Chapter 18

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18:1-9 The disciples were preoccupied with figuring out which of them was the greatest (Luk 9:46-48; 22:24-26; Mrk 9:33-34; 10:35-37). Jesus demonstrated with a child that true greatness was not achieved through selfish ambition, but by selfless service to others, as a child yields to his parents. Jesus subtly switched gears in this passage. The word He used for child in vss. 2-5 is paidion, one who was of young age. In vs. 6 He started using the word mikros which was ascribed in the Bible to one young in the faith (Rev 11:8; 18:5). The message is clear. If you cause one young in faith or newly seeking faith to lose faith, a deep black hell is reserved for you.
18:10-14 The word mikros is used again twice in this text. God protects these precious young ones to the point He assigns to each a guardian angel (Heb 1:14).
18:15-20 When a Christian is involved in sin, it is wrong to turn a blind eye. Here is what you should do.
1. Go in love and privately persuade your brother to turn from his sin. If he changes, the incident is over. No one else needs to know.
2. If he does not listen, take a couple of others along to plead with him to repent. If he does, the incident is over.
3. If he continues to sin, ask the congregation to use their influence to persuade him to come back to the Lord.
4. If that does not work, withdraw fellowship from him. Hopefully he will miss the fellowship and turn away from his sin.
All this is to be done in love; not in arrogance, spite or vengeance. When done properly, the actions of the church carry the weight and authority of Jesus Himself. We are not condemning the person in sin. They condemn themselves by choosing to live in disobedience to Christ.
18:21-35 God did not generously forgive all of your sins so you in turn could selfishly refuse to forgive others. Forgive others to the degree you have been forgiven. The Jewish Talmud demanded forgiveness 3 times. Jesus’ call for unlimited forgiveness was radical.

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