• Chris Steele

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Be Strong, Be Well — Sunday, April 12


The past several weeks, have forced me to restudy, rethink, and reconsider several passages of scripture. This is a good thing. The Bereans set the bar high, “...in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 

In our daily “Be Strong, Be Well” articles, we have looked deeper at John 4:24 and Hebrews 10:24-39. Today, I want to take a few minutes for us to think about Matthew 18:15-20.

We have applied verse 20 to worship and the assemblies of God’s people. Consider what Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

In our current “stay-at-home” situation, we have not been able to gather for public worship. Some of our members have two, three or more with which to gather for worship at home. But what about the one? Is the Lord not present with them? Can someone worship God alone?

We remember the apostle John “was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” He said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day…” (Revelation 1:9c-10a). John was worshiping on that Sunday, by himself.

When we look at Matthew 18:15-20 we need to focus on the context. Jesus was teaching on the subject of how to handle problems between brethren. He proposed a step by step, progressive solution. First, go alone to the brother who has sinned against you. If that doesn’t work, you carry it further, taking witnesses. Then if need be take it before the church. If all else fails, the last step is withdrawing fellowship from the unrepentant brother. Other passages should be considered on this topic (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; Titus 2:10).

The point is this, Matthew 18:20 is in the same context. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." This principle is taken from the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus quoted this in our scripture under consideration (Matthew 18:16). “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' ”

Applying Mathew 18:20 to worship is taking the passage out of context. I confess, I have been at fault using it in such a way.

For those who are alone, rest assured you can worship God by yourself, just as the apostle John. Today, we will join you in worshiping “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). —Chris

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