Bible Study – The Authority of the Church

October 9 – 15, 2022

Key Text

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

Study Help: Testimonies, Vol. 7, 260–264


“On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ’s stead. … Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God’s word will be ratified in heaven.” Testimonies, Vol. 7, 263



1.a. What steps are to be taken before a person receives church discipline? Matthew 18:15–18


 Note: “No church officer should advise, no committee should recommend, nor should any church vote, that the name of a wrongdoer shall be removed from the church books, until the instruction given by Christ has been faithfully followed. When this instruction has been followed, the church has cleared herself before God. The evil must then be made to appear as it is, and must be removed, that it may not become more and more widespread.” Testimonies, Vol. 7, 262, 263

1.b. What authority does the church have regarding discipline? John 20:23; Matthew 18:18


Note: “To it [the church] the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth.” Testimonies, Vol. 7, 263



2.a. What is the tragic response of some as the Lord calls them to return to Him? Jeremiah 6:16; 13:10


Note: “Those whose deeds are evil, will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved and their real characters revealed. If they continue in the path of transgression, and sever themselves entirely from the Redeemer, stubbornness, and sullenness, and a spirit of revenge will take possession of them, and they will say to their own souls, Peace, peace, when there is every reason that they should be alarmed, for their steps are directed toward destruction.” The Signs of the Times, June 22, 1888

“By repentance and confession you can have pardon registered against your name; or you can resist the conviction of the Spirit of God. … But there stands the action, there stands the evil committed.” Sons and Daughters of God, 309

2.b. If the leaders keep silent and gloss over the wrongs of the members, what will be the result? Isaiah 56:10, 11; Philippians 3:2; Ezekiel 33:2–9; John 3:19, 20


Note: “Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from their neglect of duty. We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others by exercise of parental or pastoral authority as if the acts had been our own.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 578

“He [God] would teach His people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to Him and are not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation.” Testimonies, Vol. 3, 265



3.a. What is the duty and responsibility of those holding a position of trust in the church when they see members practicing sin? 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; 2:15


Note: “The divine rebuke is upon that false sympathy for the sinner which endeavors to excuse his sin. It is the effect of sin to deaden the moral perceptions, so that the wrongdoer does not realize the enormity of transgression, and without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit he remains in partial blindness to his sin. It is the duty of Christ’s servants to show these erring ones their peril.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 361

“To defy the words of the Lord, spoken through His chosen instruments, will only provoke His anger and eventually bring certain ruin upon the offender. Indignation often kindles in the heart of the sinner against the agent whom God chooses to deliver His reproofs.” Testimonies, Vol. 4, 180

“Ministers should be faithful watchmen, seeing the evil and warning the people. Their dangers must be set before them continually and pressed home upon them.” Ibid., 515

3.b. What will be the fate of unfaithful leaders if they refuse to correct the evils committed by the members of the church? Ezekiel 3:17, 18; 33:6


Note: “The rebuke of God is upon every minister and every medical missionary leader who has been asleep on the walls of Zion, when as vigilant watchmen they should have warned the people of the Lord against the dangers threatening them.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, 357

“The watchmen anciently placed on the walls of the cities occupied a most important position. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within the walls. When danger was apprehended, they were not to sleep day or night. Every few minutes they were required to call to one another, to see that all were awake and that no harm had come to any.” The Review and Herald, April 15, 1902

“I saw that it was time that the watchmen upon the walls of Zion understood the responsibility and sacredness of their mission. They should feel that a woe is upon them if they do not perform the work God has committed to them. If they become unfaithful, they are endangering the safety of the flock of God, endangering the cause of truth, and exposing it to the ridicule of our enemies. Oh, what a work is this! It will surely meet its reward.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 4b, 124, 125



4.a. How does the Lord mold His erring people for the spiritual building? Revelation 3:19; Hebrew 12:6–11; 1 Peter 2:4, 5


Note: “The Lord estimates as of supreme importance the holiness of His people; and He permits reverses to come upon individuals, upon families, and upon churches, that His people may see their danger, and humble their hearts before Him in repentance. He chastens His children in the hope of saving their souls. Those who return to Him, He receives with tenderness and love. He speaks pardon to them and clothes them with the garments of Christ’s righteousness.” The Review and Herald, September 24, 1903

“When the heart is full of self-sufficiency and preoccupied with the superficial things of earth, the Lord Jesus rebukes and chastens in order that men may awake to a realization of their true condition.” The Signs of the Times, August 1, 1895

“Take with you those who are spiritually minded, and talk with the one in error in regard to the wrong. He may yield to the united appeals of his brethren. As he sees their agreement in the matter, his mind may be enlightened.” Testimonies, Vol. 7, 262

4.b. When parents or ministers try to correct the erring ones, what should they always keep in mind? 2 Timothy 4:2; Colossians 3:12–14


Note: “Sin should be faithfully reproved, and right discipline promptly and firmly enforced. Yet harsh dealing will not help the wrongdoer to see his error or to reform. Let all needed reproof or correction be given in the spirit which actuated our Saviour. Let firmness and decision be blended with sympathy and love. By wise management, the wayward, stubborn youth may be transformed. Parents, to accomplish such work, you need Christlike patience and self-command. Do not irritate by a sharp word or an angry look. Be calm; and let your heart often ascend in prayer to God for grace and wisdom. Angels will come to your side, and help you to raise up a standard against the enemy.” The Review and Herald, June 13, 1882

“In every instance where discipline is necessary, the tenderness and patience that God manifests toward us, is to be revealed.” Ibid., July 12, 1906



5.a. What should be done to the stubborn ones who refuse to yield to correction and persist instead in sin? 1 Corinthians 5:11–13. How can we distinguish loyal from disloyal leaders? Revelation 2:2


Note: “Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 71

“Sin and sinners in the church must be promptly dealt with, that others may not be contaminated. Truth and purity require that we make more thorough work to cleanse the camp from Achans. Let those in responsible positions not suffer sin in a brother. Show him that he must either put away his sins or be separated from the church.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 147

“If men close their eyes to the testimonies God has been pleased to give, and think it wisdom to walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling, it will spoil the church. Such men are not qualified to become either ministers or presidents.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 327

5.b. How will God bless the church after all evils have been removed? Ephesians 5:27


Note: “There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation.” Messages to Young People, 133

“Whenever the church at any period have forsaken their sins, and believed and walked in the truth, they have been honored of God.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 484



1    In what ways do we often neglect to carry out Matthew 18:15–18?

2    What consequences result from a failure to correct evils in the church?

3    What aspects of true leadership do church officers often overlook?

4    Why is discipline a God-given mandate to Christ’s church on earth?

5    What is Satan’s greatest fear regarding the church, and why?

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