Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 11, 2014

“Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” – “For this purpose, ex-communication or church discipline is requisite”

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 20:10-20.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“10 “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.  11 If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.  12 However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.  13 When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword.  14 Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself;  and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you.  15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby.  16 Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.  17 But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.”  Deuteronomy 20:10-18.


Today’s devotion, with the exception of a few additions and a few other changes, is a “copy and paste” of a devotion on church discipline that was posted on October 31, 2014.  Church discipline is important, and this subject should be repeated as today’s Scripture leads us again to consider it.

As was made crystal clear in prior devotions, no Christian maintains that Christians should put to death people who worship other gods.  “You shall not murder.”  Exodus 20:13.

Today’s Scripture again points us to church discipline.  And, there are two additions (distinctions) presented in today’s Scripture.

First, there is a distinction in today’s Scripture between tolerance for people “very far” away (symbolizing those people outside the church) and non-tolerance for those people “that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance” (symbolizing those people who are improperly inside the church).

Second, there is a distinction in today’s Scripture between tolerance for people who accept the terms of peace and who subject themselves (symbolizing those people outside the church who come into the church but are willing to obey God and church leaders) and non-tolerance for those people who don’t accept the terms of peace and who are not willing to subject themselves (symbolizing those people outside the church who come into the church but are not willing to obey God and church leaders).

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Do you not judge those who are within the church?  But those who are outside, God judges.  Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”  1 Corinthians 5:9-13.

And, church discipline does not only extend to those who practice immoral behavior within the church.  Church discipline also extends to those practice heresy within the church.

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;  which is really not another;  only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!    As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:6-9.

In summary, we remove the wicked people from among ourselves within our church (who are not at peace with us and who do not subject themselves by obedience to God and church leaders) by ex-communication (removing a member from membership and attendance in church) according to proper church discipline procedures done by the leaders of the church (minister, elders, and deacons).

Article 32:  Of the Order and Discipline of the Church.

“…  Therefore we admit only of that which tends to nourish and preserve concord, and unity, and to keep all men in obedience to God. For this purpose, ex-communication or church discipline is requisite, with the several circumstances belonging to it, according to the Word of God.”  Belgic Confession.



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