When There's Sin in the Church

Responding to Sin in the Church: Confront with Care

Dan Franklin
Nov 26, 2023    40m
When a fellow believer falls into sin, is it judgmental to confront them? Many today feel unequipped for biblical church discipline. Jesus, however, gave clear instructions for gently restoring straying Christians. What does God's Word say about responding to sin in the church? In Matthew 18:15-20, we receive both Christ's process for loving accountability and the promise of his presence as we seek to redeem the fallen. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Rich Shores: [00:00:18] My name is Rich Shores, and if I haven't had the opportunity to meet you, I've been coming here for about ten years now, my wife and I both. And we've been serving in all kinds of ministries, and admittedly, one of my most favorite opportunities that I've had is to be able to do the morning scripture reading. I will make a confession, though, when I'm home by myself reading scripture, sometimes I struggle with trying to understand what it is that God is telling me. We have the benefit here, right, that we hear a sermon or the application, things like that. But I was thumbing through my phone the other day, and I found a prayer that I had bookmarked, and I want to share that prayer with you about reading Scripture. Lord, thank you for the time you've given me to open your word and discover who you are. Thank you that you don't leave me in the dark about who you are and what you are doing in the world, but you have revealed yourself and your will through the Bible, your sacred words to me. Lord, I need wisdom as I read your word. You promise me in James 1:5 that I only have to ask for wisdom to receive it. Lord, please give me your wisdom as I consider your word. Help me discern the truth of the text. Help me to not rely on my own understanding. Thank you, God, for the clarity, encouragement, and hope your word brings. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen. And I hope that if you, like me, sometimes it's just hard to chew on what you just read. It may be for another time or something like that but just pray those words. God wants to hear that, right?

Dan Franklin: [00:01:55] Now speaking of scripture reading, let me read for you what we have for today. Today we are going to be reading from Matthew 18, verses 15 through 20, these are the words of Jesus, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:04] Amen. You can grab a seat. Well, so this Sunday is the last Sunday for a little while that we're going to be in the Gospel of Matthew. Next week we start into our Advent series. And I just want to say again, I know John mentioned it earlier, but I really want to encourage you to grab one of our Advent devotionals that we put together. You know, a couple of years ago, we'd never done this before, but we just decided to purchase online an Advent devotional that somebody else had done because we always want to celebrate during this Christmas season, the hope and the peace and the joy and the love that Jesus brought us. And so we didn't know how people were going to respond, we bought like 100 of this one devotional, and they were gone in like an hour. And so we got the message like, hey, it seems like our church family wants a resource like this. So last year we made our own, this year we made our own, and it's written, as John was saying, by the different pastors here on the LBF church staff. I'll just give a plug, one of the cool things about this devotional is that you can do it as an individual, you can do it as a couple if you're sort of like empty nesters or you don't have kids yet, or you can do it as a family or as a group. Because one of the things that we did last year for our family is that we would have a different member of the family do a different part of each entry. And so one member of the family would read the passage, another one would read the devotional thoughts, another one would read the prayer that we'd pray together, and another would read the questions that we'd answer together. And so nobody expects that you're going to do this every single week for like 28 straight days. But man, if you're home, if you're around the dinner table, the breakfast table, you know, in the morning, this is such a great way for us to cast our eyes on Jesus. And the $5, if for some reason you don't have that, or if that's difficult, just grab one, we just want to get this in everybody's hands so that we can celebrate the Advent season together.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:00] Since Advent is next week, some of you might have been thinking, all right, well, it's Thanksgiving, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, maybe we're going to get this great sermon about gratitude and thankfulness. But no, we're just in Matthew still, and you get church discipline instead. So sorry, but that's what we're going through as we continue in this series through the Gospel of Matthew. And if you are listening, if you're paying attention when Rich read, you might have felt like, all right, this is kind of a heavier passage, this is a little bit intense, and so I want to just make sure we have the context for what Jesus is doing here. Because throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew has been presenting to us Jesus as the King and consistently reminding us Jesus came as the King. One day he will come back as the final king entering into his kingdom. We just sang about All Hail King Jesus! It's about Jesus being King. And Jesus is having a sort of aside with his disciples, with his closest disciples, in this passage, and talking to them about what life is like when he is ruling as King. What does life look like when we treat Jesus as the King?

Dan Franklin: [00:06:12] And this is also just the second time in Matthew that Jesus brings up the word church. And so he's talking specifically, he's casting ahead about the idea that after his sacrificial death for us and his resurrection and his ascension, the Holy Spirit is going to descend and his church will be set up, and there will be pockets of believers all over the place gathering together for worship and fellowship and for the mission. And as this is happening, Jesus is laying out the idea that even though in a sense he is the King everywhere, within the church is where his kingship is really shown off. As we've talked about before, the church is not a building, and the church is not a campus, and the church is not primarily an organization; the church, the Greek word that's translated as church, means the people, we are the church. And so when we are together as the church, if anybody in the world wants to look and to say what does life look like when a group of people treats Jesus like the King, they should be able to look at us and say, that's what it looks like.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:16] And so specifically in this passage, Jesus is going to talk about what does it look like when the church treats Jesus as King with regard to when sin crops up in the church. It's not a pleasant subject, but we all know it's a reality. When Jesus came into our lives when we got saved, we were made new, we were brought into the family of God through the Holy Spirit, our sins were all forgiven, we were made new through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we were changed. Do we still sin? We still sin. God willing, we sin less than we used to, but we still sin, we're still in the battle. There's not a person in this room that their story is I got saved, and sin went away forever. We kind of wish it was, but that's not what happens. We are still in the struggle, we still have the flesh and the spirit waging war, we still battle with sin. And just to be absolutely clear, when I'm talking about sin, the biblical definition, we are talking about any act of rebellion or disobedience against what God has called us to do. So that can be internal, that can be external, that can be words, that can be actions, all of it, it all falls under the category of when we rebel or disobey God, that is sin.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:35] And so the question before us is, how do we respond when sin crops up in the church? Because we can kind of feel like we might be dealing with dueling priorities, because on the one hand, if there's somebody in the church that's in sin, we could look at them and say, well, we value that individual person. We value them even though they're in sin, we value them, and we want good things in their life. And at the same time, we're looking at the community as a whole, and how is the community being affected by that sin. How is the witness of Jesus being affected by that sin? Is the sin potentially becoming a cancer and spreading into the community? And so we can feel sort of like there's this competition of motives. Well, we want to care for the person in sin, but we also want to care for the community. So which are we going to value more? Are we going to value the individual more, or are we going to value the community more? And Jesus, throughout this passage, is going to lay out a plan, he's going to lay out a beautiful passage where he's going to make clear to us that when we appropriately deal with sin in the church, we do what's best for the individual and for the community. We are not choosing one over the other. We're not valuing the community to the detriment of the individual, and we're not valuing the individual to the detriment of the community. When we do this the way Jesus has called us to do this, we value, and we do the best that we can do for that person who's caught in sin. And we do the best that we can do for the community of believers who are treating Jesus as King.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:07] So we're going to walk through this passage, Matthew 18, verses 15 through 20. It's going to kind of break into two parts, and I'll tell you right now, I'll just warn you, they're not going to be even. I'm going to spend way more time on the first part than the second part. If you're kind of like, is he aware of that? I'm totally aware of that, that's what's going to happen. Here's how this flows out, real simple, In Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 through 17 Jesus gives us a process for how we deal with sin within the church, and in verses 18 through 20 he gives us a promise that's really important about what we can count on when we enter into this process. So if you're following along in your Bible or in your Bible app, you can do that, and I'll put the passage up on the screen.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:53] We start with this process. And just as a side note, we were reading at the dinner table last night, usually on Saturday nights, we read the passage that we're going to go over on Sunday and just talk about it as a family. My son Matt just brought this up when we talked about this yesterday, he said, that Scripture is usually really general, but like Jesus actually gives a pretty detailed process about how to deal with sin here. We should perk up; this is significant because he's getting specific.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:19] And step one of this process shows up in verse 15, where he says, "If your brother sins." So let's just kind of take this slowly; if your brother sins. If who sins? Your brother, not your non-Christian neighbor, it's not that you don't care about them if they sin, but that's not what Jesus is talking about, he's talking about a fellow believer, a brother or sister in Christ. If a brother or a sister in Christ sins. And he doesn't say if a brother or sister in Christ annoys you. Maybe there is a time to talk to somebody if they're doing something that's irritating to others and say, hey, just as a heads up when you do that, that bugs us all, but that's not what Jesus is talking about here. He's not saying, if you are personally bothered by this person's behavior, go and talk to them. He says, if they are in sin. And sin is not something that you determine what it is, it's something that God determines what it is.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:15] And by the way, some of you, I'll mention this briefly, just because some of you might be looking at a different Bible translation and it might have the words added, if anyone sins against you. That's because in the early manuscripts that we have of the Gospel of Matthew, there are some that have that phrase against you in it, and there are some that don't, and so scholars’ debate, should that phrase be in there. I'll just say quickly, that I think the best scholars say probably not, probably Jesus is talking more generally just about when sin crops up in the church. When sin crops up, does he say what kind of sin? It doesn't say what kind of sin, it just says sin. So he doesn't say if really bad sin, he just says if their sin, if there's some act of rebellion. So this could be something with our words where we're being dishonest, where we're where we're insulting other people, where we're gossiping about other people. It could have something to do with sex, it could have to do with lust, or pornography, or an extramarital affair. It could have to do with anger or hurtful words. It could have to do with all kinds of different behaviors. It could have to do with drunkenness. All kinds of different areas could be covered by this. He doesn't say if the sin is really bad, that's when you act, he says, "If your brother sins." And the only thing we know about this is apparently it's manifested itself in a way that you know about it. So it's not something that's just privately a sin in their heart, it's something that you know about.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:39] If your brother sins, what are you supposed to do? Go and point out their faults. Now that seems crazy. In our culture right now, that seems crazy. Jesus, this is crazy talk. Go and point out their faults. Do you get how arrogant that sounds? Go and point out to them that they're wrong. Here's the reason why this actually isn't arrogant, it's because the implication here is that you are a believer who loves Jesus, treats him as King, and values His word. And you're going to somebody who loves Jesus, treats him as King, and values His word. So you both agree on what you're supposed to be doing. You're not going and making something up and saying, I'd prefer it if you do this. You're saying, here's what Jesus calls you to do, and you're not doing it.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:32] I'll give you a quick example, this was a few years ago and this involved me. So there was a situation, it happened in the church office, and I was rude to someone. I was just kind of disregarding rude; it was kind of couched in joking around, but really, I belittled somebody in front of other people, and it didn't really register to me, I just sort of moved on. But Troy, Pastor Troy came to me, I think maybe the next day, and he pointed out to me my fault. He just said, hey, I don't know what you were doing there, that was really rude, you need to go and apologize to that guy, and he was 100% right. In fact, just as an aside to prove that he was right, like two days later, after I'd already gone and apologized to this guy, Gary came up to me and was like, I need to talk to you about something. And I was like, Troy already got me, like, I know, like I messed up, I was clearly in the wrong about this. But the thing was, Troy wasn't just saying it bugged me when you did that. He was like, Dan, we could have opened up scripture, and he could have said, we both know how God calls us to treat other people. I was clearly in the wrong, I was clearly at fault, he came to me just between the two of us, like it says here, just between the two of you. You know, treat this privately if you can, just between the two of you.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:47] And then he says this, I love this last part. He says, "If they listen to you, you have won them over." That's the target, that's the goal, Jesus has not given this passage to anybody who loves going and confronting other people to show them that they're wrong, he's saying, here's the target, the target is to win them over. You're not going to win an argument, you're going to win a person, you're going to somebody who's straying. In fact, this passage, if you have an open Bible, you may have already noticed this, this passage comes right after Jesus tells a small but famous parable about a shepherd who has 100 sheep, 99 stay close, and 1 wanders off and what is he going do? He goes and gets that one straying sheep. That's what Jesus is talking about us doing here, he's saying, do you see that stray sheep? Do you see that straying brother or sister in Christ? You go get them and you look to win them over.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:46] And I'll say, some of you, you're already thinking about the rest of the passage and the whole bring 2 or 3 and tell it to the church. I just want to point out, in my experience, probably somewhere around 90% of the time, step one is as far as you need to go. You go to a brother or sister in Christ, they're going to respond to step one. Not every time, 90% of the time, they're going to say, yep, they're going to know that they were wrong, they're going to respond and repent, and you can joyfully experience the idea that you've won your brother or sister over. That's what Jesus is targeting, we're winning people back from sharing, we're catching it soon before it goes too far, and we're doing this for each other out of love and Christian community. But Jesus says, unfortunately, it's not always going to go that smoothly, so I'll give you step two.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:33] In verse 16 he says, "But if they will not listen..." And the implication is they won't listen and respond. "...take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’" And if you're looking up on the screen, or probably also in in any Bible translation you'd see, you can see quotes around the end of verse 16, because Jesus is quoting the Old Testament here, because this is what the Jews would do in a court case. You couldn't have just one witness because the one witness could just make it up, you get 2 or 3, and you can check their stories against each other and find out if everybody's saying the same thing. So Jesus says, take 1 or 2 others and go to them again, but the whole point is to show them their fault and look to win them over. And the witnesses are probably not, they're not necessarily witnesses to the sin, but they're witnesses to be there and to witness how the person responds so that if it gets to step three, they can bear witness and say, this is what happened.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:38] But I want to make sure, I meant to point this out in verse 15. I'll go back in a minute. I want you just to notice something, he says, "Take 1 or 2 others along." Does he say one of them needs to be the pastor? Does he say one of them needs to be an elder? He doesn't. Maybe one will, that's okay if you feel like, all right, I think one of the leaders should be one of the witnesses here, but he doesn't say that. Look back, I'll put verse 15 back up for a second. Look at who the focus is on in the acting person in this, "If your brother sins against you (it's sort of implied), you go, and you point out their fault just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." The onus is not that the church leadership is managing all of this and figuring out who's sinning where, if you're aware of it, you are called into action. You're not called to go tell one of the leaders to have them act, you are called to act. This will only work well in a Christian community if all of us see this as our job, if all of us see this as our job, not because we're busybodies, but because we're saying, I care enough about my brothers and sisters in Christ. So if it gets to the point, we're kind of at intervention territory now, we're going to bring some other people and we're going to show them the seriousness of this. We're pleading with them to repent and we're saying, we love you so much, please don't go down this road, please repent and turn from this sin.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:08] But Jesus again is going to tell us it doesn't always happen, unfortunately, so we get steps three and four. He says, "If they refuse to listen, tell it to the church." And again, remember, the church is not the church leaders, the church is the church family. And probably, as Jesus is envisioning the church, and as we think of the first century, most churches met in homes. So we're talking about dozens of people, not hundreds and thousands of people that he's envisioning here. And one of the reasons that I bring this up is because churches will sometimes make judgment calls if you get to step three about, what does this mean? He doesn't say, to tell the church family on a Sunday morning in the main service. So some churches will have like a members-only meeting if it gets to this point. Sometimes what we've done is we've tried to live out this in principle and we've said, all right, if we have 900 people showing up on a Sunday across our three services, and this is a person that we're like, man, 870 people are going to have no idea what we're talking about. Sometimes we've said that we think that the appropriate way to live out what Jesus is saying in step three is to go to the people who are connected to them. So if they were in men's Bible study, we're going to go to men's Bible study and let them know what's going on. If they were in women's Bible study, we're going to let their women's Bible study know what's going on. Because the purpose, once again, is to plead with them. He says, later on here in verse 17, he says, "If they still refuse to listen, even to the church." Which implies the church responds to this knowledge by going to the person and trying to win them over. They're getting phone calls and text messages, and a whole bunch of people are like, hey, we care about you, we love you, don't go down this road, please come back, please restored within the community.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:54] The church responds and looks to bring them back. But again, sadly, he says, "If they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." Shorthand, treat them like they're not a Christian. And I'll add this, treat them like they're not a Christian because they're probably not a Christian. They're probably somebody who was part of the Christian community but wasn't really a Christian because I think Jesus is saying this isn't how Christians behave. All Christians fall into sin, and all Christians fall short, but somebody who's treating Jesus as king doesn't typically turn their face against everybody else who's pleading for them to repent of clear sin. So maybe the person is just a very disobedient Christian right now, but in more cases than not, I think Jesus says this because he's saying, well, don't act like they're a Christian and give them some false assurance when they're probably not a Christian, they probably were just around the Christian community.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:54] Now, let me add a couple of things in this, because all right, so you might be at this point being like, all right, well, the process is pretty clear. If somebody is in sin, I go to them, hopefully they'll respond. If they don't respond, I bring a couple of other people along, sort of an intervention. If they don't respond to that, I'm probably at that point we are telling the church leadership to figure out the next step of telling the church. We tell the church, and we hope that they respond, but if they don't, we end up treating them like they're not a Christian. Which doesn't mean we shun them, it doesn't mean we give them the finger, it just means we're not acting like everything's okay. We're acknowledging the gap that's happened. So we might all feel like, all right, that's clear. But man, this still feels heavy, this still feels really judgy; and so I want to put a couple of things in.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:41] I already mentioned this passage comes right on the heels of a parable of Jesus that shows that the heart behind all of this is you're going and getting a straying sheep and looking to bring them back into the fold. And this passage comes right before another parable that's about forgiveness and forgiving somebody that did wrong, so the whole hope of this is not that you're exposing sin so that you can point at somebody, but exposing sin so that it can be dealt with and forgiven. That's the heart behind all of this. And I'll also throw this in, some of you, because I've heard people say this, some people will look at this and they'll say, I've been part of a church for a long time, no church has the guts to do this. Like no church, I've never been a part of the church, that gets to the point that they actually play out steps three and four.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:31] And I'll share, I mean, I have, I've seen this played out, but also I'll say the reason this doesn't happen a lot, there are a couple of reasons why it usually doesn't get to steps three and four. The first reason is this, and there's a good reason and a bad reason. The good reason is because the vast majority of the time the person responds at step one. Praise God, we don't want to be at steps three and four. The second reason that's not a good reason why a lot of churches never get to step 3 or 4, is because, after step one, you know what the person does, they are gone, and we never hear from them again. Man, I don't know if they've changed their name and moved to a different city, but they are gone. And we try in all gentleness to say, hey, we care about you, we want to meet with you, and they ghost us. So a lot of times we just don't get to it because they are gone at that point. But the heart behind all of this is that you're looking at somebody and saying, on my watch, I am not going to let you go down a path of destruction, I'm going to intervene.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:37] I'm a Gen Xer, and so when I was a kid, there were a lot of commercials on TV that were trying to get us not to drink and do drugs. It's just like everywhere. Like do you all remember, this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs, that was the most famous one. But it wasn't the one that had the biggest impact on me, there was another commercial that was right about that same time that I thought was like the most effective commercial I'd ever seen on this subject, and here's how it flowed out. It was these two girls, these two teenage girls, one was talking to the camera and the other one was up sort of slightly off in the distance, walking on railroad tracks. And the one girl who's talking to the camera is talking about her friend, she's saying, well, I care about her, and we've been friends for a long time, and now she's drinking. And so they pan up to the girl on the railroad tracks, and she's kind of stumbling around, she's not in her right mind. And the girl talking to the camera says, I don't like it, and I don't think it's a good idea, but I don't feel like it's my judgment call, it's her life, after all. And as she's talking to the camera, you start to hear the noises and see the light of the train starting to come down the tracks, and it pans back to the girl and she says, I would say something, but I just feel like I would be judgmental, and I don't know if it's my place, and the commercial ends with this girl in distress talking to the camera and the train bearing down on this girl on the tracks. And I just remember it being etched into my memory saying, oh my goodness. That's what, man, in 2023, that's what we are all being told, is the most loving way to behave toward other people. They are on the railroad tracks, the most loving thing that you can do is not only leave them on the tracks but shout out to them, you're doing great, you're doing great up there. Jesus says, not on our watch, we're not going to buy the lie that that is the loving way to respond. We're going to go get those people. And man, if we need to bring 2 or 3 people along, we're going to drag them off those tracks. And if they won't, we're going to get the whole church involved. And you know what? The only way they are going to stay on those tracks is over refusing to listen to every single one of us as we beg them to get off, that is the heart behind this passage.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:55] Now, I'll admit, some of us still are looking at this, and we're like, I am daunted by doing this. Some of you right now, God is speaking to your heart, and you know that there's a person you need to do this with that you need to do step one to, and you are just overwhelmed with fear about it. And so I do want to spend a few minutes showing you what Jesus does in verses 18 through 20 to give us a promise as we step forward in this. He says in verse 18, "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be e bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Now this feels like a whole different subject, like Jesus has moved on to a different subject, but he hasn't. So first of all, some of you will remember back in chapter 16, Jesus said the same thing to Peter, and now he says it to all the apostles. And here's why he's saying it, the whole binding and loosing terminology has to do with the idea of you're making a decision. You're making a decision, and this probably is, especially the church leadership, but the church as a whole, you're making a decision about what to do about this person's sin, and it's daunting because it feels like a big decision. But he says, here's what I want you to know, if you're following my words, if you're doing what Jesus has called you to do, Jesus says, if you're following my words, then heaven is going to back you up in what you're doing.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:18] And he goes even further in verses 19 and 20, he says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father." And this sounds like a verse on prayer, but it doesn't, in context, really appear to be a verse on prayer. It appears to be a verse about the church making a decision about how to discipline a straying member. And that he's saying if you ask for the wisdom, the leading, the backup of my father, he will be in it with you. And then he ends with verse 20, "For where 2 or 3 gather in my name, there I am with them." This is a verse frequently quoted in worship services, hey, when two or three are gathered in his name, he's here with us. That's fairly harmless, but that's not what Jesus is talking about.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:08] Does anybody remember earlier in the passage that he brought up two and three? Two or three witnesses are intervening here. What Jesus is talking about is the church intervening to try to keep a person off the destructive path of sin. And he says, when you go do that, I'm right there with you. I'm not going to leave it to them, I will be there with you. Man, have you ever been in a situation where you're like a manager of something and the owner of the company says, hey, these are the rules, this is what you're charged to do. But don't worry, if you get any guff, if you get any pushback on this, I will back you up. I mean, that's such a powerful thing, the King of Kings is saying, if you do this, I will back you up. I will be there with you all the way. So right now, if some of you are saying, gosh, God's clearly calling me to step one. There's somebody I need to go to and man, I'm daunted, I'm scared, I think they're going to reject me. I think they're going to call me judgy, I think other people will call me judgy. I think it'll go badly. I think I won't say the right words. I want you to hear the promise of Jesus, he will be there with you as you do this.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:27] And so here's what I want to spend just a few minutes now talking about. I want to talk about the two main ways that I think Jesus would have us respond to what he calls us to do in Matthew 18. I have them both up here on the screen, not complicated, humbly receive correction, and humbly give correction. I wanted to start with humbly receive correction because this is not overt in the passage, but I think it's clearly implied. If you live within the Christian community long enough, you're going to be in a position where you have to enact step one with somebody else, and you're going to be in a position where somebody else has to enact step one on you, because they'll see something in your life and out of love, they'll say, I can't stay silent. Like it might feel like the train's not very big up there, but I can't stay silent, I've got to say something to you. Humbly receive correction.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:23] One of the things that I hear a lot about, as I hear a lot of people talking about, and they'll use this phrase, they'll say, I got hurt by the church. I mean, if I asked, I'm not asking for it, but if I asked for a show of hands, a lot of us would raise our hands and we'd say, yeah, I've been hurt by the church. And we mean different things by that, some of us mean a church leader, some of us mean a church member, some of us mean sort of the church as an organization, we mean different things. But I'll say not in every case, some people have told me stories about hurts that they've received from church members or church leaders, and I was like, oh boy, like that's a tough one. So I'm not trying to disregard all of it. But I would say that 70 to 80% of the times that people have shared their stories about how the church hurt them, the story went something like this. I was in sin, they confronted me. I didn't like how they did it. It's something like that. Now, sometimes in the stories, it's like, yeah, they did that pretty poorly, but also, they did it. And maybe it's clunky, like, I remember one person saying to me, I totally agree with them on the sin that they confronted me on, but when they confronted me on it, it was like super awkward. And I was like, you think? Like do you think it's possible that the person who came to you was overcoming every instinct of their body that was telling them not to do it because they were scared. Do you think it was maybe the most courageous thing that they had done all month? Do you think they didn't really like talking to you about your sin, and so it was awkward for them too? I mean, of course, it was awkward. And I'm not trying to make excuses here, and I'm not saying that if we do this badly, it doesn't matter. But sometimes when we do this, we're going to do this badly. Some people are going to skip step one altogether, and they're going to come with 2 or 3, and you're going to be like, what happened to step one? If you're in this situation, though, and you're like, what happened to step one? All right, you have a kind of legitimate gripe, but don't bury the lead. You are the one in sin. they have come to you, respond. And also, I think when we're willing to acknowledge we are the ones in sin, it's kind of strange that then we enter into critique mode of how we were confronted on our sin. Maybe we don't have the proper perspective, maybe we're not the best judge of the situation. So if you're in this situation and you're like, well, I did sin. but the headline is that they confronted me wrong. No, the headline is that you sinned, and they cared enough to do something about it. Don't wash that away by a technicality that they didn't do it great.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:08] Now, with that said, we also want to humbly give correction. If you're doing the LBF Church Bible reading plan right now, you might have earlier, or you might later today, read Galatians chapter 6, because today we're in Galatians 4 or 5 and 6. Here's Galatians chapter 6, verse 1, "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." And again, Paul in that passage, he doesn't say if they sinned against you, he says, if they're caught in a sin, and that terminology is so powerful, and I think it does reflect the Greek there. Man, there are some of us that when we get into sin, we are hard-hearted about our sin. There's most of us that when we're in sin, we feel caught, we don't want to be here, we don't want to be doing this. We're as frustrated as anybody else; we feel caught in our sin. So if God's calling you to do this, remember you're probably going to somebody who already feels rotten about what they're doing. They feel rotten about what they're doing. So don't go with any sense of superiority. Read 7, and make sure you take any planks out of your own eye before you go to them. Go to them prayerfully, humbly, gently, believe the best about them, believe that they're wanting to respond and repent. Go and humbly, but humbly go. don't leave them on the train tracks. Be willing to say, not on my watch. And if they get mad at me or annoyed at me, I'm willing to live with that because Jesus is in this with me.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:48] And so here's what I want to share with you before we close. In fact, as I'm saying this right now, I'll just invite the prayer ministry team to go ahead and come up as I'm saying, this last part. Because we have the prayer ministry team up here. Yeah, don't wait, come down. Now every week, because there's always things going on in our lives that we need to commit to prayer. So again, I'll say this, there might be a reason why you come up and talk to and pray with a member of the prayer ministry team that has nothing to do with this sermon at all, it's just something, a burden that you have. and if that's the case, do that, don't limit it to what we're talking about here. But I do want to say, some of you, you're in this situation right now where somebody did courageously come to you about your sin and you blew them off, and it's time to repent. You didn't respond great the first time, that's not a shock. Nobody likes to be confronted on their sin, so don't beat yourself up too much about it. If you didn't respond great, now is the time to respond and repent. And for others of you, God is moving in your heart right now and you know you've got that person, you've got that friend, you have that person in your mind and you're like, oh gosh, I don't want to do it. It's getting into somebody else's drama. It's acting judgy, and people might not like it, I don't know how this is going to go. so you just want to stay away from it. And what I want to say is, this is the way we live when Jesus is King, we care enough about other people. And I know I've kind of alluded to this man, we've got great pastors and elders here who love you, but we can't do all of this. There are situations that we don't know about that you know about, and if God has put you in this situation where you know about something, you're not caring for that other person by looking up at them on the train tracks and shouting out, you're doing fine, we go and get the strange sheep.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:36] So some of you right now are like, I know God's calling me to do it but, man, I don't want to do it, so guy's I need a lot of help in it. What a perfect thing to get some prayer with for one of the members of our prayer ministry team to say, you don't have to tell them the details of the situation. But just to say, I'm about to do step one. Oh boy, pray for me because I don't want to do it. And they would love to carry that burden with you.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:00] So as we prepare for that, let me just pray for us now. Father, thank you, thank you that you sent your Son to come to get all of us when we were all rebels. Thank you that you didn't leave us in our sin, but that you love us enough to come and bring us out of our sin. Thank you also that your commands are not burdensome, you're not calling us away from pleasure into pain, you're calling us away from lies and destruction, into the joy of walking in step with you and experiencing the road that leads to life, instead of the road that leads to destruction. So, Father, I pray for us as a church family, I pray that you lead us to so value Jesus as King, that we're willing to uncomfortably receive correction from each other and give correction to each other. Give us hearts to believe the best, and overcome awkwardness, and stumbles, and give us hearts to exalt you as King in all that we do. Father, I pray for this time now as we close our service, I pray that anybody who needs to come forward for prayer, that you lead them to overcome whatever obstacles right now, whatever lies of the enemy would keep them from doing that, and that you move and that you bring about joy and repentance here and beyond because of what happens in this room. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:30] Amen. God bless you. We got the prayer ministry team up here who would love to pray with you. Thank you for being here, and God bless you on the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848