Why church, and why friends - sin in our lives (Matthew 18:17)

"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." - Matthew 18:17

I have a friend who lately has been having issues with his church. I wonder when people have issues with their leaders although I probably shouldn't. The truth is people are fallen wherever they are. If they're church leaders, if they church goers or whatever. There are pastors who shouldn't be respected and there are people who are just weird, crazy, or driven by sin enough to not listen to a pastor no matter how down to earth they are.

But in the end the Bible is clear we need accountability in our lives. Usually this is our friends. And we also need authority in our lives. Often this is someone in the church. If it's a smaller church perhaps it will be someone on staff, but in bigger churches (as is often the case in America) it will often be just a lay person. The point is, even if what this person advises us to do isn't in the Bible (directly or even indirectly) we need to learn to submit to them.

Now not everyone should be in a position of authority and we need to be wise about those whose authority we choose to submit to, but in the end we need to listen to them.

When I was a senior in High School my parents sat me down and told me they were concerned about me because I had stopped attending the youth group as wasn't getting to church on Sundays. They told me I needed accountability and authority in my life. "It's not that we don't trust you," they said, "It's that without these two things we wouldn't even be able to trust ourselves." And they had good reason.

Now I'm trying to convince my friend that without these things he's going to be unaware of or unwilling to deal with the sin in his life. And I'm afraid he is slowly being taken out by the enemy. There is sin in his life and he's choosing to remove himself from the one place which is trying to hold him accountable to it. I've pointed out this sin, and the church has addressed it. He is unwilling to listen even to the church - now I'm called on to treat him as a tax collector. It will be a difficult friendship to bench.

Without these two things he can no longer be a leader in ministry with me. And without these things I seriously worry about his future.

I pray he figures this out, but I'd also like to encourage you - are you in a place where you're submitting to authority and where you have good accountability? If not, you should be concerned. And it's just not that difficult to solve.