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Matthew 18: 15 - 18 > Dealing with Grievances
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 Dealing  with  Grievances
 
 
  Matthew 18: 15 - 18          ( King James Version ) 
   
Verse 15:    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
 
Verse 16:   But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
 
Verse: 17:   And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. 
 
verse 18:   Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
 
   Matthew  18: 15 - 18        ( New International Version )
 
verse 15 >   If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
verse 16 >    But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter can be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.   ( See Deut: 19: 15)
verse 17 >    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church: and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Verse 18 >   I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
 
Text  Quoted  in  Spirit of Prophecy
 
Another grave evil that had arisen in the church was that of brethren going to law against one another. Abundant provision had been made for the settlement of difficulties among believers. Christ Himself had given plain instruction as to how such matters were to be adjusted. "If thy brother shall trespass against thee," the Saviour had counseled, "go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:15-18.  {AA 304.1}
 
There are church members who have been quick to catch up unkind suppositions and to speak disparagingly of the teacher before other church members and even in the presence of the children. Some have talked freely and bitterly concerning a teacher without clearly understanding the difficulty of which they were speaking. This should not be. The one who thinks that a teacher has done wrong should follow the directions given in the word: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Matthew 18:15. Until this has been done, no one is justified in telling others of a brother's mistakes.  {CT 154.1}
 
"If thy brother shall trespass against thee," Christ declared, "go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Matthew 18:15. Do not tell others of the wrong. One person is told, then another, and still another; and continually the report grows, and the evil increases, till the whole church is made to suffer. Settle the matter "between thee and him alone." This is God’s plan. "Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another." Proverbs 25:8, 9. Do not suffer sin upon your brother; but do not expose him, and thus increase the difficulty, making the reproof seem like a revenge. Correct him in the way outlined in the word of God.  {7T 260.3}  { CCh 256.2} 
Matthew 18: 17
If he will not hear them, then, and not till then, the matter is to be brought before the whole body of believers. Let the members of the church, as the representatives of Christ, unite in prayer and loving entreaty that the offender may be restored. The Holy Spirit will speak through His servants, pleading with the wanderer to return to God. Paul the apostle, speaking by inspiration, says, "As though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5: 20. He who rejects this united overture has broken the tie that binds him to Christ, and thus has severed himself from the fellowship of the church. Henceforth, said Jesus, "let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." But he is not to be regarded as cut off from the mercy of God. Let him not be despised or neglected by his former brethren, but be treated with tenderness and compassion, as one of the lost sheep that Christ is still seeking to bring to His fold.  Desire of Ages, page 441.2   Read entire Chapter 48
 
Christ has laid down rules to prevent unhappy divisions, but how many in our churches have followed his directions? “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and [tell it to every one you meet?] tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” If the instructions which Christ has given were followed out in the spirit that every true Christian should have — if each, when aggrieved, would go to the offending member, and seek in kindness to correct the wrong by privately telling him of his fault, many a grievous trial would be averted. { Home Ministry [HM] February 1, 1892, par. 11 }  See Matthew 18: 17
 
In dealing with erring church-members, God’s people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. [See Matthew 18:15-18.]  { GW 498.1} 
​Human beings are Christ’s property, purchased by Him at an infinite price, bound to Him by the love that He and His Father have manifested for them. How careful, then, we should be in our dealing with one another! Men have no right to surmise evil in regard to their fellow-men. Church-members have no right to follow their own impulses and inclinations in dealing with fellow-members who have erred. They should not even express their prejudices regarding the erring; for thus they place in other minds the leaven of evil. Reports unfavorable to a brother or sister in the church are communicated from one to another of the church-members. Mistakes are made and injustice is done because of an unwillingness on the part of some one to follow the directions given by the Lord Jesus. { GW 498.2}
 
Let us take the words of Christ. If the man has done you an injury, go to him, and between you and him alone seek to set the matter right. Do not go to any one but himself. If he refuses to hear you, then take two or three others, and go to him again; but do not publish it in the church or out of the church. When you have done your duty, if he still refuses to hear you, then let the church take it up; but let them deal gently with the erring. Do not even listen to the gossiping tongue. If one comes to you with an evil report, ask him if he has been to the offending brother, as the Bible directs. If he has not, refuse even to hear him. Nine-tenths of the church trials might be avoided, if all would, in the spirit of kindness and love, pursue the course marked out by Inspiration. This can only be done by breaking down everything like a spirit of self-righteousness.  {ST, January 6, 1887 par. 11} (see Matt. 18:15)
 
Matthew 18: 18
Jesus adds to the lesson these words: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [Matt. 18:18] This assurance, that after the rules of Christ have been followed to the letter, the decisions of the church will be ratified in heaven, gives a solemn significance to the action of the church. No hasty steps should be taken to cut off names from the church books, or to place a member under censure until the case has been investigated, and the Bible rule fully obeyed. The word of Christ shows how necessary it is for church officers to be free from prejudice and selfish motives. Human minds and hearts, unless wholly sanctified, purified, and refined from partiality and prejudice, are liable to commit grave errors, to misjudge and deal unkindly and unjustly with souls that are the purchase of the blood of Christ. But the decision of an unjust judge will be of no account in the court of heaven. It will not make an innocent man guilty, nor change his character in the least before God. As surely as men in responsible positions become lifted up in their own esteem, and act as though they were to lord it over their brethren, they will render many decisions which heaven cannot ratify.  {HM, February 1, 1892 par. 13}  {RH, April 16, 1895 par. 10}
           
 
“Verily I say unto you,” Christ continued, “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Verse 18. { CCh 258.1} 
This statement holds its force in all ages. On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ’s stead. It is God’s instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God’s word will be ratified in heaven. { CCh 258.2} 
 
“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” ( Matthew 18:18). When every specification which Christ has given has been carried out in the true, Christian spirit, then, and then only, Heaven ratifies the decision of the church, because its members have the mind of Christ, and do as he would do were he upon the earth.—Letter 1c, 1890. { 3SM 22.1} 
 
John 20: 23 similar to verse 18
"Whosesoever sins ye remit," said Christ, "they are remitted; . . . and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." [ John 20: 23 ] Christ here gives no liberty for any man to pass judgment upon others. In the Sermon on the Mount He forbade this. It is the prerogative of God. But on the church in its organized capacity He places a responsibility for the individual members. Toward those who fall into sin, the church has a duty, to warn, to instruct, and if possible to restore. "Reprove, rebuke, exhort," the Lord says, "with all long-suffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2. Deal faithfully with wrongdoing. Warn every soul that is in danger. Leave none to deceive themselves. Call sin by its right name.  Declare what God has said in regard to lying, Sabbathbreaking, stealing, idolatry, and every other evil. "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galations 5:21. If they persist in sin, the judgment you have declared from God's word is pronounced upon them in heaven. In choosing to sin, they disown Christ; the church must show that she does not sanction their deeds, or she herself dishonors her Lord. She must say about sin what God says about it. She must deal with it as God directs, and her action is ratified in heaven. He who despises the authority of the church despises the authority of Christ Himself.  {Desire of Ages, page 805.4}
 
 About Matthew 18: 16
In a trial for murder the accused was not to be condemned on the testimony of one witness, even though circumstantial evidence might be strong against him. The Lord's direction was, "Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die." Numbers 35:30.  It was Christ who gave to Moses these directions for Israel; and when personally with His disciples on earth, as He taught them how to treat the erring, the Great Teacher repeated the lesson that one man's testimony is not to acquit or condemn. One man's views and opinions are not to settle disputed questions. In all these matters two or more are to be associated, and together they are to bear the responsibility, "that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." Matthew 18:16.  {PP 516.1}
 
"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." Matthew 18:16. Take with you those who are spiritually minded, and talk with the one in error in regard to the wrong. He may yield to the united appeals of his brethren. As he sees their agreement in the matter, his mind may be enlightened.  {7T 262.2}
 
 
In the word of God we are given plain directions as to the course we are to follow when we think a brother is in the wrong. Christ says: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." Matthew 18:15-17;  And again the Saviour says: "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Matthew 5:23, 24.  {8T 84.2}
Don't Publish it outside the church
Resolutely refuse to hear, though the whisperer complains of being burdened till he speak. Burdened indeed! with a cursed secret which separateth very friends. Go, burdened ones, and free yourselves from your burden in God's appointed way. First go tell your brother his fault between you and him alone. If this fail, next take with you one or two friends, and tell him in their presence. If these steps fail, then tell it to the church. Not an unbeliever is to be made acquainted with the slightest particular of the matter. Telling it to the church is the last step to be taken. Publish it not to the enemies of our faith. They have no right to the knowledge of church matters, lest the weakness and errors of Christ's followers be exposed.  {2T 54.2} 
When is it OK for public reproof
Her husband seemed to feel unreconciled to my bringing out her faults before the church and stated that if Sister White had followed the directions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 he should not have felt hurt: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."  {2T 15.1}
My husband then stated that he should understand that these words of our Lord had reference to cases of personal trespass, and could not be applied in the case of this sister. She had not trespassed against Sister White. But that which had been reproved publicly was public wrongs which threatened the prosperity of the church and the cause. Here, said my husband, is a text applicable to the case: 1 Timothy 5:20: "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."  {2T 15.2}
Bible Commentary on Matthew 18: 15-17
Matt. 18: 15-17 ( Joshua 7:10-26). Some Are Not to Be Retained—The names of those who sin and refuse to repent should not be retained on the church books, lest the saints be held accountable for their evil deeds. Those who pursue a course of transgression should be visited and labored with, and if they then refuse to repent, they should be separated from church fellowship, in accordance with the rules laid down in the Word of God.... { 5BC 1096.5 } 
 
Related Phrases:   the mistakes of a fellow-worker   -  -  when aggrieved
 
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