TEXT: Matthew 18:15-19

“…if thy brother shall trespass against thee…”

People hurt people. Sinners hurt sinners. Naturally, there will be times when even Christian brethren have conflict. It should never be the child of God who holds onto a grudge or continues in contention. We ought to seek a fast resolution. The work of God is far more important than our feelings, and it should always be our concern that our own spirit and disposition do nothing to hinder what God wants to do through our life and the local church.

In Matthew 18, we find God’s prescription for handling disputes in a church setting. As I studied this chapter, I marked several verses that I believe give us clear reasons to seek resolutions quickly.

1. WE DON’T WANT TO OFFEND THE LITTLE ONES!

v14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

When Christians refuse to seek resolution to disputes, the outflowing spirit and obvious contention can become a stumbling block and even a pitfall for those watching us. Every day we are surrounded by lost people who need to see something better than a bitter believer. I don’t think a sideways saint ever convinced a sinner to get saved. Also, younger Christians can become sidetracked and discouraged by the immature actions of more mature Christians.

2. THERE IS A JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST COMING!

v18 “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;…”

What a reminder in this verse that what we do down here will follow us to some extent up there! One day we will stand before Jesus. As believers, we’ll approach the Bema Seat. I would sure hate to stand before my forgiving Saviour and try to justify my own lack of forgiveness.

3. I NEED TO GET PRAYERS ANSWERED!

v19 “…they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

Unresolved issues affect my prayer life. A Christian with uncontested sin will find heaven brass and his own heart cold in the matter of prayer. If you want to pray right, you must get your heart right.

4. I DESIRE THE PRESENCE OF GOD!

v20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

When we gather together, the spirit that we bring to the church directly affects how the Spirit of God will move in the service. If we gather together in bitterness, it will bar the moving of God.

5. I NEED FORGIVENESS!

v35 “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespass.”

My ability to forgive directly impacts my opportunity to be forgiven. I am a sinner. I make mistakes every day. I am no stranger to the need for forgiveness. If I cannot reach the point of resolution and forgive, I run the risk of not receiving forgiveness myself.

ILLUSTRATION: George Whitfield and John Wesley were close friends. The two men, however, had disagreements in some matters of theology. One time, a fellow preacher asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.” Whitfield was quick to speak highly of Wesley in spite of their disputes. -unknown


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Justin Cooper

Justin Cooper, Assistant Pastor

Since 2006, Pastor Cooper has served as an evangelist and as a pastor, traveling across the nation holding revival meetings and preaching in Bible conferences. Pastor Cooper moved to join our staff in 2019 and is building the Tabernacle Bible Class. He and his wife, Desarae, are an incredible blessing to both the college and church families. Pastor and Mrs. Cooper have one son, Lincoln.