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Church Discipline

"Church discipline" is a process and phrase that often comes with many misunderstandings or misconceptions, yet God's Word is not unclear in speaking to its importance and process.

What is church discipline?  Church discipline is a process clearly described by Matthew 18:15-20 that describes a progression from personal/private confrontation/rebuke to a small group confrontation/rebuke to a level of church awareness of the unrepentant state of a church member.  The process ends either with repentance or the eventual expulsion of the unrepentant individual outside of the church.

What are the goals of church discipline? The goals of church discipline are: 
1) Restore the relationship between a Christian in sin and Christ (Galatians 6:1).
2) Restore the relationship between a Christian in sin with other believers and their church in a spirit of love 
(2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
3) Rebuke and expel an unrepentant church member for the sake of their salvation (1 Corinthians 5:3-5).
4) Rebuke and expel an unrepentant church member for the protection of the flock (1 Corinthians 5:2, Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 5:6). 
5) Rebuke and expel an unrepentant church member as a warning for church members (1 Timothy 5:20).

Why is church discipline so important? Church discipline is so important because Satan is constantly attacking the love, forgiveness, and unity of the church (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Satan also uniquely attacks and seeks to divide and misdirect the church through false teachers (2 Peter 2, 3:17-18).  Public punishment and discipline is difficult, but necessary for obedience to the Lord in His plan for the shepherding of His children (2 Corinthians 2:6).  When repentance occurs, loving forgiveness and restoration is a beautiful picture of God's mercy and grace.  Churches are warned of the danger of not confronting sin and unrepentant believers within their churches (Revelation 2:20-25).

Check out more info on church discipline HERE.

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