What a distasteful subject is the topic of church discipline, does anyone like correction?
Well that depends…
It depends upon the condition of your heart.
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. – Proverbs 19:20
Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool. – Proverbs 17:10
A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise. – Proverbs 15:12
How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. – Proverbs 16:16
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. – Proverbs 13:20
What else must I do to convince you that God’s word is what we must use to gain wisdom? What else matters, and as the verse states above this is better than gold and should be chosen over silver.
God has not left us to stumble around in the dark without counsel. He has spoken on the matter of church discipline and has given the church direction. The scriptures are not silent on this subject, but the bigger questions are these…are we willing to listen, are we willing to heed the counsel?
Jesus clearly and perfectly lays out the formula. The church is to follow the example and sin must be dealt with in the church, or the church becomes polluted.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” – Matthew 18:15-17
This is pretty clear isn’t it?
What is the purpose of this; can we see what Jesus desires in this instruction? He desires restoration. The goal is to bring the one in sin to a place of understanding their sin; a place of brokenness over their sin, so they can be restored to their brother.
This is being lived out in the life of the church that I attend. My wife, my eldest daughter and I are members and we dearly love the people in our church. It’s heart breaking to see sin in the lives of people. It’s even more heartbreaking to know that unless that sin is forsaken and turned from it will destroy. That’s what Satan does! He came to destroy people and he does it in the most sinister and deceitful ways possible.
Others in my church love this man and below is a letter that was written as the church is telling this man of his sin. It is our hope and our desire that this will restore the man to a right relationship with God.
It is our desire that if he is a brother, he will confess his sin and forsake his sin, if he is not a brother that he will repent and believe in Jesus Christ as his only hope for salvation. I post this that he will be ashamed of his sin and that others might read it, be ashamed of their sin, and come to repentance.
This problem is rampant in the “church world”. It’s not a victimless crime. It’s heinous and it’s ugly.
And if they are bound in
Held in the cords of affliction,
Then He tells them their work
and their transgressions—
That they have acted defiantly.
He also opens their ear to
And commands that they turn
If they obey and serve Him,
They shall spend their days in
And their years in pleasures.
But if they do not obey,
They shall perish by the sword,
And they shall die without
knowledge. – Job 36:8-12
I know a Man…
That he might be broken and ashamed:
On nights when he is angry with his wife, she goes to sleep in their bedroom. Meanwhile he sits in his living room, just a few feet from his bride-only a wall apart-browsing depictions of harlots, picking the ones that please him the most, displaying them on his screen and having sex with them using his self. It feels good to him, helps him to relax, so he does it again or another time. He knows it is sinful, but he isn’t broken by it so he doesn’t repent. It’s not really adultery he says. He won’t tell his wife. He knows it’s wrong but he doesn’t feel saddened over it, so he does it again. His only son sleeps soundly upstairs, unharmed so the man thinks. Yet he does not know God may require the life of the child for sin such as this. He took David’s child for this, yet the man fears God not.
He comes into the sanctuary of God’s people on Sunday’s. He will not open his mouth to sing praises to God. But repent- I think not- he just doesn’t feel like it. He won’t look at the preacher, for he despises that man, sure he led him to Christ, but he’s wronged him since then. I want to ask this man, would you pick up a knife and slit the throat of your son for this preacher who wronged you? Would you slay your son for that man who you think despises and rejects you? Have you forgotten o man that God sees your adultery? That this God sees your lack of praise, lack of love for the saints, sees your lack of time in the word, and yet still shows you His love?
God sends His people to plead with the man, turn, turn from your sin, lest the Lord reject you. This God sees your sin- takes His only son- and slays Him. He drains Jesus’ blood on the wastelands, opens His side and rejects Him; Pours out His wrath and His righteous indignation, upon the perfect lamb, the great I am, don’t you remember? Wasn’t it for your sin? Will you continue to reject Him? Christ died for sins, will you continue to live in them?
Some people confront him on his sin when his conscience overbears him to report it. Repent of it- no- but agree that it’s sinful- yes. I’m just being honest says the man, I can’t turn cause you told me, or I don’t want to deny feelings. Little does he know his flesh is destroying him. He sees his wife and child, and loves them he thinks, but show them Christ in Him-maybe he will get to that next week.
This man is hardened-stiff necked, his sin spreads and spreads. He lives it, breathes it, chews it, and loves it. Love the saints? No time for that. Preach the Gospel? Who needs it. Serve the body? They don’t deserve it. But I deserve my sin says the man, after all, who are they to tell me it’s sinful? The proverbs warn him. Destruction and calamity await him- will he turn yet from his sin? I think not. He just doesn’t feel it…
You are that man… Repent and turn to Christ and you will be forgiven.