Friday, June 18, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 4) - Matthew 18:18-20

3. When two or three gather in God’s Name He is there among us. Whatever they bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven.

This was a very popular saying in the Pentecostal church that I attended for ten years. I would have heard this quoted hundreds of times and almost always at every prayer meeting. I don’t think it is entirely incorrect to believe that God is among us when we gather in His Name, but it is amazing that, considering the number of times this verse was quoted, I never heard it in its context. It actually appears in Matthew 18:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matthew 18:15-20)

What is the context here? Church discipline! Church discipline is the true Christian’s friend and the false Christian’s reality check. It restores the fallen brother and removes the false convert. God, in His kindness, delays His wrath, giving lost sinners time to repent. In this time when God restrains His wrath (that will come one day) He has given the church the authority to deal with unrepentant sin in the congregation. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 5 that God deals with those in the world. The church deals with those in the church. And sometimes the church casts people out into the world to protect the believers and in the trust that God will now deal with them.

Conclusion 3: Matthew 18:15-20 gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

As this series continues I hope you will see the overarching message from the true meaning of these abused Bible verses.

In Part 2 we learned that:

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In Part 3 we learned that:

The kindness of God is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

In todays post we see that:

Two or more of us gathering in God's Name for the purposes of church discipline gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

Continued on Monday - Part 5: Yes! It's going to be Jeremiah 29:11!

Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

2 comments:

Cameron Buettel said...

The reformers said that if you don't practice church discipline then you are not a church.

glennchristopherson said...

Thanks Cameron for this series.

This particular passage about binding/loosing has the context of allowing/disallowing apparently.
It seems when the church allows sin to not be dealt with, it negatively affects the community in which she is found. The reverse is also true. If that's a correct interpretation what a challenge and privelege for the bride of Christ.Of course a healthy Church is preaching a clear and accurate gospel and praying etc.

Just a thought