If you have surveyed many church signs and materials then I am sure you have seen the phrase: “Everyone is Welcome.” But is it true? Better yet, is it biblical?
I remember years ago hearing my pastor tell us that actually everyone is not really welcome.
What did he mean by this?
The setting was a sermon on Matthew 18. Perhaps more familiarly the topic of church discipline. If we read through the passage of how the Lord intends his followers to deal with sin in the body of Christ we see that the goal is restoration. Jesus means to have his people to live in holiness. Therefore, if there is sin then there needs to be private confrontation (Matt. 18.15). If the brother (or sister) fails to repent then another confrontation is needed, this time with 2-3 witnesses (Matt. 18.16). Still further, if he refuses to listen, they are to tell it to the church (Matt. 18.17a). If, after this, he continues in unrepentant sin, then he is to be treated as a Gentile or tax collector. In other words, the unrepentant sinner is to be cut off from the blessings of community. In short, he is no longer welcome.