Rebuking a Sinning Christian - Part 3
July 17, 2021
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 (Matthew 18:15-18).
Not all private encounters with a sinning Christian result in his/her repentance. Sometimes a sinning Christian resents others becoming involved in their personal life. But for the sake of the sinner, the church, and the leaders of the church, such confrontation is not only necessary, but vital. This is why Jesus explains the procedure in dealing with sin and the sinner.
Again, initial contact with the one accused must be made privately by a single, mature, compassionate Christian. If the primary encounter does not result in repentance, another or two other mature and compassionate Christians should return with the initial visitor to the one accused of sin. There are reasons for this.
First, Scripture says One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established (Deuteronomy 19:15).
Second, by virtue that 2 or 3 repeat the visit confirms that the accusation of sin is confirmed and is not simply a rumor or slander.
Third, the desire of Jesus Christ is that sinners repent of sin, and that Christians who sin be restored to fellowship. By continuing to confront the sinning Christian, the church seeks not to be judgmental, but to secure his/her repentance and restoration.
Fourth, the Apostle Paul told Timothy (1 Timothy 5:19-20), Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. Should the sinning Christian be a leader in the church, it is imperative that the sinful matter be confronted and resolved.
Again, if the matter is resolved the issue need not go any further. Repentance is secured. Fellowship is restored. Anything more of it only serves to embarrass, embitter, even cause the repentant one to leave the church and create a stumbling block for others.
“Lord Jesus, again remind us that our ministry is to call people to repentance and faith in You, and to strive for the repentance and restoration of fellow Christians. To Your honor and glory, Amen.”