Last week we started to look at the different forms of judging. We learned from Scripture that all judging is not wrong. We should judge what is right (Lk 12:57, Jn 7:24). We can and should judge in the sense of discerning between right and wrong. We saw last week that when the Bible tells us not to judge, that it is speaking in a hypocritical way. In other words, don’t judge people by one standard, and yourself by another. We are to judge others in the same way we would want to be judged. This week we will look into judgment inside the church. While church discipline is rarely talked about or exercised anymore (mainly because you can just go down the street); it is still a Biblical subject and should be understood and practiced.
There are four things I would like us to point out in church discipline: 1. What things are we to judge and confront. 2. What things are we not to judge and confront on. 3. What attitude should we have in judging or confronting. 4. What is our purpose in judging and confronting. Let’s start with number four, and work our way backward.
Our purpose for judging and confronting a sin issue is not to embarrass, condemn, hurt, humiliate or destroy our Brother or Sister in Christ. The purpose in exposing the sin should be to save that person’s life - and possibly soul - from destruction. We see this clearly in 1Cor5:5, as well as James 5:19-20. As we see laid out in Mt 18:15-17, we should always go to the person in private first; if not resolved, take two or three witnesses; and only after every effort at privately trying to help the person has failed, then it needs to go before the church. Biblical correction is good, Godly, and necessary - and should be accepted with gladness and humility.
Our attitude in correcting should be humble. We should do it with fear and trembling. We should do it with sincere love for our brother or sister. Again, we’re not out to destroy - that’s satan’s business. We are out to heal, free, & restore. The church is a family. If the father of a family just ignored every problem and never corrected it - his family would not function properly at best, or be destroyed at worst. A responsible father deals with issues. However, a good father also doesn’t nit-pick and try to look for a problem in every single circumstance. There is a proper balance, which brings us to number two.
What things are we not to judge? Well, a few of them are listed in Col 2:16. It says “Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. Also see Romans 14. These Christians going around saying you can’t eat this or that: they’re preaching doctrines of devils (1Tim 4:1-4). All things are lawful to eat, if taken in moderation. Excess is gluttony, and that is a sin. Here is a radical statement for you: drinking is not a sin, either. Excess drinking is drunkenness, and that is a sin. What days or holidays we celebrate or don’t celebrate is also between us and God. We will all (true believers) stand before the Judgment seat of Christ and give account of ourselves (Rom 14:10-12), so we don’t need to be judging each other in these things. And, as we talked about last week, we don’t judge hearts or motives, either. So what do we judge?
Do we just kick everybody out of church who is dealing with a sin listed in 1Cor 5:9-11, 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-20, Eph 5:3-6? No, that’s not what God would have us do. Christians have some spots and wrinkles. People need to be in church so they can hear what is acceptable to God and what isn’t; as well as learn who they are in Christ Jesus, and how to overcome. Of course we should walk in holiness (1Pt 1:16, 2Pt 3:11), but there are no perfect saints in the flesh (Rom 7:18). The problem in Corinth was that they BOASTED in sin. It says in 1Cor 5:1-2 that this guy who was sleeping with his stepmother was totally open about it. It was commonly known. He wasn’t even ashamed! Incest is forbidden in The Bible (Lev 18:8, 1Cor 6:13-20), yet this guy - and the church - didn’t seem to mind at all. However, after he was corrected, this man repented - which showed he truly loved God and the church. There needs to be acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility when we have sinned. We must let The Word judge us. This is proper judgment. It removes emotions and personal feelings, and brings it right down to God’s Truth. There is much more to say, but I am out of space. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!