Tuesday Morning Early Start – The Purpose Of Church Discipline

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Tuesday Morning Early Start – Important Doctrines

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:4-5)

The Purpose Of Church Discipline

God has always shown to man the tragedy of sin and the righteous judgment of the Lord upon sin. Destroying the world in the days of Noah was a demonstration of grace, mercy, salvation and condemnation. Noah and his family of seven found grace because they were seeking the Lord. Everyone in the world who refused to submit to God were wiped off the face of the earth. Judgment. Sin is serious. Remember the story of Achan and the cities of Jericho/Ai. Read the story of David and Bathsheba. The nation of Israel was almost destroyed because of sin spending seventy years in a captive land. Ananias and Sapphira were struck down in the early days of the church as proof of God’s disdain for sin. Herod the king died a horrible death for not giving glory to God. Sin? It is deadly serious.

The church at Corinth had a serious problem. Sexual immorality was accepted within the body of Christ. Paul was warning the church to make corrections. He first chided the brethren for not having a love for the people in sin. He then instructs them to exercise discipline against the couple to move them to repentance. The Lord wants the church to be pure and purging out the leaven of sin is a response to the serious nature of sexual immorality that was ignored within the church. Paul warns the brethren to take action against the couple withdrawing the fellowship of unity with them so they may be ashamed and repent. The church cannot tolerate sin and by the direction of the Holy Spirit must put away wicked people.

This is very hard to do and in many places very hard to accept. Discipline is never pleasant but the end result is why discipline is done. The Hebrew writer explains chastening is not joyful but grievous. God desires the peaceable fruit of righteousness to come from such action. To the church at Thessalonica Paul reminds the church that erring brethren are not enemies but still brethren. In all of this discipline must be exercise to impress upon the soul the serious nature of sin. The church of today is not unlike the church at Corinth. There can be situations within a local church that requires discipline to be exercised. Unrepentant brethren must be withdrawn from to follow the pattern of New Testament authority and love for the lost. Quibbling over matters of semantics does not address the problem of sin. Personalities are often at odds with the action of church discipline ignoring the reality that people are lost in their present condition. The purpose of church discipline is the salvation of the soul – THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS. We must never lose sight of this goal. To do any less would be rejecting the command of God.

Sin is moral leprosy. To put up with leprosy is to die of leprosy. Sin is spiritual cancer. A man who tries only to live with cancer, dies with it. If we do not deal with spiritual malignancy, then indeed it deals with us. (Vance Havner, 1901-1986)

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