Matthew 18:15-20 ESV
“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.”
I. TO GO OR NOT TO GO
A. There is no list to tell you when you should go to someone.
B. There is principle though. If a person is dishonoring the name of Jesus or the church or is hurting others, you go to them.
II. WHO WE GO TO (15)
A. We go to our fellow followers of Jesus. We do not go to non-believers.
B. Even if a believer, should be someone with whom we are close.
C. Correction without an established relationship of mutual love will not work. (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:3-11)
III. THE GOAL OF DISCIPLINE
A. It is to help people we love and that love us look more like Jesus.
B. Despite what our culture tells us, where discipline is absent, so is love.
C. Our ultimate motivation in discipline is our love for Jesus and a desire to see His church tell the truth about Him in the way they live.
IV. THE FORMULA (15-17)
A. If possible, keep it between you two. Adding others only increases their shame. If it works, you avoid losing your brother.
B. If they refuse, take common friends to substantiate your claim. Others should be seeing it, too. Including others keeps it from being personal.
C. If they still refuse, bring it before the whole church, in an orderly fashion.
D. Now, we all pursue them like a lost sheep. If they still refuse, we consider them no longer a lost sheep but a lost person.
V. CAN THE CHURCH DO THAT (18-20)
A. Jesus authorizes the church with His authority in the world.
B. The local church functions like an embassy of Heaven. We just examine the evidence.
C. If we remove someone, it must be because God revealed we should & it must be the will of the majority of the church.
D. As tough as removing someone is, Jesus promises that if that was His will, He is with us as we do His work.