Today we continue our mini-series on the fourth lesson in humility wherein our Good Shepherd instructs us on how--practically speaking--He leaves the 99 to seek the one wandering lost sheep in His fold.
Have you ever been in sin and sought by the Savior?
Have you ever been one whom the Lord used to pursue the lost sheep in His family?
How does our Good Shepherd guard His people from the destructive power of sin? In such a situation, what does His love look like?
If you're able, please turn with us in your copy of God's Word to Matthew's account of God's Gospel, chapter 18, verses 15-20.
15 “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.16 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.17 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.18 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.19 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.20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
life application questions
blue = leaders only
growing in truth: Read Matthew 18.15-20
Have you ever tried to tell someone that they have sinned against you? Yes or No
Did they listen? Yes or No. Don’t let the conversation go on about circumstances and personal issues. Restored or not? The goal is restoration of brothers/sisters in Jesus. Stay focused on that.
If step one doesn’t result in restoration. What is step two? talk to the unrepentant again but this time. “...... take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Matthew 18:16 .
What is the point of step two? You are moving beyond the private “you have sinned against me.” by involving others. .....“Since my personal approach didn't result in repentance I will try another way. These saints, I brought with me, will be witness as to my charge and your response.” Failure to repent at this point looks like a hardened heart.
What is step three? Tell the church.
Do you know of any case where a church has been notified that member, has sinned against a brother/sister? That steps one and two had been followed and so the leadership told the church in hope that the body of Christ might encourage repentance?
Keep the conversation focused on the restoration of the sinner. Did they ultimately return? Why or why not?
What is step four?
Treat them as a gentile and tax collector.
What does that mean? Do you avoid them entirely? Choosing another check out line at HEB when you see them? Ignore them at the local burger place? 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Discuss.
Remember the goal is protecting the church and ultimately restoration.
How is the church damaged by unrepentant sinners?
If a church does not discipline the sinner then it effectively allowing/endorsing the sin. Remember? “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” Leviticus 20:26. The command to be holy because I am holy appears discounted and, so calls in to question the church’s obidence to the word of God.
Spiritually how dangerous would it be to your soul to be a member of a church that with a wink and a nod allowed sin to fester. Say, the leaders/sheep know about an infidelity but look the other way? Discuss.
sharing life together: Is there someone in our church family that you have sinned against? Not looking for names or personal stories that would cause gossip but is there a log in your eye?
Is there someone in our church that has sinned against you? That you have talked with personally and now you need witnesses to go with you? Again no names. Just encourage them to go to the next step with their witnesses.
Have you done steps one and two and now think its time for the church to get involved? This is a yes or no question. If yes, tell them to talk with an elder
living on mission: We are part of a larger christian community. If in our community another church exercises discipline and that person then shows up at our church. What should you do? Discuss. remember the goal is restoration.