Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 1, 1961
NUMBER 5, PAGE 2,14a

Scriptural Discipline

Paul K. Williams, Columbus, Ohio

I. Our obligation when a Christian sins against another Christian-Matthew 18:15-17.

1. Go to him alone, in love, and attempt a reconciliation.

2. If this fails, take one or two more that at the mouth of two or three every word may be established.

3. If still he will not repent, tell it to the church.

4. If he will not hear the church, he is to be unto you as a Gentile or publican.

NOTICE: Steps number 3 and 4 involve the church, in contrast to individuals. The church as a whole has the responsibility to discipline an unrepentant sinner in the church.

II. The church's obligation in case of a public scandal-1 Corinthians S.

1. "Ye being gathered together"-This is public church action.

2. Deliver such a one unto Satan (Withdraw fellowship from him).

3. Have no company with him-no not to eat (This is each member's responsibility).

NOTE: The eating here is the kind of company we can have with those who are not Christians, therefore refers to common meals, not the Lord's supper. Faithful Christians are not to eat common meals with one from whom the church has withdrawn fellowship.

4. This action is to be taken when a brother is guilty of fornication, covetousness, idolatry, reviling, drunkenness, or extortion and refuses to repent (11)

III. The church's obligation in any case of prolonged disobedience-II These. 3:6-15.

1. Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly.

2. Have no company with him.

3. Count him not as an enemy.

4. Admonish him as a brother.

NOTICE: These instructions are exactly parallel to what is found in 1 Cor. 5. Every individual is to do this. It is church action. (I Cor. 5:4) The principle to here set forth that every brother who persists in sin without repenting must be withdrawn from by the church, every member executing that action by refusing to have company with him.

IV. The church's obligation to false teachers-Rom. 16:17- 18; 2 John 10-11; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; Titus 3:9-11.

1. Rebuke.

2. After two admonitions, refuse.

3. Not to receive into your house.

4. Reason: that they might be taught not to blaspheme-1 Tim. 1:19-20.

NOTICE the parallel between 2 Thess. 3:14 and Romans 16:17.

2 Thess 3.14 Romans 16:17

Note that man. Mark them.

Have no company with him Turn away from them.

These passages taken together plainly show that no matter what the sin, when all efforts at restitution have failed, and the sinner continues in impenitence, then formal withdrawal of fellowship must be undertaken by the church, each individual then carrying out that discipline by refusing to keep company with the one withdrawn from.

V. The Purpose Of Withdrawal.

1. For the salvation of the one withdrawn from.

1 Cor. 5:5-"For the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved."

2 Thess. 3:14-"That he may be ashamed."

1 Tim. 1:19-20-"That they might be taught not to blaspheme."

2. For the salvation of the congregation.

1 Cor. 5:6-"Your glorying is not good. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."

2 Cor. 7:11-12-"What earnest care it wrought in you, yea what clearing of yourselves, yet what longing, yea what zeal, yea what avenging! In everything ye approved yourselves to be pure in the matter. So although I wrote unto you, I wrote not for his cause that did wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be made manifest unto you in the sight of God."

2 Cor. 2:9-"For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye are obedient in all things."

VI. How To Treat One From Whom The Church Has Withdrawn.

1. Have no company with him-not even to eat a common meal. (2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 John 10)

2. Admonish as a brother-do not treat as an enemy. (2 Thess. 3:15)

3. Restore when he repents. (2 Cor. 2:6-8, 10-11)

VIII. Steps To Be Taken Before Withdrawal.

1. In case of personal sin-Matt. 18:15-17 (See 1st point)

2. In case of false teaching.

a. If error is the result of honest ignorance, inform that one privately-Acts 18:24-26.

b. Reprove sharply-Titus 1:13.

c. Dispute publicly-Acts 15:1-2.

d. After two admonitions, refuse-Titus 3:10.

3. In case of public sin-Attempt to restore-Galatians 6:1.

a. Reprove, rebuke, exhort-2 Tim. 4:2. (In the case of the Thessalonians who refused to work, Paul had commanded them in 1 Thess. 4:10-11 to tend to their own business and work with their hands.)

b. This will involve all kinds of teaching and reproof. It will involve private exhortation and public rebuke.

c. Only after all these efforts have been exhausted is fellowship to be withdrawn.

(The one seeming exception to this rule is the man in 1 Cor. 5 who was living with his father's wife. There Paul said to withdraw fellowship immediately. It is to be presumed, however, that because this is such a heinous sin, the man knew full-well the sinfulness of his actions. There was no need to rebuke him. The congregation needed to take immediate action before he should become hardened.)