Summary: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between him and you alone. If he hears you have gained your brother” Matthew 18:15.
Theme: Fraternal Correction
Text: Ezek. 33:7-9; Rom. 13:8-10; Matt. 18:15-20
The best news is good news but we very rarely hear any good news these days. Instead we hear about cheating, stealing, bribery and corruption, which have become a way of life. We hear about pornography, rape and other immoral sexual acts, which have become very common. We often hear about fraud and armed robbery and have become used to it. And now we are hearing about the practice of occultism on our university campus. The sad aspect is that such news does not seem to have any more effect on us. We have become so accustomed to these everyday acts that we no longer care. Instead we have become content to live for ourselves and not to worry about anyone else. We have conveniently forgotten what history has taught and continues to teach us that we do not have to be involved in a conflict to be affected by that conflict. Indeed conflict is the cause of so much of the pain that exists or has existed in the world. The reasons behind most conflicts are twofold. Another person has something we want and will not give it to us or we have been offended and must do something about it. Conflict takes up most of our time and energy and keeps us from doing what is really needed. A certain level of behaviour, however, is expected of Christians who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ but there is no Church at the moment that is free from conflict. But conflict can also lead to a greater reliance on the Holy Spirit. In dealing with bothers and sisters, friends and relatives in conflict situations fraternal correction under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can preserve their relationship with the Lord and with one another.
Pointing out sin is the responsibility of all Christians because God has made us watchmen. Very few people in the world today would consider themselves accountable and responsible for anything that happens in the society but the truth is that we are. Why do we consider ourselves accountable and responsible to what happens at our workplace and not in the society? Is it because we are paid for the work we do? Regardless of what we think God will hold us accountable when we know but fail to warn those who are sinning. As Christians we have a responsibility to take a stand against sin. Our primary responsibility to unbelievers around us is to see sin in their lives as an opportunity to share the gospel. We cannot help them deal effectively with sin if we do not share the gospel with them. Trying to correct each sin we see is like trying to make a dirty rag clean by pointing out the dirt instead of washing the rag. When dealing with our brothers and sisters who have already heard the gospel, we must confront them with their sin in such a way that they will repent and turn away from sin.
In olden times, cities were walled and watchmen were placed on towers to warn of any approaching danger. Especially at night while the whole city slept in peace the watchmen would stay awake and keep watch. The life of the whole city was in their hands. They were the first to know if there was any danger or if an enemy was approaching. The watchmen had to be alert, attentive, trustworthy, dependable, and focused. His main job was to warn the people of the enemy so that the people could defend themselves. What if the watchmen fell asleep or did not raise the alarm because he was afraid or scarred that he would be laughed at and embarrassed? Would you hold them responsible for the deaths of those they did not warn? As watchmen we are accountable to God if we do not warn the sinner of impending destruction. We will be held responsible if we make no effort to save a sinner or to restore a fallen brother or sister. Our individual responsibility also extends to our own walk with the Lord. Our Christian walk must measure up to Biblical standards because we cannot attempt to remove the speck in our brother’s eye with a plank in our own eye.
We cannot warn against sexual sins or any other sin when we ourselves are guilty of those sins. We must be concerned about sin and the harm it does to the sinner. Unfortunately many people who should be watchmen are only watching out for themselves and many people are dying in their sin. Are we telling people about Jesus? Are we sitting comfortably in our Churches and homes unconcerned about the many people who do not know the true way to peace and happiness? Are we too busy with our private lives to worry about anyone else - too busy with our own activities and pleasures to see the hurting and the lost?