The Church Law of Christ 2010 LLC Phoenix Winter Services Congregation and Youth Discussion – Feb. 26
A Lesson of The Lord Jesus • All should take heed • Each of us will cause offense • Each of us will be offended • We are taught by Jesus how to take care of one another and help each other remain on the way • It has often been suggested that the Church Law of Christ be used as a sermon text during bigger services
The Church Law of Christ • “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. • “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. • “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican”(Matt. 18:15-17).
“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” (Matt. 18:15).
Forgiveness • How important is forgiveness? • “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”(Matt. 6:14-15). • The Unforgiving Servant had been forgiven a great debt, yet he would not forgive his fellow servant.
Jesus Taught to Forgive • He knew we would need to hear that lesson time and time again. • Forgiveness was so important to Him that He spent His last evening teaching this lesson to His disciples.
Washing Disciples’ Feet • Lesson for Peter • “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me”(John 13:8). • “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet”(John 13:13-14).
“Go and tell him his fault between theeand him alone” (Matt. 18:15). • Is this your first thought or inclination? • Instead, do you want to tell another of the offense? • Do you think, “Let him come to me”? • Do you try to sweep it under the rug?
“The fruit of the Spirit is love”(Gal. 5:22). • “With the woman which was a sinner I would love thee with all my heart”(Handbook of Sacred Acts). • “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same lovethlittle”(Luke 7: 47). • We, like the sinful woman, have been forgiven all of our many sins.
We have reason to sing with the songwriter. “Now my burden of sin is forgiven and my debt has been paid for me. Oh, I thank Thee, dear Jesus, I thank Thee! Oh, I thank Thee, eternally!” (SHZ 348:1)
Love Toward Our Brothers and Sisters • “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John 5:1).
How is the offender approached? • In prayer, and with the love that God has instilled in our hearts, we are able to, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matt.18:15). • The forgiveness is from God and not of us.
With the prayer of the songwriter we approach our brother or sister. “When life’s disappointments come, draw us closer to your Son. When offenses make us grieve, help us Father, to forgive.” (SHZ 510:3)
If the matter is not resolved… • Do I, as the offended one, wash my hands of the matter? • Should I think my part is done? • Should I think it is now up to him to come take care of the matter? • The above are thoughts of the carnal mind.
Jesus yet instructs us according to His love. • “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matt. 18:16). • Jesus has loved our undying soul. He reminds us to love the soul of our brother or sister.
“Then take with thee one or two more”(Matt. 18:16). • Do we start this second step immediately? • Who do we ask to help?
Escorts • In Zion our brothers and sisters love our undying soul above all else. • Include a believing friend who has a sober understanding of the matter. • Often when offenses come it is not one-sided: we want escorts who will also speak in grace and truth. • Consider a friend of our brother or sister.
The Most Important Meeting Participant • “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
Our prayer should be that the Lord Jesus would be present through the Spirit, guiding and leading our discussion.
Matters usually at this point are resolved. • The gospel in these meetings of two or three has, in most cases, been preached to wash away all sin. • Drowned in the sea of grace • forgiven and forgotten
“Tell it unto the church” (Matt.18:17). • Jesus teaches us yet another act of love for a fallen one. • “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican” (Matt.18:17). • In God’s house all gifts are present that are needed.
To your mind does it seem harsh, as in the third step, to consider one as having lost living faith? • “But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican” (Matt.18:17). • Jesus is instructing us to make this last attempt to care for the fallen one in love. • We pray that through the gifts in God’s kingdom sin would be washed away in the blood of Christ. • The Church Law of Christ is not to prove who is right or wrong but to destroy the work of the enemy of souls.
Quick to loose and slow to bind • In the kingdom of God it is taught to be quick to forgive and slow to bind. • The congregation mother, in prayer, tries to care for her own. • There are times when the fallen one no longer hears the voice of the Spirit in the congregation. • Does the act of binding by the congregation remove the faith of the fallen one?
Sin separates man from God. • Unforgiven sin eventually takes away faith and removes one from God’s kingdom. • If the congregation binds a sinner, it is acknowledging the fact that faith no longer dwells in this personand that this one should be considered a heathen man and a publican, an unbeliever.
When one is bound we pray that he would understand the seriousness of his heart’s condition. • I am no longer a child of God. • I no longer have the peace of God, nor will I be greeted with God’s Peace. • I no longer have the hope of eternal life.
We also pray that he would understand that: • the fountain of grace yet flows in Zion • God’s children will be happy to preach the gospel to me. • by believing the gospel I am restored to the pathway to heaven.
Who can Forgive? Who can Bind? • “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). • Can a sinner who is bound be forgiven his unbelief by an individual believer?
An individual can forgive. • Only the congregation can bind. • Also, remember we care for matters as far as the offense has reached. • The gospel has the same effect and the same power whether preached by an individual or the entire congregation. • The power is of the Holy Spirit.
May God protect us and lead us so that we… • always desire to keep faith and a good conscience. • always hold His kingdom as a great treasure and as the pillar and ground of truth. • always hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in God’s house.
How oft shall I forgive him? • “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? • “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18: 21-22)