The Reformed tradition typically identifies three marks of a true church: one, the preaching of God’s Word, two, the administration of the sacraments, and three, the exercise of church discipline. And so church discipline is an important aspect of a church. It means that each of us as Christians are not out there on our own as Christians, just you and God, but that we are part of a community of fellow believers. And this community includes accountability, especially as Christ has entrusted this job of shepherding the flock to the elders of the church.
And so as we look at this passage in 1 Corinthians 5, we find this subject of church discipline being addressed. Paul is rebuking the Corinthian church for not administering church discipline for a wayward Christian. Paul then steps in on their behalf and tells them how they ought to handle this issue. Paul uses his special apostolic authority to render a judgment in this church discipline case. And so let’s take a look at this passage for today and see what it tells us about the nature and importance of church discipline.
Passage: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 07/13/2008 in Novato, CA.