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Christlike Relationships

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  • 1. Matthew 18:15-17
  • 2.  If we are to have “Christlike Relationships,” we must handle conflict according to Jesus‟ teachings. ◦ In this morning‟s text, Jesus tells the disciples how to handle conflict. ◦ Matthew 18:15-17.
  • 3.  These verses are part of a discourse where Jesus teaches the Twelve how to deal with Christian sinners. ◦ But, the Lord first must deal with an argument between them.  “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, „Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?‟” (18:1, ESV).  “They had argued with one another about who was the greatest” (Mk 9:34, ESV). ◦ Jesus then announces a woe upon the one through whom temptation comes (vv 7-9). ◦ The Parable of the Lost Sheep (vv 10-14).  Jesus then makes this teaching practical.
  • 4. A Reserved Relationship A Ratified Relationship A Removed Relationship WHAT DOES A “CHRISTLIKE RELATIONSHIP” LOOK LIKE?
  • 5. v 15 A RESERVED RELATIONSHIP
  • 6.  “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” (v 15, ESV).
  • 7.  This passage speaks of committing a sin against a fellow Christian. ◦ Jesus doesn‟t specify what the sin is.  That‟s important, for this can be any sin.  This process can be applied to all sins that Christians commit against each other.
  • 8.  This passage speaks of committing a sin against a fellow Christian. ◦ Jesus doesn‟t specify what the sin is. ◦ We have a solemn obligation not to sin against our brethren.  “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt 18:6, ESV).  “Sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1 Cor 8:12-13, ESV).  But, the truth is: As flawed human beings, we are going to sin against one another.
  • 9.  Jesus declares this is a sin committed “against you.” ◦ It‟s not a sin against your neighbor or your family, etc. ◦ Rather, it is a sin against you.
  • 10.  Whatever the sin, Jesus calls for an approach wrapped in humility.  He refers to the sinner as a “brother.” ◦ One party is not superior to the other. ◦ As brethren, love is to permeate the relationship.  “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (1 Jn 2:10, ESV).  “This is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 Jn 3:11, ESV).
  • 11.  This humble approach requires that I go to my brother alone. ◦ A Jewish teacher from the time of Jesus taught that publicly shaming a brother – even if he was in error – would keep one from the life to come. ◦ Obviously, Jesus doesn‟t have such a view in mind.  But, why does he say to go alone?
  • 12.  The goal of this exercise is to bring reconciliation to believers. ◦ “If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15, ESV). ◦ If I know you‟ve been to everyone but me reconciliation is going to be much more difficult.
  • 13.  If reconciliation is my aim, I‟ll seek not to embarrass my brother.  Christian love seeks to keep one‟s wrongdoing as private as possible. ◦ “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Prov 17:9, ESV). ◦ “Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another‟s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end” (Prov 25:9-10, ESV). ◦ “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8, ESV).
  • 14. Shall we be involved in the “gospel work” of forgiveness? “MUCKRAKING IS NOT GOSPEL WORK. WITCH-HUNTING IS NOT GOSPEL WORK. SHAMING THE OUTCAST IS NOT GOSPEL WORK. FORGIVING SIN IS GOSPEL WORK.”
  • 15. v 16 A RATIFIED RELATIONSHIP
  • 16.  “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” (Matt 18:16, ESV).
  • 17.  Not everyone will be moved to repentance by being shown his sin. ◦ In that case, we are to ratify the relationship by bringing one or two witnesses.  “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deut 19:15, ESV).  “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19, ESV).
  • 18. WHY DOES THE LORD MAKE PROVISION FOR WITNESSES?
  • 19.  Having witnesses establishes the truthfulness of the claims when the matter is brought before the church.  These witnesses also serve to convict the erring brother. ◦ “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (v 17, ESV). ◦ It‟s much more difficult to ignore the words of many instead of just the words of one.
  • 20.  These witnesses serve to demonstrate the love of the Christian community. ◦ “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12, ESV). ◦ “This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him” (1 Jn 3:23-24, ESV).
  • 21. IF WE TRULY LOVE OUR BRETHREN, WE WILL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO KEEP THEM FROM SIN!
  • 22. v 17 A REMOVED RELATIONSHIP
  • 23.  “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” (v 17, ESV).
  • 24.  The entire point of this passage is the reconciliation of the erring brother. ◦ That becomes obvious as Jesus speaks of the brother‟s refusal to hear the church.  The church steps in to offer counsel.  God intends the church to help her members move closer to heaven.  “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another‟s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:1-2, ESV).  “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called „today,‟ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13, ESV). ◦ As the church becomes aware of the situation, she seeks to help the erring brother become more & more like Jesus.
  • 25.  There is no guarantee that the erring brother will repent. ◦ In such a case, he is to become as a Gentile and a tax collector. ◦ Both Gentiles & tax collectors were excluded from the Jewish synagogue. ◦ Thus, Jesus is calling for “A Removed Relationship” where the church severs ties with the erring brother.
  • 26. THIS DISCIPLINE SERVES TWO PURPOSES.
  • 27.  One: This discipline keeps sin from spreading in the church. ◦ “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Cor 5:6, ESV). ◦ If the church does nothing with erring brethren, others in the church may fall into sin.
  • 28.  Two: This discipline seeks to bring the erring brother back to Jesus. ◦ “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:5, ESV). ◦ “For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him” (2 Cor 2:6-8, ESV).
  • 29. Do you need to repent this morning? WHEN APPLIED AS JESUS TAUGHT, DISCIPLINE WORKS IN HONEST HEARTS.

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