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Lesson # Matt. 18:15
Study Material - Matt. 18:15
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
15 Moreover [de] if [ean] thy [sou] brother [adelphos] shall trespass [hamartano] against [eis] thee [se] , go [hupago] and [kai] tell [elegcho] him [autos] his fault [elegcho] between [metaxu] thee [sou] and [kai] him [autos] alone [monos] : if [ean] he shall hear [akouo] thee [sou] , thou hast gained [kerdaino] thy [sou] brother [adelphos] . KJV-Interlinear
15 'And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. NAS
These next few verses are some of the most abused and misapplied verses in the Bible. They do not allow judging. They do not allow gossip. They do not set up the believer as some sort of sin policeman. Yet many will read these verses and suddenly claim the right to put others in their place. Wrong.
First these verses bring several Biblical principles together, 'Judge not that you not be judged,' 'Love thy neighbor,' 'If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged,' as well as several other principles of life, 'Do unto others,' 'Live and let live,' and so forth.
Sin here means to 'miss the mark.' The mark is a position in which the standard of God give us a reference. Without Gods word we would have no perfect standard with which to measure or gauge our lives. All measures would come from human standards and those standards change from generation to generation, from society to society, from country to country. We should be able to see that the standards of life in Iraq, the USA, France, Afghanistan, all are clearly not from the same book. At least I hope that the differences are obvious.
When Christians miss the mark in their daily life then they cause offense to other believers. Remember that all sin is against God. Any offense against a believer is against God. God has set up a standard and policy for dealing with sin. We need to review this briefly before we get into the 'believer reproving believer' portion of this verse. And you probably do not have a clue as to what 'reprove' is really referring to. But first things first.
Our spiritual life is a personal relationship with God. We enter into that relationship by means of faith in Christ. Once we have entered into our relationship with God, then we are given a set of standards with which to live by. Broadly we call this Bible doctrine. During the course of our life we face living a life based on earthly standards (from the sin nature - out of fellowship) vs. living a life based on Gods standards (the spiritual life - in fellowship).
We float between the two, if we know some doctrine and understand the purpose of confession, or we live our life outside of fellowship if we are ignorant in Bible doctrine. The personal aspect of our life with God, is that God gives us a chance to evaluate our own life, confess our sins to Him, and to get ourselves back into fellowship without further discipline from Him (that's a good thing). If we persist in being out of fellowship then we face continued discipline from God in our life (that's not a good thing).
In life we face problems from four general categories or sources of trouble - our own thoughts, other people, systems of bureaucracy, and disasters of various kinds. The first two areas are in view here.
We will inevitably bump into people throughout our life, and that means trouble will raise its head sooner or later. What do we do? The first response to trouble is or can be, reaction in some sinful way - resentment, hate, gossip, revenge, vindictiveness, being upset, argument, maybe even violence and so forth. But here we are told to place the problem under the control of Gods policy. What is Gods policy? First we resolve the issue with God. This is a personal issue in which we stabilize our lives, confess, get into fellowship and thus maintain our 'cool' so to speak.
When a sin from another persists against you, then you have the right to 'reprove' that other person. What is 'reprove?' To bring to light, to open up a dialogue, to call to attention. You do this from a position of fellowship, not from a position of pedestal preaching down on them. You attempt to work out your differences. If this works, then you have contributed to the stability of two parties - you and the other person - and the problem goes away. Any further sins are cut off and there are no further fellowship issues in your life, and perhaps the other person (if they understand the confession aspects of the spiritual life). Note too, that you are not lecturing the other person on the principles of Bible doctrine. You are only discussing the specific offense they caused against you or which has arisen between the two of you.
Note that you do not have the right to 'observe' others, randomly or otherwise, and evaluate their life, and thus point out the error of their ways. If a person makes an offensive pass at you and you do not like it, then you can point that out to them. If however, you do not happen to like the life style of another person, then that is really none of your concern. The latter is between them and God, not between you and them.
Verse 15 is a one on one, private matter. It is not for public opinion or comment. To rally others into the problem would be a violation of this principle and would just further promote even more sins from even more people as they 'choose' sides. Escalating a problem in the Christian life generally never solves it, but only makes matters worse.
By the way, war is not a part of this principle of the Christian life which we have just studied, but is very much a part of the principles concerning freedom through military victory. Freedom is never free, but comes with a price. The obligation to help others cannot be transferred onto others, that too has its price.
So, as far as Iraq goes, you should be praying for our Allied soldiers, that our arrows fly straight and true, and that the arrows of the enemy continually miss their mark. That the war will be short and that our victory will be decisive and certain.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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