Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Love seeks restoration Excerpt #1
Sermon preached by our dear brother in Christ, Pastor Steve Wuori, at our annual convention in St Cloud. It was preached on July 11, 2009. The Scripture text of the sermon is Matthew 18:10-22, and which primarily concerns the "church law." The succeeding portions of the sermon will be posted in the coming days on this blog for our instruction and admonition. The entire sermon may be listened to at kingstonalc.com. (The very first part of this sermon was not included as it did not seem to pertain to this text).

"I have never preached from this portion before, and that may become apparent shortly, and, yet, I feel that it is important because there is much richness in the church law, as it is known. And so I would like to read from the 18th chapter of Matthew, and we will actually read from before and also after the church law verses themselves. We will read from the 10th verse through the 22nd verse of Matthew and we read as follows in Jesus Name. (He read Matthew 18:10-22). This chapter concludes then with the description of the one who received great forgiveness but then was not willing to give great forgiveness. And we won't read all of it, the rest of the verses, but really that just expands on what Jesus has told this one who questioned him at the end of our text, and that is how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? And it's interesting that before this portion in the chapter, he speaks of the little children, and the verse that we started with is really the conclusion of the first part of what he speaks of when he talks about little children, offending little children, receiving little children and so on. It's a beautiful place in which he describes the little child. And then he begins our text here by saying; Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. And I think that it isn't accidental that he has placed the discussion of little children right next to the church law. We might say that he would have been better off to deal with with that whole thing in a different place and then he could deal with things of children.

But I have to wonder how many little children have been offended when the church law has not been or used or has been misused, or misconstrued. Not many of us read the 18th chapter of Matthew here, and maybe the verses pertaining to the church law of itself we only read when we think we have need of that formula to do justice to someone who has in some way wronged us and many times people will say that the church law is there to kick someone out if things go badly and they are stubborn. And, yet, I believe that this church law has nothing to do with kicking someone out, and in fact, if anyone in thinking about the church law, says: you follow three steps and at the conclusion of it they are out, then we will discover that that isn't exactly the way that Jesus has left the matter. That isn't exactly the way, though it may be captured that way in our minds, it is not exactly the way that Jesus has intended that the church law would be used, but it is to be used for restoration. Itis always to be used to restore, to restore oneness between those who are at odds one with another. That is the reason for the church law. And in fact as we look at those first three steps, can you imagine, that if the first step is done properly, how few situations would ever proceed onto the second or to the third step? But I think that too often we conclude after step one, may rather clumsily done, that we can skip the other two because their mind is made up, and we write them off, and yet can you imagine that a heart could be so hard, especially if they are approached in love, that they would not respond to that message of the need for forgiveness and restoration? Can you imagine that any one situation would go all the way to the third stage? And when we realize that this law was never intended to go to the third stage, then perhaps we can understand that we must be very careful when we apply it, and we can't assume that we know it says, and for that reason, perhaps, it's valuable to spend a few minutes with it. But first, a few thoughts about the little children.

Pastor Steve Wuori
Posted on 28 Sep 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns