Drinking Deeply

Saturday, November 05, 2005 at 11:42 PM

Judge lest ye be judged (7)

The next question I'd like to address is: What does church discipline (judgment within the church) look like? This will be a mixture of a pile of verses I've already touched on and (since I'm lazy) pretty short.

1) church discipline begins with an examination of ourselves:

Recall Matthew 7

1"Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Our first key is to examine ourselves. Are we guilty of what we ourselves are speaking up against? If we are, then our own vision will be colored and we will be unable to correct someone properly.

Note, just because we are guilty of it as well does not mean that our correction is wrong. Remember what Jesus says to his disciples regarding the Pharisees in Matthew 23

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3so practice and observe whatever they tell you--but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

The Pharisees are hypocrites! But yet they still say the right things (sometimes!). Thus as we receive a rebuke, we cannot first turn our eyes upon them (though they should examine themselves prior to correcting you), but rather we must examine ourselves. If the rebuke is biblical, then we must humble ourselves before the Word and not brush it off lightly.

2) Church discipline begins as a private matter.

Matthew 18)

15"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

If the person has sinned against us, then we are not to proclaim it loudly and gossip about them or be bitter and resentful, griping to people, but rather we are to faithfully and graciously confront them, in hopes of winning over a brother.

3) Church discipline escalates in face of unrepentance.

Matthew 18)

16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

As people are more and more hard-hearted, the issue involves more and more of the community. We take one or two others along so that the charges may be formally established (OT law requires the testimony of two or three witnesses). Then if he refuses to listen even in the face of a formal charge, then we are to bring it to the church. Now, taking it to the church certainly does not mean that we are to tell everyone in the church, but rather we are to speak to the representatives of the church, those who carry authority: The elders.

The buck stops there and I'll continue this Monday on what the final step is.

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