DEC 25

Matthew 18:15-20
Memorise Matthew 18:18
“Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:”

Matthew 18:15-20 is a passage that teaches us how to deal with church members who “trespass against thee”. Remember, many mistakes and many enemies are made unnecessarily just because Christians do things “their own way”, and not follow the instructions in the Bible (we must learn to have the “mind of Christ”) – and we will only “grief” the Holy Spirit.

So what should you do with somebody in church who “trespass against thee”? First, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (we don’t want to create unnecessary commotions!). If that doesn’t work, then “take with thee one or two more” (witnesses) for multiple testimony. And if that still doesn’t work, then the whole thing becomes public: “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” i.e. excommunicated.

Then we come to today’s key verse: “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” “Binding” and “loosing” means “allowing” and “disallowing”. This is the responsibility that church leaders have over the spiritual matters of the church members. This does not mean that these leaders have the supreme authority to decide who can go to heaven or not, as the Catholics have wrongly assumed. What this verse refers to is the authority that the leaders have within the church. Having been entrusted with the spiritual oversight of the flock, they have the authority to discipline and censure the members when necessary. This is not a power to be abused, but rather carefully and reverentially applied, always for the spiritual benefit of the members. These various levels of church discipline (admonishment, rebuke, suspension and excommunication) are administered in order that an erring brethren might be brought back to the right relationship with God. Dear teen, will you willingly submit yourselves to the loving leadership of the pastors and elders of your church?

Thought: Is it really love if the leaders do nothing when church members are living in sin?
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the leaders of our church that You will grant them the love for us that they would teach us the truth, and also to be discerning and practise “tough love” when it’s in Thy will.