Matthew 18:15-35 looks at how to deal with sin in the body of the church, and what should we do when people mistreat us. It’s a great lesson in conflict resolution broken down into a few simple steps. The first step is to reach out to them, in private, and point out their wrong. If you resolve it, you won them over. Step 2 we should bring one or two others along “so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (verse 16). If they still don’t listen, then step 3 is to bring the matter before the church. And if the person refuses to listen to the church, then we should “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (verse 17). So at that point, we have peace knowing that we have done what we can, and can move forward letting God sort it out with them. And we can continue to pray for them. And today’s chosen scripture points to the power of relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. There truly is power in numbers, especially in the body of believers of Christ Jesus.
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“For where two or more gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
How can we apply this in life? We can be careful who we choose as our friends. While I have not chosen so well throughout the years, thank God this is mostly in the past as my as I get better at being obedient to God’s Will versus doing what I want to so and justifying my will to God and others. It’s all about fully surrendering to Christ. One thing I have learned is to only let those in my inner circle and which ones I don’t based upon their relationship with God. Jesus teaches us this wisdom when he says, “Who are my mother and brothers? For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – (Matthew 12:46-50). We can’t judge a book by its cover, but we can recognize a tree by it’s fruit. And we can smart not to let one rotten apple spoil our whole basket. (See additional scriptures at bottom of this message).
So the bible tells us that inspecting the fruit is not only alright, but it is wise. Note that there is a difference in inspecting fruit and judging others. Inspecting fruit means that we are discerning, and that we can apply wisdom an understanding in our lives. It doesn’t mean that we are righteous snobs, but it does mean that we are careful to subject ourselves to the attacks of the enemy and we monitor our spiritual health just like we would our physical health.
Hosea 4:6 says, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” So we know that wisdom is good. In fact, it is awesome. It helps us make good decisions that will impact our lives. And all wisdom comes from our all-knowing God, who knew us before we were born, who thought of us when God told Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars – yes we are one of those stars! How awesome is it to think about the fact that God was thinking about you when He was talking to Abraham? Overwhelming. Humbling. Inspiring.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you in advance for what you are going to do today. Help me to have a good and productive day. Thank you for everyone who you will brig across my path today, and for helping me to walk in Your Ways. For there is no one like You Lord. You make a way when there is no way. You are the way, the truth, and the light! Give me peace today Lord. Renew me, refresh me, and help me to fully recharge. Give my mind and body rest and peace, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: 1 Chronicles 14,15; Psalm 132, Matthew 18
Scripture References From Today’s Reflection:
- “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” – Matthew 7:16
- “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” – Matthew 7:20
- “This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;” – 2 Peter 2:10
- “But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.” – Jude 1:10-19
- “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:43-45
- “My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” – James 3:12
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