Posts Tagged With: Lord’s Supper

Demystifying Church Discipline

In this week’s PODCAST, we engage in a most important discussion that flows directly out of Matthew 18:15-17 — one of the most important passages in all of the New Testament, the so-called “Church Discipline” passage.

Church Discipline, a teaching in many local churches that really rose into prominence in the late 1970’s and became quite the trend.

I can remember attending church leadership conferences back then and hearing pastors — I’ll use word “boast” — of the fact that they recently removed an individual or individuals from their churches, thereby “preserving the purity of their churches.” Others would then oooh and ahhh at the boldness of the pastor in confronting the sin in his church and taking decisive action in order to preserve the purity of his church by the process of Church Discipline as outline by Jesus here in Matthew 18.

Today, one of this nation’s leading Church Discipline proponents insists that church discipline, as outlined in Matthew 18, is one of the marks of a healthy church. He writes this on his website, clearly articulating the prevailing view of Church Discipline, and indeed includes this as one of his main talking points as he addresses pastors’ conferences throughout the country, encouraging them to do the same:

“Church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body, including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin.”

Consequently, it has become (and in many places still is) standard practice to remove or “exclude” or excommunicate (you choose the term) unrepentant sinners from their local churches. Or if not standard practice, this notion of Church Discipline is certainly included in most of our churches’ bylaws.

Well, in light of the above definition — More importantly, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 — I must ask, Is that really what Jesus taught to His disciples and to us?

Let’s find out together in this Encore Podcast, an encore because I am presently leading a Study Tour in Israel.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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The Passover Plot

leonardo_da_vinci_-_last_supper_copy_-_wga12732Welcome to the Thursday of Jesus’ final week. As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with these words, we are less than twenty-four hours from the crucifixion. Words wherein Jesus could just as well have said to Peter and John,

“Go and prepare my final Passover meal together, so that we can eat it together.”

Jesus will on this Thursday evening celebrate with His disciples THE singular observance on the Jewish calendar, from time of Moses (Exodus 12) even to today. Indeed, as Rabbi Joseph Telushkin so succinctly stated in his classic work, Jewish Literacy,

“Passover is the most widely observed Jewish holiday.”

But here’s the thing: Overshadowing this entire discussion tonight is this raw reality around which I cannot begin to wrap my mind: The centerpiece of Passover, of Jesus’ final Passover — the Passover lamb — has throughout redemptive history pictured one and only one person: Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That person, Jesus, whose sacrifice in less than twenty-four hours would pay the penalty for the sin of world.

What emotions must have flooded Jesus’ mind, heart, and spirit… 

  • As He led this His final Passover seder?
  • As He Himself partook of the Passover lamb that symbolized everything that would happen to Him that very night into the very next day?
  • The lamb that symbolized Jesus as the lamb of God?
  • The blood that would symbolize His shed blood?
  • The entire Passover story retold and in a sense
  • reenacted in that Upper Room that celebrated the Israelites freedom from slavery to the Egyptians?
  • That now symbolized our freedom from our slavery to sin, and from the punishment we all deserve?
    That punishment paid for by Jesus who is what Paul called “our Passover lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7)?

All of this, and so much more, flooded like a tsunami of emotions Jesus sizable heart on this, the day Jesus told Peter and John,

“Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

Preparing for this Passover meal, and every annual Passover meal, was and is #NoSmallThing. Given the enormity of the symbolism of every single aspect of a Passover celebration, preparation required effort and deliberation.

For our many Jewish friends, Jesus’ words to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal,” involved much that we might easily miss. Consequently, in order to understand what took place in that Upper Room on this Thursday evening, we’ve got to hear Jesus’ words, “Go and prepare,” as Peter and John heard them.

So let me start with this…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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