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.
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.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV
In our pursuit of Jesus Christ we are not called to be lukewarm and half-hearted. We live in an age and generation in which many treat their relationship with God merely as a hobby. They attend church on Sunday and go through all the religious exercises but their hearts are far from Him. We would do well to heed the message the Lord gave the apostle John to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22).
Nothing is hidden from the Lord and many time people believe their lives are untouchable by the hand of Almighty God. People live their lives as if they are their own God and are not responsible for their actions. But the truth is that God is the creator of Heaven and Earth and His Son is Jesus Christ. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He shall return very soon to establish His kingdom upon the earth and rule the earth with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:11-16).
We are not only called to love the Lord with all our heart, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to love others with the love of Jesus. Jesus demonstrated His love for us through the cross and His sacrifice. He willingly laid down His life for those who hated and rejected Him. We live in a world that becomes more anti Christian by the day. More and more Christians are dying for the faith on a daily basis and we are simply called to love. In our sinful nature we may want to lash out in anger, pick up a sword and fight. But Jesus has called us to love and pray for those who persecute us and stand against us.
People who are without Christ are simply lost sheep without a shepherd. They are blinded by the lies of the enemy and as believers in Jesus Christ we are simply called to reach them with the truth. Daily we have interactions with people and as the Holy Spirit leads we must be obedient to share the truth. This is not accomplished in our own strength or power but is accomplished alone through the power and might of the Holy Spirit. Let us be faithful and obedient to do all that the Lord has called us to do. We demonstrate our love for the Lord through simply living in obedience to His commands.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27.
To follow Jesus Christ means that we are willing to lay down our lives. Now this doesn’t mean that we are all going to end up being martyrs. There are those who are losing their physical lives for the name of Jesus and we must pray and intercede for them daily. But to lay down our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ means that we are laying down our will and making God’s will the driving force of our lives.
Jesus called us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. This world and its ways are in opposition to the will and kingdom of God. As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be in the world but not of the world. Our lives should not reflect the desires of the world or be driven by the lust of the sinful nature. As believers in Jesus Christ we should be led by the Holy Spirit in all things. This only comes as we spend time alone with the Lord each day in His presence through prayer and the study of God’s word. As we read and meditate upon God’s word our lives are transformed from the inside out by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is returning soon for His bride and all those who diligently prepare through developing deep intimacy with the Lord will be ready when the trumpet sounds. All around us we see the signs that Jesus spoke of that would mark His soon return. Let us simply seek Him with our whole heart and be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of His kingdom and His glory. When we give our hearts to Jesus Christ our lives are no longer our own.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14
The road that is broad and wide and is based upon the ways of the world is the road that leads to destruction. The road that is narrow and that leads to life is only found through Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father except through me. To follow Jesus Christ is to turn our backs on the ways of the world and to embrace God’s kingdom with our whole heart. As we seek after Jesus we will be rejected in this world and the things that we desire will be contrary to the desires of the things of the world. God impacts this world through the lives of those who have placed their faith and trust in Him. Let us simply pursue Him with our whole heart and simply become a diligent and serious disciple of His word. As we study God’s word we are transformed from the inside out. We must simply ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom in all things.
“So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets.
Matthew 7:12 AMP
We are called to treat others as we desire them to treat us. The foundation of this is simply love. For if we simply love others as Christ first loved us we will never go wrong. When we examine the law and the writings of the prophets, what Jesus is referring to is the entirety of the Old Testament.
Jesus was asked during His earthly ministry what was the greatest commandment and our Lord responded by saying that the first was the love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is to love thy neighbor as ourselves. It is clear from scripture how we are to treat others.
Jesus said that people would know His disciples by their love. It is the love of Christ within our hearts that sets us apart from those in the world. The love of Jesus cannot be counterfeited and it cannot be duplicated. The one word that truly describes who Jesus is is love. For the love of God is unconditional and eternal and when we understand God’s love for us we will simply desire to impact every person we see with God’s love.