Quarter’s Theme: ORDERLINESS IN THE CHURCH
Unit 1 – Maintaining Unity In The Church (Lessons 1-4)
LESSON 2 15/3/2015
GUIDELINESS FOR CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 259, 270
Devotional Reading: HEB. 12:3-11
Topic For Adults
PURSUE SELF DISCIPLINE
Topic For Youths
THE PURPOSE OF DISCIPLINE
Topic For Intermediates
SUBMIT TO CHURCH DISCIPLINE
1 COR. 5:1-7
Memory Verse: Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump… (1 Cor. 5:6-7a) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Flee From All Forms Of Sexualism
1 Cor. 5:1-13
If statistics is taken in all the churches in the world about all sins and wickedness that are going on in the church, I want to believe that sexual sin will top the list. It is being perpetuated in both the pulpit and the pew and it cuts across all age groups in the church. This sin is grievous in the sight of God and men. In the Corinthian church, a member even went as far as lying with his father’s wife – this is an abomination of the highest order. Beloved, check your life if you have any tendency of committing sexual sins, you need to pray off that fleshly urge that wants to send you to hell. You can also share your plight with spiritually matured ministers of God who will help you in prayer for deliverance.
Point of Emphasis: Keep no company with anyone who is sexually immoral (v. 11)
Prayer Point: Lord, deliver me from every spirit of sexual perversion that may want to send me away from God’s presence and from God’s people.
The church of God is not a place of lawlessness. It is based on and run through
biblical principles which all members of the body of Christ are to comply with. However, if there are members that do wickedly against the covenant and commonly held biblical beliefs, there is need to bring them back on track through discipline, which must be in love. This week’s lesson focuses on the procedures that must be followed while embarking on biblical discipline in the church.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) REPORT THE OFFENCE (1 COR. 5:1)
The first step towards discipline an erring member is to have the report of the offence committed. It is expedient upon those who see a person committing an offence to repot the matter to the appropriate authority who could look into the matter and take appropriate step. Paul told the Corinthian church that “it is commonly or actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you” (v. 1). Though the Corinthians wrote to Paul on other points, but they gave him no information on those things which bore against themselves. But some people who knew that Paul could intervene reported the matter to Paul. That the matter was commonly reported means that it is in the public knowledge, it is no longer hidden, it is known to the church members.
Instead of people to report an erring member to the appropriate authority, some will look away as if they are not aware of what is going on. Some will be backbiting about the matter, bearing tales about it and causing murmuring among the people. All these things are sins and those who perpetuate them are sinners in the sight of God. You must not assist or support anybody to cover the sins that should be exposed to the appropriate authorities. Don’t be part of other people’s sins.
(2) THE NATURE OF THE OFFENCE (1 COR. 5:1-
The nature of the sin that Paul wrote to the Corinthians about is that of sexual immorality – fornication, adultery. A case in point was a member of the Corinthians church who had his father’s wife. Paul saw this as very grievous in the sense that even unbelievers and idolaters see such a thing as great abomination. Though such do occur among unbelievers, the conduct is not accredited by them. It is an offence that is not tolerated by the unbelievers. This greatly aggravated the offence, that in a Christian church a crime should be tolerated among its members which even the heathens would regard with abhorrence.
In essence, the nature of the offence will determine which one will be accompanied with church discipline and which one will be accompanied with stern rebuke and warning. Let us know that any sin or offence that expresses disobedience to God’s command such as fornication, adultery, abortion, robbery, murder, embezzlement of church and public funds, stealing, etc are not to be tolerated among members of the church. Anyone found guilty of any grievous offence must be disciplined to help the person involved to restoration and to forestall its occurrence among other church members.
(3) DISCIPLINE IN LOVE (1 COR. 5:2-7)
When a Christian falls into sin, the attitude of the other church members should not be that of indifference. It should call for concern and sober reflection. This was not the attitude of the Corinthian church. Paul said they “puffed up” and have not mourned instead (v. 2). This means they were filled with pride and with vain conceit of their wisdom and purity instead of mourning for the erring brother and find ways of removing the evil from among them.
The recommendation of Paul to the Corinthians was the removal of such a person from communion or excommunication from the midst of the brethren and to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (vv. 3-5). This means the discipline is not meant to destroy the soul of the erring members, but to destroy the ego and the sin nature in the flesh through repentance and contrition of heart, so that the erring person, having exhibited genuine repentance from the sin or offence, may be re-admitted into the fellowship and communion.
The discipline must be administered in love, not with bitterness or vengeful spirit. And as mentioned earlier, no one must rejoice at the downfall of another brother and at the same time, there must not be selective discipline, what is applied to A, must be applied to B, given the same offence and circumstance. There must be no favouritism. This is to send message to every member that no one is above discipline and to prevent further multiplication of the offence in the church (vv. 6-7).
Christians are to be their brothers’ keepers. We must assist one another in our spiritual journey to heaven. If you know of anybody doing things that are against the Bible, warn the person and if he or she will not heed your warning, report him or her to the appropriate authorities. It is better we are disciplined here on earth and get right with God and make heaven at last than to cover up our iniquities and go to hell.
(1) Explain the phrase “commonly reported among you”
(2) Mention the sin committed by a member of the Corinthian Church according to this lesson.
(3) What was the attitude of the other church members toward the offence?
(4) What was Paul’s recommended discipline to the erring member?
(5) Why should we discipline ourselves here on earth?