From Pastor Brady

Greetings Church,

As we wrap up our mini-series on Church conflict, we continue to be challenged in our desire for both holiness and love. That is what church discipline is all about. Matthew 18:15-17 gives us a three step process for approaching someone whose sin is hurting you or the church body. This week we focused primarily on steps two and three.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[a] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:15-20

1. The Point of Church Discipline.

Read Matthew 18:15-17 again. What has been your personal experience with the idea of church discipline?

What do you think about this statement: “The point of church discipline is restoration not retribution.”

Do you believe that your church should practice church discipline? Why or why not?

2. The Process of Church Discipline.

In summary the three step process of church discipline is 1) go privately to the offending person, 2) if they refuse to listen to you, take witnesses with you, 3) if they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church.

Why is the first step of going privately to your brother or sister so important?

In step two, why must the witnesses be objective and godly? Why should you not just take your two best friends?

Are you personally practicing steps one and two in this process? Why or why not?

In the sermon we learned that not every little sin needs to be taken to level 1 or 2, much less level 3. But sin that is outward, serious, and unrepentant should be confronted. Why is it important that we confront these sins in each other’s lives?

Pastor Mark said, “Formal public discipline should only be practiced in a church where private and informal discipline is practiced first.” What is the role of the family and the small group in doing the “private and informal” church discipline?

3. The Power for church discipline.

Read Matthew 18:18-20. Why do you think Jesus would give this authority to the church?

Why should a Christian place themselves under the authority of a local church?

Where do you see the power of love and grace in this whole process? How is Jesus’ statement about “Treat them like a Gentile or Tax Collector” actually a statement of grace?

For families

This is not an easy passage to discuss with kids. But even young children, and especially our teens, can understand the importance of obeying authority. Every human authority structure that God gives us ultimately points back to the authority of Jesus (especially the local church). When you talk to your children about the police, or the president etc. being an authority over us, or when they learn about it in school, you can help them to see that the local church is also an authority over them to whom they FREELY choose to submit. Remember- this is not just about pastors, we are called to submit to every other believer in the body (Eph. 5:21).

Ask your children, “Who do we need to obey?” Help them answer fully by including Jesus as their King.

Fighter Verse Questions for Groups and Families.

Fighter Verse: Galatians 6:1. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

1. What does Galatians 6:1 add to your understanding of Matt. 18:15-17?

2. Read Galatians 5:25. How does conceit, envying, and provoking (superiority and inferiority) get in the way of confronting and restoring?

3. How does the gospel (you are wicked but also fully loved) allow us to practice Galatians 6:1?