Matthew 18:15-20“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be o you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say unto you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
Our standard is God’s Word. It is the Bible that we appeal to as the authority for the guidance we give, the repentance we urge, and the correction we administer. When we are counseling, and the counselee is living in unrepentant sin, the fact that they are in counseling does not remove them from the consequences of their actions. In fact, the counselee will need to know that if he continues his life of unrepentant sin, the church family who loves him and is concerned for the state of his soul will have no choice but to move forward in church discipline.
Why is Church Discipline Necessary?
If the church does not conduct discipline when necessary – then they will be in sin. The flock will then be unprotected. And the church fails to then qualify as a biblical church. This is a very grave matter, please see: Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
1 Timothy 1:19-20 “keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.”
Church Discipline is Restorative
Biblical Church Discipline should be done from a restorative perspective. The goal is not to punish an individual, but to discipline them so that they will return to God. Church Discipline points out someone’s sin and urges them to repent if they don’t then the must lose fellowship with the church body. When he repents and turns to Christ there is a tremendous joy as he is restored to fellowship. It is a wonderful thing for a church to experience: a lost sheep coming home.
Church Discipline will only occur in a church that holds a high view of scripture, above our own preferences and comfort levels. God’s Word must be our standard in all that we do – in counseling, in church, and in life.