We tend to think primarily in terms of the final dreaded step, assuming the worst rather than hoping for a more positive outcome. The goal is restoration, not condemnation (see Matthew 18:15; 1 Corinthians 5:5).
Church discipline is a loving response to sin in a brother’s or sister’s life, which is seeking his repentance and restoration with the highest level of confidentiality (see Matthew 18:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15).
Peter was restored after his denial of Jesus, and became a great leader in the church (see Luke 22:31-32; John 21; Acts 2). Peter was responsive to the corrective action of Paul in Galatians chapter 2. The individual in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 likewise repented and was restored to fellowship. John Mark was eventually fully restored as well (see 2 Timothy 4:11).
Describe or discuss a time when you (or your church) should have initiated church discipline, but did not. What was the outcome?
Describe or discuss instances where church discipline was inappropriate, or badly carried out. What was the outcome?
What factors negatively impact or hinder the practice of church discipline today?
Spell out the advantages and disadvantages of exercising church discipline.
Identify the major excuses people raise for not initiating (or following through with) church discipline, and spell out the biblical reasons why these excuses are wrong.