Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Daily Gospel Devotional: June 1

Matthew 18:19-20…

I don’t agree…

We should be wholeheartedly committed to prayer. However, this passage is not teaching us about a “prayer of agreement”. It is intended as a further statement regarding the authority of the church and its leaders in discipline situations. The agreement part is in relation to the process employed in verses 15 through 17 that results in the decision to expel the unrepentant person from the fellowship.

Yet some say this text teaches that if two or more Christians agree in prayer about any specific issue, God will accomplish the prayer. If that is so, then why doesn’t God answer all our corporate prayers in accordance with our desires? Obviously, this passage clearly teaches more than what it simply says.

This was Christ telling the disciples that the Heavenly Father would ratify the decision of the church leaders. This wasn’t about giving church leaders or “prayer partners” unlimited authority. It was Jesus telling us, in principle, that when proper disciplinary procedures are followed in the church, the leaders have the right to deny fellowship to the defiant rebel who won’t repent of their major doctrinal, moral, or schismatic failure.

The binding and loosing has to do with the disciplinary decisions being made; God vests a certain authority to the church (cf.1 Corinthians 6:1-8). The gospel truth is that submitting to God means that we also have to submit to one another. This text is no proof that people don’t have to go to church, but rather, this passage is one that speaks directly and clearly to the reality of some kind of formal church organization.

What Jesus intended, some churches and individuals twist as they neglect the process of church discipline and shun church membership. Thus, certain portions of Jesus’ word (Matthew 18:19-20) are used to justify a lack of obedience to other portions of His word (Matthew 18:15-18). This may seem unimportant to you, but I don’t agree. Martin Luther’s instruction rings true here: it is better to be divided by truth than united by error.

7 comments:

Even So... said...

In the course of one year we will read
• Every Verse
• Every Passage
• Every Gospel

We welcome your comments. We are not looking to be copying and pasting previous material...we are coming at this with a fresh look, each day, and going with whatever we see. We can send you a copy of the reading schedule (primesoul@hotmail.com). You can check www.voiceofvision.org for each day’s reading, or go to www.voiceofvision.blogspot.com to leave a comment. God bless you as you join in the walk with us...

This Daily Gospel Devotional goes out each day to many people by email...if you want to be a part of receiving it in your email each day, contact me: primesoul@hotmail.com

I receive many emails in response to these devotionals, but most are not published on the blog, and many are about private matters. I am grateful that these are reaching so many people, and touching lives. Glory to God!

Dave Buck said...

Wow, thank you JD, finally someone who reads scripture in the context it was written in :-) keep up the great work its a huge blessing !

God Bless You :-)

MrsEvenSo... said...

it is better to be divided by truth than united by error.

Amen!

Even So... said...

Thank you, David...

Even So... said...

Amen, honey!

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a day late reading but after hearing Melissa's comments on this post and wednesday night's conversation...
The "counterfactual" version of this passage seems to run like wildfire, out of control and without demonstration of evidence. No proof in the pudding. And even if there were some "smoking gun" it would be beside the apparent lack of Gospel Truth and be what God had intended for the occasion.
P.
P.S. PUDDING!!!

Even So... said...

Excellent word, Paul...