What we really see in this passage, verses 18 to 20, is the surprising power of church discipline. Though this mechanism is despised, maligned and ridiculed by the world... and will be, when we exercise it, often ridiculed by the erring brother. The brother who wanders away and then accuses back, "Why are you guys so legalistic, so self-righteous and what are you doing putting me out of the church just because I want to continue down this process. Doesn't God want me to be happy?"
And in those moments we need to understand that the Lord has ordained this process for a PERFECT reason. Jesus seeks to galvanize our faith in His word and faithfulness to His instructions.
And so there's incredible power at work when the church acts in accord with God's blueprint for discipline.
This is where we move from informal discipline, steps two and three, where it's just a private thing, to now it's formal discipline. The church is involved. And the ideal is that this would rarely have to happen if we're doing a good job of informal discipline... one on one and one or two others going with us, that it never gets to stage four or five.
But Jesus has made allowance for everything necessary to be done. And so he's given us these two steps as well.
When steps two and three don't work, you must move to steps four and five. And we're going to look at those this morning... steps four and five. And then I'm hoping, Lord willing, next Sunday to talk about verses 18 to 20 and the power of church discipline. That will probably wrap up our study on this important subject. But this morning we want to look at steps four and five.
Now, we've said that there are five steps in the process of church discipline. Four of those steps are outlined for us here in Matthew 18:15 to 20... really verses 15 to 17, there are four steps...
The third step in the process is what we're going to look at this morning... the third step.
He says in verse 16 that we are called to take one or two more with you. That's actually another command, it's an imperative. "If he does not listen to you, then...", this is the command, it's not a suggestion, it's a command, "... take one or more with you".
If he's in danger, you've determined it's serious enough for you to go the first step, to go to talk to him about his situation, and you have attempted in a one-on-one fashion to restore him to a right relationship with the Lord, to understand what he needs to understand, and those attempts have failed, now you are to take one or two more with you.
... I want us to use some questions, ask some questions to help us mine what this text is saying, and we're going to use the "W"s and an "H". We're going to ask four "W" questions, you know, the five "W"s and an "H". We're going to look at, first of all, "What?". Secondly, "Why?"... thirdly, "When?"... fourthly, "Who?"... and fifthly, "How?" to organize our thoughts and observe this text carefully.
The first question is, "What?". What are we called to do in this passage?...
After "What?" is "Why?". Why are we to do it?...
...that's "What?", "Why?",
third question, "When?"... "When must you go?"...
..."Who?" The fourth question, the fourth "W", "Who?". Who is to go?...
...the fifth point is "How?" How are we to go and show? How are we to do it?...
... and that's the title of the message this morning... "The Essential First Step". How do we go about church discipline is the question we'll be looking at this week... "The First Essential Step In Church Discipline". And that step is "Self-Discipline".
That is we first have to discipline ourselves. We first have to... in using the word correctly... remember, try to put in your mind, when you hear "discipline", also think "Disciple". It's the same root, it's the same idea. A disciple is someone who's following Christ, learning to follow Christ...
And, so, if I'm going to be a disciple, I have to learn to follow Christ, I have to be willing to be corrected. And if I'm going to help other believers, and they're going to help me, we're going to help one another, we're going to see in Matthew 7, we're first of all going to have to let Christ help us.
I think a helpful definition is this definition, "Corrective church discipline is an essential and fundamental part of healthy church life in which believers help one another through loving correction to put off sin and faithfully follow Jesus Christ...
And this concept, this idea, is predicated on the inescapable truth that every single Christian needs help to fight sin and grow in grace.
Every one of us. No man is an island. And certainly not in the body of Christ. And if you and i don't receive help from other believers we will not grow to maturity.
Matthew 18: verses 15-20 is our text, and I want this morning, to really just kind of introduce the subject of church discipline. It's going to take a number of weeks to look at this properly.
And what I want to do this morning is look at three questions that we want to try to answer.
First is, "What is church discipline?".
The second question is, "What ever happened to church discipline?".
And the third question is, "Why do we need church discipline?".
So, what is it? Whatever happened to it? And why do we need it? And the third question we're going to spend the bulk of our time on this morning.
And when we really look at scripture, as it talks about the various types of authority, we resist authority at our own peril. To have a spirit of rebellion and autonomy is to court danger and invite disaster...
That is surely instructive for us; that there is a very close kinship as to how we respond to authority, it's really the bridge... how we respond to authority is how we respond to God.
You know Jesus, His evangelistic call to His disciples, was, "Come follow me". "Now as I have done, you go and do likewise... as my ambassadors. What are we supposed to do in evangelizing? We share the Gospel but the call ought to be, "Come follow me as I follow Christ!" And if you want to lead people, what must you do to lead people?
This is the recipe right here. Become the kind of person that others want to follow, in the noblest sense of the word. They see in you something that makes them want to be like you because they see in you the reflection of the Savior. Because they want Him and they see that He is reflected in your life. They want to follow you as you follow Christ.
Household of God: Elders & Deacons: Part 2
1 Timothy 3
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1 Timothy 3
54 min 1 sec
This Week: "THE NATURE & NECESSITY OF SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY"
Four Sundays ago, April 11th, the last time I was in the pulpit, we began a series on the office of elders and deacons, church leadership... How God has designed His church to be the pillar and support of the truth. And how urgent it is that we have spiritual authority in place in the church, corporately for us to be all we need to be but also individually we need to be under authority, each one of us needs to be under authority.
And so, this morning, we're coming to the second message in that series. And the title of today's message is, "The Nature And The Necessity Of Spiritual Authority". Our text, the jumping off point, is first Timothy 3 and we'll look at some other selected passages.
But this morning we want to look a the issue of leadership. And this passage, this chapter, as I mentioned earlier, is in one of the pastoral epistles.
Timothy, a young pastor, an associate of Paul, is being instructed by the apostle Paul how he is to lead the church and what he is to do. And gives the qualifications for elders and deacons, and then we come to our text this morning which really lays groundwork for this whole idea of elders and deacons... officers in the church... leaders.
Because it gives us, really, a picture of what the church is to be. You know, for leaders to lead appropriately, they need to know where they're going. And these four verses really picture where the church is to be going... what it's to be about.
And so it serves as a great opportunity for us to look at this passage and for us in leadership to evaluate how we're doing. But for us as a congregation to say, "How are we doing; where do we need to make corrections and get back on course?".