Sunday February 27, 2022 | Tara Beth Leach
“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. But 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.’ If 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. 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. 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. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
In this sermon Tara Beth Leach shares about the importance of corporate prayer and how it impacts our lives in a culture that is shaped by individualism.
Many today find that their relationship with God is personal and individualistic, and therefore lacking a community dimension. This modern approach to faith is actually foreign to the experience of the Scriptures, as highlighted by the focus scripture for this week.
In this passage, we read Jesus’ teaching about how to deal with someone who has sinned. Within this text, we get the idea that sin is not to be tolerated within the community, and it ought to be cared for when noticed. Others get involved for the sake of the one sinning, with a growing number of those included, eventually leading to the entire church, if the person is not willing to deal with the transgression. We see here where the lives of individuals impacts the community and the community impacts individuals.
Then we read where Jesus tells us that when two or three come together, the will of God is discerned. In other words, the authority exercised toward the offending party is given when they come together and agree in community in prayer. The concern here is about the flourishing and witness of the community. All throughout scripture, we see the Christian identity is completely and totally wrapped up in community. We aren’t individual Christian persons. We are the holy people of God.
In addition, when two or three come together, Jesus is present. Jesus is interested in the community coming together and seeking the heart of God, seeking the kingdom of God, and longing for the mission of God to be lived out.
Corporate Prayer strengthens the body of Christ for the sake of the world. It’s like the Sequoia trees in California, that grow to great heights, but they must grow together because their ability to stand tall depends upon their roots systems being intertwined. They can only stand as they are connected beneath the surface. Corporate prayer connects us with one another so that we can stand strong as a community that is being God’s church in the midst of the world.