“In Returning
to Your First Love
, pastor Tony Evans tells how his younger brother, after rebelling
against their father’s authority, was sent packing, suitcase in hand. Twenty
minutes later, the banished one returned home, asking to be reinstated to the
family. He had been put out in order to learn respect, and was taken in when
he learned it.
“That’s how church discipline works (I Corinthians 5:1-13). But what happens
when the one who has sinned repents? Paul says, “you should…forgive and
comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow”
(II Corinthians 2:7). How frustrating it would be for someone to say, “I’m
sorry!” only to find his cries landing on deaf ears! Can you imagine God
turning a deaf ear to a repentant sinner? As we are to forgive the same way
God does, we are to restore and accept anyone who has accepted a measure of
discipline for his sins (Ephesians 4:32). If there is anyone who has sinned
against you, be sure you “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness”
– just as God restores you.
“The surest sign of a person accepting his own forgiveness is the freedom
with which he extends forgiveness to others.”

 – Turning Point Daily Devotional,
7/24/03


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Mark Earley, the new president of Prison Fellowship, recently wrote: “Why should anyone join a church and then expect to be permitted to flout its authority? After all, for failing to attend enough meetings, you can be thrown out of the Rotary Club. Violate the dress code, and you’ll be tossed out of many country clubs. And if you don’t perform community service, you can be kicked out of the Junior League. Yet the minute churches impose discipline on their members, they’re charged with everything up to and including fascism.”

“Shouldn’t the Church have at least the same right to set its own standards as a country club? If people don’t like them, they’re free to leave-assuming they’re members in the first place.

“Whether church members like it or not, the Church must discipline its members. As Colson and Vaughn warn, “When we fail to discipline, the church does not become more ‘relevant’ to the world around us. It simply loses its moral authority.”

(Breakpoint commentary, May 19, 2003)


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