Matthew 18 Abuse of Spiritual Authority

 This is just one of a series of articles, stay tuned for more.

For many years I have seen Matthew 18 abused and the flock spread far and wide and wondered, “What’s wrong with this system?” God isn’t wrong, but how His Word is being twisted certainly is. I have spent an incredible amount of time searching out this matter.

What I have seen in systems and friendships today is an abuse of the scriptures. Condemning Christians misuse it to justify their unforgiving hearts. They abuse other believers with their controlling spirit in hopes to bring them into submission to THEM and not to Christ. This is a Jezebel spirit. This is a spirit that only seeks to be in control of believers, what they do, who they fellowship with, and who they submit to. This is the kind of ‘leadership’ that we see in cults today. This article, as you may have noticed, is quite frank and it is meant to be. God has given me this understanding for a purpose and I pray His purpose will be made known to those He allows to really hear this. (a small note that I will write about later is that a true teacher of God's word speaks to them in humility and love, seeking for the soul of the other to surrender to Christ in love, not condemnation.)

Let it be known right away that our submission is to Christ our Lord. He is the Head of the Body, not man. Everything about Matthew 18 is about submission to Christ our Lord. When we submit to Christ our Lord even our enemies are made to be at peace with you.
  Proverbs 16:7, “When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

This is a lengthy portion of scripture, but it must be looked at in context. Far too many ‘believers’ take only verse 17 and use it against Christians, rather than to love them and win them back to Christ. To walking in the Spirit. These controlling spirits seek only to expose sin and then once they prove their sin exists they use it to cut them off. However, if the victim of such abuse comes under their submission, rather than to Christ, the ‘leader’ in the situation will gladly receive them back, so long as they submit to them. They do this for various reasons, the most prominent one is to silence them from speaking about what God has shown them. They do this through bullying and intimidation. This is idolatry and is abusive to the people and to God’s Word! We must NOT seek to be in the place of our Savior by seeking others to succumb to us. We must not be seeking to bring others into our own realm of submission and power, this is abuse.

In this first of this series on Matthew 18, I would like to invite you to explore with me the first eleven verses. The disciples wanted to know who would be the greatest in heaven. Do you see the hierarchy Jezebel spirit in that? They were seeking who would be greatest and Jesus clearly expressed to them that it is not about who would be greatest, but about who is to be last. He showed them that we all need to be like small children. Young children are humble little people who know that for them to survive in this world they need someone to care for them, guide them, and teach them. That person is Jesus Christ. He wants us to rely upon him in a spirit of humility. Humility is not one that seeks to be in charge. It is not one who seeks to be the leader of the pack. He goes on to say in
verse 5, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” 
These are not literal children he is speaking of. He used the illustration of the children to speak to us about who we are to the Father and how we are to behave among one another. When a person is subject to Christ as our Head we are to receive them.

In the next verse (v.6) he then cautions all of us,
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” 

So what would be considered offending a person who is subject to Christ?

He says in verse 7, “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come: but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” 
We know that offences are here in this world. But he’s talking about offences to those who are subject to Christ. A person in a humble position under our Head and Savior, Christ our Lord. Not a person who claims to be a child of God that seeks to be in charge. A true follower of Christ is not one who seeks to be in charge and rule over God’s people.

He then goes on to advise those in a humble position under Christ our Lord.

Verse 8 says, “Wherefore if they hand or foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 and if they eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” 
Again, this is not to be abused and used against a brother or sister in Christ in an effort to cut them off just because you have a disagreement about something. (that portion will come in a future lesson in this series regarding verses 15-17) This has to do with our submission to Christ our Lord. For those who seek to diminish our submission to Christ and take you into bondage to themselves rather than to Christ are those we cut off. This is where the teaching of false prophets come into play. The leaders propelled by the Jezebel spirit, who seeks to bring you into submission to them, to their agenda, even covering up their own sins by trying to silence you from speaking truth. These are who offends those little children in Christ’s kingdom. It is HIS kingdom, not mans kingdom.

Several leaders have built up their own kingdoms in their own circles and ministries and if God’s child who seeks submission to Christ, brings exposure by the Light that is within them, they will seek to control you. The Light within you exposes the sins of the leader, who will attempt to squash the Light within you by making you submit to them rather than to Christ our Lord, but God is warning them.

He says in verse 10 and 11, “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. 11, For the son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” 
He tells those who are trying to hide the Light within God’s people, to not despise them. They do despise them because the Light within them is exposing their sins to them. The children of God are not outwardly pointing out their sins like a Pharisee, they are simply walking in the Light and thus those ‘leaders’ despise that. They despise them for the Light that is within them. They despise how sweet and kind they are, how genuine their faith is and how they seek for others to be in submission to Christ. These leaders don't want to submit to Christ, for if they did they would not be seeking to make God's people submit to them and their agenda.

It is evident to many people that this chapter of the Bible is misused. Many Christians are leaving organized religion and religious circles of fellowship, because thy have been tremendously hurt by these abusive authoritative leaders. Dear child of God you are not alone. Jesus was clear that if an offense come to you as a person who seeks to be in submission to Christ our Lord, that we are to cut them off. But first we must examine the rest of the chapter, because God has a clear explanation of how to come to this conclusion. He is not giving us clear direction to simply cut others off simply because they seem to be offensive. He told us offences will come, but what kind of offense is what is in question. Stay tuned for more.

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{ pjmomof3boys } at: October 18, 2009 at 8:11 PM said...

Great post, Lisa! I can't wait to read more in the series. Scripture is so vulnerable to false interpretation, but I think the word "humility" that you used is the key word in all this. Those who abuse the Scripture do not make their "interpretation" out of humility but of pride and lust for power. God would never say anything that would cause His people to act in pride. We have to remember to always check our interpretations against what we know to be true of God.

{ Sisterlisa } at: October 18, 2009 at 9:03 PM said...

Right. And when a person has a true message from God it is not fueled by anger or disgust about sin. A real message from God is about directing people to Christ for redemption, In Love and humility.

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