Sunday, July 24, 2011

Matthew 18:15-20


Jesus gives explicit instructions for what we are to do among family members in the family of Jesus. The normal approach is to sit in judgment or to gossip about it or to simply ignore it. NOTE the steps.

1) If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. It's so important that you understand that this first step will solve the problem most of the time and the person and relationship are salvaged in the process. HOWEVER, most of the time this first step is so rare.

2) But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. Here, again, this is a great second step. You go to the person alone first, then take another or two brothers or sisters with you if he refuses to hear you.

3) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; THEN, if he refuses to listen to the 2 or 3 of you, then you are instructed to take this person before the church. What is the church? The church or assembly of believers that the person has been connected to. Note that it is assumed that this brother or sister is participating in a fellowship of believers and this fellowship has a built-in accountability factor that will save most family members' lives.

4) and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. THEN, if he refuses the urging of the fellowship around him, you are to let them go-view them as an outsider-as a person who is not in the fellowship any longer.

In addition to the clear steps on what to do, it is interesting to me that these believers in the early church were in fellowship with one another. Please understand that if a believer is not connected to an intimate fellowship, there is little hope for the one another dynamic.