Summary: This sermon addresses the way in which Christians are called on to look after their fellow brothers and sisters in the faith.
September 4, 2005 Matthew 18:15-20
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he 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 he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
You are a Part of the Brotherhood
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I. What is a “brother”?
When I refer to you as “brothers” and “sisters,” how does that sound? Calling fellow believers “brothers” and “sisters” was a common way of talking back in the New Testament. “Brothers” is found 223 times in the NIV New Testament - mostly referring to fellow believers.
Luke 8:19-21 “Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’”
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Jesus and the apostles referred to fellow believers as brothers and sisters in order to denote a closeness - a special bond - unlike any other in the world.
The only way I can describe it is from my own experience with my siblings. They were four, six, and seven years older than me. I wasn’t real close in age to any of them. Yet in growing up with them for at least ten years, I got to know them rather well. We ate together, slept in the same house, sometimes the same bedroom, got in trouble together, and fought together. We had no choice because we had to live together as blood. When that happens, you learn what each others weaknesses and strengths are. You have to put up with a lot of garbage from one another, like it or not, because you know what their quirks and deficiencies are from living with them. Even though we weren’t the tightest of families, I still feel a necessity to talk to or write my siblings at least two times a year, some more than others. When I call we’ll talk religion, sports, family, anything to try and keep in touch. Why do I feel the need to do this? Because even though we fought with each other and annoyed one another, we
are still family.
As I describe this relationship with my siblings, I’m sure many of you are drawn to think about your own situation and your own relationship with your family. It might be better, it might be worse. You might hardly talk at all with your brothers and sisters, or you might not have any at all. No matter what your home life was or is like, God wants you to have a close and a connected bond with one another in the faith. That’s why in today’s text he once again mentions “your brother.” They say that the two topics you shouldn’t talk about among friends are religion and politics, because they can cause enemies real quick. But if we can talk religion together without disagreeing, this should make our relationship tighter than almost any other, like a brother or sister in the family.
II. What is a “brother” called on to do?
As you look around this church, do you consider these members to be your brothers and sisters? Whenever a new member joins our church, I ask you the question - Do you agree to minister to this fellow member with your concern, support, prayers and friendship? If so, answer: YES, IN THE BOND OF CHRISTIAN LOVE. This fellowship that God wants for us to have as Christians is supposed to be a stronger bond than Elmer’s or super glue. It is supposed to mean that we can talk “Jesus” together. It is supposed to mean that we look out after one another. It is also supposed to mean that we can be lovingly honest with one another without parting company.