Fair Wages

Monday, February 28, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/28/2022 8:00am

7 “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

8 “When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

9-12 “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

13-15 “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

16 “Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

-Matthew 20:7-16 The Message

Verse 7: They *said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He *said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’

Verse 8: “Now when evening came, the owner of the vineyard *said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, starting with the last group to the first.’

Verse 9: When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.

Verse 10: And so when those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.

Verse 11: When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner,

Verse 12: saying, ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day’s work and the scorching heat.’

Verse 13: But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?

Verse 14: Take what is yours and go, but I want to give to this last person the same as to you.

Verse 15: Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’

Verse 15 study: The parable is not about rewards, it’s about salvation. This is strong teaching of grace, God’s generosity. What we shouldn’t do is berate those who turn to God at the last possible moment. The actual truth is, no one deserves eternal life, so why begrudge someone for turning to God at the last possible moment?

There will be so many people we would not expect to see in the kingdom that will be there. The criminal who repented as he was dying (*Luke 23:40-43) will be there along with those who believed and served God for many years.

*Luke 23:40-43: 40 But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Do you resent God’s gracious acceptance of those who were despised, the outcast, and sinners who turned to him for forgiveness? Are you jealous of what God has given to another person? Take the time to focus on God’s gracious benefits to you, and be thankful for what you have.

Verse 16: So the last shall be first, and the first, last.”

Clarifying The Kingdom of Heaven

Sunday, February 27, 2022

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A Story About Workers

20 1-2 “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day and went to work.

3-5 “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

5-6 “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’

-Matthew 20:1-6 The Message

Laborers in the Vineyard

20 Verse 1: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Verse 1 study: Jesus clarified the membership rules of the kingdom of heaven; entrance by God’s grace alone. In this parable, God is the landowner, and the believers are the laborers. The parable speaks to those who feel superior because of heritage or a favored position, to those who feel superior because they spent time with Christ, and new believers are reassured of God’s grace.

Verse 2: When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Verse 3: And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace;

Verse 4: and to those he said, ‘You go into the vineyard also, and whatever is right, I will give you.’ And so they went.

Verse 5: Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did the same thing.

Verse 6: And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he *said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’

The Advice to the Disciples: Be Willing to Sacrifice

Saturday, February 26, 2022

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26 Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

27 Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”

28-30 Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

-Matthew 19:26-30 The Message

Verse 26: And looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The Disciples’ Reward

Verse 27: Then Peter responded and said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”

Verse 27 study: God gives rewards to his people according to his justice; this is in the Bible. In the Old Testament, obedience often brought rewards in this life (Deuteronomy 28), but these immediate rewards and obedience are not always linked. If it was linked, then good people would always be rich, and suffering would always be a sign of sin. The true award as believers is God’s presence and power through the Holy Spirit. At a later time in eternity, we will be rewarded for our faith and service. If material rewards in this life came to us for every faithful deed, we would be tempted to brag about our achievements and act out of wrong motivations.

Verse 28: And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Verse 29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms on account of My name, will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Verse 29 study: Jesus assured the disciples that anyone who gives up something valuable for his sake will be repaid many times over this life, although not in the same form. For example, a person may be rejected by his or her family for accepting Christ but he or she will gain a larger family of believers.

Verse 30: But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

Verse 30 study: Jesus turned the world’s values upside down. Consider the most powerful and well-known people in our world. A question to ask yourself is how many of them got to where they are at by being humbled, self-effacing, and gentle? Not a lot. But in the life to come, the last will be first, if they got in lust by choosing to follow Jesus. Don’t be forceful in forfeiting eternal rewards for temporary benefits. Be willing to make sacrifices now for greater rewards later. Be willing to accept human disapproval while knowing you have God’s approval.

More on the Advice to the Rich Young Man

Friday, February 25, 2022

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21 “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”

22 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.

23-24 As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”

25 The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”

-Matthew 19:21-25 The Message

Verse 21: Jesus said to him, “If you want to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Verse 21 study: When Jesus told the young man that he would “be complete” if he gave everything he owned to the poor, Jesus wasn’t talking in the temporal, human sense. He was explaining how to be justified and made perfect or complete in God’s sight.

Should all believers sell everything they own? No, but we should be willing to give up anything if God asks us to do so. We also should be responsible to care for our own needs and the needs of our families so we are not a burden on others. This kind of attitude allows nothing to come between us and God and keeps us from using our God-given wealth selfishly. If you are comforted by the fact that Christ did not tell all his followers to sell all their possession, then you may be too attached to what you have.

Verse 22: But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

Verse 22 study: We can’t love God with all our hearts and then turn around and keep the money to ourselves. Loving him means using our money in ways that please him.

Verse 23: And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Verse 24: And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Verse 24 study: Since it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, it is hard to get a rich person to get into the kingdom of God. Jesus did explain that with God, all things are possible (19:26). Even rich people can enter the kingdom of God brings them in. Faith in Christ, not self on riches, is what counts. On what are you counting for salvation?

Verse 25: When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

Verses 25-26 studies: The disciples were shocked because they thought that if anyone could be saved, it would be the rich, whom their culture considered especially blessed by God.

Jesus’ Advice to the Rich Young Man

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/24/2022 8:00am

16 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”

18-19 The man asked, “What in particular?”

Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”

20 The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”

-Matthew 19:16-20 The Message

The Rich Young Ruler

Verse 16: And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do so that I may obtain eternal life?”

Verse 16 study: To the man seeking assurance of eternal life, Jesus pointed out that salvation doesn’t come from good deeds unaccompanied by love for God. The man needed a new starting point. Instead of adding another commandment to keep or a good deed to perform, the young man needed to submit humbly to the lordship of Christ.

Verse 17: And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

Verse 17 study: In Jesus’ response to the young man’s question about how to obtain eternal life, Jesus told him to keep God’s Ten Commandments. Jesus lists six of them, all of which is referring to relationships with others. When the young man said that he kept the commandments, Jesus told him he should do something more; sell everything and give it to the poor. This statement Jesus told him not only made him uncomfortable but also exposed a weakness. In reality, his wealth was his god, his idol, and he would not give it up. Therefore, he violated the first and greatest commandments.

Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Matthew 22:36-40: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Verse 18: Then he *said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony;

Verse 19: Honor your father and mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Verse 20: The young man *said to Him, “All these I have kept; what am I still lacking?”

Jesus Blessing Children

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

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To Enter God’s Kingdom

13-15 One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.

-Matthew 19:13-15 The Message

Jesus Blesses Little Children

Verse 13: Then some children were brought to Him so that He would lay His hands on them and pray, and the disciples rebuked them.

Verse 14: But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them to come to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

Verse 15: After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.

Verses 13-15 studies: The disciples probably forgot what Jesus said about children.

Matthew 18:4-6: 4 So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Jesus wanted little children to come because he loves them, and they have the attitude needed to approach God. He is not saying that heaven is only for children, but childlike attitudes are needed in people to trust God. The receptiveness of little children was a great contrast to the stubbornness of the religious leaders who let their education and sophistication stand in the way of the simple faith needed to believe in Jesus.

More on Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/22/2022 8:00am

7 They shot back in rebuttal, “If that’s so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?”

8-9 Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”

10 Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we haven’t got a chance. Why get married?”

11-12 But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”

-Matthew 19:7-12 The Message

Verse 7: They *said to Him, “Why, then, did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Verse 8: He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

Verses 7-8 studies: The law is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. In Moses’ and Jesus’ day, the practice of marriage fell short of God’s intentions. Today is no different. Jesus said that Moses gave this law only bcause of the people’s hard hearts. God’s purpose is permanent marriage. Sinful human nature made divorce a problem. So Moses put some laws into affect to help the victims. These were civil laws designed to protect the women in the culture that were quite vurnable when living alone. Now that Moses’ law happened, no man could throw his wife out, he had to write a formal certificate of divorce. This is a crucial orgin of a problem to help with civil rights. This caused men to think twice about divorcing their wife for selfish reasons. God made marriage to be dissoluble, instead of looking for reasons to leave each other. Married couple should concentrate on how to stay together (10:3-9).

Verse 9: And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Verse 10: The disciples *said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”

Verse 11: But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.

Verse 12: For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by people; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Verses 10-12 studies: Although divorce as easy to make happen, in the Old Testament times (19:7), it is not what God intended. Couples should not decide on divorce from the start, and try to make it work on mutual commitment. There are a lot of great for not being married, one being to have more time to work for God’s kingdom. Don’t assume that God wants everyone to be married. For the sake of the life of a human being, it’s better if some people don’t get married. Be prayful, seek God’s will before you commiting to marriage.

Verse 12 study: “Eunuch” is an emasculated male, a man with no testicles.

Many people have physical limitation that prevent them to be married, while others choose to not to be married. One reason can be is their situation; they can serve God better being single. Jesus is not teaching us to avoid marriage because it is inconvenient or takes away our freedom. These are selfish reasons not to get married. A good reason to remain single is to use time and freedom to serve God. Paul elaborates on that in 1 Corinthians 7.

Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce

Monday, February 21, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/21/2022 8:00am


19 1-2 When Jesus had completed these teachings, he left Galilee and crossed the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Great crowds followed him there, and he healed them.

3 One day the Pharisees were badgering him: “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”

4-6 He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”

-Matthew 19:1-6 The Message

Concerning Divorce

19 Verse 1: When Jesus had finished these words, He left Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan;

Verse 2: and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Verse 3: Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

Verse 4: And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

Verse 5: And said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Verse 6: So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.”

Verses 3-12 study: John was put in prison and eventually killed for his opinions on marriage and divorce, so the Pharisees had it in mind to hopefully trap Jesus. They were trying to trick Jesus by having him choose sides in theological controversy. Two schools of thought represented two opposing views of divorce. One group supported divorce for just about any reason. Others believed that divorce could be allowed only for extra-marital affairs. The conflict hinged on how each group interpreted Deuteronomy 24:1-4.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4: Law of Divorce

24 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens, if she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, that he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her away from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and the latter husband turns against her, writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand, and sends her away from his house, or if the latter husband who took her to be his wife dies,4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

In his answer, Jesus focused on marriage than divorce. He pointed out that God intended marriage to be permanent and gave four reasons for the importance of marriage. See 19:4-6 again.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/20/2022 8:00am

A Story About Forgiveness

21 At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”

22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

23-25 “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got underway, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

26-27 “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

28 “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

29-31 “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

32-35 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

-Matthew 18-21-35 The Message


Verse 21: Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Verse 22: Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.

Verse 22 study: The rabbis taught people that you should forgive those who offend them, but only three times. Peter, being generous, asked if the perfect number seven times was enough to forgive someone. But Jesus said, “seventy times seven.” This means we should not keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.

Verse 23: “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.

Verse 24: And when he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

Verse 25: But since he did not have the means to repay, his master commanded that he be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment is made.

Verse 26: So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’

Verse 27: And the master of that slave felt compassion, and he released him and forgave him the debt.

Verse 28: But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’

Verse 29: So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’

Verse 30: But he was unwilling, and went and threw him in prison until he would pay back what was owed.

Verse 30 study: In bible times, there were all kinds of actions the lender could take to the debtor. A person lending money could seize the borrower who couldn’t pay and force his or her family to work until the debt was paid off. The debtor could be thrown into prison, or his family could be sold into slavery to help pay off the debts. The debtor hoped while in prison, would sell off his landholdings, or maybe a relative(s) would pay off the debt. If that didn’t happen, the debtor could be in prison for life.

Verse 31: So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their master all that had happened.

Verse 32: Then summoning him, his master *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

Verse 33: Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way, that I had mercy on you?’

Verse 34: And his master, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he would repay all that was owed him.

Verse 35: My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Verse 35 study: God has forgiven our sins. We should make it a habit to forgive others. Realizing how completely Christ has forgiven us should produce a free and generous attitude of forgiveness towards others. When we don’t forgive others, we are setting ourselves outside and above Christ’s law of love.

Jesus’ Teaching on Treating BELIEVERS

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 02/19/2022 8:00am

15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

-Matthew 18:15-20 The Message

Discipline and Prayer

Verse 15: “Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Verse 16: But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be confirmed.

Verse 17: And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Verses 15-17 studies: These are guidelines for dealing with those who sin against us. There are three things to remember. These are meant for:

  1. Christians, not unbelievers.
  2. Sins committed against YOU, not others.
  3. Any conflict should be resolved in the context of the church, not the community at large.

Pay close attention to this; Jesus’ words are not meant for you to attack every person who hurts or slights us. It is not a green light to start a destructive gossip campaign or call for a church trial. They are designed to reconcile those who disagree sot that all Christians can live in harmony.

When someone wrongs us, we do what is the opposite of what Jesus recommends. We start a hatred war or resentment, seek revenge, or engage in gossip. By contrast, and as hard as this is, we should go to that person first. Then, we should forgive that person as often as he or she needs it. This is a reference to verses 21-22 and we will study it more in tomorrow’s blog. This also will create a much better chance of restoring the relationship.

Verse 18: Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Verse 18 study: This binding and loosing is referred to the decisions of the church conflicts. There is no court of appeals among believers beyond the church. The idea is the church’s decisions should be God-guided and based on the discernment of his Word. Believers have the responsibility to bring their problems to the church, and the church has the responsibility to use God’s guidance in seeking to resolve conflicts. Handling problems God’s way will have an impact now and eternity.

Verse 19: “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

Verse 20: For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Verses 19-20 studies: Jesus looked ahead to a new day when he would be present with his body but through his Holy Spirit. In the body of believers or the church, the sincere agreement of two people is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands because Christ’s Holy Spirit is with them. Two or more believers filled with the Holy Spirit will pray according to God’s will, not their own; their requests will be granted.