THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-8-04
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT: "CHRIST'S PLAN FOR DISCIPLINE IN HIS CHURCH"
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord's Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning let me take a moment to thank the Bona Church of Christ - a long time supporter of this good work. Let me encourage you to visit with this congregation if you live in the Aldrich, area. These brethren assemble regularly for Worship, in fact, beginning this morning they will gather for a Bible study at 10:00, which will be followed by a Worship assembly at 10:45. On Sunday evenings these brethren also come together at 6:00. A mid-week service is offered as well, as the Bona church assembles at 7:00 p.m. each Wednesday evening. Again, let me ask you to meet with these brethren whenever possible so that you may learn more about God and His church. If you need further information feel free to contact their minister Jim Poland at(417)995-3032, or you can contact us and we will assist in any way we can.
Well, it's time to join in our songs of praise. The first song of the morning is entitled, "I'll Fly Away."
(SONG # 1)
When we look to the life of Christ we see that He was one who was all about doing the Father's Will! One thing we find Him doing of interest, is choosing 12 men to teach over a period of years - that they could carry on the work once He returned to the Father.
Paul obviously learned this important lesson from Jesus, as he often took men under his wing and taught them how to do the work of an evangelist. In fact, this idea can be fully seen in 2 Timothy 2:2, where Paul also told this young evangelist to take, "the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." The plan of training faithful men to go out and to teach others the precious Word of God is certainly a Biblically based concept and command.
With this in mind, I am glad to say that the churches of Christ are striving to accomplish this task right here in Springfield, Missouri. Thus, we are excited to have brother Jerry Sullins with us today. Brother Sullins is the director of the newly opened Bible Institute of Missouri, right here in Springfield. This preachers training school is now up and running and is already in it's third quarter of the first class, with 11 full time students committing themselves to the study of God's Word. The students and faculty are doing a great job in their respective parts of this program for the sake of Christ. We ask for your continued prayers that this work continues to do all it can to the glory of God.
As far as our main study of the day, this morning we will continue our series on, "The Church Which Jesus Built," with our specific lesson of the day focusing on, "Christ's Plan for Discipline In His Church." So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Home Of The Soul."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
I appreciate so much this opportunity to be with you once again this morning and I appreciate those kind words said about the Bible Institute of Missouri that is now in session behind the Kansas Expressway church of Christ building on North Kansas Expressway. We're very delighted to have 11 full time students who are diligently studying God's Word each day. In fact, these brothers sit in class 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and each quarter they're studying 6 Bible or Bible related subjects. They're growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and soon will be going out to communities throughout Missouri and the United States and even to other parts of the world spreading that precious message. I'd like to say that if you know of anyone in your congregation or in another congregation of the Lord's church who is interested in training to be a gospel preacher or maybe just wants to increase his Biblical knowledge so he can be a better leader in the church someday or an elder or a deacon or be a better father and a husband, there would be no greater way than for that young man or that man to come and to train at the Bible Institute of Missouri to put in 2 years of his life studying God's Holy Word. I'll assure you of one thing, once you come and you go through the program, you'll feel like you at least have begun on the pathway of life and knowing God's Word and be a better person in every way. So I'm delighted to give you this opportunity and please refer to the address and the numbers and the e-mail address that is given to you at the close of this program and write us and we'll be glad to send you a packet of information on the school and an application form.
This morning, we'd like to discuss the Lord's plan concerning discipline in His church. This is a very important subject. Some people have said that we've kept most of the Lord's commands, but some we have not kept. I guess we would all have to admit to that. But the churches of Christ are diligently trying to keep the pure doctrine of Christ as find it revealed to us in the New Testament of His Will, in the Bible and what you refer to as the New Testament. Certainly we are happy this morning to discuss a command that maybe many people have forgotten. In fact, some people say that not only is this a command that people have forgotten, but it's the lost commandment. For as you look diligently and you inquire throughout the churches of Christ, you will find very few congregations that have exercised the Lord's Will as far as discipline is concerned in the church. And so this morning I'd like to just for a few moments, the minutes that we have, discuss the importance of discipline in the church and discuss with you what the Bible has to say about discipline in the church and to try to encourage us all not to forget this commandment, but to again start doing what the Lord has said so that the church can truly be presented to Him holy and without blemish in that day when He comes again.
When we speak of discipline, many people get a little bit concerned because as a child we really didn't want to be disciplined and it seems like in our society today, there's such a lack of discipline everywhere seen that it is even in the adult population wherever you go, in the marketplace, wherever you might go, anywhere, you see people who are just out of control. They're no longer disciplined. When you mention the word "discipline," or that people need to adhere to certain principles, or follow certain laws, or behave in a certain way, then people get very concerned because they think, "Oh this man wants to punish me." Well really, discipline as we look at it in the scripture, is defined properly in the text, the original text, as "moral or mental training," and it is a result of this moral or mental training that brings to us a person who can better live as Christ wants them to live. In fact, how can people live as Christ wants them to live if they're not properly disciplining themselves and are not properly disciplined?
It's so necessary as we look at this subject in all areas of life. The writer, Solomon, said in Proverbs 22, verse 6 that "we should train up a child in the way it should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Training is part of discipline. And this is readily seen in Ephesians chapter 6, verse 4 because there the apostle Paul told Fathers, "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurturing admonition," the King James version says, but the New King James version says, "and the discipline and training of the Lord." And so what actually should occur in the life of any child and what a child really needs and what a child really wants is discipline and training. For how can any child enter this life and go through life and expect to be able to be a functioning part of society in a proper way unless that child has received discipline? This is the exact opposite of what is taught in some of our schools and universities today because we are told that our children are being taught and we know it's true because our children tell us this that really they should have the right to establish their own moral system, that they should have the right to determine how they're going to behave themselves and how they're going to act and react to other people and no one has the right to tell them anything. Well, that's contrary to what the scripture has to say. In fact, the Bible says, "Whom the Lord loves, He chastens, He disciplines." Fathers are not to provoke their children to wrath, not to discipline them in such a way that they reject that training, but they're to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The Hebrew writer said concerning the olden times, that is Old Testament times, in Hebrews chapter 12, verse 9, the Hebrew writer said, "Furthermore, we have had our fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence." My friend, what would happen in today's society if there were no discipline? Would you actually want to live in the United States of America or anywhere in this world if people totally rejected discipline? Well I have news for you, we're headed in that direction and if we don't do something about it, if we do not honor God and His Word and understand the importance of this subject, our society as we know it, the church as we know it, will be in complete chaos.
Now why does the church not discipline? And I am speaking mainly of the Lord's church here. Why do we not discipline? Well, there are many reasons for it and we might say excuses for it because really the Lord has commanded that we do it so we must do it. Well, some do not do it because the subject really hasn't been studied. Probably it has been a long, long time since you've heard a subject or the subject entertained in a local pulpit about discipline in the church. People just do not want to hear about it. The old feeling of, "Well, the reason we don't want to discipline people is because we do not want to put ourselves in the position of judging other people." The scripture is misused so much in Matthew 7 where it says, "Judge not that you be not judged for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged." And so people say, "The Bible says don't judge other people." Well of course, that's talking about eternal condemnation and I do not have the right to eternally condemn someone and say that they are going to heaven or hell. I cannot say that. I may be able to say that they need to be cautioned that the way that they're living they may end up in one of those places that is undesirable. But sometimes people are taught, "Well we are not righteous enough to judge other people." Well, the Bible says, "Judge righteous judgment." And as you'll see in some scriptures we are going to read in just a few moments, we need to be busy in looking and observing and trying to determine whether or not a person is in sin or not, that is a brother or sister in Christ.
Galatians chapter 6, verse 1, the Bible says there, "If we see our brother overtaken in a fault..." that is, "if we see our brother or sister overtaken in a fault, we who are spiritual are supposed to restore such a one in a spirit of meekness and in fear lest we also be tempted."
Many of our leaders in local churches do not have the courage to discipline as they need to discipline because it does cause some problems that may not exist at that time, but it brings on far more problems if we do not discipline the church properly. Some fear to discipline, that is church leaders, because some of their own people, that is their own relatives, might be those who will be caught up in the disciplinary action. But you know brothers and sisters and those of you who are listening today, I believe really the reason that we don't discipline in the Lord's church as we need to is because of the lack of love and concern for one another. For how could we love someone and know that he or she is doing something that will cause him or her to go to hell? How could we stop from informing that person about what they are doing that is leading them in that pathway?
Now why should we seek to discipline? The Bible firmly teaches that we should discipline one another mainly because we love each other. We don't do it because we are wanting to exercise authority over someone else or to make someone feel lower than ourselves, but we do it because we love an individual, but we also do it because the Bible commands it.
I want us to turn to Romans chapter 16, verse 17. The apostle Paul said this, "Now I urge you brethren, note or mark those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them." Now what did the apostle Paul say? He said those in the church who are causing divisions and those in the church who are doing things that are against the doctrine that we have given to you, that is the doctrine that we received from the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to mark that person, you need to note that person, and you need to avoid that person. Why? Because that person, if he is not disciplined and if he does not respond to that discipline in a positive way, will lead you astray as he is lead astray.
Now specifically as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, we want to read from verses 9-13. The apostle Paul said, "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people." Now he's speaking to Christians here about Christians. I want that to be perfectly clear. So he said, "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people, yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world or with the covetous or extortioners or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world, but now I've written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother," that's a fellow Christian, "not to keep company with one who is named a brother who is sexually immoral or covetous or an idolater or an reveler or a drunkard or an extortioner, know not to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore, put away from yourselves that evil person." Now this is not saying that we should not do anything and everything that we can for that person to try to lead them back to what is right. Certainly the apostle Paul and others came to the Lord with sin and we all come to the Lord with sin because that's why we are saved, because of our sin. Formally, these Christians had found themselves to be thieves. They had found themselves to be sexually immoral. They had found themselves to be homosexuals before they became Christians and every other kind of sin these people were committing. But the apostle Paul says that if this person is still continuing in those sins, he's called a brother and sister in Christ and does not do anything about it, then that type of person, your supposed to mark them and you're supposed to not have company with them. Why? Because they will lead you away.
Let's look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 6. The apostle Paul again said, "Now we command you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. Then he went on in verses 14 and 15 and said this: "And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." Now the apostle Paul is simply saying this: This person is not our enemy. He is our brother or she is our sister in Christ, but he or she must be disciplined, and if they reject that disciplining then certainly what we are supposed to do is withdraw ourselves from that person to step from a former relationship that we had with that person and then we will at least have some opportunity or hope that that person may return to the Lord someday.
The apostle Paul said to the young preacher Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 20, "Them that sin rebuke before all," and on and on and on we could go in the scripture. There are many scriptures that pertain to this subject that help us to understand the need for discipline in the local church.
Now who should be disciplined? Anyone who commits any sin, who is unwilling to confess that sin and to do something about that sin. It doesn't matter who the person is or what sin that person has committed. Anyone who refuses to repent of any sin whether it be doctrinal or moral or any kind of sin is a person who should be disciplined. Why, my brothers and sisters in Christ, why? Because the Bible requires that it be done so.
So why do we desire to fulfill the Lord's command on discipline? Because we want to obey God. He has commanded that we discipline those in the church. We want to save the sinner from death and hide a multitude of sins. We want to snatch him from the fire. That's why we seek to discipline someone in the church. We want to save the church. We want to be able to present the church pure and just before Him in the last day when He comes again. You know one thing I really want to do is I want the church to be disciplined and to be pure because I want a place where my children, and my grandchildren can be a part of that wonderful group that is called Christians and they can feel that they're with a group that wants to serve God.
May God bless you in the reception of His Word and we pray that you'll do your best to do His Will. Thank you very much.
(SONG # 3 - "Jesus Is Coming Soon!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Isn't it wonderful to know that we have a Father who cares enough to chasten us. As well, may we follow His perfect plan in dealing with others as we strive to keep His Church pure!