The presence of Jesus with those who follow Him is the determining factor.
In this passage. Jesus talks about the church, the “ekklesia”—“the called out ones.” To be a part of the church that Jesus is building means that we have been called out of the world and into fellowship with one another. When Jesus teaches about what to do when someone offends us, He is speaking about a brother or sister. The presence of Jesus rests on both the offender and the offended so the solution involves Him. He is the Peacemaker in the family.
When It’s Just the Two of You
It isn’t two—there are three. Jesus is there. A truth-session between the two parties must be presided over by the third party—Jesus. When His Spirit prevails, brotherhood is reestablished.
Take it to the Church
If one party in the conflict is wrong and will not repent, the matter must go before the family. In matters of congregational concern, this can be done publically. In more private conflicts, representatives of the church may stand in for the whole family. The point of the meeting is to avoid a “my word against his word” situation. The presence of Jesus is presiding over this process. A unrepentant person proven guilty proves also that he/she is not really one of the “called out ones” and must be treated as an outsider until repentance comes.
Power to the Church
One of the most intriguing statements of Jesus follows:
“…whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
At first this seems to be an inordinate amount of power to be given to people. When we think of the incredible power of prayer given to Christ-followers and the multiplied effect of the church gathered in worship and witness, we can begin to understand what Jesus means.
- When we worship God in Spirit and Truth, we are binding the powers of hell and loosing the power of the Holy Spirit.
- When we teach little ones the Jesus Story, we are binding their hearts to Him and loosing the Spirit of God in their lives.
- When we pray the prayer of faith for the sick, anointing them with oil as Pastor James commands, we are binding the force of the illness and loosing the healing virtue of the Lord.
- When we tell the Jesus Story in worship and/or witness, we are binding the hindering forces of Hell and loosing a flood of grace.
Heaven takes account of what we bind and loose on earth as the work of the ministry continues in the lives of the “called out ones.”
The Power of Agreement
Agreement binds believers together. Agreement in Jesus’ name binds heaven and earth together. Anything in the will of God is possible. Knowing the will of God, we can ask for what God wants and it will be done. This is the power of the concerted prayer of the church. The record in the Book of Acts is impressive:
- The coming of Spirit-baptism at Pentecost and Peter preached a sermon with thousands saved,
- A lame man healed at the hour of prayer,
- Prison doors shaking open when the church prayed, and
- Direction for missions given when elders prayed and fasted, just to name a few instances.
Why? What is the source of this power of heaven flowing though the earth?
It is the presence of Jesus. He is with us and all things are possible.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Lord Jesus, save me from conflicts with my brothers and sisters. At best they serve only as distractions from the mission. When I am wrong, grant me the spirit of repentance. When the other one is wrong, grant me the grace of forgiveness and then help us both get back to work. Your presence binds us together and our agreement binds the forces of the enemy and looses the power of the Spirit. O Lord, send the power just now! Amen and amen.
Old Time Power
Words and Music: Charles D. Tillman
1. They were in an upper chamber,
They were all with one accord,
When the Holy Ghost descended
As was promised by the Lord.
O Lord, send the pow’r just now,
O Lord, send the pow’r just now;
O Lord, send the pow’r just now
And baptize every one.
2. Yes, the pow’r from Heav’n descended
With the sound of rushing wind;
Tongues of fire came down upon them,
As the Lord said He would send.
3. Yes, this old-time pow’r was given
To our fathers who were true;
This is promised to believers,
And we all may have it too.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved