OceanSide church of Christ
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by: Dalton Gilreath
a. Disfellowship is commanded in the New Testament
i. Many congregations do not practice it
ii. Many say it is harsh and unloving
b. Disfellowship is not optional when the conditions demand it
c. I believe if more people understood disfellowship they would not neglect it
i. Let’s consider the what, who, when, where, why, and how of disfellowship
II. What is disfellowship?
a. To withdraw companionship from another
i. Paul says, “with such an one no not to eat” (1 Cor 5:11 KJV)
ii. He says elsewhere to keep “no company with him” (2 Thess 3:14)
b. Jesus says to make him a “heathen and a publican” (Matt 18:17)
i. This being in the mindset of a Jew
c. Basically, it means to no longer be around that person as you once did
i. We cannot spend time with them acting as though all is well
III. Who do we disfellowship?
a. A brother/sister who is living in sin and refuses to repent
i. Jesus says if a “brother” sins against you (Matt 18:15)
ii. Paul says if someone called a “brother” walks disorderly (2 Thess 3:6)
b. Paul explains this ins 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
i. You can’t avoid all sinners or you would have to leave the world
ii. You can avoid those in the church who have been withdrawn from
c. We can’t disfellowship someone who was never in fellowship
i. Therefore, this process only applies to members of the body
IV. When do we disfellowship?
a. After patiently waiting his/her repentance on more than one occasion
i. The Bible never suggests withdrawing from someone instantly
ii. This is to be treated as a last resort
b. Jesus gave the brother three opportunities in Matthew 18:15-17
c. Paul gave the Thessalonians three chances as well (2 Thess 3:10, 1 Thess 4:11)
i. He told them in person, in his first letter, and in his second
d. We must give the brother time to repent on multiple occasions
V. Where or in what setting do we disfellowship?
a. Publicly (1 Cor 5:4)
i. Paul says to do it when you are gathered together in the church
b. Everyone in the congregation must be involved or it will not be effective
i. Every individual has to withdraw for the person to feel ashamed
c. Paul individually did his part with Alexander and Hymenaeus (1 Tim 1:20)
VI. Why must we disfellowship?
a. For his soul (1 Cor 5:5)
i. The goal is ultimately about saving that individual’s soul
ii. We want him to feel ashamed and miss the body
b. For our souls (1 Cor 5:6-7)
i. A little leaven leavens the whole lump
ii. We must withdraw so the church isn’t negatively affected by public sin
c. If we are not doing it for these reasons we are not abiding by His Word
VII. How do we treat the person?
a. As a brother in Christ
i. Paul says to “admonish him as a brother” (2 Thess 3:15)
1. Not treat him as an enemy
b. The word “admonish” means to “place the mind” (Strongs)
i. We must be a reminder to the individual when we cross paths
ii. We must not treat him/her ugly or with disrespect but with love