Discipline Within The Church Must Imitate and Carry Out God
Paul’s Example of Restorative Discipline
*A friend asked me recently what I was preaching on, and I told him the next several weeks would be on church discipline. He replied, “Whoa, heavy stuff”. His answer surprised me, and made me reflect for just a moment. Then I remembered – Biblical discipline is an act of love – that’s not heavy (at least not in a negative way).
Restorative Discipline is clearly taught in Scripture. It is not however, in my opinion easily systematized. It is taught from various perspectives within Scripture, and in widely varying contexts. We must be very diligent to understand God’s motives and intent in this area so we are fulfilling His desire in the motive, method, and timing of discipline.
God knows what is best for us, and He has given us sufficient instruction for us to know His best for us in every circumstance. I presume we would all agree that the very best course for our own lives is the one lived 100% in accord with His instructions. Restorative Discipline is extending that belief, that conviction to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We believe His words are the words of life. Following them means joy, peace, satisfaction. Departing from them means pain, turmoil, sorrow. We get deceived into thinking it’s somehow more loving to let someone go. We’re tempted to rationalize silence and passive observation – when we’re called to active love through speaking the truth.
I. Imitating Paul’s Authority
A. Recognized as Delegated vs 6, 12 “in the name of”, “through our”
1. That means I must be certain I am in accord with the higher authority
2. That means I must not shrink from carrying it out
B. Restrained for Other’s Benefit vs9
C. Not Hypocritical – vs 7-8
II. Imitating Paul’s Tough Love
A. Not Removing Natural Consequences vs 10b
B. Clearly Admonishing With Truth vs 12, 15
C. Imposing God Required Consequences vs6 -14
III. Imitating Paul’s Wisdom
A. What Happens Teaches vs7-9, vs14
B. Unrepentant Sin Degenerates vs11
C. Obedience Is Best for the Flock and for the Straying Sheep vs14-15
Repent of Known Sin -Evaluate Your Example -Resolve to Fear God More Than Man -Exhort the Disobedient /Encourage the Faithful