“BRINGING BACK THE LOST SHEEP”
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Matthew 18 : 1-18
“So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” -Matthew 18:14
When Jesus was born, heaven declared to the world that “a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” has been born! (Luke 2:11). John 4:14 says “the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” Titus 2:13 speaks of Him as our great God and Saviour! In Ephesians 5:23 it says, “Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Saviour of the body.”
The Bible is clear in declaring God the creator’s plan to save His creation through the Saviour, so that no one should perish in the clutches of sin. 1 Thessalonians 5:9: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through Jesus Christ.” John 3:17 declares beyond any doubt that God wants the whole world to be saved! In today’s reading the Saviour explains His action plan for saving people from perishing. Matthew 18:3 says: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Anyone who comes to Him with child-like faith believing in Him and confessing Him as Lord of their life, they will be saved!
In Matthew 18:12-13, Jesus explains His seeking love that would go after a sheep that had gone astray, even at the risk of leaving the rest of the sheep. Here we need to understand that the sheep that went astray was one already in the flock. His love for His own seeks them out so that they come back to Him. He is the God of second chances! To those who make mistakes and fall from grace, if they truly repent, His love guides them back to His fold!
However, in Matthew 18:15 -17, He gives the guidelines for His extended body, the Church, about restoring an erring brother. It is easy to point the fingure and condemn, but it needs grace and love to cover and protect. The agape love our Master wants us to exhibit is this : “Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (1Cor.13:5). Proverbs 10:12 says that love covers all wrongs. We need a heart of love and forgiveness.
Jude 1:23 says, “Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” When we see our brethren in sin, we are not to shrug our shoulders and walk away, but in love correct and lead them in the right direction. As explained in our reading, we need private confrontation, before going for a public one. And we need to cover our brother or sister in love to approach him/her privately. It is not being judgmental but being loving enough to point out his/her fault. This is how Christ’s seeking love will be expressed by the body of Christ, the church- to Cover and Correct in love!
May you dear brethren understand your role in restoring an erring brother/sister in the Lord. Let the mercy and grace of God which He offered in saving you be extended to such a one to win him/her back. May God’s love in you cause you to pray earnestly and ask the Lord for the right measures you can take to bring him/her back to His fold.
To Meditate: The LORD is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance! (2 Peter 3:9)
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