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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Matthew 18

Verses 1-35

What a sad state of heart prompted this question! How absolutely opposed to the whole genius of the Master's teaching and example! He replied by an act, and a statement growing out of that act. The child in the midst was a revelation of the truly great character. To rob a child of its child character is to make it stumble, and the words of Jesus leave no room for doubt how such an act is abhorred by God. The journey into the wilderness is a journey to restore childhood to a wanderer, for it is not the will of God that a 'little one" should perish. The essential fact in the transformation Christ works is that He changes the great ones into little children.

Out of the desire for greatness will spring actual trespass of one against another. With such trespass our Lord dealt from the standpoint of the duty of the injured, and not of the one who inflicts the injury.

1. Tell him his fault. You have no right to ignore it, for so you injure the wrong-doer.

2. Failing this first method, take one or two others.

3. Failing that, tell it to the church.

4. Then if that fail, “let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."

What does that signify? That I am to despise and oppress him? Certainly not. The Christian's attitude toward a "heathen man and a publican" must be a passionate desire to help and save. This is emphatically taught in the parable which answered Peter's question. It is in this connection that the Master utters the memorable words which contain the most perfect statement of true ecclesiastical policy. The gathering of souls in the name of Jesus constitutes the Church, which has authority to deal with the wrong-doer. Then let it be noted that the seat of authority is not in human agreement, but in the presence and Lordship of Jesus.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Matthew 18". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcm/matthew-18.html. 1857-84.