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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Feb 1, 2019

In this episode Brother Jonathan goes through the scriptures discussing what the New Testament says about church discipline.

 

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Church Discipline

 

  1. Matthew 18:15-17
    1. (v.15) “if thy brother” – This is specifically addressed to be between brethren.
    2. “against thee” – You are the offended party.
    3. “go and tell…alone” – The first step is to go speak to the person privately.
    4. “if he shall…thou hast gained thy brother” – The assumption here is that the two are reconciled.
    5. (v.16) “But if he will not hear thee” – If he refuses to humble himself.
    6. “take with thee…may be established.” – It should NOT come down to hearsay, or ‘their word against your word.’
    7. (v.17) “And if he shall neglect to hear them” – If he again refuses to humble himself.
    8. “tell it to the church” – Then bring him before the fellowship.
      1. It is assumed that they will appear before the congregation.
    9. “But if he…hear the church” – If he still adamantly refuses to humble himself.
    10. “let him be…a publican” – “heathen man”, Gr. “ethnos”, i.e. “a Gentile”. A person who is not part of the family of God. They were no longer to be esteemed as a member of the body of Christ.
  2. 1Corinthians 5
    1. (v.1) “It is reported commonly” – This was no secret matter.
    2. “ fornication” – Gr. “porneia” BDAG, “unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchastity, fornication”.
    3. “among you” – Gr. “en humin” – It is literally occurring “in their midst”.
    4. (v.2) “And y are puffed up” – “puffed up”, Gr. “phusioo” – BDAG, “to cause to have an exaggerated self-conception, puff-up, make proud”.
      1. They thought they were better than they were.
    5. “mourned” – Gr. “pentheo”, BDAG, “to experience sadness as the result of some condition or circumstance, be sad, grieve, mourn.”
    6. “that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” – “among” – BDAG, “pertaining to a position within a group, without focus on mediate position, among”.
      1. He was to lose his position among them.
    7. (v.3) “Judged” – Gr. “krino”, BDAG, “to come to a conclusion after a cognitive process, reach a decision, decide, propose, intend.”
      1. This is the same Greek word as the “judge not” of Matthew 7:1-2.
    8. (v.6) “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” - *Explain how leaven works*
      1. If there is a little sin in the congregation then it will spread.
    9. (v.7) “Purge out” – Gr. “ekkathairo”, BDAG, “To remove as unclean, clean out”
    10. “the old leaven” – They were to expel this man because of his current sin.
    11. “That ye may be a new lump” – They were to expel this man “in order that” they may be a new lump.
      1. As long as he remains in the congregation in his current state he will affect the rest of the congregation. They will no longer be considered as a holy congregation, i.e. “a new lump”.
    12. “as ye are unleavened” – That is, as being unleavened (without sin or reproach among them) that they may be holy unto the Lord.
    13. (v.9) “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:” – “company” – Gr. “sunanamignumi”, BDAG, “Mingle; associate with”
      1. They were commanded by Paul to not “associate with” or “mingle” fornicators. But he proceeds to clarify some things about this.
    14. “Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters” – Paul specifically tells them not to completely avoid the sinners of this world. He proceeds to tell why.
    15. “for then must ye needs go out of the world.” – The reason Paul gives us for not completely cutting off the lost sinners of this world is because we could never do this while alive in this world. Specifically, how can we fulfill the proclamation of the gospel if we never associate with the lost? We cannot shine a light in a dark world if we never encounter the world.
      1. Consider what Paul says here, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” (1Cor. 10:27)
    16. “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” – Here then Paul makes a difference between the lost sinners and professing Christians who live in sin.
      1. “that is called” – Gr. “onomazo”, BDAG, “to give a name to, call, name; to pronounce a name or word, name a name, use a name/word; be known”.
      2. Given that it is assumed that this man will appear before the “church” it specifically applies to those who fellowship together. This is a brother who is fellowshipped with regularly within a congregation.
        1. Adam Clarke said, “You may transact your worldly concerns with a person that knows not God, and makes no profession of Christianity, whatever his moral character may be; but ye must not even thus far acknowledge a man professing Christianity, who is scandalous in his conduct. Let him have this extra mark of your abhorrence of all sin; and let the world see that the Church of God does not tolerate iniquity.”
  • “not to eat” – To what extent should this separation go? One thing that we can be certain of, it does not in any way compromise another commandment of God.
    1. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt. 5:44)
    2. If we are commanded to do good things to those who are open enemies of Christians then it is reasonable to assume that includes those who once were Christians but have been excommunicated.
      1. Albert Barnes said, “I am inclined to the opinion that the ordinary civilities of life may be shown to such persons; though certainly nothing that would seem to recognize them as Christians. But as neighbors and relatives; as those who may be in distress and want, we are assuredly not forbidden to show toward them the offices of kindness and compassion.”
    3. “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?” (1Cor. 5:12)
    4. “But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (1Cor. 5:13)
  • Romans 16:17-18
    1. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17)
      1. “mark” – Gr. “skopeo”, BDAG, “to pay careful attention to, look (out) for, notice”.
      2. They “cause” divisions and offences.
  • “divisions” – Gr. “dichostasia”, BDAG, “the state of being in factitious opposition, dissension”
    1. This word is used in Galatians 5:20 and translated “seditions”.
  1. “offences” – Gr. “skandalon”, BDAG, “an action or circumstance that leads one to act contrary to a proper course of action or set of beliefs, temptation to sin, enticement.”
  2. These are people who oppose right doctrine (specifically about salvation) and are influencing others toward the same end.
  3. “avoid them” – Gr. “ekklino”, BDAG, “To keep away from, steer clear of”
  1. “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Rom. 16:18)
    1. Paul said that these people are not those that serve God, and therefore, they are not brethren. They are leading people away from Christ. They are enemies of the gospel.
  2. 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14
    1. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2The. 3:6)
      1. “withdraw yourselves” – This likewise means to “avoid” them. (Gr. ‘stello’)
      2. “every brother” – Paul specifically says that this is a brother who is doing this. But there is a very specific practice that is addressed in this passage by Paul. He goes on to specify what it is:
        1. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” (2The. 3:10-12)
  • The problem was that some men were not working and were mooching off other people’s work. This is slothfulness and laziness. It is a reproach to the name of Christ.
    1. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Ti 5:8)
  1. “disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” – This is clarified by what Paul says next.
  1. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2The. 3:14)
    1. “no company” – This is the same language as in 1 Corinthians 5:9.
    2. “that he may be ashamed” – This is the reason for the separation. It is to show that brother that he ought to be ashamed of his neglect of Paul’s commandment. He has brought a reproach on the name of Christ.
  2. “Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2The. 3:15)
    1. In this specific case, laziness/slothfulness, it is not so bad as to say that he is not a brother. If it continues, and the man willfully rebels against the commandment, then it can proceed to him being an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8).
    2. Always remember, the point of this process is the restoration of the brother to fellowship with Christ and the body.
      1. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal 6:1)
  • It is only when the man continually hardens his heart and refuses to submit to God, at the end of the process of discipline (Matthew 18:15-17), that he is esteemed to be an unbeliever. He has directly chosen to turn from following God.
  1. 1 Timothy 6:3, 5
    1. “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” (1Ti 6:3)
      1. The main point of Paul’s words are that these people are teaching in opposition to “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ”. They contradict Him. Jesus’ commandments lead to holiness. False teachers will lead to ungodliness. A good example of this is the false teaching of grace:
        1. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)
      2. “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1Ti 6:5)
        1. “supposing that gain is godliness” – This is a strong condemnation of the prosperity gospel preachers.
        2. “withdraw thyself” – Gr. “aphistemi”. We see again a commandment to withdraw and separate from these individuals.
      3. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
        1. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Ti 3:2-5)
          1. “having a form of godliness” – They profess to be followers.
          2. “but denying the power thereof” – They do not truly possess the power of the spirit of God in themselves – no changed life. Again, this includes those who deny that Christians must live a different kind of lifestyle or seek to justify sin in the life of a professing Christian. “carnal Christians”
            1. It is dangerously close also to those who teach “cessationism”. These deny that the Spirit of God manifests in gifts of the Spirit anymore. This may be application though and not necessarily interpretation.
  • “from such turn away” – Gr. “apotrepo”, BDAG, “purposely to avoid associating with someone, turn away from, avoid”.
  • Titus 3:10-11
    1. “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Tit 3:10-11)
      1. “heretick” – Gr. “hairetikos”, BDAG, “pertaining to causing divisions, factitious, division-making”.
      2. Notice the process of discipline was followed through, “first and second admonition [warning]”.
  • This is someone who teaches something contrary to the person of Christ, God, or about salvation.
  • 2 John 10
    1. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2Jn 1:9-11)
      1. “transgresseth” – That is, they continue in sin. As addressed in the other passages.
      2. “abideth not in the doctrine [teachings] of Christ” – Similar to what Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:3.
  • “hath not God” – John emphasized this very clearly in 1 John:
    1. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1Jn 2:3-6)
    2. “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1Jn 3:5-10)
  1. Here in 2 John, he is simply stating this again. If a professing Christian does not continue in the teachings of Christ—assuming the correct disciplinary process has been followed—then he is to be esteemed to be a lost man. We are to separate from them.
  2. John’s statement here, “receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds,” can be taken to mean the same thing essentially as what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5.