Grace Protestant Reformed Church

The Key Power of Christian Discipline

Date: AM
Text: I Corinthians 5; Lord's Day 31
Psalters: 170, 94, 301, 232
Series: Heidelberg Catechism (2016-18)
  1. The activity.
    1. The objects of Christian discipline are those who hold practices or doctrines contrary to the name “Christian.”
    2. The activity of the key is by the institute (elders) when the sin is public or when individuals have completed their activity first.
      1. It is an activity of love out of genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of the unrepentant one.
      2. The elders act only when the professing believer will not repent and persists in his sin (I Corinthians 5:17).
      3. Positively, the key power is exercised to save (sanctify) those who are truly citizens of the kingdom.
  2. Christ, the Head of the church institute, exercises the key of Christian discipline through its elders.
    1. The Lord Jesus holds the key of Christian discipline (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 3:7).
      1. The Lord Jesus gave this authority to the elders - those whom He called (John 20:22,23).
      2. Jesus declares that He is “in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
      3. Further Jesus says their work is meaningful and effective in heaven, though it may be flaunted on earth.
    2. Why do elders have the right to discipline?
      1. First, Jesus commands His church to do so, lest they be guilty of not alerting and warning (Ezek. 33:2-6; I Cor. 9:16).
      2. Second, discipline is for the spiritual well-being of the church because of corporate responsibility.
    3. Thus, the elders, as Christ’s representatives, are the ones to whom we vow submission to their care.
  3. Discipline’s purpose and fruit.
    1. The purpose is the glory of God and the edification of the Church.
    2. There is positive fruit for everyone.
    3. Finally, the elders receive the joy of the Lord, not for earthly success, but for faithfulness.