What Jesus Did! 'The Lord Is There!' — Matthew 18:18-20

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"I tell you the truth. When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God's judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God's forgiveness. Also, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something, then you can pray for it. And the thing you ask for will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true, because if two or three people are together believing in me, I am there with them."
— Matthew 18:18-20
Illustration of Matthew 18:18-20 — "I tell you the truth."

Key Thought

Several key understandings are implicit in this passage.
First, because the Lord is present when 2 or 3 of his disciples are gathered together, his power and authority are present, too.
Second, the power of 2 or 3 to agree is not a general statement—in other words, this is not a blanket promise that if two Christians agree about something, God will have to carry it out. It is in the context of church discipline, sin, and fellowship that this applies.
Third, because the power and the authority of the Lord are present, the agreement between these Christians is a reflection of what has already happened in heaven, not vice versa! (This is a key grammatical issue that most conservative scholarly commentaries can help us understand.)
The Lord is present when his people gather together. The fellowship they share is vital. The decisions that are made under the Lord's guidance by those gathered reflect those in heaven. To put it succinctly: Jesus wants his disciples to be a redemptive community of character.

Today's Prayer

Holy God, make our churches more like you want them to be. Draw us into deeper fellowship. Give us a deeper commitment to your holiness. Give us a revulsion against sin and yet a deep love for those struggling to move from it in their lives. We want to be your family that reflects the grace and character of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"If your brother or sister does something wrong to you, go and tell that person what he did wrong. Do this alone with that person. If that person listens to you, then you have helped that person to be your brother again. But if that person refuses to listen, then go to him again and bring one or two people with you. Then there will be two or three other people that will be able to tell all that happened. If that person refuses to listen to them, then tell the church (group of believers). If that person refuses to listen to the church, then treat him like he is a person that does not believe in God. Treat him like he is a tax collector. "I tell you the truth. When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God's judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God's forgiveness. "Also, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something, then you can pray for it. And the thing you ask for will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true, because if two or three people are together believing in me, I am there with them."

Matthew 18:15-20

People are really saying that there is sexual sin among you. And it is such a bad kind of sexual sin that it does not happen even among those people that don't know God. People say that a man there has his father's wife. And still you are proud of yourselves! You should have been filled with sadness. And the man that did that sin should be put out of your group. My body is not there with you, but I am with you in spirit. And I have already judged the man who did that sin. I judged him the same as I would if I were really there. Come together in the name of our Lord Jesus. I will be with you in spirit, and you will have the power of our Lord Jesus with you. Then give this man to Satan (the Devil), so that his sinful self will be destroyed. Then his spirit can be saved on the day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5

We should think about each other and see how we can help each other to show love and do good things. We should not quit meeting together. That's what some people are doing. But we should {meet together and} encourage each other. You should do this more and more as you see the Day coming.

Hebrews 10:24-25

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.