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Church Discipline

 

I’ve seen in the church on the one hand congregations rarely ever practice church discipline and then there are those that maybe sometimes are very hasty and pull the trigger without going through what I would call a scriptural process right and so let’s just set the stage by first of all asking this question does the Bible explicitly state that we are to withdraw fellowship from a wayward brother or sister but Billy how would you respond to that well I appreciate the fact that as you started as out this evening you said it is a Bible subject anything that the Bible teaches is certainly not only needful but essential that we study it and so yes the bible does talk about withdrawing our fellowship or withdrawing from an individual the Apostle Paul mentioned Psalm that he had delivered unto Satan 2nd Thessalonians chapter 3 and verse number 6 we learned that the Apostle Paul said now we command you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly and not after the traditions which is received of us so whatever one might think of discipline he has to admit a survival topic and withdrawing a fellowship then is a Bible topic and so I think that the studies not is D and is indeed very important I think it is important if not essential right and and I think maybe it has become in many respects the Forgotten commandment right and Don brother Billy cited second Thessalonians chapter three the word disorderly is a military term right and really cares what with it the idea of out of rank out of step talked a little bit about what would I guess what would put a person in jeopardy of being withdrawn from you know if I could cite a couple more passages first and then so we firmly established this and then I want to say something about that specific commandment brother Billy mentions second Thessalonians 3 and verse six that specifically says withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly of course you keep going for the next several verses you get down to verse 14 and he says and if any man obey not our word by this epistle note that man now the connotations of that we’ll talk about later but that’s important and have no company with them that he may be ashamed and so the idea of withdrawing from him the idea of having no company with him 1st Corinthians chapter five is dealing with a member of the church who was committing fornication and Paul says about that individual that he was to deliver such a one to Satan that his soul may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Romans 16:17 says we’re to mark those that cause division of offenses country the doctrine you’ve received and avoid them Matthew chapter eighteen deals with a sin between two brethren one brother sins against another and if first you go to him privately and trying to take care of this kind of gossip control if he won’t hear you you’re going to go back and try to establish this still in a small circle of people he says but if he won’t respond then tell it to the church and then he tells us in Matthew 18 17 but if he neglect to hear the church let him be unto thee as a heathen and a publican again it’s that same concept that the relationship they had with heathens and publicans was they didn’t keep company with them they avoid them they did not eat with them it’s the same concept as first Corinthians 5 second Thessalonians 3 now when you mention 2nd Thessalonians 3 particularly the concept of walking disorderly it is a military term and it’s barred from the idea I can remember when I was in boot camp and they were training us to March the idea was everyone would march perfectly in order and all of our heels were supposed to hit the ground at the same time so all the legs are going up at the same time the heels are going up at the same time is perfect uniformity and the idea of one who is walking disorderly is one who is out of step with the others now that’s easy to spot in the military if you see one who is out of step and they would certainly certainly would spot it to be walking disorderly in the church when you think that the standard is God’s Word and you’re walking out of order with that is what he’s talking about which is interesting because frequently in the Lord’s Church not to get onto another subject but frequently in the Lord’s Church when we do practice discipline and I hate to link discipline only to withdrawal of fellowship because there’s another side absolutely but when we practice withdrawal of fellowship that we frequently do it only for those who don’t attend properly or they’ve committed fornication and that seems to largely be the two categories that we look at but the walk disorderly what the Word of God would indicate any sin any sense in which a person is out of ranks with the Holy Scripture I think that’s exactly right and and you know as we as we talk about the importance of this subject and the fact that you have people that are out of step one of the passages that you triggered in my mind first John chapter 1 where John talked about if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another the blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and the idea is that we’re walking in harmony in step with God’s holy work if we do that the assurance is the blood of Jesus is constantly working in our lives however he said in the preceding verse if we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth so we’re out of Harmonie out of step with the Word of God you know that that’s an excellent point about this mic because some people when you practice withdrawal of fellowship they will say you’re being unkind you’re kicking people out of the church I’ve sometimes heard it said but when you practice withdrawal of fellowship in actuality what you were doing is only recognizing what the person himself has already done and that is as you’ve cited first John one six seven eight and following is that person has stopped walking in fellowship with God they have removed themselves from fellowship with God we’ve made an effort to get them to restore that fellowship they have said we refuse to have that fellowship and we are simply saying since they have removed themselves from fellowship with God we can’t fellowship them either we are really only recognizing what they have already done that’s right and in other words they’re the ones that move exactly and there’s two observations one of those that I would observe is is the word walk this shows continuous action we’re not talking about that the idea of a person sins you you immediately start withdrawing fellowship from an individual that’s nowhere taught in the Word of God that you would withdraw immediately because somebody stumbles or sins hopefully this person would repent and come back to the Lord and come back to the church I think that’s right you know in first John chapter two John said my little children these things I write to you that you sin not that’s the idea he said but if any man sins now are we gonna sin absolutely we’re gonna stumble and fall there’s a difference in somebody who stumbles Falls recognizes that fault acknowledges it repents ask God to forgive and moves forward and somebody who just throws up their hands and says you know what I quit I’m done with this right and if you look at first John chapter three there’s a contrast between those who practice righteousness and those who practice unrighteousness right those who practice unrighteousness as members of the body of Christ there they are wayward members they’re out of step right another thing sometimes people don’t understand what fellowship is right in other words when you talk about withdrawing a fellowship what are we talking about in other words it’s not the same as friendship it’s not the same as pond ship or there’s another brother but it’s not same as food she you know we talked about we’re having a fellowship mill after services and so they think that that’s the connotation of fellowship but fellowship is the idea comes from a word joint participation in other words in John participating in the spiritual blessings of God now obviously if a person turns away from God continues to walk in a country to the will of God he is demonstrating that he does not really desire how fellowship with God now we can only fellowship those whom God fellowships otherwise we’re in the dilemma fellowshiping somebody whom God says I cannot fellowship and will not fellowship and yet we’re trying to fellowship God God determines fellowship not us right that’s right and while like you said when when it gets to the point of that corrective discipline of the withdrawing the fellowship we’re really just following through with what they’ve already decided and that is that they have cut themselves away from the fellowship of God and this is an effort to try to restore them right by helping them to realize the seriousness of what they have done you know one passage in light of what you said and in fact tying together with what both you’ve just said Galatians 6:1 brethren If any man be overtaken in a fault there’s a difference in a man who commits a sin he’s doing his best to walk in the light and he confesses it and repents but this is a man who has fallen down he says you what your spiritual restore such a one we have a responsibility first to go to this individual and our first goal is to teach them to restore them to bring them back and that’s why I made the statement a minute ago about church discipline we when we hear church discipline we immediately think with withdrawal but there are things that perceive that you what’s your spirit we see this brother who has been overtaken in a fault he’s got sin in his life the first thing we do is try to restore this brother it might involve teaching it might involve rebuking it might involve the elders going and having a counseling session with him but but they’re things that precede this in fact this is a last-ditch effort absolutely you know I really appreciate what you said there and I really want to go back to that for just a minute before doing so I was thinking about what brother Billy said in light of what all has been saved us far and in light of fellowship in Acts chapter 2 the Bible talks about the early church how they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and in fellowship and in verse 44 it said all who believed were together they were in step right there was harmony and unity all that believed were of one Accord and so when people break ranks so to speak right and they’re out of step with the will of God they’re obviously out of step with God’s people and and our goal is to restore that soul to get them back into the fellowship and and Don as you said there are there ought to be intervening steps the last line so to speak is withdrawal right and I think sometimes maybe we let people get cold before we make any concerted effort to reach them and and it really big you know it has to begin immediately right and I think sometimes somebody’s going for six seven eight months well obviously there’s a parallel that main to them now and so and so it goes back to elders knowing the flock yes and keeping watch over the flock and and I think responsibly ensuring that that people are where they ought to be it’s certainly going to be less effective if the person’s been gone for a year and then we contact them and say you know we need to work about restoring or if they get a letter that says you’re going to be withdrawing from because you haven’t been here we’re gonna cut off fellowship when there’s been no fellowship right year what it has said is where has the Love been for we’re saying this is a loving thing but for a year we’ve ignored them it’s hard to convince them of that we still have to do it the Lord says look look at Luke 15 the parable of the lost sheep left the 99 went to retrieve the one and as you said if we allow time to elapse then there is a coldness and and I think the question could be rightfully asked as you said you know we’re still love right where’s the concern well you know did you really care about my soul and I think sometimes you know we just go through the process to clean our books so to speak I think that’s wrong that’s it and sometimes I’ve seen it maybe abused because church hasn’t practiced corrective discipline in a number of years and so what to do is to get the church directory out and well we have 14 people that haven’t been here in a year and a half so now we go try to withdraw from them because we feel guilty that we’ve not been following God said that’s not going to be effective discipline and when we tell them we’re doing it because we love them that’s hard for them to swallow absolutely you know you know one of the questions that might be asked we’ve got Matt bacon on the line we need to take that call but one of the questions that might be asked is yeah you know what what steps what genuine steps ought to be taken to restore a brother or sister and I think there are two things involved first there’s an attitude right and then secondly their actions and maybe we ought to talk about that just a minute or two yeah hello Matt yes hello hello Matt yes can you hear me I can hear you good to talk to you good to hear good to hear from y’all appreciate you willingly being a part of the program tonight I know you’re traveling yes I’m on the way back from Montgomery and a leaders conference for church leaders okay actually dealing with legal issues there okay well we we are talking tonight as you know about church discipline and obviously with the current social and political climate as it is concerning Christianity and really in many respects Christianity has become the whipping post of the media and other other areas what about the idea of practicing church discipline and I guess the loss of the land you know there was a famous case back in the late 1980s the Granby Church of Christ of Collins whole case out of Oklahoma went all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict against the church because of the way in which it carried out church discipline and sent of a panic throughout not only the Brotherhood the Churches of Christ but throughout Christendom in a broader sense many religious groups were very concerned that this might have a chilling effect on the ability of groups to practice any form of a church discipline but several states since then have upheld the right of churches to engage in that kind of practice but you do have to follow some some basic guidelines and common-sense rules to avoid unnecessarily creating legal liability I remember as a matter of fact we were talking about that case before we before we went on the air tonight and it was a no doubt it was a landmark decision what what about the protocol that ought to be followed by elders in the church today as they seek to uphold what the Bible teaches regarding discipline well I like the way you put that because the most important rule is that when they take action what they’re doing is they got to remember that church discipline is part of a larger process of managing conflicts and relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ and that you don’t want to take any action unless it’s reasonably calculated you know to make sure the problem doesn’t continue or fester and you need to limit church discipline to local purposes using biblical methods like Matthew 18 and it’s a progressive process and and make sure you articulate those biblical grounds for why you’re doing what you’re doing so that they can’t impute some mean-spirited reasons for why you’re doing what you’re doing sure what what about from the from the pulpit I know in times past elders have have at times publicly acknowledged the withdrawal of a brother or sister there have been other times when they have sent letters to the members of the congregation is there I guess which which would be preferred in this climate today well there’s a lot of confusion about what elders or what a church can or cannot say publicly you know a church there’s three basic rules that I try to counsel churches and church leaders on and when it comes to you know them carrying out their duty to practice church discipline and do it in a lawful way and then there’s three basic rules and the first one is you’ve got to have you got to know the church has the right to discipline its members if as long as it’s not posing any kind of threat to the public safety or disturbing the peace they have that right but at the same time members as individuals have arrived under the Constitution United States to withdraw their membership or at least their consent to any kind of discipline absent an intelligent and knowing waiver in other words if in the pulpit you have talked in it from the very beginning when they first became members of the church that this church practices church discipline and they then knowingly and intelligently waive their right to sort of withdraw their membership before any church discipline could take place then they don’t have an absolutely right not to be subjected to any kind of of scrutiny or admonition or rebuke from the church leaders whether in public or in private but regardless what your point is is fundamentally a sort of an absolute rule that and that is that the church is free to exclude people without obtaining their consent regardless of their knowledge and they’re waiving rights you know and so when it comes from and when it comes to whether a church can publicly state that that person who is a member of the church is engaged in a bitch will sin and is unrepentant and that is reflecting badly on the church and we want to say their soul to keep the purity of the of the church we we want to exclude that person from that close intimate fellowship that they once enjoyed in hopes that it will cause them to repent that is an absolute life that a church has under the laws of the land permanently and and so you got to distinguish that from what was happening in Collinsville they were taking it a step further they were engaging in some activities doing some investigating and and and communicating to other congregations and trying to sort of control and involve that person and that’s what the courts and a jury there found was an invasion of the plaintiffs right to privacy okay and so you got it you’ve got the right to exclude people and religious grounds but you don’t have the right to engage in activities that seek to control or involve that person past a point where they don’t want to participate okay okay you gentlemen have a photo you know the matter I had heard your question specifically I do recommend that when you do exclude people that you don’t does it in writing don’t put it in writing this needs this is a very intimate thing in order for church discipline to work it presupposes a relationship between people that is valued and that is going to be missed and so if that’s the case if I’m your friend and you want to break that friendship or or put that friendship on hold until I make some changes in my life you’re going to do that face to face aren’t you yeah and and so this in this cold informal letter is not only antithetical to what the purpose of church discipline is but it becomes Exhibit A and words as you know can be easily misinterpreted and taking out it and twisted and distorted and so it’s best that third parties lawyers people like that don’t scrutinize every word of some layman’s and I be by layman I don’t mean non clergy I mean non lawyer that’s all right my my draft so I recommend that not be in right make sense make sense I think brother Billy had a question I had heard another person who was in the well he actually is a gospel preacher but he’s also a judge and on one occasion as it revolved around this case in Oklahoma of which you’ve referred he suggested also that if you visit this individual and tell them do you understand that this conduct is contrary to what you’ve been taught from us in other words whether you agree with it or not this is what’s been taught and do you buy do you still desire to how fellowship with us and if they say they do not want to have fellowship with us his way of handling it and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong is basically you are unmounting to the congregation that this person no longer desires this fellowship and this person is out of fellowship with us based on on the Scriptures and all that that that seemed to me to be kind of a softening effect though of what we’re really trying to accomplish but I’d like to know what your thoughts on that by being well once they have abandoned the faith so to speak that’s sort of an old I’m a trump card that’s all the ultimate scene right in my opinion that that might be what the Scriptures were referred to as the sin against Holy Spirit because at that point you’re turning your back on the only thing that could possibly save you that’s the grace of God that’s what if Jesus Christ and so yeah I would agree with him if they’re willing to make that an issue make that the issue and and say that we’re bad I’m abandoning I want to quit the church I want a ban in the church there’s no reason to do whatever habitual sexual sin or other sin that they’re dealing with because now there’s an even bigger and more immediate sin and that is their their denial of Christ and and and so yeah I think that you can then keep it keep that announcement to the church in a very simple and straightforward manner and it and it avoids all the the potentially problematic nature of sin some sins are more tinta lating more sensationalized involve more labels and adjectives and so if you can avoid getting into that kind of detail and just tell the church it’s been praying for this person because you know they’ve given up on their faith well sometimes sometimes brother man sometimes brother Matt they they’re they’re not necessarily saying they’re giving up on the faith they they can find a congregation down the road that will accept them and so we say we no longer want to be members of this congregation but yet you know they’ve committing some sin and but yet they can find a home and another congregation so that sometimes entered in as well yeah do that then then they are sort of circumventing the purpose of the church just right exactly right and you know at that point I think you got to deal with the Synod exactly man to change your membership to a different congregations so that’s not really the issue the issue is something else I can’t to continue some kind of sin in their life and avoid being held accountable yeah I think it raises another question and that it goes back to I remember years ago elder ships would typically if they were going to administer withdrawal of fellowship they would send a letter to area congregation so that they would not find a haven right to you know somebody that would welcome them them in without without correcting the problem at the previous congregation would that be in order today you know I don’t I do not recommend publish I don’t recommend putting it in writing so I don’t recommend then publishing it and writing to other congregations by extension but that’s it I’m a big proponent of one eldership talking to another you know when they’re gonna hire a new minister they need to be checking their references and likewise with a new member wants the place membership with them that’s been a Christian they ought to be checking their references so to speak it’s great yes he used to be a generation ago churches would would a members would ask for a letter from their from one eldership to be able to present to the next and and that’s a good practice because it allows you to carry your reputation forward and it builds some some synergy and unity among the congregation right but at the same time that doesn’t happen anymore and so elder ships have to be more diligent about getting to know new members and part of that is is finding out about where they’ve been and how they’ve been involved in the work not just find that got you but let’s define how they can fit in and get to work here how they were effective there I think I think that’s a great point particularly from the vantage point of being a shepherd dawn in light of what was just said and also a question we had a question emailed to us that I think ties into both of these things an email question says if a congregation doesn’t practice any discipline who is held accountable this is what Hebrews 13:17 says obey them that have the rule over you this is talking about elders it says and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls he’s talking about the fact that elders are ultimately going to have to give an account for the souls of the people that they oversee so to answer that question who’s going to be held accountable the elders are but tying that back in to what was just said I have known of congregations in fact to preach for a congregation where we had an individual who became the subject for church discipline and the elder started working with them and it would get to the point where the person wasn’t going to repent it was clear what was about to happen all of the sudden they placed membership across town at another congregation so as was said a moment ago in a sense they circumvented it because they shifted the responsibility from this church to this church sometimes I’ll do it again to avoid it so in a sense they’re playing the biblical system but of course the Lord will not be mocked and they will be held accountable for that regardless but a sound eldership sometimes you’ve got a complicated situation they still say we’re going to have this person and then we’re going to spend time and investigate it and and deal with it and instead of just taking someone else’s word for it because we have to give an account we need to investigate this ourselves and I think that’s fair for the I don’t know also another another thing that comes to mind and also brother Matt including you in with this conversation you know in first Corinthians 13:4 we find that in some way the congregation has to be informed that this individual is indeed being withdrawn from and we learn in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when you are gathered together yea and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ obviously it’s not to be a vindictive thing but it looks like to me that this is a public matter which will involve a public pronouncement of this individuals name and most likely a sin without which is involved which also brings up something very interesting and I think what you just described can be done in a way that doesn’t create a lot of legal risk right putting it in biblical terms not using labels using Scripture correct and making it brief and and making a general public statement you don’t need to provide a bunch of details in that form it could be an unnecessarily embarrassing to the other family members and and and sometimes people just sort of revel with other people’s sins and I know the church doesn’t want to do that but they don’t even need to get close to that line and instead you the key is you only provide details upon request and you do it privately and on a need-to-know basis only right and so that’s why it’s so important for all elder ships to practice good referral you know efforts with when when new members join their congregation they need to be taking that step of requesting information because there’s less legal liability with them requesting information about somebody that’s going to be a volunteer working with children and being active in the church there’s less legal liability with them asking questions than it is with the previous eldership giving information unsolicited to the next church if that makes sense yes so and so in order for us to work together everybody’s got to understand that and so that means the burden will be on the new members new eldership to take those initiatives because the old interships that have much much greater legal risks of trying to initiate that contact sure I know we have a brother on the line who’s been waiting it for a few minutes but if I could say one thing very quickly before we move off the point and that is the point brother Billy just made from first Corinthians 5 and verse 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when you are gathered together I have known some individuals who think that it is their personal responsibility to just go around withdrawing from people I don’t see that concept in the scriptures I see that this is a congregational action and what you see in the church here is he says the church has gathered in Matthew 18 even with the sin between two brethren it’s ultimately taken to the church then the church takes action there and since we mentioned that I just wanted to know for you absolutely it goes back again to biblical actions how we handle it and there is a process and I appreciate I appreciate so much you being a part of the program Matt and and giving us your legal expertise because no doubt we are in a climate that has become increasingly hostile towards Christianity and and biblical precepts right but you know I cannot imagine any organization of any kind that doesn’t have some sort of corrective discipline about it a school a nation well even even even corporations and you know corporations when they you know when they quote-unquote discipline their employees there is a protocol that they follow they will bring that employee in they’ll go over the the problem they will they will have that employee sign off on it they’ll dated and then they’ll do that maybe three times before they they terminate the employment but they get they go through a process and same things true with with with all the fellowship we do have another caller on the line and Smithson and it is the author of a book called The Forgotten commandment and ad good to have you with us tonight thank you sir appreciate so much you being a part of our program talk a little bit about your book from the vantage point of I guess the fact that this is the Forgotten commandment in many respects it is then it’s more forgotten today than it’s ever been when I published this book 50 years ago this month there was not much being done in the church on this in this area and that’s the reason that I named it the Forgotten commandment because we preached a lot of things that were by the book so when he came to this a lot of times it wasn’t even mentioned I think you hit the nail on the head you know we we say that we want to follow the scriptures and that we believe what the Scriptures have to teach and we uphold what the Bible says we quote many times first Peter chapter 4 verse 11 if any man speak let him speak as the Oracles of God and I think that we have we have a long history of warning to implement the will of God in our lives and yet as you said you know this this is a command right that has in many respects fallen by the wayside it’s it’s difficult to do difficult things it expected it this is especially true when you’re dealing with people well yes and so I guess because this was so difficult to do that most of the bread then just bypassed it I think you’re right I know in talking to brother Jim Dearman several years ago brother Jim was talking about withdrawal of fellowship church discipline and he said you know I think this might be one problem area for elders on the day of judgment and that’s a sobering thought it sure is because as mother Don read a moment ago Hebrews chapter 13 17 they are going to give an account of those under the of those under their oversight if I can ask brother ed I’d like to ask you a question is your book still in print and if so how can people get it they can get it from me okay well if you’ll give us that information we would love to make it available to those in our viewing audience my address is three to one eight timberlands Trejo you this Texas seven six zero four zero so they can simply write to you and say that they wanted what is the price of the book if $7 $8 okay thank you yes sir thank you so much and we appreciate your work well they had well thank you much it’s still going on I was 83 few years few days ago I’m not that happy birthday I’m still preaching on the radio good have you have you found that your book has been helpful in in congregations well it was used of this video right after we covered it for several years in fact we’ve distributed about 60,000 copies and for a church book that’s pretty good I would say that’s outstanding we use this in three different places where I work two of the places had elders and one didn’t and it worked every time there was growth there was a few discipline withdrawals but there was growth because of it people are looking for something solid that they can paint on food and that makes it much more solid than it’s ever been I think you’re right and in the minds of people well you know we want to be biblical right and and and we want to make sure that we do the will of God alright and sadly sometimes maybe we turn a deaf ear to this command and and and I understand it is an emotional subject many times deals with family members and it can create it can create but that doesn’t negate the fact that we have to do it right exactly is that we we don’t want to work on the problem you know one of the you know it strikes me one of the qualifications of an elder is set forth in Titus chapter one and the Apostle Paul said holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught that he may exalt and convict the gang Sayre and then under that same context done in about verse 15 he said wherefore rebuke them sharply right and you know elders have to be willing to get involved in what I call sometimes dirty situations well I sometimes say we’ve got to we’ve got to we’re not doing this but I’m afraid the church sometimes is selling religion rather than preaching the gospel that’s what I mean by that we’re marketing the church success is determined by how much the contribution is how many members we have right rather than how many souls are actually saying faithfulness right faithfulness I agree so I hope get involved a bit and that’s the outer hearth oh well the Shepherd’s have to be shepherds over the floor John chapter 10 the Shepherd knows the Sheep knows them by name knows him intimately and you know Solomon made a great statement in the book of Proverbs when he talked about knowing the state of your flocks I be diligent to know the state of your flocks and I think about how that applies to an eldership right an eldership if they’re going to effectively oversee a congregation they have to know the hurts the the trials and tribulations the temptations the difficulties and the spiritual weaknesses that members have and some of those some of those problems can be complex but nonetheless they need to be addressed but you know along these lines piggybacking off of what you said from Titus chapter 1 verse 11 right after giving the qualifications of elders he talks about false teachers the gainsayers and then he says whose mouths must be stopped I have oftentimes said that one of the qualifications of an elder as I believe is listed here is he must have backbone absolutely because he can’t quality can’t follow through with the duties the Lord has assigned him if he doesn’t have the courage and backbone to do this and so and this is one of these it’s going to take backbone and courage to stand up because unfortunately when churches do practice discipline they get a lot of kickback yes these days and elders sometimes back down because of that and you know what there’s a word that I want to use and and I don’t mean it in a negative sense but an elder has to be confrontational yeah and by that as you said he has to have some spine right and be willing to stand toe-to-toe with somebody and say Lord you know in a loving kind of way I’m concerned about you but you’re out of line well go ahead brother yet go ahead brother but we don’t know what that word means yeah you know let me just read for you a passage brother head since you’re on the line in second Timothy chapter 2 Paul said a servant of the Lord must not quarrel or strive but be gentle to all able to teach patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil who had been taken captive by him to do his will is not what we’re trying to do to get a brother or sister to come to their senses exactly and they’re not going it may be the case they don’t know just how deep in sin they are until we until we sit down and talk to them and by failing to do it we are encouraging them to continue in that sin and then they will be lost and from quite frankly we might be because we didn’t do it you know the purpose of it is stated in 1st Corinthians 5 and I certainly would encourage the listeners are to go to 1st Corinthians 5 and read that chapter and starting in verse number 5 he says notice these words to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that is that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus there’s your purpose of doing this and then he says your glorying is not good no you’re not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lot if you do not practice this it’s going to continue that’s right purge out therefore the old leaven that you may be a new lump for even as ye are unleavened for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us so the purpose of corrective discipline yeah I think it’s in this word corrective we’re trying to correct the situation and so a corrective discipline is an act of love trying to bring this individual back unfortunately sometimes they don’t receive the corrective discipline they continue in their sins but at least you stopped the growth of it in the church and that that leads to a third point – people have such a misunderstanding of why we do this they think that it’s hateful they think that it’s judgmental as brother Billy is quoted from first Corinthians 5 the first purpose is to save that individual it’s a loving act the second purpose is so that sin is not endorsed and spread in the church but the third purpose is to send a message to the world about the stance of the church dealing with sin if we allow sin to remain in the church and we don’t do anything in a sense what we say to the world is we’re okay with this that’s right that’s right and you know what in light of I think brother heads book and and what we’ve been discussing tonight the question that I would ask in light of the passage that brother Billy just read a moment ago 1st Corinthians chapter 5 does church discipline work God’s ways are tribe tested they have proven to work because you can read in second Corinthians right this is chapter two this brother was led to repentance right and so yeah you know I think sometimes we we you know we cast doubt on all the wisdom of God absolutely by not practicing it right if we’ll do what God says he’ll bless us let me give you a illustrate been ho yeah there was a congregation down in Florida of which I’m aware that was practicing consistently corrective discipline that is they would visit the folks and it was ongoing and on Sunday there was to be an announcement that a particular individual because of failing to repent would not come back was going to be withdrawn from did you know that man on a Saturday afternoon late in the afternoon called in tears begging the church not to do this and consequently he came back the next that next day and it was restored but now had they not practice corrective discipline this individual would never have come to his spiritual senses and he would still be lost and again that and going back to what Paul said that they may come to their senses and recover themselves out of the snare of the devil the devil wants people to live in sin and what we’re trying to do is keep people out of the snares of the devil because the bottom line is if people die in sin they’re lost right you know I remember a congregation I was preaching for and we were going through the process of withdrawing fellowship and I remember one family specifically saying this is my son I know him this won’t work with him he’s different from a lot of people this won’t work with him this will drive him further away and so we don’t support this action because he’s different I’d be interested to explore that a little bit absolutely brother how would you respond to that it is his responsibility the responsibility falls on him if the president has done what God told him to fit in the scriptures then they are guilty if he’s driven away exactly what brother had do you think that maybe we have we’ve missed what Ezekiel said about being a Watchmen on the wall in terms of watching out for the souls of people and then tying that into Acts chapter 20 when Paul said I’m free from the blood of all men to think that you know we could stand before God and say look we’ve done our best to to encourage those who are wayward to come to their senses and come back to Christ if you look at the church today you will find that most Churches of Christ following the denominational world in that we are emphasizing more social things without the spiritual and in order for discipline to work you’ve got to teach the congregation you’ve got to first get the elders lined up all of the others need to be on board and then you’ve got to teach the congregation about this and so that they will know what to write you know I think that’s a great point brother let me ask this questions effect quickly since you have dealt with this subject for over 50 years have you ever known of a congregation that has practiced church discipline and maybe they’ve done it in such a way that it has blunted the the census of the membership so that down the road when it needs to be administered people are fearful of doing it because they’ve seen it done incorrectly it’s been incorrectly done so much because it was done because of personalities or emotion I knew the situation and Oklahoma years ago where a man was withdrawn from soon after a child of his that was I believe five years old died and the Brethren did not tell the ends of the situation they did know the situation they got angry with him and withdrew from a minute for the church up right sure sure it’s got to be done the way God that’s right and there’s a difference between a weak member and a struggling member right and somebody who just says you know what I’m done right I’m coming back to the world right that’s right that’s right brother and thank you so much for being on the program tonight we appreciate your words of wisdom and you’re right thank you so much and and hopefully and prayerfully you will get some requests for for this book okay yes sir take care god bless thank you we’ve got just a few minutes remaining in our program and there are a lot of things I guess we’ve talked about thus far but what what about from a congregational standpoint wouldn’t an eldership besides you know this is this is what we’re gonna have to do wouldn’t you say that the the responsibility rests on every member to be supportive of the eldership and to practice church discipline if it’s gonna be effective you know and I think it’s very wise to as in the adult Bible classes to have some Bible classes with the freedom of discussion on corrective discipline our church discipline I know some materials out there that are for classroom purposes and actually I remember a comment after we studied a book called withdraw yourselves that when we got through with it people said why don’t we do this I mean this is obviously biblical and it’s done to say so the congregation is kinda like in Nehemiah’s today they said let us rise up and build so you need to instruct the congregation so that they’re aware of it that’s right and that so the spiritual imagine will follow through with that you know and answer your question also the announcement of withdrawal of fellowship is not the actual withdrawal of fellowship it’s just the announcement right sometimes people make the announcement and they think that their duty is discharged when they announce it it now has to be practiced and it is also the case it’s not just the elders that are withdrawing fellowship it has to be the entire congregation that’s what this is going to work and so once it’s announced by the eldership then the entire congregation has to participate in this in fact in 2nd Thessalonians he uses the term it curious what that the idea of cold shouldering the individual and he uses the term that he may be ashamed that this person there is shame because of their sin we are cutting ourselves off from you now if half the congregation says we’re not going to acknowledge that then you dilute the effectiveness 70 blot you blot the the commandment I don’t want to misrepresent what brother Keith Mosher said but if I recall correctly he was talking about on one occasion withdrawal of fellowship and he said that if he worked to see somebody out on the street who was a wayward member of the body Christ that had been withdrawn from that he would not embrace that brother but would say I would love to have fellowship with you I’d love to embrace you when you come back or something to that effect and and and I think that’s a good approach well you know in first Corinthians five eleven and other passages tell us to have no company with right right now you have to have some company with them because even in second Thessalonians who says yet count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother so the company that you would have with him would be for the purpose of trying to urge him to restore but if like you described half the congregation says we’re not going to observe this they invite him over to their house they out they eat with him obviously he’s looking for our sympathetic listeners oh I’ve been mistreated even though he’s continuing in his sin right you know they’re mistreating me and somebody says oh you poor thing I know they have mistreated you that emboldened him in that sense lately so I think that’s the idea of the company right not so much that I’ve got to walk on the other side of the street or if he’s on a ballgame I can’t go to it and that’s the concept in first Corinthians that came in about first Corinthians 5:11 about where he says was such a one no not to eat once this person has been withdrawn from how do you deal with this person the person said would you expound on 1st Corinthians 5:11 but now I’ve written unto you not to keep company if any man is called a brother first we see from that that we don’t withdraw from people in the world this is something that’s done with a brother because they’re the only ones in fellowship with God anyway he says if he’d be a fornicator or covetous or idolaters or railer or a drunkard or extortioner with such a one no not to eat and I think sometimes people have gotten hung up on that phrase with such a one no not to eat of course the concept of that is the company the fellowship the interaction that we used to have isn’t there eating together is something that people do for enjoyment is something that we do let’s get together have a bite to eat and the concept in Matthew 18 if such a one is withdrawn from he says let him be under thee as a heathen and a publican the Jews did not invite the heathens and the publicans out to eat or over to their house to eat and that’s the concept that relationship isn’t there now if you had him over to your house and you’re going to sit down and have coffee and donuts and talk about his soul and restoring him that’s not what first Corinthians 5 is talking about significant contact he’s giving an example of the type of fellowship that no longer exists and he’s not talking about a husband who wife no longer can eat with her husband withdrawn from that’s right you know she still is his wife right he is her husband and so there’s a relationship of a husband or wife that continues and hopefully in 1st Peter chapter 3 he she can win him back by the way she lived right exactly before we close we got about two minutes left but let’s just say that there are some elders members of the church that are watching tonight they haven’t practiced church discipline in a long long time how did they get started you know I heard brother Curtis case give some advice along those very lines if there’s an eldership realizes here are some people out here who are wayward the elders have not done what they should have done that the elders need to go to those people and repent hmm and tell them we failed you think that’s a great great course about and here’s what the Bible says we want you to come back and maybe reading Luke 15 and in tears try to bring them back but then you go on and consistently practice corrective discipline don’t ignore though the fact that you have not done what the Bible says right but follow through with that and then be try to be consistent and that might soften their heart if you begin by saying we we have sinned as well we have been wrong in this we’re trying to make things right would you do the same right to me it would get my attention right if in humility they came into the Lord we have not been the kind of shepherds we should be right and we want you to forgive us we’re concerned about your soul and and we want to do what we can to get you back in harmony with the will of God you are trying to save their soul right you know it’s an act of love and I know we have a few seconds but the last congregation I preached we practice this and we had a high success rate of gaining people back by following the biblical pattern it does work if we do guns way it does gentlemen thank you so much for being a part of the program Don as always thank you Billy thank you appreciate your words of wisdom and thank you for being a part of this program tonight we hope to see you again next Thursday night until then god bless you you

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