Why can’t we all just get along? Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with everyone…family, work, marriage, business dealings?
Ever since the Evil One’s fall, there has been conflict. Conflict is inevitable.
At the heart of every conflict is someone’s desire to be more important than someone else. Whenever we allow conflict to go unresolved, we are playing into the hands of God’s enemy.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus left this lesson toward the end of his ministry. It was one thing Jesus didn’t want the disciples to miss.
Reading it in context, Jesus maybe referring to the “Who is the greatest” conversation, which conversation would naturally lead to sin & offenses. He says, “Become like children; do not offend one of these little children.”
So what do we do when an offense has occurred?
I was in a church one time and someone wanted to leave the church b/c someone else had offended them. I said, “Let me go get the person.” They said, “Really.” They couldn’t believe that I would confront someone about an offense. That is what we are called to do in this passage.
If a believer sins against you
Image here is of . . .
Archery: Misses the mark
Trespass: wanders from the path
Notice what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t say confront someone if what they do annoys you.
No instructions for annoyances of others. Not commanded to confront about those things b/c we can usually make allowance for those things.
We often wait for someone to come ask our forgiveness. Jesus says do not wait; you could be waiting a lifetime.
We go, but in the wrong direction! Instead of going to the person, we go tell someone else about the problem. That is called gossip.
He says go privately, but we go public with it by telling people who are not part of the problem or part of the solution.
And point out the fault
“Expose it to the light”
Illustration: My wife’s jacket had holds under the armpit, but we didn’t notice it until it was exposed to the light.
Most people want to know if they are wrong.
Correct a wise man and he will be wiser.
Some will be embarrassed, angry, or deny the offense, but it is our job to tell them.
If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
The word in the Greek is acoustic: “if there are good acoustics” then the person will repent. If they are listening to you that is.
Correcting someone is always done for their own good.
What to do if the person will not hear us? Most of us say, “oh well, that’s that; I did my part.”
v. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
Why bring other people into this?
Because you might have a blind spot.
Others help confirm that the person is in sin.
Notice Jesus says to bring two. Best friends usually side with best friends. Bring people who are not biased.
After bring two or more, now what?
v. 17 If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won’t accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Treat them as someone outside the faith b/c their actions indicate so (corrupt tax collector: cultural term meant a publican/Roman tax man).
A pagan is someone with whom you would not fellowship/hang with.
Jesus does not mark this person hopeless.
This correction will hopefully turn the person back to God. If not then we know the person will not trespass us again. We will not enable him to live in sin.
When we don’t confront people, we are enabling them.
18 I tell you this: Whatever you prohibit on earth is prohibited in heaven, and whatever you allow on earth is allowed in heaven.
What we prohibit here is prohibited in heaven.
What we allow here is allowed in heaven.
This is why Jesus’ model prayer is so important ("on earth as it is in heaven.")
Very serious thought: we are Christ’s representatives and have immense authority and responsibility.
This must be done by the Word
And done by the church.
What we as a church loose is loosed. There is hope for the unrepentant sinner to be loosed some day.
Jesus extends the church’s prayer power from matters of disciple to anything the church asks about.
There is only one thing missing in Jesus confrontation model. What is it?
By the word, by the church, by prayer.
19 "I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you."
Agree: soom-fo-neh’o or symphony
Playing notes that fit together on beat. Symphonic prayer. Stereo prayer. Surround sound.
Agree: making a deal or a bargain. Made a deal that we will prayer for each other.
Hard to hate your prayer partner; hard to be unforgiving to someone you pray for.
When was the last time you prayed for someone with whom you have had a conflict?
What might prayer do for you in this situation?
20 "For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them."
How could God be with us in this situation? We are basically throwing someone out of the church.
Because He loves unity. It was one of the last things He prayed for the disciples.
We have confronted conflict; we have done our part and we leave the rest to God.
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone F95 who sins against me? Seven times?" 22 "No!" Jesus replied, "seventy times seven!
Forgiving does not mean enabling
Domestic violence can be forgiven but that doesn’t mean you put yourself in the place to be abused.
Drug addicts can be forgiven but that doesn’t mean you are going to loan them money every week for their habit.
Pastor Vinnie Cappetta