How Should We Apply Matthew 18:15-17?

Outline By: Brian A. Yeager



I. Introduction:

A. We know that if a brother or sister sins we must act to try and help that fellow saint (Galatians 6:1).

1. The Scriptures show that there will be different approaches to this task (Jude 1:22-23).

2. The goal is the same (James 5:19-20).

B. Often, people twist Scriptures when it comes to helping the erring and they err in doing so (II Peter 3:15-17).

1. We do not want to be guilty of that (Galatians 1:8-9).

2. We want to handle GodŐs word correctly (II Timothy 2:14-18).


II. Body: Properly Applying Matthew 18:15-17

A. Matthew 18:15-17 applies to a trespass that is private, between two faithful Christians Ňa brotherÓ (a brother is an obedient disciple – Mark 3:32-35).

1. You try to resolve the matter privately (Luke 17:3-4).

2. You involve witnesses, understanding the likelihood of the situation escalating, who try and help if the private approach did not work (John 8:17 and II Corinthians 13:1-2).

3. If those steps failed, the whole congregation [not a traditional ŇmenŐs meetingÓ] is to be involved (I Corinthians 5:1-8).

4. You withdraw if all the above fails (II Thessalonians 3:6).

a. Therefore, you know this does not apply to a person who is not in fellowship with the saints already because you cannot withdraw from a non-existent relationship (I Corinthians 5:9-13).

b. Now, no company (II Thessalonians 3:14-15).

5. This process has PRINCIPLES that apply even in carnal matters between brothers and sisters in Christ (I Corinthians 6:1-8).

B. Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to public sin (Galatians 2:11-17).

1. Public attention to public sin (I Timothy 5:20).

2. You donŐt have to go to this person privately (III John 1:9-11).

3. There is no room for lengthy discussions over such either (Titus 3:9-11).

C. Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to public false teachers (Romans 16:17-18).

1. The process is not one involving multiple steps (Ephesians 5:6-11, I Timothy 6:3-5, and II John 1:9-11).

2. Just be sure to know the difference between a false teacher who mistakenly errs (Acts 18:24-28) and those who choose to (I Timothy 1:19-20).

a. There is no excuse for teaching error (I Timothy 1:3-7).

b. GodŐs judgment on the matter is clear (James 3:1).

D. Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to a congregation in sin (Revelation 2:1-3:22).

1. Paul heard a report and acted publicly on it (I Corinthians 1:11 and I Corinthians 11:18-19).

2. Others, including congregations, can even be brought into a congregations errors to try and bring about restoration (Acts 15:1-35).


III. Conclusion: Rather than losing any to sin, public or private, letŐs work to keep each other from spiritual fatal falls (Hebrews 3:12-13).



Back To Index


© 2015 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain.  Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful!   Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies.  – Brian A. Yeager