Decode the Mystery

In life, we are not strangers to conflict. And, well, I am pretty sure you would like to know about the Biblical solutions to conflict. (Matthew 18:15-20) Jesus now offers us a Biblical method for conflict resolution. He begins in Matthew 18:15~If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (ESV) This means if our brother or sister sins against us, (i.e. we have been cheated, swindled, slandered, etc.) here’s the Christian way or method for reconciliation. As opposed to a lawsuit, which is forbidden by the scripture (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). It begins with a private discussion done with humility and love (18:15). If that person does not listen, then we take the second step. Matthew 18:16~But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. (ESV) 

If the sinning believer stills refuses to repent, the situation should be taken on ecclesiastically, through proper channels in the church. If the person refuses to listen to church leaders. Christ Jesus says in Matthew 18:17~ And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (ESV) Wait, we are all gentiles, right? Is Jesus Christ picking on us or singling us out? No, Jesus probably mentions Gentiles and tax collectors because Jews typically withdrew from them because they were not people of the faith. However, this shunning is to be for the purpose of restoration. This procedure is to be followed if someone sins against a person, not sin in general. 

Galatians 6:1~Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (NIV) Then, referring to the church, Jesus says, Matthew 18:18~Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (ESV) This doesn’t mean a church’s actions dictate what God will do. It means a church’s decisions and actions should receive heaven’s approval because they are biblical. 

Jesus continues Matthew 18:19~Again I say to you, if two of you agree (συμφωνέω symphōneō) on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (ESV) The word (συμφωνέω symphōneō) translated agree gives us symphony, to sound in harmony. When a church acts in symphony with the Word of God and the will of God, God acts to confirm the actions. Matthew 18:20~For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (ESV) Now Christ is always present with His people even with one lone believer. However, this verse refers to two people who have biblically agreed, and Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, is there confirming, in this case, how to work through a disagreement. 

Is there someone in your life who you need to work through conflict with? Perhaps you need some resolution about something that is weeks or even decades old. If that is you, I want to invite you to pray over the situation and the person and ask God for a divine appointment. He has a way of putting people across our path to help us resolve any and all issues. After all, that is what Paul wrote to the people of Rome in Romans 12:18~If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV) Looks like the ball is in your court.

David —Confessions of a King — Restoration — 1 Samuel 21-22…Handout

What are we to do when our failure has us falling into sin? The Biblical text shares how even God’s greatest of believers, at times, falter in their faith. If our desire is to hear the Lord say the words, Well _________, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord. (Matthew 25:21) Then Confession and Restoration plays a pivotal role as we: Confront, ________________, Confess

1) Confront the Cause (21:1-9) Fleeing to Nob, David travels about 2 miles northeast to the tabernacle. It’s the distance from MGCOG to The Pump House. When David arrives, Ahimelech the high priest is suspicious and frightened, so he asks David why he is alone. David then _________. David’s lies, like all sin, set-off a chain reaction with horrible consequences. Proverbs 12:19~ _________ lips endure forever, but a _________ tongue lasts only a moment. (NIV) A lie may seem to offer a momentary reprieve, like getting us out of a jam, but it is only temporary. On the run, David is hungry and asks for bread. Enter the matzah. It is __________ bread that sat in the open air for a full week and didn’t become stale. In God’s presence, things are always different. Doubling down on his sin, David asks Ahimelech for a weapon.1 Samuel 21:8-9~have you a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither…because the king’s business required haste…The ___________ of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley…(ESV) David, in the midst of a second lie, is confronted by_        a powerful reminder of God’s power & faithfulness. The sword of God’s _________ over the Gath’s giant, Goliath.

2) Calculate______________(21:10-22:19) Leaving Nob, David takes in a trip to see the Giants, fleeing to Gath. 1 Samuel 21:11~And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David the _________ of the land? Did they not sing…has struck down…his ten thousands? (ESV) They know he is king and a mighty warrior. 1 Samuel 21:13~So he changed his behavior before them and _________ to be insane…(ESV) What a shameful scene as Israel’s greatest warrior and hero acts like a lunatic. 1 Samuel 22:11&17~The king sent to summon Ahimelech priest and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob and all of them came to the king…And Saul said to the guard, Turn and _________ the priests of the Lord, (ESV) David may be king and champion but these warriors know that fear can’t own them or _________ participation in such an atrocity. 1 Samuel 22:18~Then the king said to Doeg, You turn and strike…And the Edomite turned and struck down the priests and Nob…he put the sword to man, woman, child, infant, ox, donkey, and sheep. (ESV) David has lied _________, and it cost the priesthood dearly.

3) Confess the ___________ (22:20-23) We never intend to hurt people with sin, but sin always has consequences. David’s confession reveals two things about true confession. 1st—Confession must be ___________.Psalm 32:5~_________ acknowledged my sin to you, and __ did not cover my iniquity; _________ said, _________ will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (ESV) 2nd—Confession must be____________ Psalm 38:18~I confess my _________; I am _________ for my sin. (NIV)
Take-A-Step: ______________________________________________________________

Weight of Sin

To this point in Matthew 18, Jesus has shared what it means to have faith and to be in the faith with others. He now turns His attention to give us a fearsome warning to anyone who causes one of the little ones who believe in Him to sin or stumble (18:6a). The word He uses is (σκανδαλίζω skandalizō) it gives us our word scandal. Christ Jesus says don’t be a party to a spiritual or moral scandal. Matthew 18:6~…it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (ESV) 

The millstone is a large stone that could weigh hundreds of pounds. It was used to mill grain or create flour. This stern warning was not just issued to teenaged boys full of raging hormones, it was issued to every person, about influencing a believer, or anyone, to sin. Matthew 18:7 ~Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (ESV) To paraphrase, What horror awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin! Temptation is a part of our lives in this world, but if we’ve read the end of the book, what a woe that will befall our world.

Jesus says it’s better to not have something than to let it lead you into sin. No, He isn’t promoting self-mutilation, rather His figurative language is about removing anything from our lives that will cause us to stumble or lead us into sin. Therefore, if there a relationship, habit, addiction, attitude (such as bitterness or anger), or anything that leads us into sin, must be removed from our lives. No matter the difficulty it might cause. We are infinitely better without it, then to be thrown into the eternal fire of hell because of it. Christ Jesus offers us a somber warning about sin’s seriousness

Matthew 18:11~For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (NKJ) Listen as Jesus teaches this point for us with the parable of the lost sheep. Matthew 18:12~What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? Matthew 18:13~And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (ESV) 

The joy is not because #36 came home, You know in numerology #36 is the favorite, it’s the perfect number arrived at when falling asleep. No, it isn’t. No one sheep is more loved than another, the joy is over peril and loss avoided. Matthew 18:14~So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (ESV) God doesn’t want to lose even one person. 

God doesn’t want to lose you to sin. That is why the Bible shares the most wonderful story about God’s Abundant Grace. When a stumbling believer repents and returns, he or she should be received with great joy. We ought to say to them I’m so glad you’re back, we have been praying for you. Who needs to know that you are praying for them today. It truly is a powerful thing to know that someone is lifting us up in prayer. Take time today to pray for them, and then let them know, hey I prayed for you.