The Way of Peace
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: The question is not if but when. As redeemed sinners, we will sin against each other. We will say and do hurtful things. We will fall short of others’ expectations of us. As one old-time theologian wrote: “Hurts must happen in a rebellious creation.” At the heart of the matter is: What are we going to do about it? More specifically, how can we create a culture where reconciliation is a lifestyle?
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. What is the difference between a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class condition in Greek grammar? Why does that matter?
2. When someone has wronged us, why is it important to first go to that person alone (verse 15)? What sort of questions should we ask ourselves before we confront someone else?
3. Why are we so inclined to blame-shift when we are confronted? How does the gospel help us with that tendency?
4. “The freedom from vertical condemnation does not mean the absence of horizontal consequences.” What does that statement mean?
5. What is the goal of all discipline?
6. How have you experienced the forgiveness of God this week? How does being forgiven compel us to forgive others, even when we’ve been terribly wronged?
1. Read Matthew 18:15.
2. 3rd Class: Premise assumed to be neither TRUE or FALSE
3. 2nd Class: Premise assumed to be FALSE
4. 1st Class: Premise assumed to be TRUE
5. 01. When wronged by another person, we are to actively pursue the offending one and share our perspective.
6. “[The sin being addressed is] deliberately hurting the faith of other Christians by teaching or living unrepentantly and shamelessly, contrary to God’s clear Word and commands.” – Frederick Dale Bruner
7. “’Go’, an often neglected word in this command, means taking initiative and not waiting for the other person to come to us.” – Johann Bengel
8. Read Matthew 18:16.
9. 02. If a personal confrontation is spurned, an unbiased and godly mediator (or two) should be brought along.
10. Read Matthew 18:17a.
11. 03. Should two or three witnesses fail to persuade the offender to repent, the church should be informed of the offense.
12. “Evangelism and mission seek to make disciples of people, bringing them into Christ’s way. But it doesn’t make much sense to bring people into Christ’s way in the first place if the church then fails to make every effort consistent with the gospel to bring back into Christ’s way those who are straying from it.” – Marlin Jeschke
13. Read Matthew 18:17b.
14. 04. A final and heartbreaking effort to promote reconciliation involves the removal of sin (via the unrepentant sinner) from the believing community.
15. Read Matthew 18:18-20.
16. “Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back the path of sin.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer