March 26
The need for discipline in the church
1 Corinthians 5:1-13

KEY VERSE: Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:8

We live in a day when anything goes, and within the church there are those who insist that sexual immorality must be tolerated in the name of "love." Some will say, "Sure, what so and so did was wrong, but nobody is perfect, and the Lord wants us to love each other."

There is both truth and error in that comment. The truth is obvious. The error is in the idea that sin must be tolerated because the Lord wants us to love one another. So we must learn how, in love, to stand against immorality and invite people to repentance that can lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.

As the bar continues to be lowered, and our society slides toward Sodom, the church must be willing to practice surgery within the body of believers. This is never easy. When a physician finds an organ in the body that is diseased beyond repair, he offers to remove it for the good of the body.

Sin in the lives of believers must be addressed both for the good of the believer and the good of the body. We should not truly "love" a fellow Christian if we chose to ignore immorality and pretend that it did not matter.

This is where the authority of the Scriptures becomes valuable. It is futile to offer our individual opinions. What can help is to ask what the Bible teaches and agree to help each other live by biblical standards as far as we are able.

Discipline does not mean that we throw people out of the church and stop loving them. When my dad caught me stealing as a boy, he did not turn me out of our home. He did give me a licking and taught me that lying and stealing would not be tolerated in our family.

We deal here with a subject that no one wishes to tackle. None of us is perfect, and none of us is fit to judge others. But the Word of God judges us, and if we truly love each other as brothers and sisters, we will try to help one another overcome our sinful habits, even when it is painful and difficult.