Church Discipline Must Exemplify God’s Purposes

To get the greatest benefit from this practicum, make sure you have read related training on the site. Go to: Church Leadership Basics: God’s Purpose for the Church
Our Greatest Purpose to Love Demonstrated in Church Discipline
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We’ve already established that Church Discipline must be exercised because of God’s Purposes for the church. And, a lack of church discipline goes against His purposes. Our greatest purpose of loving God and loving others must also dictate the way we exercise church discipline.

  • The process must be embedded in love.
  • Our heart must be moved by love.
  • Our attitudes must be governed by love.
  • Our words must be guided by love “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

We will look at the process for church discipline in a future post so consider subscribing to receive e-mail notice of new posts. Here we want to consider the attitudes and heart qualities that must be in us if we are going to exemplify God’s Purposes through the process of disciplining, if we are going to treat the person with love in each phase.

Love Exemplified in What Leads Up to Church Discipline:

Gentleness (Galatians 6:1) 

Humility (Galatians 6:1-3)

Gentleness, kindness, able to teach, and not resentful (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

Love Exemplified in the Decision to Discipline:

Grieved (1 Corinthians 5:2)

Humility (1 Corinthians 5:2)

Love Exemplified in the Process of Disciplining:

Devoted in brotherly love (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)

Love Exemplified in Restoration at the End of Church Discipline:

Forgiveness and Comfort (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)

Forgiveness (Matthew 18:15-22)

Affirming (2 Corinthians 2:7-8)

The Steering the Church Toward God’s Purposes Leadership Guide briefly expounds on each of the traits listed above to help us reflect on how we can exemplify love in all phases of church discipline.

2 Replies to “Church Discipline Must Exemplify God’s Purposes”

  1. Please, help to throw some light in a case where a girl is found pregnant, and commits abortion? Describe the process of how such an one can be disciplined by the church.

    Again, if a brother’s child gives birth at home without a husband and he/she repents and continues in worship faithfully, can such a brother ever become one of the elders of the church?

    Does Proverb 22:6 mean that the child will never sin?

    Thank you for your contributory explanations.

    • Hello, Moses Tabe. You have three different topics in your comment so I will respond in order.

      1) Sin is sin. We might tend to put sins on different levels but in God’s eyes, no matter how great or small the sin might seem to be, it breaks fellowship with God. Of first concern is whether the girl has a saving relationship with the Lord. If not, that should be the concern, not church discipline. If she does, then what can be done to help her see her need to repent so she can be restored to fellowship with the Lord? God doesn’t seem to qualify the process for church discipline according to types of sin so basically the same process should be used.

      2) One of the qualifications for church leaders is that they manage their own household well and that they do it in a way is worthy of full respect (1 Tim. 3:4). I believe the key would be to look at the verses, i.e., 1 Timothy 3, and determine if God’s Word itself is saying that an erring child forever disqualifies the person from being an elder. If the problem is that the person was not managing his own household, has he changed his ways? Has he learned and changed the way he is managing his household? Also, the qualification in these verses doesn’t appear to be whether a child is repentant but what the father is doing to manage his household. If the child repents and the father still is not managing his family well, “how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Tim. 3:5)

      3) Proverbs 22:6 does not mention sin so to say it means he/she will never sin, is to put something into the interpretation that is not there. In a case like this, I would look at the whole of Scripture where I find verses like “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Consequently, it would seem this verse must refer to a broader life bent. We all sin as believers but “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn. 1:9-10)

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