Is church discipline in the Bible? This is a question that I answered Sunday for our church by reading from several New Testament verses. Please read through the verses below and meditate on them.
NOT SO FAMOUS VERSES ON CHURCH DISCIPLINE
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. (1 Corinthians 11:28-29 NASB95)
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; [each one] looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 NASB95)
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. (Titus 3:10 NIV)
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. [Yet] do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 NASB95)
FAMOUS VERSES ON CHURCH DISCIPLINE
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked person from among you." (1 Corinthians 5:1-13 NIV)
"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 NIV)
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU THINK ABOUT 1 CORINTHIANS 5
1. What is the sin that Paul exposes?
2. Was the sin ongoing?
3. How does Paul tell the Corinthians to respond?
4. Why does Paul tell them to hand the offender over to Satan?
5. How does displine benefit the local church?
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU THINK ABOUT MATTHEW 18:15-17
1. Does Jesus expect churches to obey this command?
2. Is the speed of discipline to be fast or slow?
3. What is the goal of pointing out a brother's sin?
Church discipline is not talked about very often and it is practiced even less frequently. If this is the first time you've thought about church discipline, let it soak it. Read through the verses slowly and think about them awhile. Come to me or another member if you have questions. If you know someone caught in sin restore them gently. May God bless your obedience to Him.