What is the proper way to resolve differences and offenses among God’s people? We examine this very familiar passage and see that if we do not conduct ourselves in keeping with the Word of God, we may end up doing more harm than good and may even promote divisions in the church rather than healing them.

We see that we must first of all seek to deal with the situation directly with the individual concerned, and always out of a heart of love. We should not make it a matter to broadcast to others but should deal with it privately. If the person does not repent, then two or three should approach the person, still in love and still seeking repentance. If the person still will not repent, only then does the matter become more public, as it is brought before the church. A lack of repentance before the courts of the church should result in the individual being put out of the church - but still as an act of love which looks for repentance and restoration in the sinner.

We are all cautioned to take great care in these matters to ensure that our motives are pure and full of Christ’s love and that we proceed according to the pattern Christ gives us in this passage.

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Shaun Bryant

Shaun has been Pastor at Grace Church in Modesto since late 1993. His journey to the fellowship took him through churches of various persuasions, during which time he became convinced of a call to the ministry and also of a Reformed view of the Scriptures. Shaun completed his studies for the ministry at Westminster Seminary in California. He is married with 3 children.

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