Church Discipline But They Didn’t Change

To get the greatest benefit from this practicum, make sure you have read related training on the site. Click below to read about God’s Power for the Church:

Church Discipline but Didn't Change

You did what you could — encouraged, warned, challenged, prayed, etc. They didn’t change. Church discipline became necessary with restoration being the goal once they came to their senses (2 Tim. 2:25-26) but they still didn’t change.

Consider these questions:

Were you relying on the church discipline or on the Holy Spirit for them to change?

The power for people to break free from their sin comes from the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:2-4; 2 Cor. 3:17-18; Gal. 5:14-17). As noted in the previous post, the Spirit is the One who provides the enablement or power to change. Church discipline is merely a process God uses. We must exercise church discipline through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. We must pray for the Spirit’ work in people’s lives. Don’t expect it to go well without the Holy Spirit.

Were they offending you or the Holy Spirit?

If you followed the leading of the Spirit, walking in Him each step of the way, and you continually prayed that the Spirit would work in the person’s heart, the real offense was against Him, not you. — “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess. 4:7-8)

This perspective will keep you from getting so discouraged when church discipline doesn’t seem to work that you are ready to abandon it. Your responsibility is to keep pace with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) as you follow the instructions given in God’s Word. You are accountable for what you do as others are for what they do.

Were you taking on a responsibility that didn’t belong to you?

You might have been walking in the Spirit through this process but seemed to be hitting a brick wall. Perhaps you blamed yourself, thinking there was more you should have done. Here’s the thing: God, through His Spirit, provides all that people need to change but does not force Himself on people. They need to yield or submit to His work in their lives. They will not change if they continue to resist Him (Acts 7:51). When the Spirit is grieved (Eph. 4:3), His power is quenched in people’s lives (1 Thess. 5:19). Your responsibility was to follow God’s Word, enforcing Church Discipline as He instructed. If you did that, rest in knowing that you did what you could.

Were you being impatient with the process?

So, the person is still living in sin. While there could come a point when God might turn people over to their own sinful ways (Rom. 1:20-32), that point is not for you to judge. God has far more patience than even the most godly among us. Just because a person may not have changed on your timetable doesn’t mean God is done with them. Keep praying for them.

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