Monday 3 September, 2018

Matthew 18:15-20

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

This is an interesting passage of scripture that covers how we are to handle sin within the church.  It basically goes through the process of firstly bringing up the matter privately with the person who has sinned then if this fails bring in another believer as a witness and if this still fails to achieve reconciliation then the matter is raised with the church.  Sin is to not to be taken lightly as it has ramifications beyond those directly involved.  There is accountability for sin yet it is to be done in love and with the aim of maintaining unity between believers.  The final verses encourage believers to take these areas of sin to God in prayer.  He has promised to be there alongside us when we raise these matters of sin to him.

My first read of this passage and I thought to myself this is quite confronting.  It is a reminder of the seriousness of sin and that it simply can’t be overlooked.  It’s challenging for sure.  Hand on heart who wants to go and confront someone?  What I am encouraged by is that Jesus encourages us to pray about these things and to do it together.  We are not left on our own to try and work these things out.  God promises to be there with us in these moments.  His grace and wisdom are there, the Holy Spirit is there softening hearts and helping us love and forgive one another.  This gives us great assurance.

Dear Lord, thank you for your promise to be there when we come together in prayer.  Help us to have courage in the area of raising sin and offence with one another and to bring these matters before you.  Help us to represent Jesus well and live in unity with other believers.  Amen.

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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