Form for the Excommunication of Communicant Members

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First Announcement

Beloved in the Lord:

The consistory informs you with sorrow, that a brother (sister) of the congregation has become guilty of sin against the … commandment. In spite of several earnest admonitions, there is no evidence of repentance. Therefore the consistory had to suspend him (her) from the communion of the table of the Lord. However, this did not lead to repentance. Continuing admonitions also proved fruitless. To its great sorrow the consistory is now obliged to exercise further discipline, and will have to proceed to the excommunication of this brother (sister) if he (she) persists in his (her) sin. We make this known to you for the first time, and seriously exhort you to pray the Lord that He may bring this member of the body to repentance.

Second Announcement

Beloved in the Lord:

With sorrow the consistory has informed you previously that a brother (sister) has become guilty of sin against the … commandment. You then heard that he (she) was suspended from the holy supper because he (she) refused to repent. In spite of continued discipline no true repentance has become apparent. On the contrary, all admonitions remained fruitless. The only result was a further hardening of heart. We have asked the advice of classis and now inform you with sorrow that we will proceed with the excommunication. We seriously exhort you to admonish this sinner continually in love. His (Her) name and address are _______________. Pray the Lord that He may bring this brother (sister) to repentance, that this sin may be banned from the congregation and the sinner be saved.

Third Announcement

Beloved in the Lord:

The consistory had the sad duty to inform you already twice that brother (sister) _______________ has become guilty of sinning against the … commandment. You also heard that he (she) refused to repent and further hardened his (her) heart, so that he (she) had to be suspended from the holy supper. Yet, no true repentance was shown. On the contrary, all admonitions remained fruitless. Therefore, to our great sorrow, we now inform you for the third time that we have to deal further with this brother (sister). If he (she) does not come to repentance, he (she) will be excluded from the communion of the church of Christ on … For the last time we call upon you to admonish him (her) most urgently and in love. Pray the Lord that it may please Him to lead this brother (sister) to repentance, so that he (she) may not harden himself (herself) to the utmost.

The Excommunication

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ:

The consistory has informed you that brother (sister) _______________ has persisted in a life of sin. The purpose of these announcements was that by your prayers and admonitions he (she) might turn to the living God and thus be delivered from the power of Satan, who has taken him (her) captive. But, to our deep sorrow, no one has informed us of the least evidence of true repentance, although he (she) was warned by many. His (Her) guilt, which was already serious, has only become all the heavier because of his (her) persistence in sin. We have shown much patience with him (her), but now we know ourselves bound to proceed to the ultimate remedy given us by the Lord in His Word, namely, exclusion from the communion of His church. This excommunication is intended to make this brother (sister) ashamed of his (her) sins, and also to ensure that this corrupt member does not affect the whole body which is Christ's church. Moreover, in this way the blaspheming of God's Name is prevented. Christ Jesus has assigned the exercise of discipline to His office-bearers with the words, I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Mt 18:18).

Therefore we, as the elders of the church of God in this place, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ excommunicate _______________ from the church of the Lord, because he (she) obstinately persists in his (her) sin.

He (she) is now excluded from the fellowship of Christ and from His kingdom. he (she) may no longer use the sacraments. he (she) has no part any more in the spiritual blessings and benefits which Christ bestows upon His church. As long as he (she) persists in sin, let him (her) be to you as a Gentile and an outcast.1

Warning to the Congregation

We exhort you, beloved Christians, not to look on him (her) as an enemy. On the contrary, try to warn him (her) as a brother (sister). But do not associate with him (her), that he (she) may be ashamed and come to repentance.2

This excommunication, beloved, is a warning for us all. Let us fear the Lord and be cautious, for he who thinks he stands must take heed lest he fall.3 Continue in the true fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and also with all upright believers, so that we may obtain eternal salvation.

You have seen in what manner our excommunicated brother (sister) has lost the way: how he (she) began to fall and gradually came to ruin. Learn from this how subtle Satan is in bringing man to destruction,4 and how he causes him to despise God's Word and His sacraments.

Therefore, resist evil from the very beginning. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:1, 2).

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour(1 Pet 5:8).

Pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Lk 22:46).

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb 4:7).

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Let everyone repent of his sins lest our God humble us again and we have to grieve for another member of the body. Live with one accord in godliness; be our crown and joy in the Lord.

Only the Lord, who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose (Phil 2:13), is able to keep us in the way of His commandments.

Let us, therefore, call upon His holy Name with confession of our sins.

Prayer

Righteous God and merciful Father, before Your holy majesty we accuse ourselves because of our sins. We acknowledge that we have deserved the sorrow and grief caused by the excommunication of our brother (sister). Yes, we all are worthy to be excluded from Your presence because of our many transgressions.But, O Lord, be gracious to us for Christ's sake. We repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. Work in us by Your Spirit, so that we may endeavour to serve You more and more. Grant that we may shun pollution by the world and by those who have strayed from You.Grant that the excluded member may become ashamed of his (her) sins and return to You, for You have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Therefore we, Your people, will always welcome those who return to You. Kindle in our hearts love and zeal that, by our admonitions as well as by our example, this excommunicated brother (sister) and others who live in unbelief may be brought back to You.Bless our endeavours, that we may have reason to rejoice again over him (her) for whom we now must mourn, so that in this way Your holy Name be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Or: …through our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, Our Father in heavenhallowed be Your name,Your kingdom come,Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Give us today our daily bread.Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen )

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