“Church discipline, then, is essential because the Lord commands it. Jesus Christ has declared church discipline to be essential, and churches must treat the process accordingly by committing themselves (and training their people) to follow the steps mentioned above.”
(Jesse Randolph – For The Gospel) One of the more-frequently misapplied passages of Scripture is Matthew 18:20, where the Lord Jesus is recorded as saying: “For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Whether this verse is thrown around at a men’s prayer breakfast, a church potluck, or a small group conversation in a living room, the subtle suggestion is that Jesus is not going to bother to show up when one of His followers is flying solo. The transcendent and immanent King of Kings somehow needs at least two Christians gathered—and perhaps three—before He can make His way into their midst.
But is that what Matthew 18:20 is actually communicating? Is this verse about the Lord of the church setting a baseline attendance requirement before He will become involved in the lives of His people? The answer is no. Considered in its context, Matthew 18:20 bookends a section of Scripture which begins five verses earlier, in Matthew 18:15. There, we see Jesus Christ giving directions both to His earliest followers and to the modern church regarding the process of church discipline.
The central proposition of this article is that not only is church essential (a phrase that was birthed, of necessity, in 2020), church discipline is essential. This proposition is supported by the following three pillars of thought.
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