Three Important Messages of Jesus
By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.
September 07, 2014
(13th Sunday after Pentecost, Grandparents’ Day)
In our passage today, we can see three things that Jesus desires: he desires reconciliation among his followers, he shares his authority with his followers, and he desires his followers to congregate in his name.
I. Jesus’ Desire of Reconciliation
Mathew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother (or sister) sins against you, go and confront him while the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that ‘every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If, however, he ignores them, tell it to the congregation. If he also ignores the congregation, regard him as a gentile and a tax collector.”
There are four (4) wise steps or instruction from Jesus Christ which are very important in the church:
(1) “Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Do not wait till he comes to apologize, as is the rule laid down by the rabbis, but go to him at once. Do not think of your own dignity. Think only of your Master’s honor and your brother’s welfare.
How many troubles, how many scandals might be prevented in the Christian Church, if this simple direction were faithfully and lovingly carried out! In some cases, however, this may fail; and then the next step is:
(2) “Take with you one or two more that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” The process here passes from private dealing; still there must be no undue publicity. If the reference to two or at most three fail, it becomes a duty to
(3) “Tell it unto the church,” in the hope that he may submit to its decision. If he decline, there is nothing left but
(4) ex-communication: “Let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). It means separate him from the church.
Let’s not over emphasize here the steps of reconciliation, but let’s see here the desire of Jesus to have reconciliation among the people in the church. Jesus foresaw the relationship in the church, and he gave suggestions on how to resolve our problems.
Jesus indeed loves us, and he desires to have reconciliation. Reconciliation happens only when there is honest communication, willingness of both sides to open their hearts and minds for new beginnings, and closing of old and “not so good” relationships.
II. Jesus’ Divine Authority is Shared
Mathew 18:18 says, “I tell you with certainty, whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”
Jesus shared his authority among his disciples. He did not hold it alone. He is good enough to share it with his followers. He did not say, “Oh, it’s my power and my authority, I am the only one who could exercise this authority.” Jesus was a good leader since he is able to share his leadership and authority among his apostles. As a pastor, I have this authority not because of inherent rights, but because it was shared by Jesus to his apostles. It’s because of grace of Jesus himself!
III. Jesus’ Desire of Having Small Groups
Mat 18:19-20 says, “Furthermore, I tell you with certainty that if two of you agree on earth about anything you request, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven, because where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them.”
That’s why I like to have small groups, since it is said by Jesus, “where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them.” We don’t need to wait for many group members, we can have small group even though we are few. Jesus is visiting us not because of numbers, but because we have heart for Jesus. Jesus will listen to our prayers, and he will bless us. That’s why I have been telling the church to invite our small groups in our homes since Jesus is true to his words, he will be with us, and he will be in our homes!
A hundred years ago during the time of Azusa revival (1906-1931) in Los Angeles, California, some prophets foretold that after hundred years there will be new kinds of global revival. It would be massive and powerful than the Azusa revival. This time it will happen in small groups, and not only in one place like Azusa, but in many cities and places that have small groups for Jesus! And we are now in the era that early prophets were saying.
In our passage, we have studied the three important messages of Jesus. His desire of reconciliation, his desire to share his divine authority, and his desire of visiting us in small groups if we are worshipping the Lord.
Are we ready to be with Jesus in his desires for his church for the sake of reconciliation and fellowship?