Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." - Matthew 18: 19-20 (ESV)
The power of agreement. We live in a society that rarely agrees about anything. Where strife and disagreement are celebrated. It was not meant to be so amongst believers however. The New Testament is filled with passages about unity. God wants His body unified. He desires agreement. One of the things He hates is discord amongst the brethren. Yet we look out across Christendom today and see it is more divided than ever. It seems sometimes we spend more time seeking what we disagree with than what we all can agree on. Certainly we can all agree on the power contained in the key verses today. Words right from the mouth of Jesus Himself. Timeless truths for us to wield as Christians today.
The first thing we see is agreement requires plurality. We were not meant to be loners in our faith. We were meant to be in agreement with each other when seeking God's answer in prayer. Look at the definitive nature of these verses. If two or three of us agree - it will be done for them! Not it might be done. Not we have a good chance of it being done. Not it will be done if we are obeying the very law Christ set us free from! No beloved. God makes it very clear and very plain. Agree and it will be done. Agree about what? Read that verse again! Agree about anything they ask! It is time to take the limits off of the God we serve! It is time to stop trying to place Him in a box! It is time we take hold of the promises of God in Scripture:
The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down - Deuteronomy 28: 12-13a (ESV)
We have too many Christians walking around today like they are the tail! Like they have to pass some test before they can expect blessings from a God who has already said His answers are always yes and amen! Go back to the key verses! Where we gather in His name - He is there in our midst. We are not beggars! We are co-heirs of the promise. We are sons and daughters of the King! It is time to stop acting like paupers. The key verses contain so much power for us as followers of Jesus Christ. We need to come into agreement when we ask Him for anything and it will be done. You need a miracle healing? Come into agreement! You need a new job? Come into agreement! You need that financial breakthrough to make you the head and not the tail? Come into agreement! It is time to lay claim of the power in Scripture as God intended"
What you have just read is simply untrue. Now, there are some truths mixed in throughout it but the overall message is a lie. It is not what these verses mean. It is not what God is saying to us as His people. What it is however is the exact type of preaching you hear in the majority of pulpits today. It is feel good, sugar coated, purpose driven nonsense. It is achieved by strip mining the Bible to get it to say what you want it to say instead of what God wants to say. It has become so bad in modern Christianity that many unaware Christians honestly believe that every interpretation of Scripture is correct. That there is not "correct" interpretation of Scripture. That is absolute rubbish. There is what the author intended to say while being divinely inspired by God. There may be multiple applications to our lives but there is only one correct interpretation of Scripture.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. - 2Peter 1: 19-21 (ESV)
We need to stop following men who use the Scriptures to confirm what they want to say instead of those who exposit the Word to hear what the Lord wants to say. Just look at the opening of this devotional. There were plenty of truths contained within to draw the reader into a false belief that everything being said was righteous. Strife and disagreement are celebrated in society. The New Testament is filled with passages about unity but the Bible actually teaches that the true source of disunity is not disagreement but rather false teaching. The key verses are right from the mouth of Jesus. We are not meant to be loners in our faith, although these verses have nothing to do with that. Yet despite these truths, look at the leaven running throughout. The thing that God hates is not discord but one who sows discord amongst the brethren and as already pointed out, false teaching is what sows discord. Look at the rest of the silliness of the teaching though. Do we honestly think that it doesn't matter what we are praying for as long as we agree? Believe it or not - a lot of Christians would answer yes because this is what they are taught. The Deuteronomy verses come from the end of the Torah and without the context, one might think these are promises for us but they are not. They were promises for Israel if they kept the Mosaic Law! The final 53 verses of that chapter outline all of the curses for disobedience but you'll never hear anyone preach on that! Do we honestly think God is some genie in a bottle who is bound to answer our wishes if we merely agree? Sadly, many treat Him as such. I see and hear it all the time from Christians citing this verse and "claiming it"; which is another unbiblical form of prayer.
So what's the big deal preacher? I hear this argument all the time. This is the type of teaching you will hear from Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, and any number of false teachers today and people ask me - what's the big deal? They are just trying to be positive! They are just trying to be encouraging! Beloved. First of all, they are lying about what God actually says. Quite frankly that should be enough but if we want to look at practicality, fine. What happens to the person who agreed with two or three and his wife was not healed? Who does he end up blaming when she dies? What happens to the single mom of three who "stood in agreement" but never found that job? What does she end up thinking about God? What about the poor family who gets evicted even though they agreed with two or three? Do they ever come back to church? Do they ever believe again? Do they ever get saved? Lost amidst the hoopla and glitz of the mega-pastors are the real lives they destroy. The people they told were the head but life keeps treating them like the tail. To make matters worse, some of these snake oil salesmen will turn around at that point and blame the sheep.
"You must not have had enough faith!"
"Maybe there's a secret sin you're not confessing!"
"You must be harboring unforgiveness!"
Wait a minute. When you were screaming from the pulpit it was all about simple agreement but now there are legal codes that must be adhered to as well? You cannot do this to people beloved. Wait a minute preacher! Are you saying it is not true to believe that where two or three are gathered He is in their midst? Are you saying that when two or three agree God will not answer their prayer? Yes. That is exactly what I am saying because that is exactly what God is saying. First of all, let us deal with the lunacy of these ultimatum statements. Why do we need two or three for Jesus to be in our midst if we all have the Holy Spirit inside of us as believers? Are we so shallow as to believe that God must answer in the affirmative about anything we ask if we simply agree? Seriously? Who is God in that equation? Us or Him? No beloved. If we want to find out what these verses mean we must go back to the context in which they were written:
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence 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, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." - Matthew 18: 15-20 (ESV)