For the Purity of the Church, Part 1

1 Corinthians 5:1–8

Posted by Dan Jarms on May 21, 2023
For the Purity of the Church, Part 1
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Three Gospel realities behind church discipline:

  • Gospel Story (1 Corinthians 15:2, Romans 6:1-2) 
  • Gospel Call (Mark 1:15) 
  • Gospel Identity (1 Corinthians 1:2) 


Main idea: Practice church discipline for the salvation of a soul and the purity of the church.

  1. Grieve, don’t tolerate sin. (5:1-2)
  2. Carry out restorative discipline. (5:3-5)
    • Matthew 18:13-20
  3. Diligently seek the purity of the church. (5:6-8)



  • Am I giving internal and private sins room to grow?
  • If I see continual, willful, stubborn sin, do I know what do?
  • How am I praying for my purity and the purity of the church?
  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:13
    Well, good morning faith Bible Church. I love when we pray together. I tell people frequently my my favorite experience at Faith Bible Church is not the preacher. It's it's the praying of the saints, when we have these kinds of corporate prayer times and to hear the, the hubbub was really a joy to me. If you're new with us, we're so glad you're here. Welcome. We would encourage you to make sure you connect with some of the people who around you if you're visiting, maybe you came and saw one of those adorable children who's saying you're related. We'd love to talk to you, if you're new, and we would love to get you connected. So make sure you don't miss the information desk on the way out so that we can connect you to it. Please stand with me for the reading of God's Word. We have been going through First Corinthians and we are continuing in our verse by verse chapter by chapter study of it and we're in chapter five. And we're coming to a really important topic for the life of every healthy local church. It's It's something called church discipline. I'll explain what that is. But here's where it comes from. This is the second of three major passages on this Matthew 18, which will refer to this one another and Titus. We're going to focus on mostly this one today, but it's a vital one for the life of the church. We'll talk about why in just a minute. Let's read God's word. It is actually important it reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife, and you are arrogant. Ought you not rather to mourn that him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present with the power of the Lord Jesus. You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. You're boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Clean out the old Lebon that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. This is the word of the Lord. God, we thank you that you speak to us. You speak to us, of those things which give us true grace. And this process of of dealing with unrepentant sin is so important for the life of the church, for each of our lives individually. And I pray two things as a result, one is we would be better testimonies to your transforming grace to a watching world, and that you would preserve your saints through the ministry we have to each other, and holding each other accountable and helping each other when there is sin. Father, I pray for churches across our city, I think of Community Bible Church, and Oliver Jones preaching, I pray that he would be faithful to the text of your scripture, I pray that You would help that church be a blessing and a testimony to the region in north Spokane and others who come we pray for people around the whole of the city, that the word of God would be faithfully preached and then faithfully heard and applied. That's what we want to do. By your spirit. Help us here and help us apply in Christ's name. Amen, you may be seated. So we're going to talk about an important practice of, of any healthy local church. And it's a practice for the purity of the church and for the protection of souls. So when one of its members willfully continue continually, and stubbornly reject King Jesus commands, he needs to be removed from its membership. him or her whoever it is. And it's the final step in a practice that we call church discipline. And it it addresses the number one objection to Christianity over the centuries, especially the number one that God's actually concerned about. There's all kinds of objections to Christianity. There's one that God's really concerned about, and that's hypocrisy. non Christians often say, How can you say that people should believe and practice one thing when in fact you do another? That's hypocrisy, saying you believe and never You're supposed to do one thing when you do another thing. And it's the biggest problem God has addressed with his people throughout the Bible starting when God created the people of Israel by bringing them out of Egypt. He kept dealing with their testimony, and that tracks the whole of the old testament to the New Testament. And it's an issue that Paul is having to bring up right now. So every healthy Christ honoring church has to have a compassionate and just way of dealing with unrepentant sin. And when it gets this far, like in this passage, it is to say, we can no longer affirm this person's testimony of following Jesus. God only knows those who are His. But as far as our role affirming a testimony, we cannot affirm them. And so for us that moves the person from from a brother to a person we need to evangelize. So track with it. It is not a shunning disgrace situation, there's now a clear category, oh, this is a person that needs the gospel of Christ for salvation. Now, when we talk about this whole idea of church discipline, the fact that, at some sense levels of it, it goes public, for many that rattles their sensibilities. We have had church discipline, we've had to practice for many years. And some people just get up right in the middle of it and walk out and say, I can't believe they do that. And the idea is kind of go like this, I see that it's in the Bible, but we really don't do that today, do we? I mean, they have done it then. But we don't do that today, do we? Another way people think about is shouldn't the church promote love and acceptance and not shame and rejection? I mean, right? It's the church should be about love and acceptance. And wasn't Jesus a friend of sinners and tax gatherers? Like what wasn't he a friend of the worst? I think those are important questions. Let me let me answer those by maybe giving us some foundation. Let's look at three gospel realities that are really underlying the heart of church discipline. Let's start with the Gospel story. Let's start with the Gospel story. The Gospel story is that God has graciously provided restoration and forgiveness for rebels in centers through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's the story. He includes them into his family to make them a holy people. The five word phrase in First Corinthians 15, two is this Christ died for our sins. If you're going to summarize the gospel, you get the focus of the gospel. That's it so we don't willfully continually and stubbornly keep doing what Jesus died to save us from. And trust in Christ, we die to our sins, He died for our our sins, we die to our sins. Romans six, one and two says, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means? How can we who have died to sin still live in it? So, continual unrepentant sin is contrary to the Gospel story of what Christ died to do. The second is the gospel call itself. When Jesus says, Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, what does he mean? Well, the call of the gospel is to repent from sin, turn to Christ, in faith as Lord and Savior. Jesus opens the gospel of Mark with a pretty simple statement. The kingdom of God is at hand. I mean, the King is here, the kingdom of God is at hand, Repent, and believe the gospel. repent, believe that I've come to be king. So if you're here, and you know you're a great sinner, Jesus is the friend who welcomes you in. But But let me put the picture in your mind. I've been trying to think of a way to cement this in our thinking, here's a picture. A man I drive by camp hope, three or four times a week. Imagine you are homeless, filthy, and have been walking 1000 miles around the city, pushing your shopping cart full of all your earthly possessions, and the cart for going to use a symbol. The cart is a jumbled up mess of sinful desires and sinful actions. Repentance is this remember Jesus saying? Come to me Not all who are weary and heavy laden. Repentance means this, that you let your shopping cart go.

    And you fall at the feet of the holy King Jesus, turning away from sin to him, embracing Him and He will forgive. He will welcome you into his kingdom, he will wash you clean.

    The rest of your life on Earth is the process of clinging to Jesus, while you are washed clean, and those old clothes are exchanged for the new ones of the kingdom. So to continue and willful, continual stubborn sin is trying to keep the shopping cart, it's trying to hold on to on to my desires and my actions instead of to Christ. That's the gospel call. And the third, the third reality is gospel identity, who you are. If you are trusting Christ, a person who truly believes in the Gospel is a new creature with a new master and is part of a new community. If we're in our very book here, First Corinthians one two starts with this greeting to the Church of God that is in Corinth, to those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus. That means to be have been made holy, set apart. to a holy God was sanctified in Christ Jesus through His death through his resurrection through the blood, shed we are now made holy, called to be saints together holy ones in community, with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus, all the churches are third through fifth graders have been given a charge this year, and they've been taught this year, the place to be leader, Corbin has the memorizing verses. So he challenged Linda and I to memorize all the verses that the kids have memorized, which is not going so well. But here's one of them we're working on. And this is part of the identity. This is Peters version of this identity. This is the believers you're a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies have Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. That gospel identity has the believer as a part of a holy people, a holy nation. So we are to live as holy ones together, we have a mutual responsibility for each other's holiness.

    We have a new identity.

    We're new creatures with a new master and in a new community. All of that undergirds the practice of church discipline. It is for two things, write them down. It is for the salvation of a soul. And it is for the purity of the church. When somebody grabs the cart, again, you want to plead with them. Don't go back, don't go back. You have a home now. You have a place to be fed, you have a place to be clean.

    You have a nook. That's what it's about the salvation of that soul, that person wandering back off into sin, out to destruction. It's about salvation, and it's about the purity of the church. It's about the purity of the church. So I'll summarize this the practice of church discipline. There are big ideas to practice church discipline for the salvation of a soul, and the purity of the church. The whole church has a role in this process that we call church discipline. So there's three elements that Paul gives here and this passage about church discipline. Remember the anchor passages for our church discipline, Matthew 18, which we will have time to look at this one and Titus chapter three, which we won't have time but on your own. You could do some homework and see how that one goes. Let's look at these three elements element number one, grieve, don't tolerate sin. Grieve, don't tolerate sin. We should not be proud by thinking we can have a different way of dealing with sin than Jesus tells us. We can't be proud by thinking we can have a different way of dealing with sin than Jesus tells us. We should grieve and act Here's first one, it is actually reported. This is kind of a statement of shock to the apostle Paul, it's actually reported. I mean, can you believe this? This has come to my ears, that there is sexually sexual immoral and morality among you, and of a kind that's not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. This is a shot of expression of shock and disappointment. Someone in the church has noticed this are several have, they brought it to the attention of the leaders, the leaders have done nothing. The leaders, we don't know exactly what they said or what they were thinking, but they decided they had a better way than Jesus way introduced in the gospels, taught by Paul to Paul heard the report, he comes back to deal with this issue. The issue and says there is sexual immorality among you is just the one word porneia. That's where we get our word pornography from. And it's the kind of the catch all phrase for all kinds of sexual sin. Remember, God made sex good. In the sacred union of marriage between one man and one woman in Genesis two and within the confines of marriage, God has continued to make a good, this is going to be the first chapter that talks about sex, sex, both the bad and the good. It's going to go all the way through chapter seven. Here he's dealing with the worst first. God made it good, but it's been perverted ever since. Chapter six, we're gonna see more. This is the kind of sexual sin that even unbelieving Greeks and Romans thought was evil, which is really saying something that he uses the word pagan here or the translator uses pagan it's actually just the word Gentile. And Gentile was usually Paul's way of just saying there are there are Gentiles, who is the blanket statement for all nations who are unbelievers. And then there are believers. This statement, the pagans don't tolerate this is really significant. Here's why I can just give you at least two examples. In every significant Roman city or Greek city, there was a public bathhouse. You could go and enjoy hotsprings typically. And it was sanctioned approved, managed immorality. All kinds of immorality was publicly done in a Greek and Roman bathhouse and every city had one. There also had temples and the temples which would often be bigger, grander, larger, often had a, an immorality associated with the worship. They had their own prostitutes, they had their own system, and that was all public. So think about this. The Gentiles are saying, This is bad. Like how bad is bad? The Gentiles who do all of that? Say, this is abominable? They don't tolerate this man has his wife's father is a not obscure, but it's, it's a way without going into the details about an immoral relationship with his stepmom, almost certainly, dad is dead. Because you can't imagine dad letting this go. Certainly, she's probably a lot younger. Second marriage and whatever it might be. We don't we don't know any of the details. Here we don't really want to know any details. Now, this form of incest, that's that's what it's called this form of incest has been condemned in the Bible, from Genesis, through all of the, the Jewish laws into into Deuteronomy, you could find these out. This is part of the category like the Gentiles do this, don't do this. Even hear Paul saying not even the Gentiles do this, this is even worse than what they the others would want to do. And then Paul says this. And you are arrogant. It's our word for puffed up. Here you are proud again. And what made the American well they were tolerating something that the Old Testament scripture and Jesus said should not be tolerated. Remember, in the middle of chapter, when we get to the middle of chapter six, it's really significant because Paul's going to say those are for willfully, continually stubbornly, sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. And this is really serious business. You're tolerating this sin, knowing that if you let that sink out, that person's not going to be saved. They're going to prove themselves to be unbelievers. They're not going to inherit the kingdom of God. And you're overlooking it. You think there's another way to deal with it? That's proud. Paul reminds them earlier chapter that they shouldn't go beyond what is written. It's clear what is written. He says, On the other hand, ought you not rather mourn? And it's a really emphatic statement in the original. Shouldn't you rather greatly mourn?

    Shouldn't shouldn't you be wailing?

    And it shows the heart of Paul, when some people hear this process of church discipline, they kind of think of it as a power play. This is not a power play. Pulsing this should grieve your heart. You shouldn't tolerate it. Sin isn't something we get self righteous about, oh, I can't believe about so and so. You know what he's doing. He's doing that harsh, you know, the people talking, all condescending and proud about it's not something we should get self righteous about. We should grieve over it. The grieving here is this deep, mournful lament. God's name is defamed. The man is doing damage to himself. The people are setting a bad example to the world. It's a different sin with the same heart but in James four, there's this arguing and quarreling. Eventually, the The apostle James says, You You adulterers like there's the spiritual adultery in them. And then he says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded. be wretched and mourn and weep let your laughter be turned to morning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you remember, God is merciful and forgiving to hump to the humble and repentant. This man has refused to change. And Paul saying to them, you have acted like it's a matter of personal freedom. I wouldn't do that. But you know, Jesus died for our sins, and we're all free.

    How proud?

    Paul says, what should be done? Let him who has done this be removed from you. And him who has done this be removed from you? It's proud to fail to deal with unrepentant sin and the light and life of the church, we should be instead grieving over it. And is that your heart? Do you mourn if you see a brother or sister in willful, continual and stubborn sin, it should review. He gives him the next direction carry out restorative church discipline. And the underlined word is restorative. It's about restoration. Notice this that he wants this person to be saved. Let's let's turn back to Matthew 18 is to the left if you're new your Bible, Matthew 18. It's the first of the Gospels. And Jesus is the first to outline this, one of the things you're going to notice is that when a discipline issue goes from somebody who is not listening to one or two, than to the neutral to the church, it takes on a governing judiciary field, there is some formal judgment and decision being passed. And that is really good. Because you could imagine that somebody has a beef with another Christian and says one thing and he goes to get leaders to kick the person out and that person is just kicked out based on one person's testimony. From the old testament to the New Testament, there is now something careful and deliberate about the process. You're gonna see that in First Corinthians two, but I always want to start here, start in Matthew 1812. Because God's heart for a sinning brother or sister is their restoration. 1812 What do you think if a man has 100 sheep and one of them has gone astray? Does he not leave the 99 on the mountains, and go and search for the one that went astray? And if you find that truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the 99 that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. The little one is a metaphor for any disciple. And so you get God's picture in this powerful parable. You have a shepherd over 100 sheep. One of the Sheep wanders off, and what is every good shepherd everywhere in the world? Do they go good, they go find the sheep and bring it back. Now, what's God's instrument? What's Jesus instrument for him keeping his sheep when they wander off, it's the church and this process. Verse 15, if your brother sins against you, Go, tell him his fault between you and him alone. If you've received a personal sin, say, Brother, you sinned against me. Here's how you sinned against me. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen to that was step one. If he does not, let's to take one or two others along with you that every charge may be established, not that they have to see the sin, but they have to see the lack of repentance. And this starts to bring in an Old Testament pattern, don't have time to go to the Old Testament pattern. But in order to protect the innocent in order from one person bringing up a slanderous or false charge, and a person receiving unjust retribution, it needs to be established. So take two or three again, this is pretty personal, one or two others. Now there's a total of three, a small group of people at the case of our church, and every church, I know the practices this, this process takes months, because there might be first a conversation and then another conversation between one and one. And then when the two or three are talking about you one conversation and another conversation. But if he doesn't listen to the two or three, notice what happens next. We have the evidence, we have two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, that is the assembly. Remember, this is the second time in the gospels that the word church is used. First time is in 1816, where Jesus says I will build my church. But here you have the idea of a church that assembles and one of the things they need to do is uphold the standards of righteousness and holiness with the life of the church.

    And if you listen to me refuses to listen to even the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. This person has moved from fellow brother and believer best we could tell to person we need to evangelize some cases, it's still fine if they show up at church. Everybody is just saying, brother, Have you repented, here's the gospel, most of the time, most of the time in my mind, they never show up. Once this process starts, the person leaves, and you pray for that process to have its spiritual effect. But again, notice that there's there's a careful, deliberate pathway. And all of this sits under the authority of the Lord Jesus. So you have the church under the authority of the apostles, who is under the authority of Jesus, this that's this situation. After the apostles go off the scene. It's under the authority of the scriptures, the apostolic writings, under the authority of Jesus, but follow this. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, the binding and loosing terms, again, Old Testament terms of making a verdict under the approval of God. So if you follow this process, use the scriptures properly, and pled for the repentance. And you say, this is the verdict. That's the verdict in heaven. God affirms well done, I stand behind that. It's already been his judgment. Now we're just carrying it out. And 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 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them, remember, that's all a judicial scenario. Jesus is the high king, the Supreme Court ruler on his throne. And he says, I'm present. I know lots of you grew up hearing this tiny little prayer meeting, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am. Among them, whatever we ask God will do. It is just two or three of us. So many people even say, Well, that's the evidence that a church can be two or three people. It's not the evidence of that. It's a judicial binding. And if you do gather with a group of two or three people, and you do say, whatever we ask, God will answer because there are two or three people as you're fine. But it's true. If just two people are gathered as truth, just one person's gathered. It's actually true. If nobody's gathered, Jesus will still do what is right and good and he's there. This is about a fair compassionate and compelling plea for a person to repent, and the church to uphold the standards that Jesus calls them to. Now turn back to First Corinthians five. The best I can surmise is that the elders of the church just ignored this. They didn't follow this pattern. So here is the apostle Paul in five three, saying you need to practice restorative discipline. And this is what he says, For though absent in body I am present in spirit, what is that? My heart is their best I can tell this, he is an apostle with apostolic authority. And he says that, yeah, I'm not in Corinth. But I'm exercising my apostolic authority. There, just like Jesus is in heaven exercising his authority from Heaven over that situation. And as if present, I've already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. So I've already made a judicial decision. Remember, I'm an apostle, I have authority to give God's word and I have authority to make a judgment. And so I've already given that when you are assembled and the name of the Lord Jesus, and my spirit is present, my apostolic authority is in effect, that's what I think this means, with the power of the Lord Jesus. Remember, power isn't just like the strength that he supplies. It's the authority of Jesus. So here he's making this scene, there is an assembly of believers who have a really significant decision to think through. They have a brother in unrepentant sin, who is refusing to change. And we need to deal with that for the reputation of our church, and for his soul. There is an assembly, it's under apostolic teaching, that is under the authority of King Jesus, you notice this, this is careful, judicial compassionate.

    You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. There is that consequential and judicial action so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Yeah, what does it mean? My Spirit is present? What does it mean that he's delivering him over to Satan? I think two things are factored in. First is understand the gospel call and gospel identity that we started with. When you give up your sin, when you say the shopping cart of sin, I am leaving it. I am coming to Jesus as Lord and Savior. The apostle Paul also talks about this as the kingdom of darkness. And this is the kingdom of light. This is the kingdom that Satan ruled. This is the Kingdom that Christ ruled. What they're saying is, as a body with authority of Jesus, we're putting him back in the kingdom of Satan. That's where Satan ruled, he is now going to be ruled over that the destruction of his flesh flesh is used in multiple ways. But one of the major ways is that it's describes a person's self centered bent. Everybody before their Christians lives for the flesh. It's about me, it's for me, it's for my end forever. He wants that inner man that that inward drive that's called the flesh, that this expresses itself and outward actions. He wants that to now feel the full brunt of the consequences of sin. It's like saying, Oh, you want to you want to take fentanyl? Like you refuse not to take fentanyl? Well, we'll see what happens when you take that.

    It's gonna be awful for you.

    That's what the church is, okay? We're pleading with you to have Christ. All right. Have your sin. And Satan, the ruler of the world will tempt and then destroy as he does, in all ways. deliver him over to the destruction of flesh. But it's not punitive. Let me insert this. Many, many corporations or companies have codes of conduct. If you're an employee of such and such company, not only the stuff that you do while you're here in the company matters, but the stuff that you do outside the company matters. So you go through HR, you take your training and you get the rules, like you're going to be fired if you do this outside this, this office because you represent out there what we do here. Companies have codes of conduct. And what do they do when you violate it? They just fire you. There's no restoration. It's just to get rid of you. You violated The Code of Conduct, this is about restoration. I mean, many of you know codes of conduct. But this is different. It's not only for the destruction of his flesh, but it's for the destruction of his flesh so that he would truly repent, he would see the gravity of his sin, and the enormity of his rebellion against God, and that he would come to his senses. He says here so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord, at the final judgment, he's going to be numbered among the other believers. That's the purpose. So that he stays numbered with the believers. Doesn't always and doesn't even often work out this way. But God's God's judicial action in church discipline, is first for restoration. So that that person might have their eyes open, the withdrawal of the comforts and the helps, and the kindnesses that happen between believer and believer, those are pulled back. And this person says, Oh, I wanted my sin. This is what my sin gets me. So the process has ended. Facilitating repentance doesn't always happen. But that's what it's aimed for. I do want to give you a spoiler alert for Second Corinthians chapters one and two, the process works. The sinner comes to his senses. He is grieved and mourn. And Paul has to tell the church all right, all right enough, already. Bring him back. The church of Corinth does repent over the issues. Read second Corinthians chapter seven, we take one of our very best teachings about true godly sorrow and godly repentance from the church in Corinth and how they repented over this issue. I think one of the questions you might have in the middle of this is what does that look like? What does that look like? So let me give you a brief story. 1983, a believer among us, divorced his wife for another woman, Linda and I were just young believers, newly married just had one kid and I was working. So I didn't know who it was. It was just a name read in the process of a church service. But what had happened is that a man left his wife, his small group found out and some of the people said, Brother Don't do this. It was brought to an elder who says we have a brother who is leaving his wife and he's, he is being immoral with another woman. He wants to divorce his wife and go after her. And so the process happened first, a couple knew about it went and that took a little time. And then the elders met and pled with him and played with him a couple of different times, Please, brother Don't do this. And he finally like, I'm not going to talk to you. That scenario, they then wrote a letter to him on behalf of the whole of the elders. And that was sent to him, Please, brother, here's what you need to repent of this sin and this and do it by such date, because we're gonna go to the congregation and tell them that they need to pray for you. And that person ignored it. And another letter was sent right after that, brother, we're pleading with you. And one more month, we're going to ask you to repent and otherwise we're going to bring it to this final step and tell the church that we have to consider you an unbeliever now, and he didn't listen even then. And we had to walk through that. 21 years later, some guy shows up at church, one of the elders who was one of the elders involved with him at the time a long time ago says hey, do you see so and so?

    I didn't even know so and so.

    While we church discipline him, like a 9093. I was part of that. He's interested in coming. Great. He should come and hear the gospel. So he started to come. We kind of got an idea that something had been changing in his life. We were really excited about that. He asked if he could come to the elders meetings in a couple of months. And so for a couple of elders meetings, he shows up on a Tuesday night and oh, by the way, our elders meetings are open men, women, children, you can come Tuesday nights, six to nine, we studied the Bible, we pray, we talk about shepherding issues, please come he decides to come and he just comes as an observer like Well, that's I'm really glad that you're here. And he's really amicable guy. So it's not really hard to have him around. And he's just sitting and listening. He came to a second elders meeting. And then he went back to that first elder and and then he said this to us all. He said, I the church discipline process worked. I have been bearing the guilt of my sin for decades. I remember this process, and I want to be restored but I wanted to make sure this church still practice church discipline and hasn't strayed from the truth, because God has used that and conviction of my life. And I have repented. I want to be restored. What is restoration look like? Well, first of all, Have you confessed and repented of the sins to all the people that were involved? wife, kids? Have you made restitution damage that you've done? You've sought to make it right? Because when somebody comes to you and says, Please forgive me, and one of the questions you should ask back is for what? Because you kind of want to know what they're thinking. Some people just want to blanket forgiveness. Now we're all good, right? Well, no, we need to know that's a genuine process is going to take that he was open and humble at every turn, when every question was asked, either he was willing to take the next step and do more, or he's like, already done it. And we read a letter of restoration for this man who had been church discipline, 21 years before. The middle of COVID, he passed away, had cancer. Interesting, interestingly, I find out six months later, he had donated land, to the church to be sold by the church, that was about 40 to $60,000. Like, the church discipline, that guy had donated US, like 50, or $60,000. I was just flabbergasted. I was telling my wife, she kind of jokingly says, Who else do we need the church discipline? Well, honey, it'll take 21 years for some. And we're not gonna be around to see that for the church. I mean, pastors have weird humor, sorry about that. But like, what a joy, to watch that process work. It doesn't always it doesn't even often work. But it does work. So we start this process with somebody. And invariably, there's a family member or a spouse, one spouse sins and brings brings public notice to everybody. And it's really hard for the other family, they're bearing the shame of the sinning other. You have to remember that if we ever have to bring a church discipline, your other people are bearing that shame to and have to plead with them. I know it's hurtful, and it's wrong. And it's part of the sin like, it's not wrong, that we do this, it's wrong, that you have to feel the shame, you don't really have to, but they do. Like, who wants the attention, I totally get it. But we have to trust the process. Because Jesus really wants your your spouse, your child, this person, he really wants them back. And this is the process that he's ordained. And we've seen it work. I mean, I've seen people walk up in the middle of service when we talked about it, and leave. But I've also seen God's Spirit at work, drawing people back to Himself. And in a few minutes, we're going to see a restoration.

    We grieve, we don't tolerate sin. We carry out restorative discipline. Number three, we diligently seek the purity of the church. Remember, the process of church discipline is for the salvation of a soul, and for the purity of the church.

    And this answers a really important question. Because we move like this guys in here in this passage is horrible, yet obvious. Everybody knows what to do. I mean, this one's not hard to figure out, most of them are hard to figure out. This one's not hard to figure out. But you kind of get your idea. You get this idea in your head. You know, there are really big sins that are church discipline, and then there's other sins that don't really matter all that much. And this answers a really important question for us. Are there big sins that we really need to deal with and little ones that are no big deal?

    The answer is this. If you let really big sins go. We as humans think that little sins are fine to grow. We let them fester, we let them grow. We watch the church let big sins grow. Like you know, minor little sins. It's not a big deal. But when we deal with big sins, it's just like weeding the big weeds in your flowerbed. You pull out the big weeds and all of a sudden you see all these little weeds. Like for the first two minutes, you thought I waited this place. It looks awesome. And then you look again, there's like there's so many. That's because the big weeds gave cover for the little ones. And the point of church discipline is to make sure we don't let the little ones grow. We don't let the little ones grow

    Here's, Paul says, your boasting is not good. Your tolerance for this unrepentant sin is bad. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Every mama in the church went,

    Yeah, I know that I bake bread every day. You don't make bread every day. I have this great pizza dough recipe that we came across. The first night I make what's called a poolish. So it's 50% Water 50% flour 505 100. So you have 1000 grams going in, in point four grams of baker's yeast, stir it all in 12 hours later, it's big and poofy and bubbly. You add the other 1000 grams of ingredients. So you have 1000 grams of water flour and salt and not, not 1000 salts is a little so you have 1000 You have you have a total of 2000 grams. Point four of it was yeast. Every mama hearing the Apostle Paul says Don't you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Don't you know that if you let it grow, it infects everybody. And the proof is chapter six. Look what they let go in the church, the idolatry and the immorality

    so he says cleanse out the old Lebanon. And I want to just read this whole section. Because right here, Paul's going to use a metaphor. Everybody knew about the new Gentile believers had heard all the Old Testament stories. And he's using this picture of the Passover celebration. You do two things at Passover, you get rid of old leaven so that you have a new lump of dough. The people start clean, and you have the Passover Lamb sacrificed as a blood covering for the sins of the people. Let's read it all cleanse out the old love and that you may be a new lump as you really are unleavened for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Think of that statement? I mean, how many song lines could we sing Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe What can wash away my sin, Nothing but the blood of Jesus there is power, power Wonderworking power In the blood in the blood, there's power, Christ has died for our sins. Let us therefore celebrate the festival not with the old love and the love and of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. And so Paul sets this Passover scene and uses it as imagery that we now use in the church. And we do have a new Passover festival. It's called the Lord's Supper. And it's when we all gather and we all confess our sin and we all remember what Christ has done to make us one all of this has gone on. So as you're gathered church, cleanse out back to verse seven, cleanse out the old leaven.

    This phrase is fundamental understanding how God's people act says cleanse out the old love and that you may be a new lump as you really are. God has acted in Jesus Christ to make his people knew. This is the fourth time he uses this act as you are language back in one two, which we already said you are sanctified at 130 he says because of him, you are in Christ Jesus because of Jesus work. You're united to him. 316 He says you are God's temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. This is what you are, you are sanctified your holy the Holy Spirit dwells in you. You are new in Christ. You really are unleavened you have really been taken out of this world.

    Now, clean out the old leaven. Don't let malice and evil and that's what he calls this brother. He is a person who is harboring malice and evil in his heart.

    No, we need to celebrate with the bread of sincerity and truth. open, honest hearts.

    The man's actions were evil. His actions were bad. I think you're gonna ask a question. So what kind of sins are dealt with in church discipline? I use three words because they come from Matthew 18. Willful I know what's wrong, but I'm doing it anyway. Willful after step two brother that was a sin like sometimes I get confronted, like, I would say this. I get church discipline every week. I'm married.

    I Oh, thank you for telling me. I get it stops.

    Willful was I don't care what the Bible says I'm doing it anyway. Continual I'm gonna keep doing it. Keep acting this way. Or if it was a serious action, I'm not going to own up to it continual and stubborn, no matter how many people say it no matter how much has gone on, they say no, I'm doing it anyway. No, I'm doing it. So what could that apply to a lot of things it could apply to a lot of things. What it doesn't apply to, is driving through Spokane with somebody driving Spokane slow, and you got impatient. You sped around them and huff and then went, Lord, forgive me, like, everybody has fleshy sins, that when we're convicted, we confess because they're not continual, unrepentant, and willful. They're part of the fallen world. So we're not we're not bringing everything about a part of the fallen world into this deal. We're thinking of things that are willful, that are continual, that are stubborn, so Nathan's gonna get to the list, it's more than immorality. So you're gonna see that next week of the things that are kind of included, because Paul just uses this as a case for other issues that would show up. And one of the common things that I hear when we do church discipline is somebody who will invariably come up to me and said, I thought you were going to read my name? Have we ever talked to you about this? No, but I was sure you're going to call my name? Should I be talking to you about this? Do you have something you want to say? Look, we wouldn't, we wouldn't say it. Unless we've had basically three months of conversations, because it's slow for the purpose of repentance.

    We need to come together as the people of God Paul saying you need to come together as a people of God and celebrate the festival that is the Lord's Supper. And he's using that as a metaphor, celebrate the Lord's Supper and sincerity and truth. The church can't deceive itself into thinking sin is okay. It was never okay. It was never part of the gospel stories, never part of the gospel call. It's not part of gospel identity. sin is forgiven by Christ, for those who come humbly and repentant.

    But it's not okay.

    It is for the good of the church for the glory of God, the reputation of the church that is to be done. So here's three questions for you. Do you grieve over your own sin and repent? Do you grieve over when when you hear of sin elevated, willful, unrepentant, and it's it really starts to affect the relationships in your life. Do you grieve over that? Or do you get self righteous? You grieve over your own sin and repent. The second one is really vital here. Because you remember the metaphor of, of the infectiousness of sin, you let a big one go, and it always seems to give cover for little ones that will eventually become big ones. So do you get the help of trusted friends in the congregation, when you can't get a handle on it? Like if you are a chronic road rager get accountability.

    If it's continual unrepentant, and will like if you're a chronic anything, get accountability. So you're gathered in your growth group and sometimes like ours, you break up into guys and girls, and somebody says, How can we pray for you? One of the things they're saying very discreetly, is are there any sins that you are harboring that are going to ruin you and your life? Okay, they're not like, they're asking you how can we pray for you? And you're like, if you're harboring something and you know you're having a hard time with it.

    Are you sincere? He says, We need to practice and sincerity and truth. genuineness, remember Jesus is the friend of sinners to anybody who comes who is weak and unable. He wants to call you when you're a believer. Are you weary and heavy laden? Come to me if it's in your sin, come to me, he's calling you. So speak up.

    How can we pray for you?

    So this is a cause to our practice. And then some of you are in situations where you need specific help with a believer who is in what feels like willful, continual, stubborn sin. And you would typically like one of the elders to do this for you. Can you talk to that person? But can I coach you how to do it? This is really hard. Do you think it's easy for us? I know what's really hard will help you. Do you need specific help with a believer who was in sin, need to talk to an elder, I would say, most sins get dealt with and step one. Just a person talking to a person. Of those that remain most get handled in step two. Very few Ever Need Step three, very few. But when it goes there, we want the church to be praying as part of how God goes after his sheep. So let's pray. We're going to pray for this. And then we're Nathan's going to lead us through a restoration. God, we would pray that you would show us the glory of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ, and show us such glory of what he has done on the cross that we see our sin are ashamed of it and want him to wash it all away. That we would live lives of ongoing repentance. As our position has changed. We have new hearts, but we still have flesh and it's still prone to wonder, we would pray that You would help us deal with it in the means that you have given in your scriptures. And by that we will experience peace, joy, Christ's likeness. That's what we want out of this Christ's likeness with a Christ like testimony and a powerful testimony of the gospel in our city. It's in your name we pray, amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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