Sunday, July 21, 2013

God's Patience Chapter

Matthew 18 describes a scenario that we often call the church discipline chapter. But it might best be described as God’s patience chapter. Why is this? Because God extends every kindness to us before He brings punishment. His Spirit convicts us of sin but if we will not repent at that, He sends us a friend. If we will not hear our friend, God sends us two or three friends to talk to us. If we will not hear them, He sends us elders and deacons and a whole church to plead with us to repent. It is not until you have exhibited your hard heart through all of these graces that God brings judgment.
         So, we learn from this that God is patient but that He does require accountability. We should also learn that we can easily deceive ourselves that we are in the right. Thus, we need the corrective of God’s Spirit and our brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can live faithful lives, regularly repenting of offenses against the brothers.
         So, have you sinfully offended someone? Let me ask another way. Do you have current offenses against anyone? If so, are you able to either let love cover over it so that you are fully at peace with them? Or, are you willing to address their sin against you so that you can freely and fully forgive them and thus be at peace with them? You may have addressed their sin and your attempt at reconciliation was refused. Let the Lord judge in such cases but as far as it is up to you, the Lord requires you to be at peace with all men. I might add that the best place to start is with the people closest to you, wife, husband, children, parents, fellow church members and then work your way out from there.

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