The Loving Practice of Confrontational Redemptive Ministry "I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy.” (U.S. Army Rangers Creed) Likewise, Christians are to never give up on one another nor leave one another behind to a world of sin. 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:15-20 ESV) Christ followers are called to live holy lives in sweet fellowship with God and others. We are the family of God, brought together in faith by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. We are authenticated by the Holy Spirit and accepted by God the Father. Our relationships with God and with Christians are essential to our holiness. The Church is God’s established holy community in which eternal brothers and sisters live in meaningful and purposeful relationships. It is a community intended to build one another up in truth, to challenge one another to live holy lives and to correct one another as needed. After Jesus shared the Parable of the Lost Sheep, he called us to join him in his restorative ministry by instructing us to engage a sinning brother (or sister). Our call is to have enough love to confront someone who is going astray. Confrontation doesn’t have to be ugly; it can and should be loving. If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault. (18:15) One of the challenges for the church is that we have come to accept that sin is inevitable and that it is the norm for Christians and non-Christians alike. However, we are not identified as sinners any longer, we are saints (Ephesians 2:19). God calls us to be holy as he is holy and to be imitators of him, as beloved children of God (1 Peter 1:14-16, Ephesians 5:1). The Spirit urges us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7). We are to hold to the truth that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). When we teeter and fall from this platform of truth and holiness, we need people in the church to help us to stand upright again. Love doesn’t sit idly by while a fellow Christian strays in sin. Love takes the risk to confront. When confronting someone, follow the process prescribed by Jesus. 1. Go and gain your brother by telling him his fault one on one (18:15). 2. If not reconciled, seek the help of two or three witnesses for the purpose of repentance and restoration (18:16). 3. If still unreconciled, take the matter to the church so that everyone may lovingly pursue the person (18:17). 4. God gives the church authority to discipline unrepentant people as a final hope of restoration (18:17-20). When lovingly confronting someone in truth, as biblically instructed, you can be certain of Jesus’ presence. We are not to be Pharisaic; our purpose is not to look for sin. Our purpose is to have, maintain, repair and restore one another to healthy and holy relationships.