Where Two or Three are Gathered.

January 29, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Misquoted

Topic: Christian Living, The Church Scripture: Matthew 18:15–20

Matthew 18:20, is another popular MISQUOTED verse. You’ve likely heard this verse quoted a few times during small bible study groups, church services, prayers, or church meetings. "Where two or more are gathered" is most commonly quoted to give legitimacy to a small gathering at church. Meaning that even though there might only be a few people gathered, God is still with them. While this may be true, Matthew 18:20 is NOT teaching this.

Most people that use Matthew 18:20 mean no harm. But when we ignore the context we can unintentionally cause harm. When we use this verse out of context, we can inadvertently imply things we don’t mean. Not only that but we also miss out on the incredible, and practical, true meaning of Matthew 18:20. 

There are three lessons we can learn from Matthew 18:15-20:

  1. The Context (v.15-17) The Promise of Protection.
  2. The Meaning (v.18-19) The Promise of Power.
  3. The Conclusion (v.20) The Promise of His Presence.

In this passage, Jesus is giving instructions about how to handle sin in the church, ie; how to handle church discipline. Church discipline is not a dirty chore - it's an imitation of the Father's own relentless pursuit of us. Its the gospel in action.

The Father did not leave us in our sin, but came to us, and through the gospel rebuked our sin and freely forgave us. So, we should not leave others to fester and ultimately perish in their sin, but instead search them out, chase them down, and do everything in our power to bring them back to God’s grace and forgiveness.

Getting Started                         

  1. Discipline can conjure up different feelings for different people. Is there a moment in your childhood that is etched in your brain when you were disciplined by your parents, teacher or headmaster? Share your story.

 Read Matthew 18:15-20

  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

  Digging Deeper

  1. The parable of the lost sheep comes right before our passage on church discipline (Matthew 18:12-14). Why does Jesus tell this parable?


  1. What are the 4 steps Jesus laid out regarding church discipline in Matthew 18v15-17?


  1. It is essential that we go to the offending brother or sister first as mentioned in v.15 — not griping and gossiping to others. Why is this important? Read Ephesians 4:29-32 and Proverbs 18:6-8 

The Heart of the Matter

  1. Christian author, Bobby Jamieson says, “Church discipline is the gospel in action.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?


  1. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Each church has the keys of its own door. When those keys are rightly turned by the assembly below, the act is ratified above.” Churches can make official pronouncements on behalf of heaven in two areas, the what and the who of the gospel.
    1. The What – Explain your understanding of what is a right confession?
    2. The Who – Explain your understanding of who is a true confessor?


  1. Church authority is what allows for the church on earth to become visible—to go public. It’s how a group of individual Christians speaks in unison to the nations. How do you think NLC is doing in this effort?



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