The Mercy Seat
Lord, thank You that You are always extending to us, inviting us back to Yourself.
Read Matthew 18:15-20
 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn what way is this a demonstration of mercy?
The church is a family. Consider how a family behaves when one of its members goes through a crisis. The church is also closer than a family–it’s a body, each part connected (1 Cor. 12:26). Why then might it be necessary for a body to exclude its own members (cf. Matt. 18:6-9)? Sin wrecks churches. A little sin can ruin a lot (cf. 1 Cor. 5:6), dimming a church’s impact as a light to the world. As Tim Keller puts it, “Beneath any particular sin is the general sin of rejecting Christ’s salvation and attempting our own self-salvation.” But we needn’t fear being ejected from our church simply for sinning. On that basis, no one would be left! Those who are excluded have already cut themselves off from the body by refusing to listen to what it’s trying to tell them (17). The authority Jesus bestowed on the church must nevertheless be exercised in prayerful dependence on God (18,19). How do we see God’s mercy in the way sinners are disciplined (15-17,19)? Naturally, we’re reluctant to challenge our friends’ conduct, but it could be a vital step in their experiencing the life-giving, transformative power of the Gospel.
Do you understand how seriously the decision of one affects the whole? Journal about this.
You are merciful, true and just. Only by Your Spirit can we learn to truly live in mercy, truth, and justice.
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