Matthew 18:17

Esther 9:1-19, Matthew 18:15-20


 Matthew 18:17  (New International Version)

 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


This is the end of the line. Your brother or sister wrongs you. Step 1, verse 15, you take the issue up with them one-on-one. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, Step 2, verse 16, you take one or two others to assist. If there is still no resolution, Step 3, you take it to the church. If that fails, what?

Certainly, an unrepentant person should not be permitted to play a public role in the church, in its worship and service. In fact, Jesus says to “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”. Now Craig Blomberg, in his commentary on Matthew, points out that this treatment is not as severe as it is sometimes made out to be. It is not “excommunication” or “disfellowshipping”. That was how the religious leaders of the day might respond to “traitorous” tax collectors and “unclean” pagans. But how did Jesus treat “pagans” and “tax-collectors”? With compassion. Such ones should not be abandoned or shunned, but reached out to and invited to repent.

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2 thoughts on “Matthew 18:17

  1. Thanks Helen and Roger for making it clear about not excommunicating. Jesus got criticised by the elite for dining with tax collectors and sinners! Sounds like we should disapprove of behaviour in strong ways if necessary but not disown the person.

  2. Thank you Helen and Roger. I wonder how many ministers would still be in their calling if the body of Christ just followed this instruction for conflict resolution. So much of the disunity within the Church could be diverted if this pattern is followed. I find it interesting that in my translations it has the instruction ,”If your brother (sister) sins AGAINST YOU….. not just if your brother or sister sins. We are not called to be Gods policemen / women. Always remembering that the outcome is always restoration. Good to remember that love covers a multitude of sins. More often than not God is doing a heart check on the wronged one to see how they are growing in becoming more like Christ. He sees any irritation or heart response that those around us cant see. This is where the fear of God comes in very handy!!! Knowing that He sees my response when I am sinned against should be just as important.

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