Neglecting Church Discipline

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The Problem Of Neglecting Church Discipline

1 Corinthians 5

Before we begin such a topic as church discipline we need to consider that no matter who we are, we are all sinners who are saved only by the “Grace of God”!

Many of us always seem to be guilty of justifying our own sin, while we condemn the sin of others!

Most of us go out of our way to concoct ways to make wrong conduct appear to be right!

It is because we all still possess that old sin nature passed down to us from Adam!

Many will say that the Bible does not teach much on church discipline but it does not take much for us to know what God really means!

What is the only intent of church discipline? Ask Job.

Job 36:9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.
Job 36:10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

The intent of church discipline is for that guilty party to return to the fellowship of the church!

To return means that at some point they were denied fellowship with the church!

By what means is church discipline to take place?

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, “for correction”, for “instruction in righteousness”:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

It is by the “entire Word of God” that we are use, not only “for doctrine” but also “for correction”!

We are not to make up things as we go, we are to follow the written Word of God!

Let’s see what the Apostle Paul says:

*****1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

We know that the house of Chloe had reported many things to the Apostle Paul but it does not seem that this thing was reported by them.

Paul says it was “commonly” reported!

This act of fornication was done, not by some citizen, not by someone who had visited the church, but by someone who was an actual member of the church in Corinth and it was known by everyone inside and especially outside the church!

It is a fact, that the church in Corinth could not plead ignorance of this thing nor could they excuse such an act and push it aside, even though up until this letter by the Apostle Paul they had condoned this thing and had said nothing.

Immediately we can see that their standard of morality was very low at this time, still much like the city of Corinth, whose nickname was “the city of fornication”.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Most of the world today would just say, so what.

Today in our societies it seems that all immorality is accepted!

1) The father of this young man was still alive and had suffered for what his son had done to him!

The proof is here:

2Co 7:12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, “nor for his cause that suffered wrong”, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

2) Corinth was ruled by Roman law which was loose on morality, but in this thing, it was still branded as a public scandal, which meant it brought shame and reproach to both families and was considered a crime.

3) The man was a church member who was bound by the Word of God to walk by a higher standard than even the laws of Rome and the laws of all men, but he walked by his own laws!

It is these types of things that is fatal to the Christian image and the image of the “Body of Christ”!

We must remember the last verse in Chapter 4 where Paul had said this:

1Co 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

You see, through the first 4 chapters, no one had been singled out to blame for the divisiveness of this church and we should believe that this was not the only sin of it’s members!

We can see that before Paul wrote this letter, this epistle, he had spent much time in prayer and much counsel of the Holy Spirit to provide a method for church discipline then, and that is now to be used by the church!

We can already see the the commandment of the Lord Jesus had already been rejected!

Mar 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The is also means that this church did not love the Lord as they should, which is the first commandment of the church, “To Love The Lord With All Our Heart”!

*****1Co 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed “might be taken away from among you”.

This an awful example for a church!

Rather than being grieved by the behavior of the church member, this church had defended their open-mindedness!

This is exactly what we see today in those place of worship that have welcomed the gay community into the church and not condemned that sin, “not that sinner” but “the sin” itself!

They try to defend their open-mindedness at the expense of the truth of God!

Some are even more arrogant to allow this sect into the priesthood directly violating the Word of God.

The Book of Timothy lays down specific guidelines for the Priest, the Preacher, and the Servants of the church named Deacons.

The the testimony of the this church had reached all the way to Ephesus where the Apostle Paul was now located when he wrote this Epistle.

When sin in the house of God, is a sin that even the world condemns, that news will spread faster than any other sin of the church.

Incest, even at that time was a revolting public offence that had to be addressed by the church!

It did not require some gathering of the elders!

It did not require some vote by the church body!

These things are completely addressed in the Word of God and no action of the church is to ever go against the written Word of God!

The “integrity” of the Body Of Christ is on full display throughout the world and it must remain the cause of all those who love Jesus Christ enough for salvation, “to protect the integrity of the Church at all costs”!

The Body of Christ should be in deep mourning today, and emotionally charged, to end such nonsense and return to the work of the Church, as outlined by Jesus Christ and moved by the Holy Spirit!

The Apostle Paul then proceeds to give acceptable guidelines to this church in Corinth which must apply to all the Body of Christ even through our day!

We must look at these words of Paul as the actual Word of God because all Scripture is inspired of God!

*****1Co 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul said though he could not be there bodily, he was always with this church spiritually!

Paul said his decision was instantaneous and his judgment was final, just as soon as he heard of this thing, as though he were present!

That word “judgement” turns off many in the “Body of Christ” but is a fact that God will not only judge the World by His Word, but God will also judge the Church by that same Word of God.

We are never to judge that lost soul, because that is the job of God Himself!

But just as God judges by the Word of God we are definitely to judge the actions of those that are welcomed into the fellowship of the “Body of Christ” by that same Word of God!

“Not in condemnation” but as loving brother or sister in Christ!

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

God’s Word give us specific guidelines for these things but to ignore these things makes us a part of that sin!

The existence of the Church itself was in jeopardy then, even as it is today!

Remember what Jesus said about His soon coming return.

Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, “shall he find faith on the earth”?

We all look forward to the “Rapture” of the Church, but in truth there may not be many left that God has not already taken home!

Jesus is referring to the modern day church, that is not led by faith but by those who twist and turn the truth of the Word of God into something that is itself a condemning sin!

We must remember there is a highway to hell but only a stairway to Heaven!

Since no single individual had approached this man who was living in the sin of incest, it was time for the church to gather and come to the proper decision to remove this person from the fellowship of the church!

The church of today must also repent and gather together and remove all the “unrepentant sinners” from fellowship in every house of God.

We all know that when a child of God sins, if they will repent, God will forgive them of that sin and when God has forgiven them, then the church can allow that repenting one back into the fellowship of the Church!

The world may never understand these things but the world does understand it is a hypocritical church that does not condemn sin, especially a sin that even the world condemns!

Today the world condemns very little sin!

The ultimate goal of any church discipline, must always be to restore that sinner back to fellowship!

But the Church must take a stand on the entire Word of God and make an open statement condemning any action that goes against the Word of God!

It must be very clear that all those who refuse to confess their actions as sin before the Lord and repent of that sin, then they should never be allowed back into the fellowship of the Church!

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

That phrase “to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh” is clearly misunderstood by many.

If we want a glimpse into the unseen spiritual world that goes on around us, but is out of our sight, we can see a part of it in this reality!

Ever since Adam, Satan “in some sense” has the power of death over human beings!

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”;
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Ultimately God Himself restrains this power that He has given to Satan, especially for all those that are redeemed into the family of God.

The child of God can only be hurt or even stressed, only to the point that God allows and this can happen when God is fulfilling some purpose He has for that individual!

The Book of Job addresses this issue as we know.

We also have this account of Peter:

Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

And of the Apostle Paul:

2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Satan’s power of death only extends to the reach that God allows it, but we know that God allows it from time to time and it is for sure that sin can destroy any life!

Even that child of God who has returned to a sinful life!

We also have the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts.

And we must not forget the statement Paul made to these same Corinthians about partaking of the Lord’s Supper ,while still partaking in unconfessed sin in their lives.

Paul told these same Corinthians this:

1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, “and many sleep”.

That that sleep are those that had died in their unconfessed sin!

It is obvious that God will sometimes remove His hand of protection, even from the child of God, during times of unconfessed sin!

This is not ever to come as a threat from any Pastor or church leader or any church member, but it is truly a fact of the Scriptures!

What is the job of the church in discipline?

*****1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

To purge out all leaven!

What is the truth of all open sin in the church or of it’s members?

Even if only one member in the church is involved in open sin, his conduct will rapidly influence the rest of the congregation!

The truth is, this may have been the only member who was involved in open sin in the church but we all are sinners saved by the “Grace of God” and we all still have some sin in our lives because we all are still in this sinful flesh!

Certainly this man was to be denied the fellowship of the church unless he repent but we all must search out any sin in our lives and purge out that sin also!

We must also remove and purge all false doctrine, all false practices and anything else that goes against the pure Word of God!

The “Feast of the Unleavened Bread” symbolized the deliverance and freedom from sin, which was obtained only through the offering of the Passover Lamb.

The Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, had no sin in His life!

When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ “as our Passover”, then we to are to purge out all the sin in our lives all our remaining days!

The most essential requirement of this feast was the absolute putting away and even the destruction of every trace of leaven and this leaven was to be diligently sought for on the day before the Passover began!

The purging out of all leaven is another way of saying “Sanctification”!

Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The congregation of the church is made up of all these who have purged themselves from all sin and to allow some one to commit open sin and not repent of that sin, will destroy the intent of the “Body of Christ”, and the New Testament Church!

The modern day church is ignoring these things of God!

It is a waste of time to keep the Christian Feast “of Christ’s resurrection” in a spirit of unholiness if we cannot purge away the sin from the midst of us God will not honor our sacrifice!

If we are now in Christ, then we are a “new creation” but leaven is hypocrisy and this will be what the world will see!

Luk 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, “which is hypocrisy”.

When we confess to know the Lord and commit open sin we become nothing but hypocrites!

This is what the world thinks of the Church today!

Harsh as it is, this is the truth of the Scriptures!

If the church is that ship sailing through this world, then the world cannot be allowed into the ship or that ship will sink!

What are the marks of the Christian?

“Sincerity and truth” before God and before the world!

Tit 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Tit 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

We will never reach that ultimate goal of “sanctification” without these things!

Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

*****1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

It is evident that Paul had written another epistle that has not been preserved but we can still be sure that we have the entire Word of God because God has preserved the Words that we need.

It is also clear that this letter may have caused some confusion in this church and God is not the author of confusion.

1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

We are expected to take the Word of God as literal and Paul understood that if his words in a previous letter, that has not been preserved, were followed literal then Christians would become isolationist and this was not his intent, nor God’s intent!

We must take the Word of God out into the world, keeping in mind that only God can save those when they come under Holy Ghost conviction.

Certainly we all will have some friends who are not of the church and we are to certainly to avoid all the sin in which they partake but we are still to be friendly to all people!

Pro 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Our testimony begins with our own actions that can be seen by the lost!

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

All those works of darkness will never produce works of righteousness and they will never be satisfying!

Joy is never obtained through immorality but maybe for a season but will soon turn to misery and lost hope!

The testimony of the Christian must be lifted up against these shameful things which will ultimately bring the wrath of God!

Jesus said this:

Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This our only means of leading the lost to the Lord!

Then Paul explains the intent of this other letter!

*****1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Paul says this is what I meant in that other letter.

We know that Paul never forbade the Body of Christ to be unfriendly to the lost people of this world because that would go against the command of Jesus Christ!

Jesus said this:

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Paul was clearing up this confusion:

1Co 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
1Co 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
1Co 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
1Co 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?

Jesus also said this:

Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Those we are not to keep company with, are those that are brothers and sisters in Christ who fall back into the sin of this world!

They may call themselves Christian but in reality are they “fornicators, or covetous, or idolators or any of these other things that Paul mentions.

Those that do such things should not be allowed the privileges of the “Body of Christ” and certainly not be allowed to partake of Holy Communion!

In fact God says this:

2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that “ye withdraw yourselves” from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

We should follow the many places in the Word of God on how to restore such a brother or sister, if that is possible.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

That word “judge” takes on a whole new meaning when we obey the Word of God!

*****Co 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Co 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The intent of Paul’s message is this. If we remain “Babes In Christ” and do not take the time to learn the entire Word of God and grow daily in the Lord, the Church cannot properly function to do the work of the Lord!

We will end being judges to those outside the Church, when we should friendly and show the characteristics of Jesus!

We will allow those that say they are Christian to act like they are still in the world, with no rebuke of the truth and the Church will appear as it does today!

Christianity is not designed to drive us “out of the world”!

We are to live among those of the world but we are to live righteously!

We cannot escape all the evil in this world!

What did Jesus pray?

Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, “but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil”.

The work of the Lord may call on us to to mix with those of the world, but we must always be aware of the danger of doing this!

That’s why we must put on the entire armour of God, when we go out into the world:

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

When we are dressed in the armor of God, we are going into battle with evil!

We are to mix with the world but only as a witness for Jesus Christ, and our actions as Christians is our greatest witnessing tool.

If we look like the world looks, then the lost will see no reason to change their ways!

We must walk in this world while being separate from this world!

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The Lord will judge those outside the Church, but the Church must judge those on the inside, not to rid the Church of that wicked one but to restore them to the family of God!

They must remove themselves from all sin, that’s called repentance!

If we are to rate the quality of a church, then we can judge a church not on what happens on the inside, but what those on the inside do when they are on the outside!

It is when we walk outside the doors on the House of God that we all walk into our assigned missionary field!

Jesus said:

Luk 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luk 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

We must remain “a lamb” while we walk “amongst wolves” while depending upon the true Shepherd to take care of us!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

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