Saturday, February 19, 2022
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:
- Christians, not unbelievers.
- Sins committed against YOU, not others.
- 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.