We are in a new sermon series called Rediscover Church – why the body of Christ is essential. We are asking nine key questions about church. And as we consider the answers I hope we all take the next step in deepening our relationship with Christ and our local church. Maybe you have been watching on-line and waiting to take the step of joining us in-person. Come on out and join us!
The questions come from the book Rediscover Church I have been reading by Collin Hansen and Johnathan Leeman. Our Growth Groups are joining the discussion each week through the rest of this series. If you would like to try a growth group, you will receive a FREE copy of the book. Please sign up for a Growth Group at the Welcome Center.
What is Church Membership?
Church membership is a church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christians’ profession of faith and discipleship, combined with the Christian’s submission to the church and its oversight.
– Jonathan Leeman, Rediscover Church
Today’s Question: Is Church Discipline Really Loving?
When we hear the word discipline we often think of it negatively – like only in a punishment or correction. And that makes this question pop up more often. The word discipline comes from the same meaning as disciple – which means to teach and to correct. Imagine a teacher who only encouraged you when you were doing things right. If you answered 2+2=5, and she ignored the mistake you would go through life with a very wrong answer that is not true. Or what if your driving instructor never pointed out the speed limit signs or the need to stop at red lights. You would be in a world of trouble when you start driving on your own.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ means learning what He taught and how we thought, spoke, and lived. But it also means correcting thinking and behavior that Jesus commanded or warned against. Discipling a believer includes teaching what is right and correcting sin or what is wrong.
So we’re left with the question – Is discipline really loving?
God’s Holy Love
Ephesians 3:10, 18
When the believers in a church love each other the way God loves them, they will teach and correct each other in love. They will identify sin and exclude it from the body. But there is a very clear and loving way of doing this presented in God’s Word. And there is a clear goal. I’ll give you a hint, it’s not punishment! God’s love is not only unconditional but it’s desire is for the other person’s good – to know and glorify God.
1.Go directly one-on-one
2.Bring two or three to confirm
3.Bring the matter to the church
Result: Repentance or Removal
1 Corinthians 5:1-6
1.Sin is exposed
2.Warning of greater judgment
3.Rescues a believer
4.Protects and warns other members
5.Preserves the church’s witness to community
The Goal: Restoration
- Love for the sinner’s sake
- Love for the other church members’ sake
- Love for the community
- Love for God
Have you accepted God’s loving gift of salvation? It starts with admitting your sin and trusting in Jesus as your Savior. The Bible tells us our sins separate us from a holy God. But God, who is rich in love and mercy sent His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world – to die in our place, paying for our sins, and then rise from the dead to show His power of death and the grave.
- Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?
- Are you building loving and trusting relationships with others in the church?
- Are you the kind of person who listens well and is easy to correct?
- Do you invite people into your life to know you deeper and invite critical feedback?
- Are you willing to love someone enough to privately go to him or her with a concern?