I posted this on a discussion board for a bible study group that I will speak more of on here when I have the time... This is from the notes I took on our discussion of Church Discipline on Thursday. I just finished writing it.
The purpose of Church discipline is the restoration of the fallen brother (or sister, but just to make it easy the person will be referred to as brother from now on. lol).
In Galatians 6:1 Paul says that if someone is caught in sin, "you who are spiritual should restore him gently." Paul gives us an example of this in the first part of 2 Corinthians 2 where someone has done something wrong (possibly a reference to 1 Corinthians 5) in the church and has already been punished for it. The "majority" did punish this person somehow, but at the same time Paul says in verse 7 to "forgive and comfort him so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow." This means that when an issue of sin needs to be addressed it should not be done out of malice or some other form of ill intent, but rather "so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord." (1 Cor. 5:5) And we must forgive so that "Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." And his scheme in that place would be to divide the Church so that it would become ineffective as a tool for God.
"A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." It is not good to never address the sin once we are aware of it. In 1 Corinthians 5, the church embraced the sin that the man did. Paul says to "put out of you fellowship the man who did this" and "expel the wicked from among you" We should not allow one who continues in sin to create division through their sin. In Matthew 18:15... Jesus gives the guidelines for dealing with someone who you know is in sin: speak with them on your own, and if that doesn't work after a while, get a few people to go with you to speak with him, and if that doesn't work, then it should be brought to the attention of the body of believers. And if he still refuses to listen, Jesus says to treat him as a tax collector or pagan: an outsider. According to Paul's example with the church of Corinth, when that person realizes that they were wrong and changes, we can love them enough to bring them back gently rather than continually bash their face in with it. We are not above falling ourselves (Gal 6:1, Titus 3:3).
We are to be held accountable to each other through the church by God's word. When we make a commitment to be associated with other believers, we are making a commitment to be held accountable by them to what God says. If we are committed to one another under the Bible, discipline flows naturally. We are to be one body unified by one purpose. We can never be too "holy" to be humble. We should desire correction from one another if one of us is in sin.
- If anyone has anything to add feel free to on this discussion board. Or if anyone was there and sees that I said something completely wrong about what we discussed or the conclusions we came to through our discussions please correct me. It is possible sometimes that I will take notes and not remember exactly what I meant those notes to say so then when I reproduce them to the world in a halfway intelligible form, it may come out wrong.
1 Peter 4:7-8 "7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."