Lately, I have been bothered by the “mangling” of God’s Word. Especially with Matthew 7:1 and how is relates to church discipline. Matt. 7:1 has been pulled and twisted to fit what people want it to. The truth is its wrong!
Mathew 7 is taken completely out of context when it says, “Do not Judge…”. One must look at the entire passage not just the first verse. If you continue to verse 6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine….” In verse 15 He adds, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” To obey those verses, you must make some astute judgments! You must judge that a person is a dog or a swine or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 5:12, Paul tells the church that they are responsible to judge those within the church. I want to also reference Matt. 18:15-20 in paraphrasing: if a person sins against you tell him in private, if he fails to listen go with a witness, then if he fails to listen again tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen – let him be to you as a gentile. Practicing biblical church discipline does not violate Jesus’ command, “Judge not.”
However, the purpose of Church Discipline is to restore the purity of the church and to deter others from sinning, displays the standards of God – it draws a line between the church and the world, it show Biblical love and is an attempt to restore the sinner and bring them to repentance.
In order for church discipline to be acted on, the individual must be a professing believer, they must be associated with the church, the person must be knowingly and rebelliously disobedient, and the person must be disobeying the clear commandments of scripture.
The Bible list many sins but the point of it is that the sin must fall into one of the following categories: violation of God’s moral commandments, unresolved relational sin, disorderly conduct, false teaching on major doctrines.
To push church discipline the pastor should in private reach out to the person, then reach out with a witness, then a public announcement to the church, the public exclusion and then public restoration upon repentance.
I am a sinner but I am a born again sinner, who is called by God to be a pastor. The word sin in Greek means to miss the mark. To miss the mark of what? To miss the mark of God, so everything we do is sin. However, I ask for forgiveness, I ask God to keep me on fire for him. In the Bible we see Repentance (with a big “R”) and repentance (with a little “r”). The difference is the first letter. The first one with the “R” (big “R”) happens upon salvation. It acknowledges we are sinners in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is the change of heart that leads to a change of mind. You will no longer want to live of the world. The second one with the “r” (little “r”) is the regret or sorrow believers have daily when convicted of their sinful ways. We have a need for this to “produce” a sanctifying process. As the Spirit convicts us of daily sin (which all Christians have), He is prompting repentance (little “r”) and leading us to be more like Christ. This little “r” repentance is not an appeal for salvation for if one is truly saved, salvation cannot be lost but it is a confession of our sins to the father. As we apologize to others, we apologize to God for our actions.