Peter Barnes: Matthew 18: 18-20
(22 October 2017)
SERMON NOTES: UNITY IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST (Matthew 18:18-20)
Flows on from 18:15-17.
- There is Christ-given authority behind church discipline.
– 18:18. Jesus had already said something similar to Peter in 16:19. The keys to the kingdom consist of teaching and discipline. Now, in 18:18, it is said to the whole congregation.
– an example of the misuse of church discipline in the New Testament church – 3 John 9-10. Augustine: ‘One thing I say deliberately as an unquestionable truth, that if any believer has been wrongfully excommunicated, the sentence will do harm rather to him who pronounces it than to him who suffers this wrong. For it is by the Holy Spirit dwelling in holy persons that any one is loosed or bound, and He inflicts unmerited punishment upon no one; for by Him the love which works not evil is shed abroad in our hearts.’
– but note 1 Cor.5:4-5; 2 Cor.2:10.
- Unity on earth is verified in heaven.
– 18:19. Craig Keener says that the two or three who agree on earth in verse 19 are the same two or three witnesses in verse 17. There would then be a looking back to Old Testament law – Deut.17:6-7.
Chrysostom: ‘It is not the one who has called for accountability that is to blame but the one who has not been willing to be persuaded.’
- Jesus’ divine presence undergirds what takes place.
– 18:20. Christ has the attributes of God. God is everywhere at the same time. In His humanity He was in one place at a time (e.g. Matt.19:1). In His deity, He was omnipresent – Matt.28:19-20.
This is designed to make us all aware that there is a greater judgment to come, when we shall all answer before the judgment seat of Christ.