Tuesday, March 15, 2011, Part 1
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him’ ” (Luke 17:3). “Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that, by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17).
IDEA: We are to go about the ministry of rebuke with thought and care.
PURPOSE: Listeners will understand how to rebuke another Christian for evident sin.
Imagine that you have come across someone who has sinned, or is sinning, and seems to be indifferent to what they are doing. What is our responsibility to that person if we are both Christians?
Luke 17:3 tells us we are to “rebuke” him. Matthew 18:15-17 tells us the procedure we are to follow.
STEP 1: We go to the other person alone in order to restore him.
The purpose is “to win him.” What does that mean?
What other purposes might we have that are not legitimate?
We might want to demand an apology.
If it is serious enough for you to be concerned, then it is serious enough for you to confront. But we must go in the right spirit: to win him, to restore him.
You are to do it in the same spirit that a shepherd has who goes out to rescue a lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14).
He doesn’t seek it in order to kick it in the stomach. He wants to restore it to the flock.
In Galatians 6:1 we are instructed that we should go “in a spirit of meekness,” not self-righteously, not harshly, not with condemnation. We are aware of our own vulnerability.
We go to that individual and say, “The Scriptures say that what you are doing is wrong. It is sin. What do you think about it? You read the Bible. What does it say?”
We try to lay hold on the individual’s conscience and restore him in a spirit of repentance.
This instruction is addressed to all Christians—not merely to Christian leaders. It should be the practice of a healthy, caring congregation.
If the sinning Christian repents, then you are to forgive him.
The matter is settled. No further action is to be taken. No one else is to know about it, and we are not to talk about it to anyone else. It is “just between the two of you.”