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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bible Study - verse by verse # 51

Matthew 18:15-17 These are Jesus' guidelines for dealing with those who sin against us. They were meant for Christians, not unbelievers; sins committed against you and not others, and conflict resolution in the context of the church, not the community at large. Jesus' words are not a license for a frontal attack on every person who hurts or slights us. They are not a license to start a destructive gossip campaign or to call for a church trial. They are designed to reconcile those who disagree so that all Christians can live in harmony. When someone wrongs us, we often do the opposite of what Jesus recommends. We turn away in hatred or resentment, seek revenge, or engage in gossip. By contrast, we should go to that person first, as difficult as that may be. Then we should forgive that person as often as he or she needs it. This will create a much better chance at restoring the relationship.

Matthew 18:18 This "binding and loosing" refers to the decisions of the church in conflicts. Among believers, there is no court of appeals beyond the church. Ideally, the church's decisions should be God-guided and based on discernment of His Word. Believers have the responsibility, therefore, to bring their problems to the church, and the church has the responsibility to use God's guidance in seeking to resolve conflicts. Handling problems God's way will have an impact now and for eternity.

Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus looked ahead to a new day when He would be present with His followers not in body, but through His Holy Spirit. In the body of believers, the sincere agreement of two people is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands, because Christ's Holy Spirit is with them. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, will pray according to God's will, not their own; thus their requests will be granted.

Matthew 18:22 The rabbis taught that people should forgive those who offend them - but only three times. Peter, trying to be especially generous, asked Jesus if seven (the "perfect number) was enough times to forgive someone. But Jesus answered, "Seventy times seven," meaning that we shouldn't even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.

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