The Matter of Church Discipline

early-christians1

 

The Matter of Church Discipline

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Mat_18:15-35)

In this passage our Lord and Savior anticipates two things. First, he anticipates the fact that differences would arise among his disciples, causing offenses. It is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless, that God’s people in this world are sinners still. We love one another; but those who are the objects of our most ardent love are the very people we are most apt to offend. The offenses are excuseless. We ought to exercise great care not to offend. But offend we do. What husband, wife, son, or daughter has not wept bitterly after needlessly offending one in the family dearly loved? Paul and Barnabas were both brethren, faithful servants of God. But they had a falling out over John Mark. Yes, God’s people, true believers, often trespass against one another. Continue reading

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Holding Fast The Faithful Word

preach-the-word

Don Fortner 

It is very easy and a very common thing to teach false, damning, heretical doctrine using only Bible terms. God’s servants faithfully expound the sense the Scriptures, giving out the message of God the Holy Spirit conveyed in the text from which they preach.

“Preach the Word!”

2 Timothy 4:2

Those who piously insist that we say exactly what God says in the Bible, no more and no less, prove themselves terribly hypocritical by the fact that they never follow the practice. Like heretical Campbellites, they refer us to a word, phrase, or statement in the Bible, and then explain their meaning in words totally contrary to that which God the Holy Spirit has stated in Holy Scripture.

Words are vehicles of communication. They express ideas. The ideas expressed by any use of words can only be determined by the context in which they are used. In preaching the gospel we interpret the ideas (the doctrine) conveyed in a passage in the light of its immediate context and in the light of the whole Volume of Divine Inspiration, and declare that doctrine honestly in the language of the people we address. When a man takes refuge in a pretense of using only the very words of Scripture, it is because he is either uncertain of the meaning of those words, or those words convey something he wishes to hide.

     “Holding fast the faithful Word,” as we have been taught by God the Holy Spirit, let every faithful gospel preacher boldly and confidently expound exactly what God says in the Bible, no more and no less,by sound doctrine,” “for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” I say with Paul, to all who are responsible to proclaim the gospel of Christ, “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine,” for the time has come when men “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” — Brethren, “PREACH THE WORD!

How Continue reading