Read Matthew 18:15-20
15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers,I am there among them.” (NLT)
The very last verses of this passage are often quoted to support the view that no matter how small a gathering of Christians may be, Jesus is present. He is not off somewhere else hobnobbing with the masses. And this is a very comforting truth.
But Jesus speaks these words in a different context. When there is a problem with a church member and serious action needs to be taken to address the matter, Jesus assures his people who have to take such action that he is with them. In other words, faced with a challenging situation that could be damaging, Jesus reminds them that they will not act alone. He will guide them and stand with them.
Of course this doesn’t mean that he will automatically endorse any and every action church leadership takes. The assumption is that they are seeking his wisdom and are intent on acting with wisdom. If they seek to do things his way, even if they get opposition and are misunderstood, Jesus will back them up.
So these words are no excuse for arrogance or for assuming that whatever we do God will bless it. But it is an assurance that Jesus doesn’t leave us to do the hard things all by ourselves. If we are willing to go his way, perhaps the hard way, he will be with us in our deliberations and actions. If we want his wisdom we will get it. If we want his powerful presence, we have it.
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