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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.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

18:17 hear the church. This is the second mention of the church (see Matthew 16:18), and the subject is, of all things, church discipline! The principles of dealing with an erring brother in the church are outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, yet Jesus was talking only to His disciples (Matthew 18:1). Evidently, He was speaking to them as if they were already, in effect, an organized local church. In fact, they had all been baptized by John the Baptist and were John’s organized disciples until he directed them to Christ (compare John 1:35-37; Acts 1:21-22). The church that Christ would build—or at least its first local representative—was thus already organized, but it would not be energized with the Spirit for its great mission until after His resurrection, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

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