Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His church. One of the more challenging aspects of living together as brothers and sisters in Christ is dealing with sin among us. This needs to be done in a loving way, a caring way, a building-one-another-up way. The process outlined in Matthew 18 is harsh if the people involved are in just a casual relationship, but for those in a covenantal community, with defined relational expectations (which the church is supposed to be), it is life-giving. As the church recaptures this relational dynamic, it becomes the light shining on a hill for all the world to see.