Church Discipline - part 6
· Some may say that they feel there should not be discipline in the church because love covers a multitude of sin. Some may even say that it’s none of the church business what a man or woman do outside of the church proper, in his or her home for example or on their job. Some may feel that our doors should be open to anyone and everyone, no matter what
· Listen to this quote from Mark Dever’s book; “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church”, as I further lay the ground work for today’s message.
· In his chapter on Biblical Church Discipline, page 187, he says and I quote; “Let’s be honest. The state of the churches in America today is not good. Even if the membership numbers of some groups look okay, as soon as you ask what the membership numbers actually stand for, you start finding the trouble. Alan Redpath has said about the membership of the average American church that;
o 5 percent don’t exist
o 10 percent can’t be found
o 25 percent don’t attend
o 50 percent show up on Sunday
o 75 percent don’t attend the prayer meeting
o 90 percent have no family worship
o And 95 percent have never shared the Gospel with others” unquote
· This may come as a surprise for some of you but less than 100 years ago, non attendance for one year was grounds for discipline and removal from membership.
· Nonattendance, back then, was considered one of the most sinister of sins, because it usually veiled all the other sins. When someone began to be in sin, (it was felt), you would expect them to stop attending.
· Even with all of this ground work stuff, some of you still may be convinced that discipline is not needed if it means putting someone out of the church
· Therefore there are times when the local church needs to be disciplined to start disciplining. And that is my subject today; “discipline the church to start disciplining”
· Open your bibles to 1 Corinthians 5, you have heard this read and it has been explained. I am here to say that you can not exhales Scripture. Listen
1 Corinthians 5:1-131 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” ESV
This passage is about Paul disciplining the church at Corinth to discipline like they should have.
Now, as a bit of background, so that you will know who these folks are, it is mentioned at the beginning of this letter;
1 Corinthians 1:1-2
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: ESV
· Paul is the writer and he describe himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus
· But pay attention to the description of the church at Corinth,
o Those sanctified in Christ Jesus. They are separate from profane things, free from the guilt of sin and dedicated and made holy
o Called to be saints; defined in the Easton’s bible dictionary as one separated from the world and consecrated to God; one holy by profession and by covenant; a believer in Christ
o And defined further in the Harper’s bible dictionary as derived from the word for holy identifies those so described as set apart and dedicated to the service of God. Refers to Christian in distinction from non believer
· You need to know this New Hope because you too are sanctified in Christ Jesus, bought by His blood, and you too are called saints.
· But what is alarming is that the first verse of our passage, here in chapter 5, refers to these saints; “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.”
· This first verse shouts loudly to you about the lack of discipline. There is incest in the fellowship and the fellowship knows about it as well as others
· Saints, sanctified people of the first century church, founded and cared for by Paul an apostle, one who has witnessed the resurrected Jesus. This local church has sank lower than the pagans they are witnessing to.
· No discipline means toleration, acceptance, putting up with, and before long you find yourself in the church tolerating more, accepting more, and putting up with more than what the world would even do.
· And when that happens the church needs to be discipline to get back to disciplining.
· It is the same way in our homes today, the failure to recognize authority is not improving, it is getting worse and occurring at younger ages. Parents need to be discipline to discipline their own children.
· 1 Corinthian 5:1-13 gives I see three points for discipline to be truly effective. Sin must be mourned, sin must be judged, and sin must be purged.
· Mourn over sin; listen to Paul, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn?”
· Instead of mourning, these Corinthians are arrogant they are proud and boasting about it.
· Could it be that their thinking is like yours or actually your thinking is like their’s. Sin has a way of clouding our perception where bad becomes good and good becomes bad.
· But we are showing love because love covers a multitude of sin. Or the bible says not to Judge. Or we need to get to know them better and show patience.
· Scripture doesn’t say anything about the man, except that he is involved sexually with his father’s wife. Could he be a man of prominence or wealth?
· Does he have an adequate excuse for his incest?
· All of that does not matter, what is known is that the sin is so popular that it reaches Paul in Ephesus where he is writing the letter
· We have to be disciplined New Hope because we can do a ton of good work but that ounce of bad work will get the headlines every time. We live in a time when ‘bad news’ is the good headline news
· As far as the church is concern that was the case of the first century church. Bad news even then traveled fast!
· How should they behave?
· There should have been mourning, sadness over this sin in the church. There should have been grief as if someone had died is what Paul is saying here.
· This is not the time for arrogance and boasting but the time for mourning and prayer.
· My brother pastor asked us a question some time back and I ask it again, New Hope do you know what time it is?
· Have you tolerated sin to the point that it doesn’t seems like sin any more. Come to church, when you feel like it, support the church, when you feel like it. Don’t offer correction because you don’t want to be corrected. Tolerate this, put up with that, and it just doesn’t bother you like it use to.
· Recall this local church called Corinth is the same fellowship where there is a division, some say they are of Paul and other of Apollos
· They are in Christ but Paul must fed them milk and not solid food because of the jealousy and strife
· This is a time when the church need to be disciplined to discipline because sin is never something for the church to be proud of and boast in.
· Sin must be judge period and amen!
· A look at the Old Testament would verify the sin;
6 “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. ESV
11 If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. ESV
· Scripture does not say anything about the father’s wife, we therefore assume that she is not a member of the church and therefore probably not a Christian.
· Paul utilizes his authority and the authority of Jesus Christ and pronounce judgment on this individual. Matthew 18 does not apply because apparently no one is offended by this. Since it is not a private matter then it must be addressed by the church as an assembly listen
· Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
· Paul judges the conduct and he does not judge the salvation, motive or anything else of this man.
· Is it gentle handling? NO! The sin is not gentle either. Their arrogance and boasting is not gentle. Therefore the entire church must repent now. What they have allowed must be disallowed, what was not said must now be said, what they put up with must now be put away.
· Verse 5 is the removal of the right hand of fellowship, this man is to be removed from the fellowship and have nothing to do with him. Deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh perhaps he will then repent. And we know from 2 Corinthians that he does
· The purpose of the discipline is for the man’s salvation not to just get him removed from the church, pay careful attention to Paul words here destruction of the flesh, yes but the saving of his soul in the day of the Lord.
· The purpose is for other members of the church to see the danger of sin
· And the purpose is for the church at Corinth to reestablish a good witness among nonbelievers in the world
· Be thankful New Hope, not arrogant for how the Lord has had mercy on you and I here, when we have missed the mark
· Be thankful New Hope, not in a boasting way that we are blessed with intercessors, your prayer warriors who go before our God every Sunday.
· Be thankful New Hope, not arrogant that you have asked the questions, expect accountability and the Lord has indeed blessed and protected us.
· Be thankful New Hope, not in a boasting way that God has indeed blessed out witness and testimony in this neighborhood
· But also go back to my first point, you also need to be sad and mournful because many of you know of and have heard of local church fellowship where sin like this is going on and still going on, and the fellowship has grown use to it.
· That is a fellowship in need of discipline to start disciplining
· But, I am blessed by this passage because when Paul disciplines the Corinthians, they responded.
· My prayer is that the Lord is working this out in your hearts today so that you may repent of your views on discipline.
· Sin must be mourned, sin must be judge either now or later and by you or by God, but sin also must be purged. The last verse of this passage says that; Purge the evil person from among you. Why
· Because sin is like leaven (yeast) and a little leaven leavens the entire lump
· Just like we see in the Passover all leaven had to be removed from the house, Christ is our Passover lamb that has been sacrificed. We have been reminded of that the pass two weeks. And we celebrate this not with malice and evil, the old leaven, but with sincerity and truth the unleavened.
· Knowing that Jesus paid it all, knowing that we are sanctified and called saints, how can we allow open harsh sin to remain in our midst?
· Another illustration is to see sin as a cancer and a little cancer will grow to the point of causing death totally or to a part of the body
· Healing can began when the cancer is purged from the body and you know what must happen to the body if cancer is discovered in later stages the purging is more radical and more immediate. It is the same with sin in the midst of the church.
· The Word here is saying walk the talk and insist that any one else who professes Jesus as Lord and Savior do likewise.
· This inspired Word can not be any more clearer than what is said in verse 11
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one”
· And New Hope, we must start doing that and it is bigger than this fellowship.
· Too many individuals want to say that they are saved, they go to church or they know the Lord and want to also carry on with these sins that are mentioned
· Be that contra in your home, on your job, and where ever you may be
· Be sadden by sin, but call it what it is, and finally purge it from you because you may be the one who have to discipline a fellowship, family or friend to start disciplining.
· Let us pray.