15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they 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 they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
Jesus has established how we are to deal with brothers or sisters in the body of Christ we know are involved in sin. We begin by going to them individually and bringing it to their attention. When a person becomes off track they can become blinded by the sin they are involved in. Their life style can also begin to negatively impact other members among the body. This is important because young believers can easily be pulled off track.
If they fail to listen when we approach them then we are to bring along one or two witnesses and confront the person once again. If they fail to respond we are then to bring them before the church. This is a practice that is not carried out in many churches today. Many churches fail to use church discipline as it is prescribed in God’s word.
But when the lifestyle of a member in the body of Christ begins to negatively impact the greater body of believers it is time to take action. Everything should be done in love and through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Nothing should ever be done in a self-righteous spirit because that only comes from our sinful nature. The goal of all church discipline is that the individual will repent of the sin they are involved in and return to a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. The most important thing is the health of the greater body of Christ. We are family and we are called to love one another, pray for one another, and encourage one another. But it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to wickedness and sin.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
The Lord in His word tells us to ask, seek, and knock. This happens in the place of prayer. They speak of continuous action. We are called to continue to pray without ceasing, being led by the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer.
The greatest thing we will face when pressing on in prayer is discouragement. The enemy will lie to us and tell us to focus on our circumstances and tell us that nothing is being impacted by our prayers. But we know that prayer works because time and time again in God’s word the Lord calls us to pray. He has given us example after example of people throughout His word who accomplished mighty things because they were people of prayer.
In the book of James chapter five we are given the example of the prophet Elijah who continued in prayer that it would not rain and it didn’t. See when God desires to move on the earth He moves on the heart of one of His children. He reveals His heart unto them and gives them the strength and guidance each day to continue in prayer.
We must always remember that with the Lord nothing is impossible. No matter how great the thing we are praying for that we must press on and continue in prayer. We must grab hold and not let go. We must be relentless like a lion who stalks their pray. We will never know the full impact of our prayers until we get to heaven some day with the Lord. But while we have time upon this earth may we be faithful people of prayer who simply ask, seek, and knock.
3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. Matthew 6:3-4
We are not called to broadcast what we do for God’s kingdom to the rest of the world. There are some in the body of Christ who simply do things for the approval of man. There are some who are simply driven by the praise of man. But we need to ask ourselves if no one ever saw what I did and found out what I did for God’s kingdom would I continue to serve the Lord?
When we understand the depths of Jesus love for us and especially the price He paid so that we could be free we will serve Him with all of our heart. Our true rewards await us someday when we live in His kingdom forever. All of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and will be rewarded based upon our faithfulness upon the earth with the talents and gifts that we have been given.
Our salvation and our entrance into God’s kingdom is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. But the rewards we receive will be based upon our faithfulness now upon the earth. For some it will be a joyous occasion in which their reward will be great and they will be placed over many cities. But for some it will be a very tearful time when all of what they did was burned up because it was done in selfishness and not for the honor of the Lord.
There are some who are on the earth now who are worship as Christian celebrities. People worship different pastors who have mega ministries but fail to understand that some of these pastors do not hold to the truth of God’s word. Success in ministry should never be based upon the size of the ministry. It should simply be based upon the truth that is preached and if the word that is preached is sound doctrine.
God’s word is the standard of truth for the body of Christ. Anyone who fails to preach the truth of God’s word is not a true representative of Jesus Christ. May we do all things for the glory of the name of Jesus. May we never be driven by the praise of man or how many likes or follows we will receive on facebook. There is nothing more foolish than those who clamor for people to comment Amen or like their post. Everything we do should simply be done to honor Jesus who has given His life for us and who one day we will spend all eternity with.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Matthew 18:15 KJV
When we are wronged or offended by our brother or sister in Christ then we are called to go to the person alone and speak to them about it. We are not called to gossip and allow bitterness to set in. What the enemy desires to do is cause division and for far too long in the body of Christ we have allowed him to have many footholds because we have allowed ourselves to become bitter and become offended. We must do all things in love and always be willing to forgive. Often times this is much easier said than done because when we have been injured or offended the easy thing to do is strike back at the person who has done it. But that is not how the Lord would call us to respond and it is not how the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us. Let us take every opportunity to keep unity and agreement in the body of Christ. Let us guard our hearts daily against the wiles and schemes of the enemy. The Lord is calling His bride home soon. May we be faithful and be prepared when He does.
“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””Matthew 20:20-28 NASB
James and John mother set off a fire storm asking that James and John would sit on the right and left side of Jesus in His kingdom. Those who would sit closest to Him in His kingdom would carry the greatest authority. This angered the disciples because in their own minds all of them should be the greatest.
But there was much the disciples still had to learn for greatness in God’s kingdom is not about exerting authority as the world does. Greatness in God’s kingdom has to do with our willingness to serve.
All of us will stand before Jesus some day and those who have given their hearts to Him will be judged based on our faithfulness while here on the earth. Salvation is a free gift based upon faith alone. But the rewards we shall receive once in Jesus kingdom and our position in His kingdom is based upon our faithfulness with the gifts and talents He has given us.
Every work will be examined. There are some who claim to be doing things in the name of Jesus but truthfully they use the name of Jesus to make a name for themselves. But there are others who do all things with a pure heart who will receive incredible honor in God’s kingdom.
It is vital that we abide in Him and seek Him daily in prayer and the study of God’s word. As we abide the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us. Everything we accomplish on the earth is through the power of the Holy Spirit alone. There is no room for arrogance because in ourselves we are nothing. But in Him all things are possible.
As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”
Matthew 20: 17-19 NASB
When Jesus came to this earth He knew the price He would have to pay at Calvary. He told the disciples long before He ever went to the cross that He was not only going to die at Calvary, but He would rise again on the third day. When Jesus did die upon the cross the disciples thought all had been lost, but it was the greatest sacrifice that Jesus could make for us. He was without sin and took our sin upon Himself and the punishment that we deserved. He rose on the third day and all today who place their faith and trust in Him are free because He has overcome. Let us simply fix our eyes upon Jesus each day. He will bring restoration and healing into every area of our lives.