We are all familiar with the saying of where two or three gather in my name I am there. I love this verse, however I am sad how so many people take the bible out of context and make verses mean what there original purpose was not.
Matthew 18:15-20"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that 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 a tax collector."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."
What is this passage talking about? It is talking about a brother who is sinning and confronting him on his behavior. The capitalized verse up there is a quote directly from Deuteronomy 19:15, which Jesus uses to show the law of the OT is the same as His message. Should be, they were written by the same author. When one won't repent of there sin you are to go to him with two or three witnesses so that it is not just one mans word against another, rather you have more then one brother to confirm the testimony of the wrong doing. Am I being clear, my mind keeps wandering and I am struggling to find the right words. Look at it like this, I see a fellow believer from church who is married sneaking around and cheating on his wife. I will go go to him and tell him what he is doing is wrong, Christians are not to act like that and Gods holy word backs that up. Well he shrugs me off, don't care and keeps going along with his extramarital activity, then I will take two fellow brothers from church to tell this guy that this is against Gods word and that he must stop. Then as Jesus explains in other places, you would take the matter to the church if the fellow believer does not repent (stop/turn away from) from his immoral activities.
This is what this passage alludes to, church discipline. I love how Jesus said that when we gather in His name for this matter that He is within our mist. That's a comforting thought because seriously, who wants to do this. Right? It is told that we should and I understand why, we have to keep the body of Christ pure and holy. I know we are all sinners, unredeemed flesh, but we cannot claim Christ and not be obedient to His commands. That is illustrated best in Jesus and the relationship with His father, He loved the Father and was obedient, even unto death on a cross.
So should we be obedient? If Christ, The Son of God did, we most definitely should. That is the gospel message, repent and believe. Repent from what? The sins in our lives. The darkness in us that brings dishonor to God rather than glory. We all know we have a dark side in us. It's our nature, we are born sinners. But with faith in Christ and obedience to His word we can overcome those dark areas of our sinful nature. I'm not saying perfection here, we will not obtain that until Christ glorifies us, but that is no excuse to live like our sinful nature desires.
Now lets get back to the topic and scripture I was talking about before I sidestepped a little. People use the verse where two or three gather in my name I am there in there midst way out of context a lot. We see through the scripture itself that it talks of confronting a sinning person and that when we go to confront that brother that God is with us. OK. But a lot of people quote this just when two or three believers come together for prayer or bible study that God is there within their midst. Well this verse is not referring to that. However I do got good news to the people who quote this verse in that way, God is always within our midst if we are true followers and believers in Him. Number one He is Sovereign, so He sees and knows all. So he is near everyone in that sense, but also He has sent His spirit to dwell in the hearts of His faithful followers. So in that sense He is not within our midst, rather He is within us! How glorious a truth is that? When I pray to God, I believe He hears my prayers and is with me as I pray them. And that is not when I'm with people, but alone. I feel God listening and "within my midst" when I am pouring out my heart and praying to Him. I use the word feel hesitantly, for Christianity is not about all feelings, but about learning Gods word and drawing closer to Him through knowing Him by His words. God wrote one book, The bible, and He wrote down everything He wanted to tell His people in it. It is absolute truth and inerrant. It was relevant then just as much so as it is relevant today, for it is the perfect words of God. You want to know God? Read His word, and read it often.
I did not write this blog to mock or make fun of anyone who may use or have used that verse in the way that may take it out of context to the passage. I merely write to share with others the truth that I learn from Gods word. I want all of us to know what God says through the bible and how it impacts our lives. May we grow ever closer to Him through His awesome truths for us. My prayer is for all of us to read His word, read it often, and dig deep into what that word is telling us. I hope we all see and know that God is within us rather just within our midst. He is our shield, our strength, our God. For the more of the Word we know, the more of God we know.
With love and prayers always