W. Austin Gardner
Restoration is the goal
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Please remember at all times that restoration is our goal and we are never desirous of punishing our brother. That is the work of God. First mention of church discipline shows that the goal is to be restoration. Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Matthew 18:17 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. The real goal was never to kick someone out of the church though that has often become the perspective today. Our goal is to see our brother serve God with all of his heart. The following passage speaks of a brother that has been disciplined by the church and I believe it may be the man from I Corinthians 5 who was found in a horrible sin of incest. But notice that the desire was to see him get back into fellowship. I have highlighted several words that I think are very important. II Corinthians 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. He had not gotten right until it escalated to the point that the whole church was involved. That would not eat with him or fellowship with him. They had prayed that God would turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. I Corinthians 5 II Corinthians 2:7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Now they are told to forgive him and to comfort him lest he be swallowed up of overmuch sorrow. That has happened to many of our members and friends. We have been so harsh that they are lost to other churches or even the world. They realized their sin but found no forgiveness or comfort from the church and their brothers. II Corinthians 2:8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. Paul said that they now needed to confirm their love to him. He has confessed and forsaken his sin. He needs to know that he is forgiven and that you have comforted him that fell into sin but more than that you must make sure he knows that he is loved. Confirm your love to him. II Corinthians 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. Paul didn't leave it as optional but rather said that it was something he was commanding them to do-they were to be obedient. They were to prove that they would follow his leadership. II Corinthians 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
II Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. The biggest key is that Satan will get an advantage if we are not careful. We can be too hard on sin and have often been too hard. Sin must be dealt with but we must not have the attitude of hurting our brother.