November 6, 2019

Better Together

Matthew 18:15–35

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If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 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. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed1 in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.2 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.3 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant4 fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,5 and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,6 until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Footnotes

[1] 18:18 Or shall have been bound . . . shall have been loosed
[2] 18:23 Or bondservants; also verses 28, 31
[3] 18:24 A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years' wages for a laborer
[4] 18:26 Or bondservant; also verses 27, 28, 29, 32, 33
[5] 18:28 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
[6] 18:34 Greek torturers

Better Together



Key Verse | Matthew 18:15-16

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses."

Bio | Avery Cole

Hey, y'all! I'm Avery, and I am currently in school. I love to spend my time at the lake, taking photos, listening to country music, and watching sunsets and college football. You can also find me loving on the newborns in Watermark's Starting Blocks!

Central Truth

God calls us to find community and accountability through others to bring light into our lives and grow our relationship with Him.

Devotional | Matthew 18:15–35

Have you ever watched friends fall into sin over time? Maybe they are struggling with anger, anxiety, people-pleasing, turning to earthly pleasures instead of God, or another sin. When this happens, gossiping is...

Have you ever watched friends fall into sin over time? Maybe they are struggling with anger, anxiety, people-pleasing, turning to earthly pleasures instead of God, or another sin. When this happens, gossiping is an easy trap to fall into without even knowing it. But Matthew 18 tells us not to spread gossip and instead to go to our brother or sister in Christ and have a private and loving conversation. "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) I have learned it is best to lovingly express how they are falling short and biblically counsel how to get back on track toward Christ. Through community, we can pursue other believers relationally and grow our relationship with Christ.

Confronting someone or sharing your own struggles is not always easy, but I have learned the best way we can do either is through love. You can show God's love by investing, comforting, and encouraging others in their war against sin. Reminding others that we all suffer from sin and are broken encourages others that they are not alone and that you can relate. 

Community is a big blessing from God. I've been attending my small group since the sixth grade, and both the girls and our leaders have been such a blessing in and impact on my story. Through fellowship and community, we can continually pursue Him while walking in the light with others. Community with fellow believers is a great way to have accountability and to counsel each other biblically. Authenticity and openness with your community group provide a link of helping each other through struggles instead of seeking isolation. So whether you're in a community group or not, I urge you to find fellowship and counsel as you walk through life alongside other believers in Christ.

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Discussion Questions

1. What excuses are you telling yourself to avoid sharing your hurt with others, and how can you find truth through God's Word?

2. In what ways can you work to strengthen your community group through accountability and authenticity?

3. How are you holding back from being authentic with others? What sin and brokenness are you holding on to that you need to bring into the light?

4. If you are not in a community group, do you feel God leading you toward joining one? If so, visit http://www.watermark.org/dallas/ministries/community

5. Scripture says a lot about community and accountability. Spend some time this week studying these verses: Galatians 6:1-2; James 1:19 and 5:16; and 1 John 1:7.

7 Comments available

Jay Caruso 12 days ago

Thank you Avery!!! I have found that community is very important but it is extremely hard to keep one together and yes I have found thus far. hoping to jump back in to reengage and get renewed with a new group of believers but I do still have fellowship with many. I have found that community is very hard to keep together I have found. hoping to jump back in to reengage get renewed with a new group of believers. I still have fellowship with many which makes my daily walk so much more enjoyable and I feel so blessed to have these individuals in my life weekly. Godly counsel is very important

Michael Scaman 13 days ago

Once again, Matthew the tax collector works his profession into his gospel Matt 18:17

“… And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector…”

Michael Scaman 13 days ago

Speaking the truth in love about a sin issue starts private and then can expand with the final authority being the whole church. Starting completely private, moving potentially eventually to very public.

Even that isn’t the end, one hopes even that causes a repentance and restpration.

Lori Romberg-McGregor 13 days ago

Hello Avery! We McGregors are big fans of your family!

What an excellent way to relate to this passage. Some of the most difficult conversations can yield beautiful fruits of the spirit with gentle correction. It may not feel good at the time, but knowing the person is coming from a place of love and concern for you, helps you filter how you respond to them.

Your dad must be so proud of you! Thank you for blessing all of us with your insight into this important piece of God’s Word.

Sue Bohlin 13 days ago

Great job Avery, bless you!

Matthew 18 is just crazy-rich with goooood stuff! I am so thankful for the perspective I learned from the book “Forgiving Forward,” which doesn’t gloss over the end of the parable. Jesus was warning us that unforgiveness opens us up to “the torturers” – demonic activity in our lives. Over the years I have seen a variety of painful ugliness resulting from people refusing to forgive: from a crumpled-up raisin of a soul, to overwhelming anger and rage, to debilitating depression, to a hard, hard heart.

Which shows once again that when we forgive, it’s not for our offender, it’s a gift we give ourselves.

Hope Harris 13 days ago

GM JTJ peeps

Great job Avery! I believe that CG has been the place where I most often grow. It has been a major blessing for me to do life with others lock arms and press-in towards the finish line.

I don’t always do it well but I am committed to transparency and honesty.

Hugh Stephenson 13 days ago

GM Avery! Well done!! Love the Cole family and how they love on all of us!

One of the greatest blessings in my time at Watermark has been in community with others; both in my CG and in the recovery ministries. Again and again I have seen how I am a lot closer to the unforgiving servant than I realized or wanted to admit.

The preamble is critical. In order to receive these blessings I had to be fully engaged, transparent and accountable. Without that I just hide in my sin.

I love the 59 one another verses in the NT as Biblical support. I particularly like this rendering. http://www.tgcresources.com/dons-blog/the-59-one-another-verses-of-the-new-testament/

What I can easily miss is to have approach that starts with seeking understanding of the person’s statement or action – then to have an attitude of love, compassion & care for them into a gentle guiding to God’s Word.

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