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Church Discipline and the Lord's Table

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lass=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 2-1-09…..PM……SBC        Church Discipline and the Lord’s Table

Sources: Polity-Dever; 9 Marks-Dever; Deliberate Church-Dever; God’s Rescue Plan-JBC;


Illustrations:  Stake to make the tree grow straight—braces on teeth—reminders to chew with your mouth closed

·         in each of these illustrations there is assistance that is offered in order that the intended result is accomplished

·         not all discipline is bad

-          disciplining yourself to eat healthy, regularly exercise is not bad – the basic shaping of our lives and families

·         God designed the church to include of shaping and molding for the church as well

·         Preaching, teaching, discipling, Bible Studies are all examples of Formative discipline

-          formative discipline is how the church gets in shape, stays in shape and grows

-          FD  strengthens us both as individuals and as a church

-          FD is meant to help the individual and the church into spiritual problems

-          FD is positive teaching, shaping and molding in order to be more Christlike

·       Another discipline, as stated by one author, is Corrective discipline


-          if FD refers to prevention then CD would be like surgery to correct something that has already gone wrong

-          rebuke, confrontation, warning, removal from membership and exclude LT are part of CD

Transition:  Real quickly let’s answer 3 questions about CD

1-      Why is FD and CD needed? – it is needed because we are not all perfect

-          we should all, without hesitation, admit out need for discipline and shaping

-          none of us are perfect, finished products – we may need to be challenged, correct or broken

-          let’s not pretend or presume that you and I are just as we should be – as if God is finished with us

-          1 John 1:8 – if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves

2-      How is it done?

-          Meekness: (Gal 6:1) “restore him in a spirit of gentlesness”

-          Love: (Ephesians 4:15) “speak the truth in love”,

-          With a bold stand against sin:  (Titus 1:13) “rebuke them sharply”

-          With a forgiving spirit at repentance (2 Cor 2:5-11)

3-      What is God purpose in it?

-          God’s purpose for the church is to sanctify it from sin and present it to Himself pure (Eph 2:26-27)

-          God established discipline as a way for His people to safeguard His holiness (1 Pet 1:15)

-          God designed both FD and CD as a means to produce holy character in the one being disciplined

1)      Matthew 18:15-20

A-    Context – Jesus is teaching the future leaders of the church on handling offenses between each other

B-    Four Steps       (no timetables are given in S. for moving between the steps)

1-      Individual – confront first of all in private              v15

·         the motivation for going is so that you can win your brother – it is other centered

·         you don’t blow up at them or refuse to speak to them anymore—no harbor evil

·         this first step is important because it will, many times, limit the injury caused by the sin and it avoids a public spectacle which would tarnish the witness of the Church

2-      Together – take one or two others with you            v16

·         this step is again to show the importance of the actions involved and the unrepentant heart behind that action

·         bringing others establishes the facts and protects against a false accusation (love)

·         it is also meant to establish that an individual has been confronted and hasn’t repented

3-      Church – if lack of repentance report the matter to the church for a corporate decision v17a

·         the church collectively is to urge the individual to repent

·         this is why we invite people under church discipline to attend these meetings

·         the entire church is responsible for calling an individual back to repentance

·         in the future…I will strongly encourage each one of you to aggressively pursue the person under CD before the step of dismissal comes – we are all responsible to call the person back to repentance not just the leadership

4-      Dismissal – upon further lack of repentance, out of love and in light of the glory of God the sinning individual is to be removed from the church          v17b

·         Notice that the context tells us that CD is a function of the church

·         The church is render its decision based on the principles in God’s Word

·         The goal is the restoration, not a public spectacle

·         Such people are to be given the choice of repenting and staying with God’s people or of holding on to their sin and being given over to the world and the devil.[1]

·         When a church has done everything it can, but without success, to bring a sinning member back to purity of life, that brother is to be left to his sin and his shame.[2]

·         the purpose of putting the brother out is to protect the purity of the Church and to give a testimony of righteousness to the watching world. [3]

·         Dismissal is not done in order to punish, but to awaken them of their condition


2)      1 Corinthians 5: 9, 11 - How do we react to those that have been removed from the membership of the church?

A-    But putting an unrepentant member out the fellowship is not the end of the discipline process. CD should not end until the brother has either repented or died.[4]

1-      Not to have fellowship or even social contact with the unrepentant brother does not exclude all contact.[5]

2-      When there is opportunity to admonish him and try to call him back, the opportunity should be taken. [6] - seek these opportunities

3-      But the contact should be for the purpose of admonishment and no other.[7]

B-    The point of this text is that the relationship between the church and the individual has to change

1-      we are to avoid eating meals in order to just “hang out” with the individual

2-      casual conversation with such individuals would suggest that they have done or are doing nothing line

3-      the individual must know that any time they encounter a member of SBC they are going to be confronted with their need for repentance

3)      The relationship of Church Discipline and the Lord’s Table (1 Cor 11)

A-    taking the LT is a participation in the unity of the church’s fellowship around the remembrance of Jesus Christ

B-    if unity is at the heart of the LT then it is imperative that those who are not in fellowship with the church ought to be excluded from the LT

C-    by barring someone from the LT we are barring them from the primary symbol of church unity and fellowship and clarifying that there will be a distinction between the church and the world

Conclusion:  The danger of not making Church Discipline a practice of SBC

1-      “The decline of Church Discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church.”[8]

2-      By not performing CD we are demonstrating that there is a lack of concern for maintaining the purity of God’s church

3-      Historians have made statements in reference to historic churches like, “a church without discipline would have hardly have counted as a church,” and, “when discipline leaves a church, Christ goes with it.”

4-      The danger in not performing CD is that we will then be communicating that actions and words are not connected together – you can say one thing and do another and it is ok

·         our lives are supposed to back up our professions

·         we need to love each other enough to keep each other accountable because we will all have times when our flesh will want to go a different way then God has revealed in Scripture

5-      The mandate of the church is to maintain true Gospel doctrine and conduct.  If we don’t maintain these essentials through individual and corporate CD then we won’t have a very strong and healthy church




Ø      Read “Discipline of Members” from Constitution

Ø      We have went through this process with Samantha and given her plenty of opportunity for repentance

Ø      Does anyone want the letter from last time read again?  Are there any questions or discussion?

Ø      Vote “yes” to remove from membership and “no” to remain in the membership


[1]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[2]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[3]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[4]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[5]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[6]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[7]John MacArthur, Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 136.

[8] Mohler Article on Church Discipline in Polity by Dever p43

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