Matthew 18:16-20

Mat 18:16 (KJB)
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

If you go to your brother and he refuses to listen and is being obstinate, then there is still a matter of privacy but this time to bring one or two more witnesses making it a total of two or three. This way the other one or two are able to hear the situation and to see if there is some type of solution to the problem being offered. If there is some type of agreement offered, then at least the party who brought the witnesses would have them know that he is trying and that an agreement was offered. It would not be some type of hearsay but the offer would be made to stand if it was a good offer of agreement. The witnesses would confirm that the person is trying to make amends with his brother.

Mat 18:17 (KJB)
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

Then Jesus states that if the two or three witnesses cannot convince the obstinate brother, then he is to tell the matter to the whole church because if it is not brought out into the open, no matter what it is, it can begin a rift in the church. It may start out small but has the ability to mushroom and cause major problems. If when the church hears the matter and also brings out suggestions and the man still remains stiffnecked, then he is to be removed from that congregation for a time, until he repents. He is to be treated as a heathen or publican, that is, one who is unsaved. He is not to be looked upon at that time as a brother in the Lord but as one who does not know the Lord. Church discipline is necessary because we all get out of line and have the ability to drift. Church discipline is not to create an object of gossip or scorn, but it is designed to bring a Christian back into the fold of obedience. (2 Th 3:6 KJV) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. Disorderly people tend to create a following which can adversely affect the lives of any Christian who comes in contact with them.

Mat 18:18 (KJB)
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Just as we saw back in Matthew 16:19, the actions of discipline in the church are backed up by Heaven when done according to the way it is stated in the Bible. Now as to the case of “thou shalt bind” and “thou shalt loose.” Both of these actions are backed up by Heaven. Now the response from Heaven is such, “shall be bound” and “shall be loosed.” Now both of these are one word in the Greek and are in the perfect tense. The perfect tense is the tense of the completion of an action. It indicates a continuation and present state of a completed past action. They may also be understood as “having been loosed” and “having been bound.” They both show a past action that the loosing and binding has already taken place and is not a future action but a continuous action which is already sealed. It seems that what is in view is that if that brother who was causing the problem refuses to repent of those actions, then he is acting just like an unbeliever. This may also be a case of the person actually being an unbeliever and is to be removed from the congregation to avoid causing trouble among the flock and that is why he is to be treated as a publican or heathen, because both of these people are unsaved and have no spiritual understanding. They are the tares among the wheat and must be winnowed away.

Mat 18:19 (KJB)
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Jesus is telling them that there must also be agreement of at least two brethren. Now this agreement is not for the purpose of trying to cajole God into giving us what we want but goes much beyond that. I remember years ago a charismatic tried to get me to believe that prayer will be answered if two are in agreement about something. It goes beyond two people agreeing about something. Suppose someone is praying for $10,000 and I agree in prayer in hopes they get it so I could get a piece of that ten grand. Is that true agreement? The answer is no. First of all the agreement must be according to the Scriptures. If the agreement fulfills all the tenets of scripture for that particular situation, then that is part of the agreement. Secondly, there must be agreement with the will of God. If whatever is being agreed upon is according to the will of God, then God will answer in that direction. Thirdly, there must be spiritual agreement between the two. When both parties separate for a season of prayer over something, and they come back with the same answers, then there is agreement given them by the Holy Spirit and then you have true agreement.

Mat 18:20 (KJB)
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

In the times of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was required that ten men were needed to make up a congregation according to Jewish law. It is called a Minyan and the belief is that prayer is better in larger groups. However, Jesus is telling them two things, that no minimum number is needed for Him to be in their presence and this teaches us an attribute of deity. Jesus is stating His Omnipresence which means He is everywhere at the same time. If there are three gathered in New Zealand and three gathered in Brazil, then Jesus will be in their midst. This also brings to light one other aspect and that Jesus will be strategically involved in any type of church discipline and that is why it is not to be taken lightly.