3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
If God has given us children, then we must realize that He has given us a great blessing. In the above passage alone, we are told that children are a gift, a reward, and a source of strength and happiness.
Children are a great blessing, but with great blessings comes great responsibilities. It has been said that children are like lumps of clay to be molded. Taking that lump of clay and molding it into a godly young man or woman is the task that God has given parents. This responsibility does not belong to the grandparents, extended family, friends, teachers, elders, preacher, etc. While these individuals can be expected to provide a good influence upon children, God has singled out fathers and mothers and given them instructions concerning their responsibilities towards the “heritage” that they have received “from the Lord.” Continue reading » Responsibilities of Parents
The Bible makes a distinction we must not miss. When it comes to sin in the camp, what the church should do depends on whether the Christian is sinning on an individual basis or is taking others with him through teaching error.
Continue reading » Distinguishing Private from Public Sin
The New Testament contains many passages that clearly show the limited nature of Christian fellowship. Consider a few examples:
“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, 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).
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11).
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).
Two things become apparent as these verses are considered: 1) God does not accept every individual. Some, because of their own actions (sin), are not worthy of His fellowship. 2) God expects us to reject at least some of these who are unacceptable to Him. As such, it is incumbent upon us to determine who it is that God calls us to reject. Or, stated more practically, what are the factors that determine the limits of Christian fellowship.
Continue reading » The Ultimate Basis of Christian Fellowship
It’s a shame that Matthew 18:15-20 is one of the most misused and misapplied passages of Scripture: its true purpose is saving souls!
All verse references are from Matthew 18 unless otherwise noted
What kind of sin?
Verse 15 starts: “If your brother sins against you….” The sin in this passage is a personal sin one against another. In his follow-up question at verse 21, Peter understands the sin to be personal: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?”
Continue reading » The Truth About Matthew 18:15-20
The subject of withdrawing from the disorderly is not a popular one among brethren. I personally have been a member of congregations where withdrawing from erring brethren was practiced sporadically, if at all. However, if any congregation of the Lord’s people expects to be accepted of God, we must diligently know and practice God’s Word. When Paul wrote God’s instructions: “…withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the traditions that you received from us…” (2 Thessalonians 3:6), this was not an advisement or suggestion, but a commandment; the same apostle wrote: “…if any man thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the fact that the things that I write to you, they are the commandment of the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 14:37). If individual Christians or the church (the body of Christ) fail to keep the commandments of God, we do not know God (1 John 2:3) and “…will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). However, even among brethren who do understand what God expects on this instruction from His word, there seems to be profound disagreement about how to actually carry out these instructions. While God does allow some judgment to be exercised, most of this subject and its application is quite clear, when we allow the Word of God to define itself. It is the purpose of this article to examine, from the scriptures, and from the scriptures only, what God has to say about how we are to withdraw from the disorderly.
Continue reading » Withdrawing from the Disorderly
"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, 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).
The passage above is presently a focus of controversy among God’s people. The problem is not a matter of understanding the procedure prescribed in the text. Rather, the misunderstanding that exists is in regard to the scope of the text’s application. In order to properly understand the Lord’s instructions in Matthew 18, it is necessary to look to the context, and the greater context of the entire New Testament as it reveals how we are to deal with sin.
First notice the procedure to be taken when dealing with the sin under consideration in the text. It is a four part process. First, one must go to his brother privately to deal with the sin. "…tell him his fault between you and him alone." If the first step does not bring repentance, the second step is to take witnesses that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." This second step affirms the serious nature of the sin, that the complaint is valid, and that resolution must come through the penitent actions of the guilty party. If the second step does not lead to repentance on the part of the sinner, the complaint is to be taken before the whole church. This is a radical step, causing the sin to become generally known, and bringing to bear the combined influence of the entire congregation. A rebellious man, who will not even hear the entire congregation as they admonish him for sin, is to be rejected (the fourth and final step).
Continue reading » Editorial: Applying Matthew 18:15-17
Beats there a heart so brave that it does not fear to bring up the subject of discipline in the church? Only the newest babe in Christ or somone totally out of touch with the history of local churches could fail to realize that exercising church discipline is fraught with troubles and heartaches. Strong elders shake with trepidation and mature preachers measure their job security when the necessity arises. Friendship and fellowship are tested, family ties are strained, motives are searched and suspected, wounded feelings are multiplied and churches are sometimes split in an attempt to “withdraw from the disorderly.” Of late, the additional prospect of lawsuits has a chilling effect on this action and the first step is to check with an insurance agent to be sure that liability coverage is available before the church acts to correct a wayward member. In the light of such turmoil, some are led to ask, “Who needs it?” It seems as though more harm than good can result. Perhaps it is best to leave well enough alone; it is not worth the risk; let’s just leave such matters up to God and the final Judgment. Is there some compelling reason why we must have discipline in the church? Is it worthwhile? Is the cost too great to pay? What are the reasons that faithful Christians will consider in the light of such difficulties? Continue reading » Solid Food: Why We Must Have Discipline in the Church