The pure preaching of God's Word clearly distinguishes between the regenerate and unregenerate, the saved and the lost, the marks and fruits of grace and the marks and fruits of sin. Preaching, therefore, draws a clear scriptural line of distinction between believers and unbelievers, thereby informing each hearer of whether heaven's door is open or still shut for him.
The exercising of church discipline places members who continue to stubbornly persist in their sinful ways despite numerous warnings from church officebearers, outside of the church. Church discipline excludes a member from God's church as long as he does not repent from his sin.
Church discipline must be exercised in cases of public sin pertaining to:
1. The teaching of false doctrines - "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject" (Titus 3:10).
2. The committing of sinful actions - "That he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (I Corinthians 5:2b. 13b).
Church discipline has a twofold purpose. It is to be viewed as a "medicine" and as "surgery."
As a medicine, church discipline focuses upon the individual personally. In love it seeks to cure and reform the sinner, to turn him from his sinful disease and restore his condition regarding the sinful practice involved.
As surgery, church discipline looks upon the church as a whole. When all other attempts to cure the sinful member have failed, in love it cuts out the diseased member to preserve the purity and spiritual health of the rest of the church body.
Church discipline must be exercised in a spirit of wisdom, love, and concern. Each church member should have true love and concern for his fellow members. From a motive of deep concern, he should speak in love to another whom he witnesses living in a sinful way.
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
- II Thessalonians 3:14-15
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
- I Timothy 1:20
A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject.
- Titus 3:10
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
- I Corinthians 5:2, 7a, 13
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.