The Discipline of the Church – Exodus 33:14-16

   Today is Friday, April 10, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection series # 21

   Welcome. I am so glad that you could join me.

   Today is Good Friday! Why is it Good Friday? It is Good Friday because Jesus Christ died for our sin in our place, so that we could be reconciled to God. Question: Is today a Good Friday in your life? Have you been reconciled to God by His Son, Jesus Christ?

   We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

  Hope that you are all doing well.
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  • Mask Making ContestMask Making Contest – I want to create a contest beginning today for the creation of the most unique face covering. Design it, create it, wear it, post a picture of you wearing it at my email – I will find a prize for the most creative face covering! Presently we have two entries.
  • Shout out to Women Uncensored Podcast. My wife, Debbie and my daughter, Meghan interview Jocelyn Stenstrom, a nurse in Perce County, Washington about the Covid-19 Coronavirus and what our response should be. It is a good listen. The link will be in the show notes today:
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Today in the News

John Hopkins reports that U.S. Coronavirus cases top 467,000; death toll passes 16,700.

People in India can see Himalayas for the first time in “decades,” as lockdown eases air pollution.

Buzzfeed reports of 16 Casts and Dogs who are sick of their owners being home all the time.

New reports that some churches are defying the Stay-Home Stay-Safe guidelines. And some churches are doing Drive-in Church. In some regions even Drive-In Church service are not permitted.

Washington Post Reports that for the first time ever, DoubleTree has released its iconic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Every year DoubleTree uses 1,200,000 pounds of Chocolate chips to make their treats, and more than 483,000,000 have been handed out to date.

Pause for Prayer

  • SLBC Family
  • Tyler is home safe. 
  • Tom Spann & Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer treatment
  • Praise – Diana Garrido son didn’t have to be sent to New York. He is a medical doctor in the military.
  • Hospital workers and first responders
  • Domestic disputes – Policer Kevin Ward shared with me that he is having all kinds of calls for families not getting along.
  • God to use COVID-19 to bring about REVIVAL and Spiritual awareness
  • Open the eyes of God’s people to love the lost
  • Pray for all those who lost loved ones to the Coronavirus.
  • That God’s people will stand “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

   Our WORD from the Lord today comes from Exodus 33:14-16,

   14 And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

    15 “If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. 16 How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”

Today I want to have a word with you about The Discipline of the Church. We will first take a look at Old Testament Discipline, and then we will turn to the New Testament and see what is taught by Jesus and others about church discipline.

  I. Old Testament Discipline

   God called Abraham and his descendants to be a very special people. He wanted them to be a holy people (set apart unto Him).

   God’s presence among his people required a special holiness on their part. Go back and take a look at Exodus 33:14-16. Don’t miss what is being taught in these verses – God’s people are to be distinguished from all other people.

   Their holiness should reflect God’s holiness.

   Between the times of Moses and Ezra, Israel existed as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to the promises to Abraham. Individuals are excluded from the company by means of the Levitical code if their lights became too polluted.

   Gordon Wenham summarized the purpose of the Levitical code,

   “The unclean in the holy are two states which must never coming to contact with each other.”

    Why were people excluded from God’s people?

  • Separated from God people for a number of actions – Leviticus 11:15,18
  • Serious sins let the capital punishment – Leviticus 17:10; 20:3-5

   Divided and then Off into Captivity

   Ultimately, the nation’s sin became too great for God to tolerate, so he judged the whole nation. First, the nation was divided. Then, after more centuries of disobedience, the northern tribes fell to Assyria, and later the southern tribes fell to Babylon. If his people would not live distinctively from the nations – if instead they adopt the immorality and idolatry of the nations – then his people would be dispersed among them.

   The Prophet Ezekiel describes the faithfulness of God and the faithlessness of Israel – Ezekiel 20:13-24

   13 “ ‘But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not follow my statutes and they rejected my ordinances—the person who does them will live by them. They also completely profaned my Sabbaths. So I considered pouring out my wrath on them in the wilderness to put an end to them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 However, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land I had given them—the most beautiful of all lands, flowing with milk and honey—16 because they rejected my ordinances, profaned my Sabbaths, and did not follow my statutes. For their hearts went after their idols. 17 Yet I spared them from destruction and did not bring them to an end in the wilderness.  18 “ ‘Then I said to their children in the wilderness, “Don’t follow the statutes of your fathers, defile yourselves with their idols, or keep their ordinances. 19 I am the Lord your God. Follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between me and you, so you may know that I am the Lord your God.” 21 “ ‘But the children rebelled against me. They did not follow my statutes or carefully keep my ordinances—the person who does them will live by them. They also profaned my Sabbaths. So I considered pouring out my wrath on them and exhausting my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I brought them out. 23 However, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. 24 For they did not practice my ordinances but rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.

   II. New Testament Discipline

   The church is also to exercise discipline because in expectation of holiness remains on God’s people – 1 Peter 1:14-16

   14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

   The church was founded by Christ (Matthew 16:18), and its success is promised and ensured by him (Matthew 16:17-19). He commits to form holiness in his people through his Spirit. Question: Do we really desire to be holy?

   Christ Spirit uses the local body of believers to form and maintain the special holiness of God’s people, in part through the exercise of church discipline. Consider the following passages of Scripture:

  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Galatians 6:1-2
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15
  • 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:19-20
  • Titus 3:10

Matthew 18 – The Biblical Way to Handle Church Discipline

   Scripture: Matthew 18:15-20

   Goal: It is always restoration.

   The Process – Three steps

  1. Private confrontation – you and the offender.
  2. Small group confrontation – you, another person, and the offender.
  3. Congregational confrontation – you, the congregation, and the offender.

   Should the person repent of their sins you have won a brother, however, if the person refuses to listen to the church, then he should be treated as “a pagan or a tax collector.” This person is demonstrated that he does not belong in the church because he is not characterized by holy repentance.

1 Corinthians 5 – Example of the immoral sin within the Corinthian Church

  • Paul told the congregation “expel the wicked man from among you” (v. 13).
  • The offender should be expelled from his community, similar to Jesus command in Matthew 18:17 for the unrepentant sin or to be treated as a pagan or tax collector.
  • The offender claimed to be a Christian, his claim held no credence given his evident lack of repentance.
  • Such judging inside the church is actually a part of the work of the church – 1 Corinthians 5:12

   Terms used in Church Discipline

  • Excommunication, which typically means excluding the parties in question from communion or the Lords supper.
  • In the case in 1 Corinthians 5 it was removal from church membership.

   Someone once said that sins committed publicly should be dealt with publicly, and sins committed privately should be dealt with privately. I am in agreement with that statement.

   When a person’s testimony is no longer supportive of their claim to be walking with Jesus Christ, then that person needs spiritual discipline. The last thing a church wants is for the testimony of Christ to fall into disrepute. The church does not want the world to have a deeply distorted picture of what a Christian is.

   The Christian church must be very careful that it not becomes inactive when it comes to church discipline. When church discipline is needed, then the leadership of the church must fulfill the responsibilities before the church.

   Church discipline done correctly might bring a sinner to repentance, but it will always faithfully represents the gospel in the surrounding community.

   Finally, church discipline should be practiced in order to bring a sinner to repentance, a warning to other church members, health to the whole congregation, a distinct corporate witness to the world, and ultimately, glory to God, as people display his character of holy love – Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12

   Remember, I am in touch, so you stay in touch.

   As always, Walk with the King today and be a blessing.