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What Does Church Discipline Actually Look Like?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 4:30 pm

What Does Church Discipline Actually Look Like?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 6, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1439 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

    1. How can we balance service in the church with a healthy family life?   2. How could Jacob wrestle with God if no one can see God and live?   3. What does healthy church discipline look like?   4. How can churches be welcoming if Jesus says the gospel is divisive?       Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.


What does church discipline actually look like? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, it's Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We would love to hear from you. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the phone number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, we have a YouTube channel, and you can tune into YouTube right now. Watch Adriel live in the studio and send him your question through YouTube.

And of course, you can always email us your question at And Adriel, a lot of people like listening to our podcast, and it's kind of been expanding. The reach of the podcast is growing each day.

Yeah, it's something I'm super excited about. And I did want to open up the broadcast today with a review that we got from somebody who listens to the podcast. I mean, we're live on the radio every single day, taking calls about the Christian faith. But all of our episodes, you can download them and listen to them via podcast. And so this is, I think, an Apple podcast review, and this is what the individual said. When I hear some of the questions asked on the show, I often spout off some reply I come up with through my conventional wisdom. Pastor Sanchez, however, finds the applicable scripture reference or pulls from biblical theology to answer those questions. It's so refreshing to hear the Word of God spoken into the airwaves to help so many people. God bless core Christianity.

I love it. Yeah, that's super encouraging for us to be able to read those. And actually, so it's a blessing for us, but it is also one of the ways that we continue to get more reach via podcast. And so if you listen, whether you're listening on the radio or via podcast, if you've not given us a review on Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts, would you do that? That does help us.

Preferably a five star review, and you can say nice things about Bill too. But just super encouraging to be able to read those. And as always, such a blessing to be able to serve you here at core Christianity. And once you give us that five star review, more people will hear about core Christianity and hopefully more people will grow in their faith as a result of that podcast. Amen. It'd be great to hear your comments. So please do that. If you have a podcast through Apple or any other means, let us know that you're listening and give us a review, preferably as Adriel said, a five star review. Well, we do, we do receive emails here at core Christianity.

And I wanted to start off with one from Samantha. She says this, my husband and I have two small children and attend a very small Methodist church. We're very active in our church and hold many positions since our church is so small. After a busy and stressful season as a church, my husband and I are experiencing burnout and bitterness. We only have a few hours a week for family time due to our work schedules, and I feel we need to focus on growing our family unit in Christ. However, my husband has a calling to serve and even fills in for our preacher when he's sick.

I see him getting very weary every time we attend a business meeting, a cookout, a night church, et cetera. How do I support my husband and his need to serve and also allow my family to thrive together during my season of burnout? Samantha, God bless you and God bless your family. I'm so glad you reached out to us and my heart just goes out to you and to all those who, especially this stage of life, you know, you got little kids at home, you're navigating. What does it look like for us to be good parents, to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

And also what does it look like for us to be good church members, not just to sort of dip into church and then leave and not be engaged in service or in the life of the body? And it's just a difficult season, one, I know, because we have young kids in our home, five little kids. And what I'll say to you is, first and foremost, you need to prioritize, you and your husband need to prioritize your family and that growth in grace. I love the way that you put it, you know, I feel we need to focus on growing our family unit in Christ.

And that's absolutely correct. Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians chapter six, verses one through four, he wrote to children and parents. He says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother. This is the first commandment with the promise that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

It sounds to me like you guys don't have a lot of time right now, just a couple hours every night. And so you have to ask yourself, okay, are we honoring the Lord by prioritizing our family and growth in grace, discipling our children? Or are we so consumed, you know, with our schedules, even with seemingly good things, you know, going to the church cookout or business meeting or whatnot, that we're not able to do the basic stuff that God calls us to do in the home. And that's where I think you need to get your priorities where we, so many of us, need to get our priorities set and in order. And I know it can be especially difficult in a smaller church where there are so many needs and not a lot of volunteers to, you know, to just sort of be pulled in. But you have to be able to say no. And when you say no to one thing, you're saying yes to something else. And in this situation, saying no maybe to the church cookout or to, you know, that weekly meeting that you just feel like I have to go there. You know, are the pastors going to be disappointed? Saying no to that.

Not because you don't love the church, but because you're saying yes to your family and growing in grace together. One other thing I just want to say, and this is why I wanted to open the broadcast with this email because I think it's so important. Watch out for the Martha mentality, what I call the Martha mentality.

What am I talking about? In Luke chapter 10, there's this really interesting story where these two sisters have this encounter with Jesus. Luke chapter 10, beginning in verse 38.

Listen to this because I think it's relevant to your situation. Now as they went on their way, verse 38, Jesus entered a village and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?

Tell her to help me. But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Sometimes I think being busy for Jesus and for the church can keep us from sitting at the feet of Jesus, which is primarily what we need to sit at his feet, to listen to his word, to receive it into our hearts, to follow him, to obey him.

And it's so easy to get distracted with all sorts of things, even things that seem really good, like I'm volunteering here and there and doing this and that. But what you see in Martha there is this resentment that began to grow. Look at my sister. She's sitting down. She's not serving like I am. Here I am so busy, Jesus.

Aren't you going to say something to her? And I think sometimes Jesus comes alongside of us and he says, actually, you need to sit at my feet. You need to receive my word.

You need to rest in me. And maybe right now that's what Christ is calling you and your family, too, Samantha. Not to busy yourselves, especially with two young kids, not to busy yourselves with all of these things and to lose sight of that which is most important, sitting at the feet of Jesus and growing together as a family. God will raise up other volunteers. It's not worth sacrificing your family on the altar of ministry or service for the church.

And so you have to prioritize that family discipleship growth and grace, which doesn't mean you're neglecting gathering together with the saints for church on Sunday. But it might mean, hey, we're not going to do that weekly Bible study that we were going to. We just don't have any time. We don't have any time left in the day. We're not going to be able to make it to all the business meetings.

That's okay. You need to prioritize your family and being at the feet of Jesus. God bless. So well said. You know, something my wife and I practice, Adriel, is if we're asked to do something, whether it's a church activity or responsibility, volunteer opportunity or elsewhere, we'll always say, let me get back to you or let me check my calendar or let me check with my spouse, rather than saying sure right there on the spot.

Because a lot of times when you start to look at your schedule and realize how overpacked it may be, you really need to say no to those opportunities. And we have to see that not as being a downer, being anti-church, it's just being for what Jesus calls us to prioritize first and foremost. And I don't want you to hear this as don't be actively engaged in your church.

I'm just saying we're all in these different stages of life. And especially with young kids, we need to prioritize. You need to prioritize that family discipleship. And part of that is bringing them to church every single Sunday and being encouraged in the things of the Lord, growing together with the body of Christ. But a lot of times I think churches will have, you know, all of these weekly events and they're just saying, you got to come to this and you got to come to that.

And it can be overwhelming for individuals and it can be overwhelming for families and especially families with young kids. And so we want to be careful as a church that we're not just burdening people with all of these things and keeping them from the very thing that Christ calls them to. Great counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, church life, whatever it might be, we'd love to talk to you. Here's the number. It's 833-THECORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Bill who's calling in from Southern Illinois. Bill, what's your question for Adriel?

Yeah. In the New Testament, there's a scripture that says no one has seen God. And yet in Genesis, it talks about God walking with them in the cool of the day. There's also the reference of Jacob wrestling with God. There's several situations where it appears that Abraham's talking to God. In Revelation, now I know this is in the spirit John's talking about, he talks about seeing Him who sits on the throne, and it's obviously God. So I just want your comments on that.

Yeah. Excellent question. Yeah, because numerous places in the Old Testament and in the New Testament make it clear that no one has seen God. John 1, verse 18, no one has ever seen God. The only God who's at the Father's side has made Him known. They're speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ has made Him known. Jesus has exegeted the Father. That's where we get the word exegesis from. We oftentimes use in Bible interpretation. John is saying the Son has exegeted the Father for us.

He's made Him known to us. Well, how do we make sense of the fact that you do have these instances where it seems like people have this experience of the Lord speaking to God face to face? You know, Moses having this experience of the Lord, individuals seeing the angel of the Lord, or wrestling with God when the Bible says no one is seeing God. And I think that the way in which we have to understand that is God, at various points in history, has condescended to us, veiled Himself, if you will. You think about when He passed by Moses, you know, you can't see all my glory, but I'm going to give you kind of a refracted vision of it. And the idea there is we can't see God as He is in His essence, meaning when individuals have an experience of God, of seeing God here as creatures, because He's infinite, because He's the Creator, because He's in a totally different category from us. We can't wrap our minds or our sight around Him, if you will, but God has revealed Himself to us in clear ways. And you certainly see that in the Old Testament through various types of revelation, through the prophets, through the burning bush, through the angel of the Lord, through the, you know, the person, the mysterious and glorious person that Jacob wrestled through, the son, one like a son of the gods who was there with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these individuals who had this encounter with the Lord, well, that was God veiling Himself, condescending to us, so that they might have an experience such that they were able to say, man, we saw the Lord. But even that was a, we might say, a refracted, you know, image, revelation. We can't, they can't, because of our sinfulness, see God as He is in His essence. No one, right?

Like, right now, we just can't, we don't. We see God as He's revealed Himself to us, and I think that's how we make sense of those passages. It's not like, you know, these biblical writers are knowingly, or trying to, you know, give us a biblical contradiction here.

No, that's not what they're doing. They don't feed us a contradiction. There's a difference between seeing God as He is in His full essence and divinity, and seeing God as He's revealed Himself to us. And so, that's how I think we make sense of those passages. Appreciate the question, Bill, and may the Lord bless you.

Great explanation, thanks for that. And Bill, thanks so much for listening there in southern Illinois. We appreciate you being one of our CORE listeners. This is CORE Christianity, and if you are a regular listener, and you believe in what we do here every day, we'd like to ask you to prayerfully consider joining a group we call our inner CORE. Yeah, as Bill said, if you're a regular listener, if you're blessed by the work that we're doing, one of the ways you can encourage us is by joining the inner CORE.

It's a monthly gift of $25 or more, and we see it as a way for us to partner together to continue to get the word out. And so, especially for those of you who have been encouraged, if you want to pitch in and help us to continue to expand the work that the Lord has given us to do, would you prayerfully consider joining that inner CORE? And as a thank you, we'll send you a copy of the book, CORE Christianity, written by Dr. Michael Horton, which is a wonderful, wonderful resource. And so, again, thank you, and prayerfully consider joining the inner CORE. You can learn more by going to forward slash inner CORE. That's forward slash inner CORE.

Love to have you join that group of people. They make it possible for us to do this program on a daily basis around the country, so thank you for that. And to everybody who's part of the inner CORE, we really do appreciate you. Well, we do receive voicemails here at CORE Christianity.

You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail at 833-THE-CORE. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hey, Pastor Adriel. Just wanted to reach out and ask the question mainly about what does church discipline look like? I know that you spoke on 1 Corinthians 5 regarding the sexually immoral person. What does it look like for a church to properly discipline and reprove a member of their congregation when they're caught in sin?

Thanks. All right, wonderful question. A number of texts for us to consider. Just based on the last statement there, I would want to draw your attention to Galatians 6, verse 1. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. And so when somebody is caught in a sin, when it becomes evident, the goal is not like, okay, let's crush them, you know, punish them. That's not what church discipline is about. Church discipline is always about restoration, coming alongside of an individual, calling them to repentance, restoring them in a spirit of gentleness, because the reality is we're all sinners. But for the grace of God, there go I. God help all of us to be watchful, to keep a close watch on ourselves, on our lives, on our own heart, because we're all tempted by sin, susceptible to sin. And so right there, I think there's that attitude there of humility. Now, if an individual is continuing in sin, right, Jesus gives us the process in Matthew chapter 18.

So that would be one passage for you to think about. Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 and following, Jesus says, you know, go to your brother who sinned against you and be honest with him. You know, tell him his fault, what he's done. And if he doesn't listen, well, then bring others who also see what's going on. A couple of witnesses with you. And if he still doesn't listen, well, then tell it to the church.

Get the elders of the church involved. And so you're going through this process. And again, the goal is not to shame an individual or to crush them or to make them feel horrible about themselves. The goal is to say, brother, this sin, sister, this sin will destroy you.

And we see the effect that it's having. You know, you're a believer. You've called upon the name of the Lord. You're baptized. You're a part of this church.

We want to encourage you and hold you accountable. But if a person rejects that, they reject the Lord. Well, then you do, like Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, the text that you reference, you do say, OK, we're not going to treat this person as a believer anymore.

And what that looks like, again, is not like a public shunning and shaming. It looks like the church grieving and praying for this individual, calling them to repentance, not hanging out with them and spending time just like, you know, everything's fine. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5, don't even eat with that person. Don't sit down and have lunch and just joke about life like everything is OK. Their soul is in danger because they're turning away from Jesus. And so it's a way in which we as a church communicate lovingly but firmly to someone who is unwilling to repent of their sins, who is a member of the church, that they're held accountable. And that if they continue down this path, then they're separated. They're severed from the life of the church.

They need to come back. They need to repent. But again, what I would want to stress is just that hard attitude of we're longing for restoration. We're grieved by this, by what it's brought to the church and what it's doing to your own life. And we're praying and longing to see you restored with that spirit of gentleness and humility, recognizing, OK, Lord, I need your help.

Keep me from falling, too. Wow. So well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

I'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology or some struggle you're having in your own Christian walk. We are open to your questions at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

You can always leave a voicemail at that same number 24 hours a day. We'd love to get your questions. Let's go to Amy calling in from Nebraska. Amy, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Adriel.

Thank you for your program. I listen to it regularly. I have a friend who has grown up in the church. They're well into their middle-aged years now. Throughout their church life, they taught classes, very staunch in their beliefs. And now I'm seeing them turn more toward a progressive point of view where they say, well, we need to search for churches that are more welcoming to all types of people and that type of thing. And then yesterday I was looking through my Bible and I came upon Luke 12, I believe it was, verses 49 to 59, where it talks about Jesus creating division. And so could you kind of speak to those two, what appear to me, different points of view?

Yeah. I mean, such a heartbreaking situation, I think, because we are seeing many, many people begin to drift toward, I would say, you know, less of a firm stance on what the Bible teaches with regard to, especially you mentioned homosexuality, the sexual ethic that we find in Scripture, and drifting towards more and more what we're seeing in the culture, which is this idea that if you really are going to love someone, you need to affirm them in who they feel like they are. And that's what it looks like to love that person. And yet, you bring up a great passage, and certainly there are many others, Amy, but Jesus is very clear that while Christ's love does extend to the whole world, He's not for us in our sin, and He doesn't condone us in our sin. One of the beautiful things about Jesus is He was able to engage with thinners, compassionately, lovingly, without affirming them in their sin, but calling them to repentance. And that's the problem. I think for so many, we're sort of shifting towards, no, we want to engage with them and grow together in this relationship, and the only way we feel like we can do that is by affirming them, because if I don't affirm them, well, then they're just not going to want to have anything to do with me.

Well, here's the thing. Jesus said some people are just not going to want to have anything to do with you. That doesn't give us an excuse as Christians to be arrogant or rude or to push people away because we're abrasive, something about us, but the fact of the matter is if you're faithful to Christ and to His Word, and to what God has called us to, what Jesus has called us to in terms of how to live, even pertaining to things like sexuality and so forth, there are going to be people who just say, no, I don't want to have anything to do with that. I hate that, and I hate that you're calling me to not live a certain way.

How dare you? I mean, Jesus said that this would happen. And so I think what needs to happen in situations like this, and I would encourage you as you're having conversations with your friend, to try to get one to the bottom of what's the root cause of this shift. Sometimes people have seen abuses in churches where it seemed like Christians were just being arrogant and rude and driving people away because of that abrasive attitude that I was talking about. And so they just sort of do a pendulum shift or pendulum swing where they say, I just don't want to have anything to do with that kind of Christianity. Okay, I could understand that, but look at Jesus. Jesus does engage with sinners, but He never condones sin because He knows that it is destroying us. He came to suffer on the cross and die for our sins. Whether that sin is homosexuality, which is a sin, or greed, or drunkenness, or some other thing, Jesus doesn't just say, yeah, go ahead and you do you, and I'm okay with that, I'm going to affirm you. No, He calls us to Himself to receive His grace, His mercy, and His forgiveness and to walk in the light. And God help each of us as Christians to do that and to call others to it too. Together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-07 14:25:40 / 2024-03-07 14:38:08 / 12

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