(A discipline that honours the Holy Spirit )
Timothy 3:14-15 (KJV)
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
This is talking about how we ought to function in the church world .There is a way we ought to behave in the house of God and the parameters are there in the Holy book for us to see .
Today, we are looking at an important subject which is church discipline.
I decided to visit this issue because there are people that have been hurt with church discipline everywhere and some are literally nursing its wound and struggling in their walk with God because of inconsistent discipline. We are in a family called the church and in this family, there is a place for the rod of correction but If the church disciplinary actions go wrong, it can end up causing a lot of pain and do more harm than the good intended.
When it comes to church discipline, there are many factors that can affect it ;
Sadly, there are times when discipline has not been handled well just because the leader feels insecure.
(maybe someone irritated them or there is a gift or personality clash between them and their subordinates in the church , this could provoke hasty and irrational discipline;The hammer could come down very fast on the one presumed to be dragging stuffs with leadership.
2)Cultural issues also affect church discipline. There are things certain culture accommodates and doesn’t view as evil but this is not the case in other cultures, So many issues come to play when it comes to church discipline .
3)national culture can also affect church discipline for example In West Africa, church discipline is more firm compared to other parts of Africa so national culture can come into it.
4)Denominational culture can affect church discipline too. Different denominations have different approach to church discipline ;you often hear church people say”this is how we do it here in this church “. Discipline varies from one denomination to another but we are going to get beyond all these to what the bible says about church discipline as we continue these important series on CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
keep this in your spirit as we get along in these series ;If church discipline has to be biblical and right, the Holy Spirit has to be honoured, Spiritually has to be honoured, People’s destiny has to be considered and honoured, likewise Personal responsibility has to be honoured.
Today we are focusing on honouring the Holy Spirit .
In church discipline ,our target is honouring the Holy Spirit .
The ultimate picture we often look at when it comes to church discipline is found in the book of Acts 5:1-11.
Acts 5:1-11 (KJV)
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Like I said earlier, having given various instances and issues that affect discipline, If church discipline has to be biblical and right, the Holy Spirit has to be honoured.This is the key to balance church discipline.
The way Jesus was given to the world is not the same way the father gave the Holy Spirit, Jesus was given to the world but the Holy Spirit was given to the church.
The unconditional love of the father brought Jesus :
John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 (KJV)
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
As for the Holy Spirit , He was given based on the specific request of Jesus in prayer before his father :
John 14:16 (KJV)
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
When the father gave his son, he freely gave him to the world but when he gave the Holy Spirit , he limited him to the church why because he wants us to honor the Holy Spirit , he seems to have concerns written all over his word how we should treat the Holy Spirit :
John 14:17 (KJV)
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
When He ( the father ) gave his son to the world, they wounded him ,bruised him and eventually killed him but when he gave his Spirit through his son to the church, he expect the church to treat him well with honour so he placed a warning : this one, don’t grieve him, don’t quench him! Don’t blaspheme him! Don’t resist him!
Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)
30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV)
19 Quench not the Spirit.
Acts 7:51 (KJV)
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Luke 12:10 (KJV)
10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
The father is jealous the way we treat the Holy Spirit ;the godhead has interdependency ;the Spirit is concerned how we treat Jesus , the father too has an interest in watching over the reputation of the Holy Spirit and there are things God the father won’t take when it comes to our treatment of the Holy Spirit :
Now ,What does it really mean to Honour the Holy Spirit ?
When you honour the Holy Spirit ,it is more than reverence; you honour the father , You honour holiness , truth , integrity ,grace and lots more . when you honour the Holy Spirit , honoring him means we are lining with the father’s agenda , plan and purpose.
Furthermore ,honouring him means honouring his truth as well as his grace .
if we are just to honour the truth , we might miss out on honoring grace ,we might decide in other to apply discipline in the church we must be extremely ruthless but the question is where is that ruthlessness honouring the Holy Spirit ?because he is not just the spirit of truth, he is also the spirit of grace ;honouring him is not just taking hold of his truth but also his methodologies so we behave the way he will behave .
It Is not enough to shout “the spirit is grieved ” but how does he want us to deal with it ?because sometimes ,they way we deal with it may end up dishonouring the Holy Spirit himself ! that is why church discipline is dicey and not a thing babes can apply.
So honouring him means ,We should not only set standards for people’s behavior but standards for our own behavior in rectifying the things we are challenging .
while we are applying discipline ,honoring the Holy Spirit is our target . We have to honour his personality and ministry knowing he is the one who convicts men of sin :
John 16:8 (KJV)
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
We must allow him to do his work ,it is not our responsibility If the Holy Spirit is convicting someone of sin ,he doesn’t need your help to help him convict the person further ! he has unlimited capacity to get his job throughly done with no human effort .
The Holy Spirit brings forgiveness , If we are unforgiven, then we are not housing the Holy Spirit .
We don’t just honour his truth stand, we honour his methodologies and we allow him space to work .
it doesn’t honour him if we make out like he is impotent , slow to act or negligent ; We have given him time on a matter but he is slow so we act . Sometimes we feel he is too slow and we act !
honouring the Holy Spirit is the key to church discipline that is right and biblical .
When Jesus came into the temple where men were selling doves and changing money ,he sat there first for a whole day from morning till evening doing nothing but just looking around :
Mark 11:11 (KJV)
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
The question is, why did Jesus sat there and did nothing despite seeing people selling doves in the temple? The answer is; Jesus was under divine authority, he would not do anything unless what he sees his father do.
John 5:19 (KJV)
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jesus said verily verily I say unto you…
Each time you see the word ‘verily ‘verily please pay attention.
The word ‘verily, verily simply means ‘truly truly .or .of a truth ‘of a truth. He said the son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the father do. He didn’t say he wouldn’t, but he couldn’t!
“I can’t of my own self do nothing Says Jesus;
For three and a half year, Jesus ministered continually under the anointing of the Holy Spirit which he received at Jordan from the father and only say what he heard The father say and did what he saw the father do.
When he sat there all day long looking at the messy situation in the temple, he had not seen the father react so he must wait to know the father’s will or reaction to the situation. Many of us would have missed it here; the moment we enter the temple and we saw men selling doves in a place meant for prayers, we will react quickly and angrily! We will want to fix things quickly thinking being kingdom minded is to be hasty and react immediately to every negative situation in the church.
Let us continue from here next time