Prayer of Agreement

May 24, 2015   Matthew 18:18 – 20   Prayer  

 

    As we consider this passage today we need to understand that some people take a rather narrow view of this passage as compared to others.  One of the commentators that I like skipped these 4 verses totally but he did comment on Matthew 16 passage where Jesus said I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and the same for loosing.   Wiersbe said no man has the keys to the kingdom of heaven and that the binding and loosing is only done by man on earth when it has already been done in heaven.  Keys have the idea of authority, power and ability.   We use keys to open doors.   Interesting that in Matthew the binding and loosing are mentioned twice.  What does it mean I give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven?   I think the church has more authority than we realize and we have more authority than we use.  

      One commentator believes these 4 verses in Matthew 18 only deal with church discipline and he believes these verses should be taken in context.    Certainly there is no guarantee that everything in the gospels was put exactly in the order that Jesus said it or when the events happened.  To me these verses do not fit perfectly in context.   If it is in context then it would seem that Jesus is saying for the brother that the church casts out heaven also rejects that person.  There are probably other ways to understand this passage.  Certainly leadership and church actions should come from heaven.   In context these 4 verses are between the processes of dealing with a sinning brother to the point of putting him out of fellowship and then Peter then asking Jesus how many times do I forgive my brother who sins against me.   It can be difficult to understand exactly what Jesus is telling us and exactly how to interpret these 4 verses in the context of these other verses.   We do use verse 20 as a standalone verse.  Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name I am in the midst of them.  We do not consider the other verses in this chapter in light of that verse.    

   One of the respected commentators the bible knowledge commentary says: One who refuses to acknowledge his sin is then to be treated as an outsider (a pagan or a tax collector).   The corporate action was entrusted to the entire apostolic group.  Their actions of binding and loosing were to be directed by heaven.  Clearly all are addressed for the you pronouns are plural.  Besides their binding and loosing they were to engage in corporate prayer.   Whenever they came together in the name of the Lord He would be with them.  And if 2 or 3 would agree together about anything it would be done for them by the father in heaven.   That is what the bible knowledge commentary says about it.  The commentary does say when we get together and pray that God hears.  I generally do not read commentaries when to prepare my message but I am glad I looked because we do not want to butcher the word of God.  This is a passage that you can have different ideas on and it is a passage that we should struggle to understand.   You are certainly invited to study and to labor with this passage.  I wanted to you know there are different views on it.  The bible knowledge commentary says as we get together and pray that God in heaven hears and answers so let’s go from there. 

    Prayer is meant to be powerful.   God gave us prayer so things could be changed.  Prayer was given so his will in heaven can be experienced on earth.  God has given each of us authority.  Jesus is very positive about the results of prayer in this passage.  Jesus said in this passage that if we bind it on earth that it will be bound in heaven.  The way I read that is that things are changed on earth and something is also happening in heaven.  It would seem that our prayers changes things in heaven.    We know that God hears prayer and that prayer changes things.   Things happen when we pray that would not happen and things do not happen when we pray that would happen.  Prayer is powerful and we do have authority.  In Matthew 10:1 Jesus gives his disciples authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.   Jesus told his disciples in John 14:12 that they would do even greater works because he was going to the father.  We do have authority in Jesus and you need to use that authority.  We should pray with authority.      

    Jose Gomez shares a personal story about authority.  He and Carmen probably his wife decided to go to Danny’s with a few families from the church after an evening service.   They were all having a great time of fellowship when they noticed a gentleman that was going from table to table making small talk with the persons that were sitting there.   But when he approached a certain table, an argument started.   Soon two young men started beating on this poor guy.   Apparently they were annoyed at him and took it upon themselves to teach him a lesson. The first thing Jose thought of doing was yell at them to catch their attention and at that same moment they stopped beating on him.

    Another guy that was with them proceeded to get in-between them and the poor guy that was being beaten.   An argument broke out and they wanted to beat him up also.  That’s when Carmen stood up, as the other gentleman still dazed started walking towards them making remarks and at that time I remember thinking now we are all going to get beat up!.  Carmen had it all under control though.  She got in front of that guy and stuck her long finger in his face telling him, you need Jesus! It was at that time that everything stopped and you could hear a pin falling on the floor.   She said it with such authority, that everyone including the other guys agreed.  

    The prayer of agreement is a very powerful form of prayer.  Christians need to find a brother or sister and pray together and believe God to move where they have needs.  Unity is a very important part of this prayer.  We see an example of that in Genesis 11.   Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.   As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.    They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.   Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”    But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.  

     The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  One of the verses in proverbs says man proposes but God disposes.   Well God did not follow what man wanted in this passage and what the people did not want to happen to them happened.   God came down and confused their languages and then they scattered on the earth.  At Pentecost the disciples spoke in the languages of the people who were in Jerusalem.  In Babel God scattered them and to share the gospel God allowed them to speak in other languages.   At Babel the people were not trying to serve God and do the right thing and God said they will be able to do almost anything if left alone.  These people were in agreement.  When people band together even in business for the purpose of making money they can accomplish amazing things.  There is power when people move together in unity.  When the church bands together to pray there is amazing power released.  Before Pentecost they were in Jerusalem and Acts 1:14 says they were all joined together constantly in prayer.  Before the Holy Spirit fell on them they were all together in one place.  This church needs to join together and pray for God to grow us.  

    Satan works hard at destroying unity in the church.   The amplified bible says again I tell you if 2 of you on earth agree harmonize together, together make a symphony about anything and everything whatever they shall ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by my father in heaven.   We get the sense here that there needs to be a pulling together and unity and agreement about what they are praying about.  A 3 fold cord is 2 people in agreement with God.  The results are very powerful.  God honors their faith.   God responds to their faith and God will often test that faith.  One person fervently praying is powerful but 2 praying in unity are more powerful. 

    James 3 tells us that the tongue is also a fire a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person sets the whole course of his life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.  The tongue can be very destructive but it can also be used in a powerful way when it is given to God.  When 2 people pray in unity and in agreement wonderful things can happen.  The tongue can be such a blessing and prayer is one way that the tongue can further the kingdom of heaven.  We can pray blessings down and we can pray for the lost.   We can use our tongue to encourage others. 

    In the book secrets to powerful prayer they share the following story.  Several years ago she had a friend who needed encouragement and faith.   This lady had a baby who was healthy and normal but as soon as it was born it died.   That was her first time being pregnant.  In time she had another healthy baby and again shortly after birth the baby died.   She desperately wanted children but she was afraid to have another one for fear of losing it.   She got together with one of the authors of the book and they decided to trust God for a normal healthy baby and pregnancy and that the baby would live. They found promises in the bible.  They got together and prayed claiming those promises wrote everything down that they agreed upon and signed the paper.  In time she conceived and they rejoiced reminding each other on what they agreed upon. 

     She went in for her regular check up and the doctor ran several tests and then told her she had lupus.   She called her prayer partner and was ready to roll off her place of faith.  Her prayer partner told her we agreed upon a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.  She goes back to the doctor and they run more tests and they told her you had lupus but you don’t have it now and we do not know where it went.  Strike one for the devil.   During another visit she was told this baby has Down’s syndrome.  They decided to cancel their vacation.   The doctors told her to abort the baby.  She was reminded to get out her prayer contract.   Nothing was to be wrong with the child.  She goes back to the doctor and they run more tests and determine that the baby is fine.  The doctors are perplexed.    Strike 2 for the devil. 

    Just before she was due to deliver she was in a car wreck.  The steering wheel hit her right in the front.  They both get out the contract that they had prayed over and claimed stating that she was going to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.   Strike 3 for the devil.  A short time later she gives birth to a healthy baby boy and a home run for God.  A threefold cord is powerful. 

     In the prayer of agreement it is important that people believe God and find a scriptural basis for what they are praying for and they need to stay strong in faith.   This verse says they must ask God for it.   It is not just agreeing in prayer but asking God for their request.   She points out that once someone wanted her to agree with them that they severe in a bad place.   She said if I agreed with them they would have been in a worse place.  We want to agree for good things that glorify God.  We want to agree for things to improve and for God's kingdom to be built. 

    We all need a prayer partner and in verse 20 Jesus said where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name Jesus would be in their midst.   Jesus will meet with you as you pray.  That is very powerful.  And I encourage you to worship and not just ask for things.  We need to seek his face and not his hands so to speak.  I really like Denis.   He has shared that he just wants some time alone with God and feel his presence and soak in goodness.  That fills our cup.  Lord I need you.