What Is Biblical Church Discipline? | Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Have you ever wondered what Biblical church discipline is? I wonder when you hear the word discipline, what are your first thoughts? Perhaps you envision a parent disciplining their child, and even that form of discipline can take on many different things for different people. Some children have been abused, so they may think in those terms when it comes to discipline. I have my doubts that many people think of the church when they think of discipline.
I want you to stop and think why we have such an extreme thought process when it comes to church discipline, why is it that tolerance rules the day, and why do we feel we can never address sin in the lives of believers. In 1987 so over 20 years ago, philosopher Allan Bloom argued that tolerance built on the assumption of moral relativism, not the truth, has become the chief “virtue” in America. So to judge any behavior as evil has become unthinkable. So much so that Bloom found many of his students were reluctant to lave Hitler as evil.
If you think the culture has gotten better, think again, tolerance is the chief virtue, and let me tell you what the major problem is. Tolerance as the chief virtue has infiltrated the church to the point that we tolerate willful and open sin. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you ever witnessed a church actually disciplining someone? Good grief, people that claim the name of Christ will sin right in front of us, and we won’t even call it sin; we just ignore it, or sometimes in the case of gossip, we participate in it. What happens? Well, we think that if we judge someone’s behavior as sin, then we are casting stones, or we are being unloving. So churches either accept, or they overlook violations of biblical standards.
If we are actually going to practice church discipline, it is not easy or pleasant. However, we must ask ourselves what our standard is? Is our standard the world, or the culture, or what someone thinks or feels, or is our standard the Bible? If our standard is the Bible, then we better be doing what it says. Some of the reformers felt that church discipline was the third mark of a true church; the other two were preaching the word and administering the sacraments. So this message is going to look at what the Bible teaches us concerning church discipline.
So here is the sermon in a sentence now I have to warn you it is a mouthful “The church must put into practice biblical church discipline towards professing Christians who persist in practicing known sin.”