Definition: We are all responsible to be our brother’s keeper, and, if necessary, to lovingly correct those not upholding the standard of discipleship. Reporting the misconduct of fellow workers to God’s ordained leadership is the duty of those who are involved in God’s work.
1. The Lord expects each of us to uphold the proper standard of conduct as taught in His Word.
* Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
* John 8:31b If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed.
* John 14:21a He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.
* Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
* 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions [teachings] which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
* 1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
* Jude 1:3b It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
2. Our loyalty is always to Jesus and His work.
* Deuteronomy 13:6,8 [God commanded His people not to cover up the sins of their own families or friends:] If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.
* 2 Chronicles 19:2b Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?
* Matthew 6:24a No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
* Matthew 18:28-31 [The co-workers of the unjust steward reported on him for his wrongdoing:] But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
* Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them [the rulers, elders and scribes], Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
* Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
* Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
* 1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
3. Failure to report a crime is a crime.
* Leviticus 19:17b Thou shalt in any wise [surely] rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him [not share in his guilt].
* Leviticus 20:4a,5a And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man [that sins] … 5a Then I will set My face against that man … and all that go a whoring after him.
* Proverbs 29:24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not [hears the oath, but refuses to testify]. [See also Psalm 50:18.]
* 2 Thessalonians 3:14,15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
* 1 Timothy 5:22b Neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.
* James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
4. It is an act of love to confront your peers who have erred, and to bring to the attention of your elders the errant behavior of others, so that those who err can get help and guidance.
* Psalm 141:5a [King David prayed for the Lord to use others to correct him:] Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head. [See 2 Samuel 12, where Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sins.]
* Proverbs 27:6a Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
* Matthew 18:15-17 [It’s usually best to try to work things out with the person before having to report on them.] Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 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. 17 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 an heathen man and a publican. [See also 1 Thessalonians 5:14a.]
* James 5:19,20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
5. Knowing that wrongdoing will be confronted by peers helps keep the standard high in the absence of higher authority.
* Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.
* Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
* 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
* Titus 2:7,8 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
6. Reporting the wrongdoing of others in the proper spirit and to the proper people requires spiritual maturity, but gossiping about others’ faults or weaknesses is wrong.
* Leviticus 19:16a Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.
* Psalm 15:1-3 Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
* Proverbs 26:20,21 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. 21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
* 1 Timothy 5:13b Tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
7. Confronting others must not be done in a self-righteous spirit.
* Luke 9:52-56a [Jesus] sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him. 53 And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56a For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
* John 8:3-11 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou? 6 This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
* Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
* Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
8. Not upholding the standard and correcting others when necessary can have dire consequences; and the Lord will hold us partly responsible.
* Ecclesiastes 9:18b One sinner destroyeth much good.
* Ezekiel 3:20,21 When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
* Acts 20:26-31 [Paul said:] Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His Own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
* 1 Corinthians 5:6b Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
* Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
* 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
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