Church Discipline; December 12, 2020

1 Timothy 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul has just told Timothy to exercise Church discipline, calling people down for teaching unbiblical things. That’s not an easy thing to do, particularly since Timothy was still a fairly young man. Most societies tend to honor “the voice of experience,” but later in this same letter Paul tells Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” (1 Timothy 4:12) However, commands in the Church are never to be arbitrary. Over the past year we have seen many politicians giving commands and making regulations simply because they think they can, using all sorts of excuses for what is really a power trip. Sadly, that sort of thing happens in the Church as well, and Paul was accused of it at times. Here he tells Timothy what must be remembered with every command that is given in the Church. (It would be wonderful if that were the case in society in general as well, but that will have to wait for Christ’s return.) There are times when commands are called for. Current political correctness denies that, insisting on “tolerance” and “fairness,” all the while being totally intolerant of conflicting opinions, and particularly of sticking to the absolute standards of God. It would be bad enough if that were just in secular society, but it has invaded the Church as well. However, we must not let human anger control our response. We are to be firm indeed, defending God’s truth without wavering, but doing so in love, without hypocrisy. It’s no good whatsoever to command one thing and do another, as so many politicians are doing. Church leaders must not be politicians! Actually, it’s a very good thing that some pastors, such as Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, have gotten into the political arena, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Church leaders must not act on the basis of what will “get them votes,” as so many politicians do. The Church is to be true to Christ, regardless of public opinion.

As a pastor, this certainly applies to me! I have been involved in a situation where someone was invited to step down from the church Board, (and they left the church in response) but thankfully I was not the one expressing that directly, though I agreed with it. Telling someone you love them, but they are wrong and what they are saying/doing will not be allowed, is certainly never easy! We are all flawed human beings, and it’s certainly uncomfortable to be telling someone, “You’re more flawed than I am.” The thing is, the standard is never to be me, but Christ. I am to act always in humility, but with the sharp awareness that we are all accountable to God for the authority and opportunities He has placed at our disposal. I have a very strong conflict-avoidance response, but yielding to that has never cleared situations up, but rather allowed them to fester and worsen. I am to be faithful as a steward and shepherd, even when it takes me completely out of my comfort zone.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. I pray that I won’t need it any time soon! Thank You for all You are doing in, around, and through me. The schedule is indeed packed from now through Christmas. Help me not fail to do the task at hand over worrying about the next thing on the schedule! I ask for physical strength to do all that is needed today, and wisdom not to do my back any more damage. I pray that I may be fully useful to You for Your will do be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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