Rebuking a Sinning Christian - Conclusion
July 19, 2021
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:15-18).
Withdrawing fellowship from an unrepentant member of the church is not the end of the spiritual discipline process. Again, the ultimate goal is to secure repentance from sin and restoration of the person to Christian fellowship. As far as the welfare of the church is concerned, such discipline protects the spiritual purity of the fellowship and gives testimony of righteousness to the non-Christian community. As far as the welfare of the sinning Christian is concerned, such discipline is not to punish, but to awaken the mind and soul to the spiritual realities of personal holiness and righteousness that God demands for the follower of Jesus Christ.
To withdraw fellowship from an unrepentant Christian does not exclude all contact from the person. When opportunity presents itself to speak and encourage him/her to renew faith and fellowship with the Lord and His church, that opportunity should be taken. To completely cut the person off from all social contact is to thwart any attempt at securing forgiveness and restoration.
(Matthew 18:12-13) What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. (Matthew 18:21-22) Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (James 5:19-20) Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (2 Corinthians 2:5-8) But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent - not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.
“Lord Jesus, may we always seek to correct an erring brother or sister with the same love You have demonstrated toward us in that while we were sinners, You died for us. May we never stop seeking opportunity to turn a sinning brother or sister back to You and to the fellowship of the church. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”