in their midst. And they had not taken
these steps of discipline. And one of the things he
mentions in that context is that they were actually
boasting in some way about the fact that they had, concerning their non-action. I have to think that in some way, they had taken their non-action to be sort of a badge of grace, or a badge of love, or a badge of spiritual maturity. We understand the distinction between what happens in the body and
what happens in the soul, you know this sort of thinking. And they were just wrong. They were dead wrong. So I think we deal with the
same sort of thing in our day where churches that
don’t practice discipline sometimes do it in the name of love, or they do it in the name of grace, or they do it in the name of mercy, or they do it in the name of maturity. It’s none of those things. When we don’t obey scripture, it’s not humility, it’s pride. When we don’t obey scripture,
it’s not love, it’s hatred. We don’t obey scripture, it’s not mercy, it’s giving people over to their sin. And we don’t obey scripture,
it’s not maturity. It’s gross immaturity that’s
on display in our thinking. Now, let’s think for a moment about how people respond to
the discipline process. And let’s think about repentance. Let’s envision the case of
someone actually repenting. What do you do then? Obviously you forgive them and you forgive them fully and sincerely, and they’re restored to
fellowship with the church. Doesn’t mean we don’t restore them wisely. It would not mean we put them
into the exact same situation where they have failed. But we have to come
alongside them in such a way that they realize we really do love them, and we really do forgive them. So, discipline issues, talked about it in 1 Corinthians. The church must have
obeyed Paul’s instruction. There’s evidence in 2 Corinthians that discipline had happened. And then we get to one
passage I want to read, 2 Corinthians chapter two. When we get to the second
chapter of 2 Corinthians, I find this kind of exhortation something that we need to hear. He says, this is chapter two verse five, now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure, not to put it too severely to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority. Now that’s the language of
church discipline, the majority, the body has disciplined this person. The punishment by the majority is enough. So you should rather turn
to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed
by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm
your love for him. For this is why I wrote,
that I might test you and know whether you are
obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in
the presence of Christ. So it’s not just their obedience in taking the steps of discipline. But their obedience is also
tested on the other side of it. The obedience to forgive, the obedience to love, the obedience to comfort, the obedience to walk alongside a person. All this is wrapped up in the
church discipline process. We have to obey in
confronting sin the right way. But we also have to obey in forgiving sin and restoring people who’ve been forgiven. – And so Jesus says, you know, if you go through this whole
process of church discipline, they shall be to you like a
tax collector and a sinner. Then Paul is saying here, after having gone through
that process it seems, right, that to love them. So my question is, what should the church do
in terms of this person who’s been disciplined
out of the congregation. They receive them still in worship? Or is it better to keep that outside? It’s a difficult question. I know every situation’s
probably different. But I wonder what your response would be. – Well a person who… If we excluded all sinners from worship, no one would be there.
– We’d all be gone. (Josh laughing) – But there’s a difference between someone who walks into our fellowships who has not made a profession
of faith in Christ, they’ve not been baptized into
the fellowship of our church, or maybe they profess faith in Christ, but they haven’t joined our church. And they’re living in some sort of sin. And they’re coming and they’re sitting under the preaching of the gospel. That’s one kind of issue. Once a person has joined the church, covenanted together with us, put themselves under the
authority of the elders, and the congregation as a body, and then they have hard-heartedly, rebelliously, without repentance, held onto their sin to such an extent that they’ve had to be
disciplined out of the church, we don’t even eat with such a one now. And what that means is not if you’re passing them on the
street you’re unkind to them, you know, you turn your
head and walk past them. That’s not what that means. What it means is we cannot
now carry on with them as if this didn’t happen. So now I’m going to dinner
with them on Friday nights, going to the movies with them, as if none of this has happened. You can’t live like that. You have to deal with
this person in such a way that they understand
their need before God. So to deal with them as a
tax collector and a sinner is to deal with them as
an evangelism project. And my fellowship with people, my fellowship with people, is with people who walk along
with me as we follow Christ. I have friendships with
people who don’t know Jesus. But I am a very poor friend if I’m the friend of someone
who doesn’t know Jesus and I can’t say that the number one thing on the priority
list for this friendship is that they would come
to faith in Christ. I mean, what kind of a friend would I be? I know they’re on their way to hell. I never mention the gospel. I never bring up Christ. So the focus even for my
friendships outside of Christ, my focus is evangelism. So someone’s disciplined out
of the life of the church, now I’m just going to dinner with them, we’re just hanging out, and I’m not talking to
them about their soul and calling them to repentance? There would be a major,
major issue in my own soul at that point. – So Paul when he says that to comfort this one who
has been disciplined. – This is a repentant person. – Yeah, oh that would be a
repentant person in that case. – This is a repentant person. He’s afraid they’re gonna over-sorrow. So they’ve repented and he says now you come
alongside them and you love them, lest they are over-sorrowful, which tells you they’re sorrowful, right. So his fear there is that this person doesn’t have it register
in their own heart, I’m forgiven. And the congregation has forgiven me. And he calls upon the
congregation to forgive them. I think sometimes we can walk
through discipline issues, a person repents, and then we treat them as if well now we’re gonna watch you. – Yeah, exactly. – Yeah, and just really
make sure you are really… – Just always hanging over your head. – Always hanging over your head. You live under the
cloud of this, you know, for the rest of your time with us. No, no. We’ve gotta forgive this
person and now comfort them. We don’t want them to over-sorrow. – Thanks for joining us again for the Straight Truth Podcast. We are releasing episodes
every week on every Thursday. So if you’d like to
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Comments (1)

  1. NO FEAR OF GOD?
    3 step solution which most will NOT apply.

    1) Forbid any bible among you, except the King James-1611

    2) Realize it alone consistently distinguishes between "faults", "offenses", "trespasses" and "transgressions of the law", which is a SIN! 1 John 3:4 KJ-1611 ONLY.

    3) Apply 1 Timothy 5:20-21 & 1 Corinthians 5, precisely as written, now that you distinguish between SINNING and "faults", "offenses", "trespasses", and SIN!

    The churches are heavily loaded with professing Christian SINNING, so it will be an epic battle.
    For this cause most won't apply biblical remedy.

    If they will not, your only recourse is to come out from among them.

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