· For altar prayer have the young people come and parents bring their little ones
o The world will bring their children and stand in line to see Santa Claus or the Easter bunny – why not bring our to the Lord
· Open your bibles to Matthew 18:15-18
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. 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. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 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
My subject is, ‘discipline – the third mark of the local church’.
· Notice again in verse 15:
o He commands
o The offended to
o “Go” and
o Speak with the offender (the brother or sister) – tell him or her
o Privately – in such a way as
o To convict him or her of their sin – their fault
· If the brother or sister listens, that is, he or she confesses their sin and seeks forgiveness then reconciliation takes place between the brethren
· I ended here last week with the question ‘but what if he does not listen?’
· I know that some are anxious to get to the answer but it is going to have to wait, so
· Bear with me and allow me to utilize this second Sunday to do something that I use to do every second Sunday in the month
· I would like to speak to the fellowship today by directly speaking to our young people who are here today
· This passage Matthew 18:15-18 addresses and gives a command to an offended brother or sister. It tell them how to handle the offense. To my young people here thank you for your respect of me but
· I have not been asked a particular question here within the fellowship but it comes up often within the high school setting where I teach
· When someone gets in trouble or they are corrected in that setting, a comment or question is usually heard that goes like this
o “What about him (or her), he (or she) started it?”
· So a question that must be addressed and I want you young people to listen to this well and the entire fellowship to take note is; ‘what about the offender?’
· What about the one causing all of this commotion?
· In ‘growth group’ we learned from the book of James that we are to be quick to hear (to listen), slow to speak, slow to anger and this apply equally well to the offender, the one causing the offense
· The offended and the offender must be quick to hear or able to listen well in too many of our situations there is nothing to listen to because communication has stopped.
o But listen to your own conscience
o As well as listen to others speaking to you
· I can say without reservations to a high school young man or young woman (the offender) that they have been in school long enough 9 to 12 years that they have a good idea of what is acceptable and what is not.
· It can be said that in an educational environment, they know right from wrong when they reach high school age.
· Today as I look at you young people in this fellowship, most if not all of you have been within a church setting long enough that you know what is righteous and what is unrighteous behavior – Amen young people
· So let’s get real and not be fake
· As the offender, the one who has offended another individual, offended a group of individuals, offended the family, offended the fellowship, or even been an offense to the community,
· Do you understand the point I am making, young people?
· Matthew 18 verse 15 says “If your brother (sister) sins against you”
· You are that brother or sister who has sinned and the ‘you’ in this verse can be anyone from an individual to a group of individuals making up the family, fellowship or community. You have sinned against someone. Now
· Should your attitude be one of waiting for someone to come and confront you with the allegations or should there be some other activity for you (as the one who has sinned) to engage in? Amen church
· Friday in ‘growth group’ I also mentioned that we here at New Hope have a goal if you want to call it that. And in order to take heed and pay careful attention to you, we must give you a greater exposure to the Word of God
· I pray that the word of God speak to your hearts today
· Open your bibles to Matthew’s gospel again but this time turn to chapter 5 and verses 23 and 24
· Listen; Matthew 5:23-24 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. ESV
· First go be reconciled, then come and worship – a time when God is willing to wait is a good subject title here
· Too many times we want to be just like the Pharisees thinking that worship can and will balance out our sinful ways. If I go through the motions of worship then all is well, if I make an offering that will makeup for my sin!
· But Jesus says; “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
· So if you are in worship and there remember that your brother has something against you stop your worship, leave your gift and go, now that is a powerful and strong statement, isn’t it church?
· Go and be reconciled to your brother and that brother may be a friend, a parent or both parents, family member, church member, or even the fellowship itself
· Some feel and it is a wrong conclusion that you can atone for moral failure by balancing evil with good. Listen
· Psalm 66:18 18 If I had cherished iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. ESV
· Isaiah 1:15 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. ESV
· Isaiah 58:4 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. ESV
· James 4:1-3 1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. ESV
· Young people may the word minister to your hearts today and may this also work on the rest of us, Jesus is clear here when He says leave your gift there before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother and then come worship
· How many of your are here today knowing beyond any doubt that there are matters unsettled. You know that there are items that has caused a division, a split between you and someone or others and “yall ain’t talking!” (excuse the Ebonics)
· First be reconciled do you know what that mean. Or as was spoken in a popular movie, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?
· Reconciliation my young people is a change of relationship between persons – (God and man, man and man) and it involves
· First, confession of sin to God and to any other who has been offended by your sin – Amen!
o If you have offended another person then you need to confess that to them
o If you have offended your parents then you need to confess that to them
o If a parent has offended their son or daughter, yes, you need to confess that to them
o If you have done something to offend the church fellowship or someone within the church body then you need to confess that to them
o If a husband has offended his wife or the other way around then you need to confess that to her or him
· Next, Reconciliation involves forgiveness by God and also by any other who has been offended listen
o Luke 17:3 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, ESV
· Reconciliation also involves the establishment of a new relationship between the offender and God and between the offender and the offended party (parties)
· In other words in reconciliation enmity and alienation are replaced by peace and fellowship
· As Matthew 18:15 says; “you have gained your brother!”
· A true illustration of Matthew 18:15 and Matthew 5:24 since both passages say go, you should find both meeting each other on the way to the others’ house. Or a husband and wife are both trying to speak to each other at the same time. Not the ‘no talking’ that so many of us are so good at. Lord help me to do better because I know that I fail at this!
· That is discipline in it wholesomeness
· And when that has been completed Now you can worship in spirit and truth
· Young people are quick to say “but I can’t do that!” and I am here to say ‘yes you can!’ New Hope, yes you can!
· Let me tell you how. And give you these directions from the word of God
· Not only does the book of James in chapter 1 verse 19 say to be quick to listen, it also say slow to speak, slow to anger
· Don’t get angry because I am preaching to you that you have to confess your sins to God and sometimes to man and close your heart to the truth
· But don’t be so quick to just jump up and start confessing either
· Listen to how a young man in the Word of God handled his offense with his father.
· Luke 15:17-24
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. ESV
· This is the part of the parable of the Prodigal Son notice
· He had to come to himself first meaning he had to be in his right mind
· Young people you can hear it over and over again but you must come to your right mind about sin and particular sin in your life. Because in that sinful state it is like you are out of your mind!
· See it in verse 18 the son prepares what he is going to say to his father before he goes home – ‘I have sinned against heaven (sinned against God) and before you (my dad) and I am not worthy to be called your son
· That’s true repentance – a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.
· What he prepared to say he begins to say but look at the reconciliation in verses 21 to 24.
· So how do you do this
o You must come to yourself and realize your sin and repent – prayer is needed here
o Prepare what you will say to the one or ones you have offended – this is a good point for prayer
o Then trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, acknowledge God in all your ways and watch how God will direct your paths
o Go in His name and in prayer
o After that praise the Lord in worship and pray a prayer of thanksgiving
· At the high school there are always a few who will not listen, those who you can’t say anything to and who will continue to do it their way even if it means to disobey
· If you are that type of person who think you are all that and a bowl of grits thinking to yourself, at least I’m at church, then listen to this passage from the Old Testament
1 Samuel 15:1-23 1 And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” 4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction. 10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. 12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.” 17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” ESV
· My young people, I pray that you do not disobey the Words of the Lord today. I have exposed you to the Word of God this day. This Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
· Today, my young people, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. For the Word of God is living and active and may you be blessed by it this Lord’s day
· Let us pray