Summary: Christ’s teaching concerning reconciliation within the church.
What to Do When You’ve Been Done Wrong
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Mat 18:15-17)
Intro: (A word about the importance of reconciliation)
Story of Jill and Jane. After months without seeing one another they are together in church. Jill calls out to Jane after service and Jane leaves the church with her nose in the air. Jill is offended. It turns out that Jane had a nose-bleed.
Suppose someone comes to you and reveals that they have become victims of gossip. The one spreading lies is a Christian friend of theirs. What is your advice?
I. Show Your Brother His Fault
a. For his sake
i. Sin damages relationship with God
1. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18)
ii. The Law of Reaping and Sowing
b. For the church’s sake
i. Sin damages the Body
1. Rom. 12:5 – we are members of one another (1 Cor. 12:26,27)
2. Sin is a cancer – best caught early
c. For the world’s sake
i. Christ prayed for our unity so that men would believe that He had come from God. (John 17:21)
d. For your sake
i. Resentment will constrict the flow of love
ii. Grudges are prohibited
1. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:18)
iii. To prevent our perceptions from being soured by bitterness
1. A girl who received a book from a young man, read it and said, "What a tiresome book!" The young man said, "Did you notice who wrote it?" She looked at the front page and saw that her lover was the author. She began to read it again, and at the end she said, "I never read a greater book."
2. He may be unaware of his offence
iv. Jesus said to do it!
e. How do I confront?
i. One of three options
1. Unloving confrontation
2. No confrontation
3. Loving confrontation
ii. With humility and meekness
1. Is there a beam in your eye?
a. Could there be more beams besides the ones you took out?
2. Did you provoke your brother to sin by your own sin?
It happened during a company inspection at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.
The inspection was being conducted by a full colonel. Everything had gone smoothly until the officer came to a certain soldier, looked him up and down and snapped, "Button that pocket, trooper!"
The soldier, more than a little rattled, stammered, "Right now, sir?"
"Of course, right now!" was the reply.
Whereupon the soldier very carefully reached out and buttoned the flap on the colonel’s shirt pocket.
3. Could it not soon be your brother’s turn to confront YOU?
a. Just as bound to show our brother OUR fault if they have something against US (Mat. 5:23,24)
b. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. (Pro 15:32)
iii. After prayer and planning
1. Not hastily, thoughtlessly or angrily
iv. Ready to believe the best!
1. Not accusatory but questioning
II. Share the Burden of Confrontation
a. Why witnesses?
i. Not immediately involved
ii. Can confirm the legitimacy of your confrontation
iii. May NOT confirm the validity of your complaint
1. Time for YOU to repent
iv. Keeps your brother from misrepresenting the case
v. Someone to take the matter to the church
b. What if they still won’t listen?
i. Most will
ii. If not…bring the matter to the church’s attention
c. Why the whole church?
i. This brother is in rebellion
ii. Every effort must be made to restore him
1. If witnesses aren’t incentive enough, certainly the entire assembly ought to be!
iii. Every effort must be made to protect the church
1. If the church is allowed to witness his rebellion first-hand they are less likely to be deceived by him (they’ll know he’s not an angel of light nor an innocent victim)
2. A little yeast…
3. You can’t hang around a skunk and smell like a rose!
III. Shun Obstinate Sinners
a. Treat ‘em like a sinner – hate ‘em!?
ii. Seek to win them to Christ
b. There is a special treatment given to Christians