Church Discipline
15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Matthew 18:15-17

When Our Brother's or Sister’s Faith is Threatened - A Sign of Christian Love

There are times when the old Adam takes hold of members of a congregation, and they become lax in church attendance, giving, attendance at the Lord's Table, and in bringing up their children in the fear and wisdom of God. They may join some organizations which have goals incompatible with the faith professed by the members, or they may live impenitently in some open sin.

One situation requiring church discipline is membership in a Christless organization. Most lodges, with their rituals, ceremonies, prayers, and philosophies of life, are in this category. Though stating that they are not religious, they have prayers which exclude Christ, teach a “work righteousness” and join in worship with those of many different faiths and denominations. God says that we are to "Come out from among them and be separate" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Before a member, or a child of a member, considers joining any organization, it would be well to contact Pastor and ask him about the particular organization.

Others in need of church discipline are those who demonstrate their disregard for God's Word. This is most often evident by their continued absence from the Lord's House on the day the congregation's members have agreed to gather together to worship and praise their Savior God. This is truly serious. Our spiritual life is created, nurtured, strengthened and grows only through contact with the Word and Sacraments. We should thank God that we have people concerned about us and love and thank them for the admonition they bring. May God use their contact to call us to repentance and a new life.

    God's Procedure & Attitude
  • Church discipline begins when a pastor or a church elder makes a personal visit to try to call the member now drifting away or caught in a sinful practice, back to the Christian life God desires. God has given us His law, first to show us our sins, and then to provide to us a guide as to how we who love Christ might serve Him. When a fellow Christian visits an erring member, it is not to ridicule or to ask things of the member which God does not expect or want. The visit is an attempt to help the member and to try to return that member to God. The visit is always made with concern for the eternal well-being of the individual.

    If the member will not repent of a willful sin and expresses the intention of terminating membership in the congregation, that termination is recorded and the name removed from the membership roll. If the member intends to retain membership, however, and refuses to hear a pastor or elder, they will bring two or three witnesses ( the elders of the congregation) so that from two or three witnesses the member may hear of the wrong being done and be called to repentance. The member who does not heed the elder is brought before the congregation. If the member will not heed the congregation as it repeats the warning that indeed his or her actions betray Christ, excommunication from the congregation follows, as commanded by God in Matthew 18:15-17.
  • The purpose of excommunication is to try to bring the member to realize the seriousness of sin and to be a call to repentance. This excommunication states to the member that he/she is outside the kingdom of God. The former member remains outside of God's Kingdom of Grace, as long as he/she is impenitent. The excommunicated one is denied the privileges of the Lord's Supper, Christian burial, and other rights of the congregation. The excommunicated person is not denied the privilege of attending services to hear the Word of God, however. In fact, that person is encouraged to do so in order that the Word may also work repentance.

    When the excommunicated person repents of the sin, the excommunication has accomplished its purpose, and the person involved is then given the necessary assurance that as a penitent sinner all sins are forgiven and reinstatement to full communicant membership in the congregation follows. “We then rejoice over the lost sinner who repented and returned.”  Matthew 18:13.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! ~ Luke 24:5-6