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re: church discipline sermon

March 21, 2010

For those that braved the rain, lots of reaction to this morning’s sermon on the “church discipline” section of 1 Corinthians 5-6:11.  I wanted to post the two things that seemed to stick out to people the most from this tough issue.

Things that would be wrong according to this passage…

  • To exercise church discipline motivated by anything besides love for the person
  • To exercise church discipline because a person’s sin just really frustrates us
  • To exercise church discipline because out of self-righteousness, because “we can’t understand how someone could be so irresponsible.”
  • To exercise church discipline on someone who is fighting their sin but continually failing in the grip of an addiction
  • To exercise church discipline on someone without attempts to bring them to repentance personally first
  • To exercise church discipline for something a young Christian doesn’t know is a sin
  • To keep a non-Christian from attending worship gatherings or small group meetings, regardless of the amount or severity of the sin in their life. To do anything besides loving and welcoming non-Christians in any way possible.
  • To care so little about a person’s soul that we ignore this passage and don’t practice church discipline.

I’ll be honest, as an elder this is a passage that I wish didn’t exist.  This will happen in our church and it will not be comfortable or easy… but it will be good for our gospel-health as a church body.  Speaking of gospel-health…

The biggest takeaway from this passage was Paul eluding to the fact that you can miss the gospel to the right or to the left.  Miss to the right and you’re a legalist. Miss to the left and you’re a libertine.  Here’s the breakdown from this morning…

Legalists:

  • Legalists love rules.  They focus on rules and responsibilities.
  • Work for God’s acceptance instead of from God’s acceptance.
  • How they feel about themselves is based on their performance in life.
  • Look down on people who are less religious or don’t work as hard as they do and become self-righteous and judgmental.
  • Forgiveness/acceptance talk often angers legalists because they feel the guilty party “has not paid his due”.
  • Motto: Stay away from sinners or you’ll catch the sin.
  • Bottom line: they don’t like sinners. It angers them that sinners are so irresponsible.

Libertines:

  • Libertines love freedoms. They focus on freedoms and rights.
  • Tend to take advantage of the gospel as a free pass to sin.
  • “Sin-talk” often angers libertines because they feel “you don’t need to change who you are, you need to accept who you are.”
  • Tend to label sinful attitudes and actions as a personality trait that someone can’t help. “That’s just who they are” is a common phrase.
  • Bottom line: libertines don’t hate sin. They see rules as quenching freedoms and self-expression.

THE takeaway from this passage was the fact that someone who’s been changed through the gospel will hate their sin because it killed Jesus and love sinners because Jesus died for them.

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