Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 7

The Role of the Watchman

In this lesson, you will learn about the role of the watchman in the church and the importance of protecting the church from both outside and internal influences. You will explore the topic of church discipline and how it has evolved over time, including the historical context of its abuse and the pendulum swing to its neglect. The lesson will also cover the scriptural foundation for church discipline in Hebrews 12, emphasizing the central role of holiness. Finally, you will examine examples and purposes of church discipline, focusing on the spiritual growth and purity of both the individual and the congregation.
Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
Lesson 7
Watching Now
The Role of the Watchman

pc108-07: Lesson 7: The Role of the Watchman

I. The Importance of Protecting the Church

A. Protecting from Outside Influences

B. Protecting from Internal Influences

II. Church Discipline

A. Current Attitudes towards Church Discipline

B. Historical Context and Abuse of Church Discipline

III. Scriptural Foundation for Church Discipline

A. Hebrews 12 and God's Discipline

B. Holiness as the Center of Church Discipline

IV. Examples and Purpose of Church Discipline

A. Spiritual Growth and Purity of the Individual

B. Spiritual Growth and Purity of the Congregation

  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the challenges of serving on a church board and learn about the concept of servant leadership in the Bible, as well as the differences between secular and biblical leadership, with a focus on the role of a shepherd in leadership positions.
  • Through this lesson, you'll gain an understanding of the church as the body of Christ and a spiritual community, focusing on love and interconnectedness, and explore the differences between secular organizations and spiritual bodies, ultimately shaping your approach to spiritual leadership.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of organization in the church, exploring elements found in the Book of Acts and the significance of leadership, emphasizing the church's mission based on the Great Commission and the goal to make disciples.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the crucial importance of character in Christian leadership, as it demonstrates God's work in our lives, allows for influential leadership, and fosters spiritual growth in others. By learning from biblical examples, you will discover the necessity of relying on God's strength and guidance in your leadership journey.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insight into the importance of the church board's role, focusing on spiritual care and guiding the congregation towards a healthy church, which includes unity, obedience, growth in understanding God's word, active evangelism, and authentic worship, while being motivated by service and eagerness to lead, and understanding the accountability of leadership.
  • Discover the significance of prayer in leadership through the lives of biblical figures like Moses, Samson, and Samuel, and understand how prayer enables leaders to face challenges, find victory despite failures, and maintain spiritual strength.
  • In Lesson 7, you learn about the watchman's role in protecting the church from external and internal threats, the importance of church discipline, and its scriptural basis in Hebrews 12. The lesson emphasizes holiness as the primary goal and discusses the role of discipline in promoting spiritual growth and purity for individuals and the congregation.
  • This lesson teaches you the essential role of shepherding in the church and how to make spiritual decisions that benefit both the congregation as a whole and the individuals within it, emphasizing the importance of prayer, seeking guidance from Scripture, and reflecting the character of God.
  • Gain insight into the challenges small churches face in equipping people for ministry and learn the biblical basis for laypeople's involvement in ministry, understanding how to provide direction, identify spiritual gifts, offer training and mentoring, create opportunities, and give support.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about the church's purpose to glorify God, represent His character to the world, and transform people into the character of Christ, while also understanding the importance of good theology, connecting it to Christian living, and realizing a leader's role in overseeing church theology and fostering transformation.
  • This lesson emphasizes the importance of teamwork in ministry, explaining the New Testament concept of team ministry, the role of coworkers with Christ, and how partnering with others helps overcome individual weaknesses and fosters corporate wisdom.
  • As change agents in the church, the board must adapt to societal changes while preserving the core message of the Gospel. This lesson emphasizes the importance of addressing sinful behavior, examining the health of the church, and learning from the apostles as change agents.
  • In this lesson, you'll understand the crucial role of administration in small churches, focusing on spiritual growth and the effective use of resources for God's glory, as well as the importance of recognizing God's authority and Scripture as the foundation for all administrative decisions.

This course on developing leaders in the small church emphasizes the importance of leadership development and the challenges small churches face in doing so. It provides a biblical foundation for leadership development, focusing on examples from both the Old and New Testaments. The lesson then outlines principles for developing leaders in the small church, including fostering a culture of leadership development, identifying and recruiting potential leaders, equipping and empowering leaders, and providing ongoing support and accountability. The lesson concludes with strategies for leadership development in the small church, including one-on-one discipleship, small group leadership development, leadership training programs, and mentoring programs.

Recommended Books

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

In his more than fifteen years as the pastor of a small church, Glenn Daman has learned what it takes to make a church board successful. In Developing Leaders for the Small...

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
The Role of the Watchman
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] As we've been thinking about the church and our role is as the board within the church, it's important that we realize that central to this role is the task of protecting the church, that we're to protect the congregation from the destructive forces that can undermine the testimony and the effectiveness of the ministry of the church. And there's two areas that we need to do that. First of all, we need to do that in terms of protecting the church from the outside influences that can undermine the ministry of the church, especially in the area of truth that we see today in our culture with the denial of truth and the attack upon the whole concept of absolute truth. And so as a church and as leaders within the church, we need to uphold the truthfulness of God's word and protect that within the teaching of the church. Secondly, we are to protect the church from the destructive influences that arise from within the church, especially in the areas of unity within the church and unity within the body of Christ. Now, as we think about the this role of being a protector of the church, central to this role is the whole concept of church discipline. As we talk about church discipline, it's probably the most difficult thing that we will have to deal with as a as a church and as a board. Certainly, church discipline has always been a main ingredient of an effective ministry within the church. And yet in the present day culture and we live, church discipline is becoming more of a of a negative in terms of we don't view church discipline as an option only in the case of some radical sin, but other than that, we seek to avoid it.

[00:02:01] Our Albert Mohler Junior attributes this in his writings to the influence of our culture. He writes Naturalistic reductionism has invited us to reduce alleged individual sins to social influences which individuals are not responsible. Narcissistic hedonism has demeaned any talk of sin or confession as gratifying or dysfunctional, and absolute autonomous individualism has divorced sin from a caring community. And so we remove the concept of addressing sin today in the context of the church. In fact, there are many churches today that say they don't even talk about sin because it's a negative and they only want to talk about the positive. And yet scripture confronts us with that and confronts us as leaders with the challenge of dealing with sin as it arises within the congregation. Carl Laney writes this He says The church today is suffering from an infection which has been allowed to fester as an infection weakens the body by destroying its defense mechanisms. So the church has been weakened by this ugly sore. The church has lost its power and effectiveness in serving as a vehicle for social, moral and spiritual change. This illness is due, at least in part, to a neglect of church discipline. And so part of the reason we see that is because in the past, as we look historically in the context of church discipline, especially if you go back in the 1800s and early 1900s, there was certainly an abuse of church discipline, churches, discipline for even the smiling, the smallest offense and the minor issues. And so because of that abuse, the pendulum started to swing against church discipline. But as a result of that, the pendulum has swung to the point where it's only rarely that a church will actually confront an individual regarding sin.

[00:04:14] And so the challenge for us as leaders is to find this balance, this balance between the abuse of church discipline and then the absolute neglect of church discipline within the congregation. And so it begins as we seek to try to understand this balance. It begins with our understanding of Scripture. Hebrews in chapter 12 gives us really the foundation of church discipline. As Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews talks about God's discipline within our own lives. Hebrews Chapter 12. I'd like to begin reading there in verse one and read down through the whole section, then go back and make some comments on it. He says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders in the sin that so easily entangles and let us run. With perseverance, the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who, for the joy said before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart in your struggle against sin. You have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood, and you have forgotten the words of encouragement that addresses us signs. Now listen to this, as is the writer quotes here from Scripture from the Old Testament says, My son, do not make light the Lord's discipline. Do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those he loves and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son, endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what? Son is not disciplined by his father.

[00:06:20] If you are not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to our the father of our spirits and live Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best. But God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His Holiness. No discipline seems pleasing at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strength in your feeble arms and weakness make level paths for your feet so that lame will not be disabled, but rather healed. And so in this in this passage, as we look at the writer of Hebrews view of discipline, he begins by pointing out that discipline is an outgrowth of the very activity of God. We see this and versus five and six that God is a God who disciplines his children. And it's not because of a punitive action on his part, but because it's an expression of his love for his children. And furthermore, that purpose that he disciplines is for the purpose of developing holiness within us. We see that in verse eight when again, he says, But God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His Holiness. So this gives us the parameters of church discipline and the reason of church discipline that it comes from the very activity of God and is designed to make us holy. Furthermore, it's an outgrowth of the church itself as we think about the very nature of the church. The church is to be an extension of the body of Christ and so as to manifest the character of Christ and to live out the activity of Christ in the the word of the Word of God, in the person of who Christ is.

[00:08:27] And we see that of God as a God who disciplines. Then the church has to be a church that disciplines equally out of love and equally with the purpose of establishing holiness. So that holiness then, is the center of all church discipline. It's the desire that we have. The reason we conduct church discipline is not because we're trying to punish the person, but rather we're trying to lead that person and the church into a holy walk where they're living out the holiness of God in their life. And so we see that the reason for church discipline begins with that core, with the primary focus of establishing the holiness of God. And because of that, then discipline is to be done for the spiritual growth and the purity of the individual being disciplined. That's really where it starts. But it starts because when we discipline a person, it's because we desire to see them grow in their relationship with Christ and become more pure. Turnover The First Corinthians Chapter five, First Corinthians Chapter five. We find an example of the early church and in particular Paul leading the early church in the practice of church discipline. And he begins. There any addresses, a immoral situation that existed in the church at Corinth. That says in chapter five, verse one of first Corinthians, it is actually reported that there are sexually immorality among you of the kind that does not even occur among the pagans. A man has his father's wife. Are you proud? Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this.

[00:10:35] Just as if I were present when you were assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I am with you in spirit, in the power of our Lord Jesus is present. Hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. So this this discipline that Paul is leading the church in is not punitive, it's corrective, it's not vindictive, but rather it's restorative. It's seeking to restore this person back into a right relationship that here is an individual who is caught into sin. His life has become ensnared with sin, and he's blind to the sin. And so the church is is to confront that person in order to bring about their change and to bring them back into that right relationship with God. Because if it's left unchecked, it's going to damage and destroy that person's relationship. Furthermore, as we look at this passage, we also see that not only is it for the spiritual growth of the individual, but Paul goes on to say in verses six eight, that spirit, that the discipline is necessary for the spiritual growth and the purity of the whole congregation. Verse six, he says. Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you made. Be a new batch without yeast, as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the festival. Not with the old East, the yeast of malice and wicked wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. And so Paul goes on to describe that the second purpose of discipline is to maintain the purity of the church.

[00:12:35] Here is a church in many ways, just like today. Here is a church that was proud of their acceptance of people. They took pride in the fact that they were a loving church, that they were a church that would accept all people without judgment. But Paul warns that such an attitude will ultimately be destructive in the congregation, because when sin is left unchallenged within the body of Christ, several things will happen. First of all, there's a lack of action on the church in terms of sin. It provides permission to the person to continue in that sin. In essence, if we do nothing, what we're doing by our silence is condoning that person's actions and giving them permission to continue in that action. Secondly, when the church fails to discipline an unrepentant sin, it provides others permission to also do the same thing. So in essence, what we're saying not only to that individual, but we're saying to the whole congregation that it's okay for us to do that action. And then thirdly, when the church fails to discipline, then others who are sitting in other areas will take lightly their sin and will not take action to remove that sin from their life. And so discipline is an important part of the spiritual health of a congregation. Thirdly, we find in Scripture that as we look at the purpose of church discipline is that it's to provide a warning of the dangers of sin to the rest of the church body. And first, Timothy, Chapter five. Verse 20. Paul is writing in the context of church discipline, and he writes to warn them of the the danger of allowing a leader to continue in sin without his sin being confronted. And so he warns, he says in verse versus 19 and 20, he says, Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.

[00:14:55] Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly so that others may take warning. So here in this context, in terms of the leadership of the church, which is those of us on the board and those of us leading the church, Paul challenges the church to lovingly confront a leader who is who is caught into a sin so that it would serve as a warning to the rest of the body about the importance of dealing with sin in their life and dealing with it quickly. And then lastly, church discipline is to be done in the context of glorifying God. We need to recognize that the ultimate purpose of the church is to bring glory to God. We are God's representative here on this earth, and if we allow sin to remain unchecked, ultimately what it does is it causes the character and the nature of God, the reputation of God to become maligned in terms of the witness in the community. So one of the reasons then one of the key reasons of church discipline is to to make sure that we're protecting God's reputation within the community. So who is responsible then, for church discipline? Is it our responsibility as leaders? Is is the responsibility of a of a denominational leadership or is it the responsibility of the congregation? Whose responsibility is it? Well, we find a clue to that in Galatians chapter six, verse one. In Galatians chapter six, verse one, we find that the responsibility of church discipline is given to those who are spiritually mature. Galatians Chapter six, verse one. It says, Brothers, if someone is caught into sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself. Or you may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.

[00:17:12] But he challenges those who are spiritual to be protective of others. That when we see people who are caught into sin, that we are to go to them not harshly, not with a judgmental spirit, but rather with the right spirit in a way that brings them back into fellowship with Christ. And this is what puts discipline squarely on the shoulders of the church leadership and upon the board. Because we recognize, as we've we've already seen that in terms of the qualifications of a leader, that a foundation for for church leadership is the spiritual qualifications that we have. We are to be spiritually mature. We are to be able to lead the church in spiritual maturity because we are already there and we're already living it out in our lives. And because we are the ones who are to be regarded as spiritually mature within the church, then this passage applies to us that we have the responsibility. If someone is the court in to sin, that we are to go and seek to restore them, to bring them back into fellowship. And we do that, Paul says gently. In other words, we do it with an attitude of understanding, and we do it with an attitude, a sympathy. We do that with an attitude of care and love. But we recognize that that we're not superior over them. We're not ones who are more righteous, because that's what Paul says. But watch yourselves. Or you may be tempted know as don't get arrogant and start thinking that we're above them because they're in struggling with a sin. But rather we go as fellow believers in Christ to help to restore them. And so it starts with the leadership of the church. And this is why when when we think about church discipline, discipline, as the elders and as the leaders, we need to recognize it's our responsibility to lead the church.

[00:19:23] But what then is the process? But we do that if we sense that there is a need for church discipline, what are we to do? What's the process? What's the steps that were to follow to make sure that we're doing it in a way that is restorative, in a way that is seeking to bring correction to that person's life in a loving way, not just putting judgment or punishment upon the person? Well, to find the answer to that question, we need to go to Matthew chapter 18. And in Matthew chapter 18, we find our Lord giving us a model of church discipline. But it begins. The first step really begins with prayer. That's really where it starts, because when we start dealing with an issue of church discipline, oftentimes it raises a number of questions in our mind. It raises the question of in terms of the is this an issue that severe enough to be conducting with church discipline? Is this an ongoing pattern or is this just a an issue that this person is struggling with in their life? We deal with with questions about what's going to happen if we conduct church discipline, what's going to happen if we don't. And so there's a great deal of uncertainty, a great deal of of questions that arise when we are dealing with church discipline. And that's why the first thing that we need to do, the most important thing that we do is begin with prayer, that we we pray, we pray specifically for the situation. We pray specifically for the person. Michael Phillips in his writing suggests three things that we should pray for when we are contemplating whether or not we should proceed with church discipline. The first is that we should pray that the father would reveal and clarify the sin to the person so that they might see their faults and repent of the sin even before the process of church discipline begins.

[00:21:36] So we again, our goal is to bring that person back into the fellowship. And so that's our prayer request that we want that person to begin to to repent and recognize the severity of their sin and they begin to turn from their sin. And so that's where we begin. We begin with prayer. Secondly, we should pray that God would provide a solution without the need for direct personal confrontation. Again, the goal is to bring the person to repentance and the church Discipline is the final drastic step, if you would, that is taken. It's like surgery that a doctor performs that no one wants to go and have surgery done. And so even the doctors, they want to explore all the possible options before the the surgery is done because the surgery is a severe action. And so it is in church discipline that we we pray that God will begin working in that person's life and their solution will be will be made and conducted before the need for the the surgery, if you would. Thirdly, he suggests that we should pray that God will adjust our attitudes so that we are reacting properly to the situation, so that we are acting in a godly way, especially in the small church. Because sometimes in a small church, a couple of things can hinder us in effectively disciplining. The first is the fact that we have close relationships and with the person and so that there are friends and so we don't want to hurt them, we don't want to offend them. And sometimes as a result of that, we don't do church discipline, conduct church discipline, because our fear that it would offend them and break our relationship with them. And so we don't do church discipline.

[00:23:31] But then again, that's a lack that it demonstrates a lack of love. The second reason that sometimes our attitude needs to be clear is because if we are the one that is hurt, we can easily become vindictive in our actions rather than loving in our actions. And so we need to pray that God will be working in our hearts, that we will have the right attitude. And then there's a fourth thing that we might add in terms of this list of things that we should be praying for as we conduct church discipline. And that is, we should pray for wisdom that we will proceed correctly and that our actions will have a positive effect both upon the person and upon the congregation. Because, again, the goal is to restore that person. It's to help that person to grow. The goal is then also to help the church grow. And so we need to pray for wisdom that as we go through the process, we'll will have the right words to share, will do the right thing at the right time. So that's where it starts. That's where the discipline process starts. It begins with prayer. The second and here's where we begin to see in Matthew chapter 18, beginning in verse 15. The second step is the private confrontation. And we see that in verse 15 and following where our Lord says, If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault just between the two of you. If he listens to you. You have won over your you have won your brother over. And so discipline that begins the process begins with this personal confrontation, a private confrontation between the offended party, or perhaps it may not be the offended party, but it may be someone that's close to that person who has a personal relationship with that person that they go and they talk to that person about their relationship and about what's going on in their relationship.

[00:25:41] And so it starts there, but then it continues if the person doesn't repent. Now, if the person repents at this point, it's the person is to be accepted back into full fellowship and there's no need for further action. But if they continue to refuse to repent, then it becomes the next step, which is a partnered confrontation. Verse 16. But if you will not listen, take two, take one or two others along so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. So here Christ refers back to the Old Testament in the Old Testament perspective that a crime before a person could be convicted of a crime, there needed to be two or three other individuals who would affirm their guilt. And again, this is to protect the person and that perhaps there was a misunderstanding, perhaps that the person that was offended was the one actually in the wrong. And so by taking a neutral person, if you would, a a third party, it serves to either affirm the the guilt of the person or helps to affirm his innocence. And so that's part of the reason. But furthermore, it also gives more weight to the confrontation that it further to confront the individual and to show them that this is important. This is not something you treat lightly and you can just kind of ignore in your life. But this is something they have to deal with. And so it gives further strength to the thought of the rebuke. Again, not to intimidate the person by bringing more people, but rather to help the person realize the seriousness of his sin. And again, if the person repents at this point, then no further action is needed. However, if he refuses, Christ says in verse 17, if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the to the church.

[00:27:51] And so now he moves from the the partnered confrontation that is still somewhat private now to a public confrontation where they bring their this person's actions to the whole church and to the attention of the church. And again, the purpose of this and bringing it before the whole church is not to embarrass the person. It's not to try to punish the person, but rather is to try to help the person realize the seriousness of their actions. And so they, again, would lead to repentance. And again, at this point, if the person repents and acknowledges there, since then, they are again welcomed back into the congregation without any other action. However, he goes on to say, if he refuses to listen to even the church, the last part of verse 17 treat him as you would a public or a pagan or a tax collector. And so a person who continues in this and the next step is to disassociate from the individual. And this person is then to be treated as a as a Gentile or a tax collector, as someone who is outside the circle of God's people. And so that means they are cut off from church membership and they're cut off from fellowship and and communion and should no longer be allowed to share in the activities and the privileges that that come with being a member of the church. This doesn't mean that we shun the person and we have no interaction at all with that person and we don't talk to that person, but rather we treat them as a nonbeliever so that we we keep loving them. We keep reaching out to them as a witness to try to bring them back into fellowship. And that really brings us to the last step.

[00:29:51] And the last step is a follow up that even if we've gone through the church discipline process and we've gone through to the point where we have excluded that person from the membership of the church, we will. Drawn them from membership. That doesn't mean our responsibility is over. We still have a responsibility and obligation to that person. First of all, we need to continue to reach out to that person, to continue to try to seek to encourage that person to come to a point of repentance within the church. And so we continue to talk to, as we would a nonbeliever who has not accepted Christ, but we continue to try to reach that person. But it also there's there's a follow up. There's a further obligation that we have that should the person then repent of their sins at some point in the future, that we do accept them back into full fellowship of the church, regardless of how terrible his sin was? This doesn't mean that there's not consequences in terms of ministry, but it means in terms of fellowship. We bring them back into complete communion with the church. So, for example, if a person perhaps has had problems for with finances and their sin was in the area of mishandling finances, there may be consequences in terms of we're not going to allow that person to become part of the the ushers who count the money. But we're still will bring that person back into full fellowship. Now concerning the timing and this were one of the struggles that we face is as we start through this process, how long does it take? How long should it be between the first and the second confrontations and the third confrontation? KARL Any rights, as he says, in the progressing through the stages of church discipline, ample time for repentance and change must be allowed in every step.

[00:32:01] The duration between the various stages depends on the responsiveness of the offender to the rebuke. Too much time suggests a lenient attitude. Too little time suggests a punitive approach rather than one striving for repentance. Direction by the holy, by the Spirit of God is essential for making the such decisions. So again, this takes us back to the importance of prayer and the necessity of prayer throughout this whole process. Praying for that person, for their repentance, but also praying for wisdom on our part. Now, the last question we have to deal with as we think about church discipline is the whole area of what are we to do to discipline? What are the areas? What are the the sins that need to be the discipline? As we look at scripture, we find several mentions specifically. First of all, we find that a discipline must be conducted in the context of doctrinal purity. We see that in First Thessalonians chapter excuse me, first Timothy chapter one verses 18 through 20, where Paul mentions how many, as in Alexander, who have rejected their commitment to the truth and rejected sound doctrine and as a result have rejected obedience to Scripture. And so Paul challenges the church to discipline these individuals. So certainly if a person is teaching something contrary to the doctrine of Scripture, that person must be confronted in a loving way. Secondly, as we already saw in First Corinthians chapter five, verses one through 11 is the area of moral purity that when someone is is involved in a moral sin and they're continuing to live in that lifestyle, then the church needs to lovingly confront that person with the goal of restoring them. And again, as is Paul mentions in First Timothy chapter one, he calls upon the church and to hand that person over to Satan.

[00:34:19] In other words, that in the part of the excommunication process or the removal of membership is that that person no longer protects the no longer enjoys the protection of the fellowship and the encouragement of the Christian community. And now he becomes more open to spiritual attack as part of that discipline. We also find thirdly in Titus chapter three versus nine through verse 11, the issue of relational unity, that a third sin that we see singled out, if you would, in Scripture for church discipline is division within the body of Christ. That here is a person who is causing the church to become divided, that they're out for their own pursuit. And as a result, they're splitting the church because of their own agenda and that person needs to be confronted in their sin. Conflict is a part of church. That's that's part of what we deal with as a church and as a church board. But divisions should never be allowed to happen within the church. We need to confront that. For us, we find laziness in first Thessalonians or excuse me, Second Thessalonians Chapter three versus six through verse 15. Now, it's interesting. The laziness here is is in the context of someone who is not willing to work. Now he's not talking in this dispatches is about someone who is unable to work that person the church has an obligation to minister to and provide support to. But here isn't an individual who is refusing to work, and as a result of that, they're abusing the generosity and the welfare of the church. And Paul actually continues to to join that together with a refusal to be obedient, even to the teaching of Scripture. And again, that person is to be confronted and disciplined.

[00:36:32] We also see in. First Thessalonians chapter five, verse 20. And that passage we already referred to earlier, that those who are leaders who are caught in sin are to be disciplined publicly because of the very public nature of our ministry. If we are sitting in such a way that it is causing public shame upon the church, then the church has an obligation to bring discipline upon a leader. And then lastly, in Galatians chapter six, verse one, in that passage we read earlier. Any sin that remains and confessed that a person refuses to repent. So we're not talking about someone who is just struggling with a sin. They know they're struggling with the sin. They're striving to get victory over that sin. That's that's the struggle we all face. But it's the individual who is in a sin. And when when someone talks to them about it, they they are unrepentant. They refuse to deal with it. That is a person that Galatians chapter six, verse one, says that there needs to be confrontation, needs to be church discipline, certainly within the church. Church discipline is probably the most unpleasant thing that we will have to deal with. It will never be fun, but it is at times necessary. And in the small church, we need to recognize that our adherence to truth must take precedence over our relationships. That an expression of love is not refusing to confront someone. An expression of love is when we're willing to confront someone because of their sin. It takes wisdom, it takes prayer, and it takes a firm understanding of scripture. But that's part of our call as being shepherds. And if we were to protect our church from the influences of the world in which we live and the the destruction that can even arise from within the church, then we have to recognize the importance of church discipline.