What 'Where Two or Three are Gathered’ Really Means
welcome to real Christianity mission is to bring the church back to the Bible my name is Dale Partridge and I'm the president of relearn. Org and Reformation Seminary the premise of the show it's simple the culture is growing darker the church is in need of sound Doctrine and many Christians are hungry for the truth join me here each week as we look to scripture and discover what it really means to be a Christian
 welcome to the show if your regular listener to the show you know that we are in the last episode of a four-part series on misused and abused passages of scripture episode number one was on 2nd Peter 39 which states the Lord is not slow about his promises come pick out slowness and put his patient towards you not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance we discussed how the Armenian are the free will or Wesleyan proponents are using this passage to refute the doctrine of sovereign election and we talked to specifically about why that is an incorrect predation
 episode number to We Touch on 1st Peter 2:24 which states and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to send a live to righteousness for by his wounds you were healed we looked at how the prosperity preachers have perverted this passage to make the Cross by physical healing from sickness instead of spiritual healing from sin we talked about the nuances of that message episode number three was Matthew 7:1 which states do not judge so that you will not be judged we discuss the how the world uses this to deflect righteous Judgment of their sin and we defended and find the biblical and under the whole Act of judgment today we are in our final passage which is Matthew 18:20 that states for where two or three have gathered together in my name I am there in there
 I can't tell you how many Christians and even pastors have used this verse to justify the Lord's Presence at their church meeting or Outreach event or prayer meeting typically goes something like this we know that we're two or three are gathered together the Lord is in the myth let's see what God has in store for us this evening and quote there's really no radical spiritual danger or from a misuse of this specific passage because the Lord is always with his people Jesus said at the end of the Great Commission and low I am always with you even to the End of the Age so the problem is that you're the pastor
 or Kirsten but generally Pastor that has just revealed he is incompetent at interpreting scripture and this is the real danger because as you are going to see this passage is not that difficult to interpret every faithful Expositor throughout church history has arrived at the same conclusion regarding his first and the only people who have landed outside are those who don't know how to Faithfully interpret scripture other words this is not a theologically contested passage everyone who has been trained in basic hermeneutics will arrive at the correct meaning of this text but if you have a church in your under the spiritual care of a pastor who cannot properly interpret this basic and straightforward text is using it and not contacts that I mentioned earlier
 then you need to be greatly concerned about his ability to safely interpret passages that are far more the Electra complex and robust So today we're going to look at this passage we're looking at the greater context what is about church discipline so this is just another kind of side topic of today's episode and then we're going to look at the immediate context and the greater context and then try to get an accurate interpretation but before I begin I just wanted to mention briefly this episodes sponsor as a family we try to be wise stewards of our money and we try to support Christian businesses in ministries that's something that Veronica and I have done since the beginning for years we have given thousands of dollars to secular health insurance companies until we found out about Christian Health sharing Christian Healthcare Ministries is a community of Christians who as Galatians 6:2 says Carey
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 okay so that a passage is sitting at the end of Jesus's somewhat extensive teaching on church discipline in fact this passage is arguably the most comprehensive instruction for Tristan church discipline in the New Testament maybe outside of 1st Corinthians chapter 5 but this passage in Matthew 18 15 to 20 needs to be connected to the previous passage which is the parable of the lost sheep Parable Jesus explains that he has come to save the lost and if one of these sheep one of his sheep goes astray a Good Shepherd lovingly seeks to find them and restore them to the flock verse 14 and Matthew 18 says
 so it is not the will of your father in Heaven that one of these little ones Parish ultimately Jesus the same because it's not God's will to see strange sheep Parrish and he seeks them out to be restored to flock we must follow his example to seek out strange sheep in the church and restore them to their local congregation read the entire section to get a greater context and then a focus on interpreting our specific verse
 so Matthew 18 12 through 20 I'm going to be reading in the nasb so it says what do you think if a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go out and search for the one that is string if it turns out that he finds it truly I say to you he rejoices over it more than the 99 which have not gone astray so it is not the will of your father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish for 15 if your brother sins Go and show him his fault in private if you listen to you you have won your brother but if he is not listening to you or does not listen to you take one or two more with you so the by the mouth of two or three Witnesses every fact may be confirmed if he refuses to listen to them tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen even to the church let him be to you as a gentile and attacks
 truly truly I say to you whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on Earth shall have been loosed in heaven again I say to you that if two of you agree on Earth about anything that they may ask it shall be done for them by my father who is in heaven for where two or three have gathered together in my name I am there in the midst
 or I am there in their midst now today's teaching this episode it's not on the topic of church discipline but I will make five general observations about this text while we're here and if you're not in a church that doesn't
 exercise church discipline leave the church church discipline is essential so five quick points about what was just read and what we can learn from Jesus's instructions about church discipline church discipline is always an act to be rooted in love and Reconciliation it's never to be enjoyed and it's always to be implemented so a Hampton keeps Lee once said quote discipline in the church is not punishment is discipline and discipline is designed to train and restore and go to church discipline is part of the immune system of the local church it's fites office in false teaching convert and in doing so it protects the church and the reputation of Christ John dad wants said quote when church discipline or when discipline leave the church Christ goes with it
 and quote number 3 church discipline always start intimately with gentleness and expands to greater and greater publicity with severity before to be removed from the local church is not to be removed of your salvation but to lose all of your Christian Community as well as the spiritual benefits of the local church as a result of your desire to love your sin more than you love Christ and becomes a painful and effective form of corporate correction there were five when someone returns to the local church and repentance
 and is reconciled with God and his people it should cause Christians to celebrate and prays god remember the idea of Huey rejoices more over the one sheep that comes back than the 99 it didn't go astray and so we need to read that passage again in the context of the previous passes could Jesus gives us the parable that makes sense of the heart posture for the context of church discipline now we understand the greater context of our passage let's look to the immediate context of our Focus first I'm going to read you a verse 18 through 20 and then I'll break it down so we can extract the precise meaning of Jesus's words so verse 18 truly I say to you whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on Earth shall have been loosed in heaven again I say to you that if two of you agree on Earth about anything that they may ask
 it shall be done for them by my father who is in heaven for where two or three have gathered together in my name I am there in their midst okay Verse 18 take a first ever do this
 Verse 18 of a really getting truly I say to you whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on Earth shall happen loosed in heaven so Faithfully interpreting scripture always requires a commitment to contact always always always and we can't properly understand this reference to binding and loosing unless we understand that Jesus is already spoke of binding and loosing a few chapters earlier in chapter 16 verses 13 through 22 ask Peter who he thinks he is the Peter answers your the Christ the son of the Living God then Jesus response to Peter and says blessed are you Simon bar-jonah because Flesh and Blood did not reveal this to you
 but my father who is in heaven I also say to you that you are Peter and Upon This Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell and it gets Hades will not overpower it I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on Earth shall have been loosed in heaven okay essentially Peter
 as well as anyone else who believes on this rock shall have the keys to the kingdom of heaven that is they will have access to enter it right that's what keys do right you want it keys let you in
 the question we have to answer is what is this rock
 cuz he talks about Believing on this rock I say to you Peter Upon This Rock I will build my church what is The Rock
 well the Catholic Church believes it's Peter himself because his name in Greek is pet Ross which means Rock
 This is actually that the Roman Catholics
 theological basis for the entire papacy but that's not what this passage is teaching the rock is not Peter it's Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ it's his confession that is the Firm Foundation of the church it's not the person it's the profession of Truth the church is built on the belief that Jesus is the Christ it's Peter's divinely delivered knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of the Living God and upon this revealed knowledge and confession Christ will build his church is going to build his church upon the confession that he was the Messiah
 so Jesus says that these people who were born into the kingdom through this spiritual Revelation have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven and Jesus is talking here about these people were given eyes to see I think about I guess it's what it is Chapter 3 of John I'm going there real quick so hang with me guys chapter 3 we hear this statement about being born again truly I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God you can't enter it if you can't see it and you got to be born again and he says later truly truly I said you unless one is born of water and of the spirit that is cleansing and the spirit of God he cannot enter the kingdom of God we must be born again in person or chapter one of
 he also said something that is essential I believe it said I was it 2:10 here let's see here yeah so it says here in verse 11 he came to his own and those who were his own did not receive them but as many as did receive him
 to them he gave the right to become children of God even to those who believe in his name who were born not a blood not not just the Jewish functionality of being born of Abraham Hicks YouTube Abraham who were born not of blood nor of the will of The Flash if they're not willing didn't want to be born again it didn't save themselves nor of the will of man that says they were persuaded
 they were born of God is so it says again first 13 and chapter 1 of John who were born not of blood nor the will of The Flash nor of the will of man a butt of. And so these are this is what Jesus is talking about when he says blessed are you some of our Flesh and Blood did not reveal this to you but my father who is in heaven I also say to you that you are Peter and Upon This Rock the Christ is the Cornerstone The Rock Christ is the confession that Jesus is the Christ is what's the church is built upon what is I will build my church and again it's not on the person it's on the profession that's important not on the person it's on the profession until these people have been born have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven if access into heaven through their spiritual their spiritual birth
 and ultimately what is his born-again Christians have the authority as citizens of Heaven to declare what has been bound or loosed in heaven now pay attention to what has been bound or loosed in heaven now the binding and loosing has to do with being bound to sin or loosed from SIM in short it's the ability to declare someone to be Unforgiven or forgiven now ultimately Jesus is permitting the church the confessors of the truth the people that are born of the spirit of God to declare according to the word of God if someone is Forgiven or Unforgiven now the church does not determine these things but declares these things that are already true in heaven because they are true in God's word other words went when a local church or body of born-again believers
 who rely on the word of God and declares that a person by their own actions by their own fruit is that Jesus says you'll know them by their fruits and their own unrepentant countenance went when the church declares that this person is not forgiven and they've gone to this process of church discipline they are simply to Clary what has already been determined by the king himself they are citizens of the kingdom of God the understand what is true and what is false what is bound what is loosed according to sin because they know the word of God that can see the evidence is on the wall we know them by their fruit they they they know the politics of having because they are citizens of the Kingdom
 and when the church declares that a person by their fruit and repentance Is Forgiven they're simply recognizing publicly what God has already done for them in heaven and so this is not teaching that we have some power to forgive sins but that we have the power as people in 12 by the Holy Spirit who follow the word of God to recognize who has and has not been forgiven through the Holy Spirit and if you're a Believer and you've been a Believer for some time and you can understand when someone is regenerated or not regenerated now we live in a church culture and age we go we got some Luther Christian Christian they got
 yeah you know there's not a strong Christian
 really we can we try to put this gray area between saved and well maybe you know maybe they're saying I don't know if you look through the scriptures and you look throughout church history when someone saved it's evident now it doesn't mean that they're going to be you know bearing fruit everywhere all the time and not sitting and having a perfect life know but it means that they are going to be passionate it means they're going to be having a conviction of sin it means that their prayers are going to be answered it means they're going to love the word of God it's going to be there going to have further growing gospel Clarity it's going to have hatred force in a growing sanctification in the Lord these things are going to be evident in their life they're going to talk about Jesus they're going to want to learn more about Jesus this is the sign of a growing and Sanctified person so when we move now to the context of our specific passage Matthew 18 regarding church discipline
 our Lord references this concept of binding and loosing once again
 verse 19 in Matthew 18 it says again I say to you that if two or three or two of you agree on Earth about anything that they may ask it shall be done for them by my father who is in heaven so remember just a few verses earlier Jesus instructs that during this three-step process of his discipline to take one or two more with you so that by the mouth of two or three Witnesses every fact maybe confirm so this this number of two or three people in agreement reference is a direct reference to the quantity of people required for faithful church discipline it's the minimum requirement
 now it's important to know that this number two to three is not inaugurating here Deuteronomy 19-15 States a single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three Witnesses shall a charge be established and quote Jesus is referencing the structure that God is already put in place for Discerning justice among his people so when Jesus says if two of you agree on Earth about anything that they may ask he's referring to what they may ask in prayer and that the agreement between these two or three born-again spirit and dwell God loving men of the kingdom is the evidence of the unity of the spirit and Christ's presence
 on them K Christ's presence among them and this is why the next verse says for where two or three have gathered together in my name I and they're in their midst to Christ's presence is the means price presents his is the spirit of God Christ's presence is the the means of Christian agreement and unity by prayer on the matters of discerning and declaring Justice regarding Church government in church discipline so Christ dwells within his people and when his people see out the word of God through the spirit of God Christ promises to be present in their midst in these moments of Justice in determining what is right or wrong so Jesus has also just look kind of sidetracked you want to catch hear Jesus is also making an amazing Claim about his divinity imagine hearing this you're standing there talking to a man
 mandamus Jesus and for him to say that wherever two or three Christians are gathered I am present this is essentially to declare that Jesus is omnipresent he is in all places with all his people all the time and again that's make sense for low I'm always with you even if the NVA he is with his people so this this verse is not about summoning Christ's Presence by bringing about a certain number of Christians together I know Christ is just as much with us when we're alone as he is with an assembled church so imagine this guy again at the beginning I talked about hey we know that were you know where two or three are gathered together Jesus Christ is in the mitts he's implying to his congregation that when you're alone Christ is it with you and we need two or three to have Christ present that's bad theology
 the two or three together in my name I am there in the minutes it's about church discipline Discerning Justice that it's worse is not about the minimum quantity of people required to make a church or to make a doggie Raider to bring about order invite Jesus in or where he'll show up this verse is about the minimum number of people to Faithfully carry out local church discipline I remember actually years ago we had a new family to join our house church and they invited us over for dinner and on the wall above their dining table was this like giant Hobby Lobby painting that red quote or two or three are gathered together that there I am in the midst of them it was this like
 I guess this idea of trying to show that look at the people at the dinner table where we gather together Jesus is with us and I doubt that the woman of the home had any idea that she'd hung up a verse about church discipline in the most prominent place in her house I didn't bring up the discussion while we were there but I did end up reaching on it several months later and we did realize that painting was eventually replaced
 number one church discipline is essential and it's founded in a heart for reconciliation and restoration number to Christ is building his church on Peter's confession of who Christ is
 the Christ the Messiah not on Peter himself as the Perez the first pope that whole movement of of Peter in Rome and him being the head of the church the foundation of the church. After all that stuff out the window because that's not what is talking about in the text and there's a much greater discussion to have their but that's just a little bit down the stand where the differences lie between the Catholic church and the Protestant church if you are a born-again Believer you have the keys to the kingdom of heaven the keys are what that you've been born you can able to see the king of Heaven that the keys are the confession and profession that Jesus is the Christ number for when we have issues of discerning Justice in the church which happened all the time we want to 23 Godley persons Pro
 to establish the facts examine the evidence by prayer and allow the presence of Christ to unify them around the truth and so this is a important posture to have in understanding to have about a basic church discipline on that note I hope this episode was helpful for you I hope it was edifying for your walk I hope you feel like you know a little bit more about church discipline and binding and loosing and being born again and at the differences between the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches I hope this with edifying and strengthen you for your walk with the Lord if your regular listener to the real Christianity podcast you know that you can leave a review and if you haven't left already you already I asked you to do so you don't need a ride anything you just need to tap the stars in the podcast app but if you do write something I will read it and other people read it in the more reviews that we have the more people that find our show
 we have over 6,000 reviews and so your reviews really do help other people find real Christianity and it's a great way small way to release further the kingdom of God on that note thank you for just being with me through the series four-part series I have an exciting announcement for next week shift on the podcast a little shift of focus and I think you guys are really going to appreciate it I will announce that next week but until then thank you for joining me on this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge will see you next week
 thank you for joining me on this episode of real Christianity real Christianity is a listener supported audio Ministry of relearn. Org our mission at realtor.org is to bring the church back to the Bible we achieve this through strengthen and Christians in biblical and Theological literacy find biblical articles podcast sermons and videos at our website at relearn. Org our team is small but our mission is large and we need your help if you'd like to support our ministry financially you can always do so at relearn. Org forward slash donate thank you again for joining me today and I hope to see you next week for another episode of real Christianity