Jesus Begins to Instruct the Church


Instructions For Subjects of King Jesus
Book of Matthew Chapter 18

As “Born Again” Christians the greatest asset we have is our “faith”. Hebrews 11:6 says without “faith” it is impossible to please Jehovah God!
You might be able to please the false gods of this world because they do not exist, but you will never please our Righteous Living God without faith!
Remember the Holy Spirit provides “saving faith” so here we are talking about faith above and beyond this “saving faith” that is freely given.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We did not have to work for it, nor could we earn it, all the things of salvation are freely given to us by our Merciful God!
This faith must remain with us all our lives and it must grow, it is our shield against the evil of this world!

Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

In the first part of this chapter Jesus teaches us we must become as little children in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
The disciples were consumed about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus said you must humble yourself as a child.
Most children are not trying to get to the front of the line they are simply excited to be in the line and not be left out!
They will take the back of the line if that is all that is available.

Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

There must be some modesty along with that faith.
A little child knows nothing about ambition.

Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

In this context, every Christian, even “babes in Christ” must be allowed access to the things of God!

Mar 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Then we must realize that these children, “babes in Christ” and those who have been led away from Christ, are the same ones the Lord Jesus is referring to in our lesson today.

*Mat 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Mat 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

Why did the Living God pour Himself into a body of flesh? He came to save that which was lost, which is all of His creation.
How will He do this?

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Then Jesus uses another parable to explain these things. The Parable of the Lost Sheep.
Jesus is very serious about all those with “childlike” faith who have received Him as their Savior!

Mat 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mat 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

We should clearly understand that the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, Jehovah, takes His stand with those who love Him and believe in Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ says: “I Am Your Father”!
The Lord Jesus Christ is our Lord!

What did Isaiah write of our Savior?

Isa 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

The Lord Jesus was afflicted on the cross, but every time one of His children is afflicted today, He suffers with them.
We should keep this in mind as we witness all the suffering in our world especially the persecution of the Church.
As we honor those who love the Lord, we do honor unto our Lord!
If we have a hand in any persecution of the Church, then we are persecuting our Lord and our Savior over and over again!
We should allow this to sink in to teach us how to behave one toward another!
Jesus came to save those who are lost, He certainly will not lose any of them!
The Lord Jesus Christ left Heaven with a purpose!
The world is full of those who have strayed from our Creator.
Those that remain astray are doomed to be destroyed unless they are reached and saved by the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Rom 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Rom 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Rom 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Rom 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
Rom 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known:
Rom 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

There is no one outside the scope of God’s love, but we must come when He calls us to return to Him!
So Jesus teaches these disciples so that they clearly understand their purpose and the purpose of each disciple today.
Jesus said: think like, I think.
We should understand this “certain man” as our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He has gathered a 100 sheep, but one is gone astray before it reaches the safety of the truth of salvation.
I do not like the term “once saved always saved’ because it suggests that we can do as we please after we are saved, and God does not care, and this is very wrong.
The fact is that once we have given our heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, our goal is to be like Him which is the reason of the term Christian, (Like Christ).
There were 99 of these sheep safe in the hands of the Lord and one who was lost and had not found its way to the Lord.
The Lord Jesus has done everything He can to insure our salvation for, whosoever will come to Him, and it can be said that He is actively seeking all those who are lost.
Why?

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The Lord rejoices at the salvation of every soul!

*Mat 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

We must never think that these lost sheep mean more to Jesus than those who are safe in the sheepfold!
We must understand that this parable is about Jesus building onto His Church.
The Apostle Paul got it right:

1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We already know the Lord Jesus is the “Good Shepherd”!

Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

We should know the Jesus is talking about His Sheep, the Church and then later on He will deal with Israel.

1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

All of Heaven rejoices over every soul that is saved.

Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Here in the Book of Luke, Jesus uses a similar parable to teach us about those who justify themselves, but there is joy in Heaven over every sinner that is saved.
We always ask about the will of God.

*Mat 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

God has provided the only means there is for us to be saved.
God poured Himself into a human body just to die for our sins!

Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Once the Lord finds us lost and rambling through this lost world and we see the truth of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ and believe, we become a member of His family.
He becomes “Our Father”!
He then expects our help to reach out to other “lost sheep”!
Keep in mind He does not need us, but He promises rewards for becoming employed by the Holy Spirit.
We are also expected to help care for the flock by helping them to be witnesses of the “Gospel” and fishers of men!
What we refuse to do someone else will be sure to do!

1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus Christ died for those weak in their faith just as He died for those who are strong in faith!

1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Co 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Co 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
1Co 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

When we do things that are offensive to those, weak in their faith, we may cause them to stray.
These things must be avoided!
We are to be as forgiving as Christ Jesus, but the Lord Jesus also gives us some guidelines on how to deal with them.

*Mat 18:15 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.
Mat 18:16 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.
Mat 18:17 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 an heathen man and a publican.

Again we see Jesus teaching us about the Church.
If the Lord Jesus is teaching us then, He is teaching us how to be more like He is!
A brother would be a brother in Christ, a member of those who assemble for Christ, the Church.
We see the Church in this world, all those who go through the Door, which is Christ, have become enemies of each other, rather than unified in defense of the Gospel!
We still live in these bodies of flesh so we will be at odds with each other from time to time, but that is no reason for these things to cause us to be enemies.
If we go in good faith to that one and explain how we feel about what that person has done to us, we may actually make a better friend.
If we have not already forgiven them prior to confronting them, then we will not help the matter come to a good conclusion.
***There is no need to broadcast these things to any others until this first step has been taken.
We are to confess our faults to one another and pray to the Lord before we confront each other.

Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Jesus admitted that this will not always work.
Sin is not always easy to get away from, and it cannot happen without the Lord!
The next step is to take one or two more who were witnesses to this trespass.
What one may deny in front of one may not be so easy to deny because of others who witnessed this sin.
Still, do not resort to making this thing known to others or to the assembly of other Christians.
Mistakes are made in our lives and can be forgiven, but a ruined reputation may not ever be overcome.
We must keep in mind the purpose of these things is gain a brother and not to lose a brother.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Gal 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Gal 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Gal 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.

If this does not work restore this brother, then it is time to go before the assembly, all those who assemble in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must remember all God’s Children are already “justified” so this assembly is not set in place to judge this person.
Only the question of Christlike behavior is to be considered, knowing we all fail from time to time.
We simply cannot live in denial of the truth of God!
The sin that occurred is now to be made public to the Church and it is the assembly that is to seek to restore this brother or sister.
Again, keeping in mind the Lord Jesus is teaching us how to build on to the Church and not to tear down the Church.
We cannot rate the growth of any assembly by numbers.
The rate of the growth of any Church should be how well we adapt to the truth of the Scriptures and to be more like Christ Jesus!
We must understand that the Church did not exist at this time, so the Lord Jesus is teaching these things for future use.
There will still be those who will not listen to the assembly of God’s people and then, it is time to ask them to leave that assembly.
Remember these are Holy Ghost filled people who are trying to obey the complete Word of God and we cannot allow any one person to deny the truth of God because, one bad apple can certainly ruin the whole bunch.
This person has forfeited the right to assemble with God’s people, but it does mean we should not continue to seek to restore this person as the opportunity arises.

*Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

We should clearly understand that the Body of Christ has every right to discipline in their assemblies, but the one caution needs to be observed is that only the Word of God should be used.
Those who break man’s laws will be disciplined by those laws without Church interference, except for the times when man’s laws conflict the Word of God.
The Word of God is always right, rightly divided!
We should understand that personal matters are not up for discussion in the Church unless that person causes it to happen and not many will.
This is not a testimony unless that person causes it to be a part of their testimony.
We should clearly understand that no one but God can forgive sin!
We should clearly understand that no one but God can doom anyone to Hell!
We should understand that no one but God can make us free!
When that person refuses to reconcile their sin with the Church, then he is lost to that group of believers!
This means, the Church has failed to reach him or her and they are bound to earth, their business between them and a Holy God.
If this person ever comes to their senses and reconciles with the Church, they can be received as a redeemed brother or sister.
Those who attempt to divide the Church must be dealt with!

Mat 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

Divisiveness causes the Church to look corrupt and weak, it must be put down immediately!
Divisiveness threatens all the ministries of the Church that first one being making disciples to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Notice that it is the Lord Jesus, upon which the Church is founded, that gives these instructions or better said, commandments!
The Church must always stand on the Word of God!

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

What is a true Church? Those who are gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

No other group who gathers in assembly are part of God’s Church!

*Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Nothing in the Church is ever over until it has been bathed in prayer!
***Nothing in the Church is ever over until it has been bathed in prayer!
You see the Church must be united in this prayer and all divisiveness put down.
We are ambassadors for Christ, and we need to act like we are!
When a local assembly comes together in agreement with the Word of God, in prayer in the name of Christ Jesus, then and only then will that body of believers know how to handle that one who has divided himself or herself from the Church.
We must seek God’s will and God’s approval before we close the doors to anyone!
We must be unified in the name of Jesus Christ!
Notice this is not seeking the arm of God, it is seeking the face of God that many of us have forgotten to do.

1Ch 16:10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
1Ch 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

The greatest truth here is, that how can we ever attempt to correct a brother or sister if we do not have a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ ourselves?

Then Peter asked another question.

*Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Again this is a fair question when we think like humans. There must be some limit to our forgiveness.
But with the mind of Christ, then there can be no limit to our forgiveness.
Think back to just how sinful we have been and continue to be, yet the Lord continues to forgive us our sin.
In fact, it should be harder for the Lord to forgive our sin since we have made a promise to follow Him in His ways.
I cannot help but to remember the Apostle Paul.

Rom 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:for
to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

A good study of Romans Chapter 7 will help us all in this matter of living in this body of flesh!
I know we find it difficult, but in all things, we are to have the mind of Jesus Christ this means, we need to think as He says and as He does.
He has given us multiple examples when He was upon this earth.
He has shown us time after time how He reacts to sin, to abuse, to government, and to the Church and we know He will never change.
There is no way to improve on the “Goodness of God”!
There is no way to improve on the “Mercy of God”!
Because there is no way to improve on the “Love of God”!
God can save anybody anywhere at any time!

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is always another side to what God says and far too many travel this path to destruction!

Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Amen

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