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Church Discipline - part 7

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·     As we progress through the stages of discipline, allow me to remind you that discipline is one of the marks of the true church and as Mark Dever says; it is one of the marks of a healthy church.

·     Before moving into today’s message, here is a very important point of clarification from last weeks message from 1 Corinthians 5:5, we have this statement

 

1 Corinthians 5:5
5
you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. ESV

·     The phase, ‘so that his spirit may be saved’ is dealing with a possibility and not a probability

·     In this man’s situation, we know that he repented and was restored.  But do not come to the conclusion that all and every case of this leads to restoration and reconciliation.

·     For the true believer yes it is possible and probable but for the true nonbeliever it is not

·     An example of this in Scripture is Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy, where Paul hand them also over to Satan (put them out of the Church) and there is nothing in Scripture that says they repented and were restored to fellowship

·     So if you are taking notes then add this clarification to your notes and if you are listening to the message then remember this clarification as you listen


·     Turn in your Bibles to;

 

Matthew 18:15-17
15
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. ESV

·     My subject today is; “tell it to the church!”

·     The First point is that this is Jesus speaking about the church and it is the second time that he mentions the church in Matthew’s gospel.  In Matthew 16:18, he says upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it

·     His commands here are to go, take, and tell, when your brother sins

o       Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone

o       If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you

o       If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church

·     As difficult as this may seems, our Lord has laid out a plan for dealing with sin and gaining your brothers and sisters

·     As difficult as this may seems, are you willing to trust the Lord in this and not lean to your own understanding?

·     As difficult as this may seems is your mind made up that you will obey what the Lord is saying in this passage of Scripture?

·     Don’t miss this point that Jesus, the same Jesus who says at the end of this gospel the following;

Matthew 28:18-20
18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ESV

·     The same Jesus is here  giving to the individual, giving to the one or two, and giving to the church the authority to deal with sin within His body the church.

·     Go and if he or she won’t listen, take one or two others and go again, and if he or she refuse to listen, then tell the church.

·     Jesus’ command is not to ignore sin, overlook sin, don’t pay sin much attention, or explain sin away

·     Jesus’ command is not based on size, color, quality or quantity but it is a simple statement; “If your brother sins against you, here is what you do.”

·     Now having established that this is a command from Jesus, the head of the church, He tells us what to do if the individual refuses to listen, refuses to obey, refuses to be reconciled,

·     Tell it to the church, the body of believers

·     Again why so much fuss because a little leaven leavens the whole lump

·     I am willing to say that every major sin, give it any name you want is made up of several minor sins that were not dealt with properly

·     Look at the situation at Virginia Tech, they are now looking into the past of the young man that did these killings and they are finding small things that were not dealt with properly.

·     So a little sin here and a little sin there before long the entire fellowship is infected.

·     And when an offense against an individual or the church is so open and apparent to all that it is a matter of public fame then discipline may start at the church level.  This is what happened in 1 Corinthians 5 that we preached on last week.

·     Who are we told to tell it to?  The church and the church alone

·     Tell it to the church and at this point the world has no right to know about the matter.

o       And brothers and sisters that may mean family members and

o       Co-workers or fellow students and

o       Neighbors or social associates

o       This is church business for those who are baptized and who are thereby under the care, discipline and authority of the local church

·     Tell it to the church!  How?

·     First it must be done decently and in order as 1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us.

·     In our fellowship, New Hope Baptist Church, we have done this by a called closed meeting of the membership or by telling one of the pastors, as we serve as the representative of this fellowship.

·     We, as pastors, by much prayer and discussion usually set up meetings to get a better understanding.  Seeking repentance when sin is involved, providing instruction when there is misunderstanding, and counsel when there is repentance.

·     The goal being to gain our brother or sister

·     We are blessed because there are three of us and there is diversity in our unity.  And if you may not be able or not comfortable, at this time, talking with me, there is Brother Brad and Brother Willie.

·     Now I got to say this even though you know it.  It would not be good timing to utilize the worship time as a time to get up and inform the church.

o       During our worship we have visitors and members, believers and nonbelievers, including our children who have not professed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

o       And also to do this during worship would not be decent and in order again for the members and especially for the visitors.  This is the violation again spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14.

·     When there is a meeting with the fellowship called by the pastors

·     It is for members only and only members should be informed (many of you have this rule in your own home, what’s done in this house stays in this house – it’s the same with a local church dealing with discipline)

·     There must be instructions about how to treat the brother or sister who is under discipline and instructions on how we treat each other during this stage of discipline

·     I asked in an earlier message do you trust your pastors?

·     Brothers and sisters know that at this stage of discipline the pastors are in charge, guiding and taking care that nothing goes wrong.  And we stand in need of prayer, much prayer, doing this time.

·     And the reason for this care is that this is the last resort

·     Look again at the passage; “If he (or she) refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.”

·     The next sentence in the same verse says; “And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  In other words he (or she) is not one of us but is considered to be a nonbeliever.

·     So as pastors, we want to make sure that we have prayed, searched the scriptures, made attempts to reach, show and teach what thus says the Lord, and have asked  and instructed the fellowship to do their part in reaching out to this brother or sister before applying the second part of this verse.

·     I want to keep emphasizing my first point in this message.  This is Jesus’ plan for discipline we as his servants are being obedient to this plan and the plan is basely this;

·     If a brother or sister will not discipline themselves, then another must take that task on himself or herself (as the one offended).  If the sinning person (the offender) won’t listen to the one person, then one or two others join in offering help.  If the offender refuses to heed them, the church is officially informed and the pastors and if necessary all the members of the congregation confront him or her in a concerted attempt to bring about reconciliation and restoration.

·     Tell it to the church, tell the fellowship what?

·     First - The identity of the brother or sister who is under church discipline and the nature of the problem that they are under discipline for.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 says
14
If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. ESV

·     Second - Do not fellowship with this person as though nothing were wrong.  Please note New Hope, I am not saying avoid this person or not to fellowship with this person but your fellowship should not be ‘business as usual’.  There must be some contact in order to win this brother or sister back, listen to the strength in the Word;

2 Thessalonians 3:14
14
If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. ESV

1 Corinthians 5:11
11
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. ESV

2 Thessalonians 3:6
6
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. ESV

·     Let me say first that this is not good advice but they are commands. 


·     And they say or imply one and the same thing, the fellowship must regard the so called brother as a brother and likewise if it was a so called sister.

·     I say this because this person has failed to heed the admonition of the brethren and the authority of Christ exercised by His pastors in the church; by the time the entire congregation begins its task, he or she has gone very far in their willful disobedience and stubbornness.

·     Here is a for example of what withdrawal means; if the offending brother or sister calls another member and want to do something that they normally do together, shopping, fishing, ball game, or just coming over to the house.  The church member would remind the offender that he or she is under church discipline and that you are available to spend time talking about the problem instead

·     The not to eat means normal fellowship is broken but also means that the offender is forbidden to partake in the Lord’s Supper listen;

1 Corinthians 10:16-17
16
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. ESV

·     Third – The fellowship must counsel him or her, listen

2 Thessalonians 3:15 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. And  Galatians 6:1-2 1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ESV

In conclusion, I am blessed with a few good sources for this segment of this sermon series.  There is not much but what is there is rewarding and I thank the Lord for blessing these authors. 

Jay Adams is considered to be a good source in this area.  I would like to quote him for my closing point.

“Discipline is not easy to do correctly or even to do at all.  It involves courage and fortitude.  It requires care and precision.  It must be done in neither a sloppy nor a careless manner.  Therefore the process must be carried on with the knowledge and assurance that what is being done is right in God’s sight!  But even though discipline is difficult and runs many risks, churches dare not run the greater risk of withholding a privilege and blessing provided by Christ thus depriving sinning members of all help He has provided for them.  Nor dare they disobey Him in refusing to follow His program for church discipline lest, in the end they find themselves disciplined by Him.”

1 Corinthians 11:31-32
31
But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. ESV

My brothers and sisters of New Hope, visitors and those who are listening to this sermon; “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Let us pray!









 





 

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