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June: Church Discipline

Church discipline is not popular, but it is nonetheless a necessary dimension of

a church’s faithfulness to God and His people. In this lesson, Dr. Leeman defines

church discipline and how it is a necessary and loving mark of a healthy church.

"What is a Healthy Church" Episode 8 - 'Discipline'

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Video Outline:

  1. What does the Bible say about church discipline?

    1. Jesus tells the church to practice discipline in matters of unrepented sin.

    2. Paul tells the church to practice discipline in matters of unrepented sin.

  2. What is church discipline?

    1. Church discipline is an aspect of Christian discipleship.

    2. Church discipline is the formal public act of excluding a professed Christian from church membership and the Lord’s Table for serious, unrepented sin.

  3. Is church discipline loving?

    1. The Bible defines love in terms of obedience, and the Lord disciplines those He loves (John 14:20–23, 15:10–11; Heb. 12:8; 1 John 5:3).

    2. A church disciplines for the sake of the individual, the congregation, the non-Christian neighbor, and the name of Christ.

  4. What are the results of church discipline?

    1. Church discipline grows the church in love and holiness.

    2. Church discipline is a compelling witness to the world.

  5. Which sins require church discipline?

    1. A sin must have an outward manifestation

    2. A sin must be serious

    3. A sin must be unrepented sin

  6. How quickly should a church act?

    1. Sometimes church discipline should be a slow process.

    2. Sometimes, church discipline must be swift in cases of unabashed sin.

  7. How should we interact with someone who has been disciplined?

    1. The family is a different institution than the church, so family members must still maintain biblical family obligations.

    2. The Lord’s Supper should not be taken with disciplined members, and the tenor of interactions with them should change.

    3. The hope is that disciplined members continue to attend worship to hear the gospel even when the hand of fellowship is no longer extended.

  8. When should a church restore someone from discipline?

    1. Restoration to fellowship occurs when there is repentance, and the character of repentance is dependent on the nature of the sin.

    2. Restoration to fellowship does not accompany a probationary period but restoration to full-fledged fellowship.

    3. Restoration to fellowship accompanies a church’s public announcement of forgiveness and affirmation of love for the repenting individual.

    4. Restoration to fellowship is an occasion for any church to celebrate.

Discussion Questions

  1. Church discipline is often stigmatized as harsh and unloving. How would you convince someone that church discipline is actually an act of love?

  2. Why is church discipline a mark of a healthy church? What does the mere presence of church discipline tell you about the individual believers within a church?

  3. Finish this sentence expressing church discipline: A thriving church... See how we've completed that sentence for WCRC so far, as we've determined that a thriving church will promote expositional preaching, be gospel centered, and conversion minded. This document will grow and develop as we work on this throughout the year.


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