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God’s Work in Church Discipline
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Christ’s teaching in Matthew 18:15–17 outlines clear instructions regarding the practice of church discipline. I’ve said it many times throughout this series, but it cannot be emphasized enough: church discipline is always to be done in the hope of restoring a straying brother—never out of derision or contempt. Love for Christ, His church, and one another requires that we treat sin with extreme prejudice, but we treat the sinning brother or sister with extreme love.
Church Discipline, Step Three: Telling the Church
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Modern evangelicalism groans under the weight of church members who persist in sinful lifestyles. The fallout of their conduct is destructive and poisonous, often affecting other believers and sometimes whole congregations. It’s the duty of all Christians to protect their churches from the corruption of unchecked sin by following Christ’s pattern for church discipline found in Matthew 18.
Church Discipline, Step Two: Bring Witnesses
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Unrepentant sin is a deadly spiritual cancer. It cannot be allowed to fester and corrupt the Body of Christ. In Matthew 18, Jesus outlined a multi-step process for dealing with sin in the church. It begins in verse 15 with a private, one-on-one confrontation with the sinning brother. But because not everyone will repent after repeated private confrontations, Christ gave us a second step in verse 16.
Church Discipline, Step One: Private Confrontation
Monday, August 25, 2014
Suppose a bomb were found in a house or office building, and the bomb-disposal experts simply stood around waiting for an explosion. What would happen? Likely, people would get hurt. And the so-called experts would be rightly punished for dereliction of duty. But in the Body of Christ—where unrepentant sin is like a ticking bomb—church leaders often act like an ineffective bomb squad, taking a passive wait-and-see approach to sin in the congregation. And when the inevitable “explosion” happens, they’re left with deeply hurt people and collateral damage.
Your Personal Responsibility in Church Discipline
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Too many Christians regard discipline as the exclusive domain of church elders, but that is simply not the case. The purity of the church is every Christian’s concern. The responsibility to confront sin that defiles the church lies with the first person to become aware of the sin. Don’t defer it to someone else. Don’t spread the circle of knowledge further than necessary. Furthermore, prayer for the sinning brother should never be used as an alternative to obeying Christ’s clear command to confront.
Church Discipline Misconceived
Monday, August 18, 2014
Few aspects of church life offend modern sensibilities more than the practice of church discipline. The contemporary dogmas of civility and tolerance keep it outside the doors of many congregations, fostering a culture of unrestrained carnality, unrepentant sin, and false professions of faith. But regardless of how liberal a church may be, there is always a threshold where escalating sin can no longer be ignored. It is unavoidable that there will be times when sin has to be dealt with through confrontation.
The Scarlet Thread
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Rahab’s faith was accompanied by fear and there is nothing wrong with that—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). In Rahab’s case, fear motivated her faith. She had heard powerful evidence of the Lord’s supremacy over Egypt. She understood that it was the Lord’s might—not sheer military skill—that triumphed over fearsome Amorite kings across the river. Hers was a healthy kind of fear. It convinced her that Israel’s God was indeed the one true God.
Is a Lie Ever White?
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
By lying, Rahab prevented the capture of the Israelite spies and helped pave the way for Israel to conquer Jericho. Remarkably, Rahab is the only Gentile honored for her faith in Hebrews 11. By commending her faith, is Scripture also condoning her methods? Was hers the rarest of circumstances in which lying was the right thing to do?
The Pagan Prostitute and the Promised Land
Monday, August 11, 2014
After more than 500 years, God’s promise of a land for His people was about to be realized. A new generation would receive the promise rejected by their parents and longed for by multiple generations before them. Israel’s arrival at the Jordan River (Joshua 1:2) brought them to the brink of their inheritance. But this inheritance would not be handed to them on a platter—they would have to fight for it. Across the river stood the towering city of Jericho.
God's Presence and Your Sanctification
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Lord’s presence in the lives of His people is a major theme throughout redemptive history. He is not aloof or distant. In fact, this reality is so important in the mind of God that He takes the name Immanuel—God with us—upon Himself.
The Person and Power of God in Your Spiritual Growth
Monday, July 21, 2014
"Just let go and let God." If you’ve been around the church for any significant time, you’ve probably heard someone offer that passive maxim as spiritual advice. In fact, many believers might use that as shorthand to describe the process of sanctification. It’s the idea that God will do what He wants, when He wants, and believers are just along for the ride.
Your Spiritual Workout
Friday, July 18, 2014
What do you think of when you hear the words “work out”? You probably think of gymnasiums, weights, and all sorts of fitness equipment. Hard work, commitment, time, and resources are necessary to grow and strengthen our physical bodies. While exercise is popular in America today, it’s certainly nothing new.
The Gravity of Sin
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Christians are not meant to be spectators in the sanctifying process. Believers are commanded to strive against their flesh for the sake of holiness and spiritual growth. At the same time, true righteousness is only possible through the power of God. As we’ve seen in recent days, biblical sanctification is a cooperative work between the Lord and His people.
Obedience and Responsibility
Monday, July 14, 2014
Sanctification is work. Hard, work. But whose work is it? For the biblical answer to that question, we’ve been examining Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:12-13, in which he highlights the cooperative nature of sanctification.