Christian Biblical Counsel: CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Church Discipline

1.   Discipline begins with personal admonition.

Rom. 15:14. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Col. 3:16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

2.   Restore one who has fallen, with gentleness.

Gal. 6:1. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

3.   Seek to save an erring sinner.

James 5:19–20. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

4.   Forgive and restore one who repents; love him.

2 Cor. 2:7–8. So that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

5.   Do not fellowship with one who will not repent.

1 Cor. 5:11. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

6.   Jesus gives us the procedure for church discipline.

Matt. 18:15–18. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

7.   Christ has given the keys of the kingdom of the church.

Matt. 16:19. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

8.   Purge out the old leaven.

1 Cor. 5:1–13.

9.   Excommunication is sometimes necessary.

2 Thess. 3:14. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

10. Jesus commends the church for faithful discipline.

Rev. 2:2. “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;”

11. Jesus rebukes the church that does not discipline.

Rev. 2:14–16. “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.’ ”[1]


[1] Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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