Usually when we speak about discipline we don't have nice comfortable feelings.
We think of acting according to rules such as military discipline. Or, we might think of being disciplined to rise early and read our Bible, a regimen to improve spiritual skills.

When we are being disciplined or we discipline our children it generally means one is being punished due to unacceptable behavior which means correction and re-training are necessary. When we speak of “church discipline” that usually means “excommunication” or being put out of the fellowship of a group of worshipers due to behavior deemed to be unbiblical and unacceptable.

However, and this is important, though this kind of discipline has negative connotations it should not. Please note that the purpose of confronting an erring fellow-believer is for the purpose of restoration, not excommunication. It isn't looking for a way to expunge the wrong-doer. Rather it the final result of concerted effort to restore an erring brother or sister to full fellowship in the body. Because, sin in the life of the believer fellowshipping in a body of believers is extremely dangerous which, if ignored or “glossed over” is far worse than a virus.

If not aggressively attacked it will infect the whole body resulting in death. So, again, why join a church? We need the care and accountability that comes from a committed relationship to a community of fellow Christians who will love us and look out for us. It while we are in a covenant relationship with one another that we are able to help one another to see ourselves as we are and see Jesus as we ought. A committed relationship to a body of believers has advantages not available to a casual connections without commitment.

Thinking it over . . .

Read Acts 5:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. Why do we seem to think negatively of discipline?

In the Corinthian church what was the procedure for dismissing a person from membership? What about in Matthew 18:17?

What are some things you can do to serve God in a church context that you cannot do outside of church?

What about the opposite, things you can do to serve God outside of church that might be difficult

to do in church?

What are biblical requirements you think are necessary to become a member of a local assembly? Why?

What are ways you think your church can help you to be committed to becoming a “member?”

How does your present relationship to this church compare to Paul's comparison to a human body?

Are you connected? Are you functioning? Do you feel useful? What needs to be done?

Scripture Reading
1 Corinthians 12:12-20

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