Relationships of the Believer
LESSON SEVENTEEN – CONGREGATIONAL DISCIPLINE
Lesson Goal: Our goal in this lesson is to understand proper congregational discipline – what its goals and results are meant to be and the steps taken in carrying it out.
THE GOAL OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE
1. Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-13–1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Isa and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Isa is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For al-Masih, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the congregation? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 Allah will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
a) What sin had entered the congregation in Corinth?
b) What is the meaning of verse 6?
c) According to verses 9-11, believers are not to associate with whom?
d) What is one main goal of discipline as seen in this passage?
2. Read 2 Corinthians 2:5-8–5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent–not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. NOTE: It is clear from this passage that the person living in immorality was disciplined as Paul commanded. As a result, he confessed his sin and repented. Now Paul is instructing the congregation on how to treat him after his repentance.
a) What does Paul tell the congregation they are to do for the repentant sinner?
b) If they neglect to forgive and comfort him, what could very well be the result?
c) From the two passages in Corinthians, we see clearly what the results of discipline is when properly handled. Place a ‘checkmark’ before those statements below that were the outcome of the congregational discipline in Corinth.
a) Many others in the congregation fell into the same sin.
b) Other members were kept from committing the same sin.
c) The sinner himself was made to face his sin and repented.
d) The sinner continued on in his sin to his own hurt.
3. Read James 5:19-20–19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
If we are able to turn a sinner from his evil path through discipline, what have we accomplished?
STEPS IN DISCIPLINE
4. Read Matthew 18:15-22–15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the congregation; and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” 21 Then Peter came to Isa and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Isa answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
a. If a brothers sins against you, then according to verse 15 should you sit and wait for him to come to you, or should you go to him to deal with the matter?
b. In going to him the first time, how many others should you take with you?
c. If that person does not listen to your words, what is the second step you should take?
d. If, once again the person does not listen, what is the final step you are to take?
e. How many times are you to be ready to forgive a brother who honestly repents?
OUR ATTITUDE IN DISCIPLINING
5. Read Galatians 6:1–Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
a) Who should be the one to seek to restore a wayward brother?
b) What should be the attitude of anyone involved in disciplining?
6. Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15–13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
a) What should be our relationship to a brother who is living in disobedience to Allah’s word?
b) Should I consider that person as an enemy or a brother?
c) Why, then, would I break off fellowship with him?
YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
7. Has your own congregation ever disciplined a wayward member? Or has there been a situation where someone should have been disciplined but wasn’t? describe briefly.
DISCIPLINE VS. GOSSIP
8. Discipline and gossip are totally opposites. Gossip occurs when I notice another’s wrong and, instead of approaching him, I discuss his sin with others. The chart below compares different aspects of discipline and gossip. Read the chart through carefully and then use what you learn in the chart to answer the questions that follow it:
DISCIPLINE AND GOSSIP COMPARED
ASPECT DISCIPLINE GOSSIP
a. Which of the two is more common in this world – discipline or gossip?
b. What is the goal of discipline in the sinner’s life?
c. What result does gossip have within the congregation?
d. What is the goal of gossip in the sinner’s life?
e. Who motivates and directs gossip?
f. Who motivates and directs discipline?
g. Why do you think gossip is so common in all places and among all people?
h. Which is more common in your congregation, discipline or gossip?
i. What could you do to discourage the practice of gossip in your own fellowship?
TO MEMORIZE – MATTHEW 18:15
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.