Love What Christ Loves

As I preach through 1 Corinthians on Sunday mornings, this week brings us to the fifth chapter and the difficult subject of church discipline. I use the word “difficult” not because the teaching of Scripture is unclear, but because we have grown so lax in its application that its mere mention makes us uncomfortable. It has taken four years, but we are carefully reintroducing this essential element of church life back to Parkwood.
Why take four years? If the doctrine is so clearly taught shouldn’t we just wade in and start the process? Isn’t it a black and white matter of obedience and disobedience? Well yes and no. Yes, it is a matter of simple obedience, but I would suggest that we first have to teach our congregations about the nature and importance of the church. Removing someone’s name from a membership roster is ineffective if that person does not fully grasp what has been taken away from them. It matters little if someone takes away something that is not precious to you.
Before practicing discipline we have to learn to love the church, and all that goes with it, as Christ loves the church. If we love what Christ loves (the church) we will hate what Christ hates (sin within the church). This is the foundation of discipline. Check out this article by Derek Thomas and think about what it means to love the church. Maybe we should lament the lack of love and appreciation for the body of Christ as much as we lament the lack of discipline.

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